Finance Live – an unlikely mixture of live music, finance executives, extra-strength hairspray and charity – returns to Hong Kong next month.
It follows on heels of the inaugural event in November, which was attended by a sold-out crowd of 450 people and raised $17,000 for Hong Kong-based charity Music for the Growing Mind.
SinoPac Solutions and Services chief executive Steve Bernstein, who organised both events, reveals says there are plenty of “banker bands” – enough to fuel a series of Finance Live gigs in Asia. “The first Finance Live was such a blast, we had to do it again," he adds. "The goal is to expand Finance Live across the region."
The next event, due to take place on March 20, will feature moonlighting musicians from institutions such as Goldman Sachs, Double Haven Capital, BNP Paribas Investment Partners and UBS.
Japanese rock guitar prodigy Yuto Miyazawa is also slated to perform, three years after his appearance at a Hong Kong hedge fund benefit concert for earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.Now 14, Yuto performed with Ozzy Osbourne at the age of nine – fortunately, long after the Black Sabbath singer vowed to stop biting off the heads of small living creatures onstage.
While Yuto, who has a global following, is expected to be the event’s highlight, the popularity of local bands should not be underestimated.
Fustercluck, a five-piece band comprising mohawk-sporting males, was surrounded with a legion of screaming women when it took the stage at the previous Finance Live.
We caught up for a quick Q&A with lead singer Paul Tomes, as well as Double Haven Capital’s Shane McPherson, one of the performers at next month's event.
AsianInvestor: What is your day job?
Torres: I’m the CEO of PassKit, a mobile wallet platform.
How often does Fustercluck perform?
Finance Live was our first gig as Fustercluck. Previously we had a band called The Fluffers, which was a seven-piece that performed about once every quarter. There are four people from the old band in Fustercluck.
I’m also in a two-piece band that plays quite regularly. We do acoustic numbers and play at Peel Fresco and Ilan.
Your onstage persona was a big hit with women at Finance Live. Was it a letdown to resume your normal daily life afterwards?
At my office, I’ve got a lot of women screaming at me all the time, just in a slightly different way.
How do you balance a busy career with your musical interests?
I’ve always believed that if you have a passion, then you make time for those passions. Music is on the top of my list of passions.
Unlike Fustercluck, The Blades – featuring hedge fund tech veteran McPherson on guitar – might prove to be more popular among biker gangs than women, judging from a quick Q&A session.
AsianInvestor: What is your day job?
McPherson: I run IT for Double Haven Capital.
How often does your band perform?
Fairly irregularly, about every couple of months on average.
How long have you been playing in bands?
I’ve been doing it on and off since my university days. I don’t even want to think about how many years that is!
Do you do it to attract chicks?
We don’t seem to get too many groupies, mostly just friends and family. Maybe we need to work on our stage presence.
What's your most memorable onstage moment to date?
Back in my younger days, I once played a gig at the headquarters of a motorcycle gang in New Zealand. Looking back, it was a little scary, as it was like a little fortress with barbed-wire fences and fierce dogs. But they seemed to be nice guys and liked the music we played, so it was all good.
How do you balance a job in finance with your musical interests?
As is the case for anyone who works in the industry, work is quite demanding so it’s a matter of fitting in the band when I have time. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. At the end of day, we just treat it as a bit of fun.