Nocturnal Hong Kong, as told by a sound engineer

Musicians are nocturnal animals. It is as if their muses are dormant in the bright day light and hyperactive in the night. Perhaps that is why Mounty’s recording studio never operates while the sun is still out. All conversations we have had run late into the night, with his students diligently harping chords on their electric guitar throughout in the background.

Mounty graduated as a social worker in his twenties. Being one of the most patient person I know, he would easily make a great social worker. Yet, the time came when he had to decide between his career and his other passion — music. Friends have always joked that he was married happily to his guitar. He speaks of music with the assurance of a lifelong partner. His love for the instrument soon made him a keen buyer and trader of the instrument, as well as a well-loved teacher. In his early thirties, Mounty switched path into sound engineering. Despite the high mortality rate of the business, he now runs one of the very few professional recording studios in Hong Kong.

Mounty lives a frugal life outside of his music. Yet, keen observers of the trade would recognise the amount of investment involved in maintaining his studio, with some of the best equipment available in the market. Mounty is also very generous in helping out emerging artists or simply music lovers, who can’t afford the same level of equipment he owns. He jokes that all he earns goes into getting the latest equipment and he shall die a happy man with no money in his bank account, but all the musical gears he has ever wanted. In his eyes is a rare flint of complete peace with the career choice one makes in his life. I suspect if he dies any time soon, the latest piece of musical gear won’t bug him much anyway, for all that he’s achieved is enough to make him a happy soul.

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