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Ken and His Music Factory 音樂工廠長


Ken and His Music Factory 音樂工廠長


說到「工廠」一詞,你會聯想到什麼?《摩登時代》裡那個工作到幾乎要瘋掉的差利,還是流水式、毫無感情的量產品?嗯,似乎都不是什麼正面的東西嘛……但如果把這詞語解讀成一個讓職人埋頭苦幹的地方,整個畫面就變了調了,對不?棋人音樂工業Chessman Music Industry就是一個這樣的地方,這次Chessman Post就請來她的音樂監製蘇耀光,談談這家做音樂的工廠。


阿光是澳門音樂唱作人,2004年時合約歌手身份加入棋人。他跟當時身為評判的小霖和小肥於一次原創歌曲比賽結緣,二人賽後跟他洽談合作事宜,從此阿光就加入棋人的家庭,並慢慢由幕前走到幕後,成為棋人音樂部的主理人,包辦歌唱、作曲、填詞、編曲、監製、混音、後期製作等工作。


棋人音樂部,就是棋人音樂工業的前身。「最早期09年時只有我一人,到11年潘君保(按:阿光以外的另一位音樂監製)從澳洲回流並加入後,迅猛擴增成2人!哈哈!」阿光笑言,經歷了2012及13年的工作體驗,他與保有感音樂製作需要獨立起來才能有所發圍,便決定於2014年起把音樂部獨立出來,成立現時的棋人音樂工業。


由以前只是一個部門,到一家獨立的公司,需要處理和面對的事情當然會有很大分別。阿光表示,獨立出來之後,跟以前最大的分別是個人視野與工作模式都有所不同。「從前只要做音樂便可以,現在要管理一間公司,行政、財政、人事、談判…所有問題都要自己處理,但當然,可控制的事愈多,遊戲愈好玩!」


「話事人」的身份讓阿光可以控制更多可以影響音樂製作的事情,包括阿光本來的「創作人」身份。阿光坦言,獨立以後個人創作減少了,但同時亦讓他更了解自己。「某個程度來說,我並不是終極藝術家,我更明白想發展成功不可能只想自己成功,所以我思路也傾向於發掘更多人才,把他們帶入公司,協助同伴成功。」


談到創作,我們先不要忘記阿光那厚厚的作品輯,當中包括龍世傑的《說不出的》,也是他印象最深的一次創作,因為那首歌不僅是演唱會主題曲,更是當年澳門頒獎禮的金曲金獎,後來亦被Paco看中(按:沒錯就是香港的超級經理人Paco),買了給小肥翻唱成《負親》:「那可算是我的作品中傳唱度最高的歌……當初寫這首歌是為了龍世傑第一個個人音樂會《說不出的》而寫的,在個多星期的創作時間內亳無頭緒,在deadline前的一小時強迫作出來的,但結果反而成了傳唱度最高的歌。所以藝術這東西,最強大的力量是來自deadline!(笑)」

跟deadlines周旋,似乎是每個創作人都會遇到,但要在幕後幕前都有參與,就未必每個創作人都可以。問到喜歡哪個崗位多些,阿光有這樣的回應:「其實很難去定義喜歡幕前還是幕後多一點,正如中餐與西餐一樣,不同時候會有不同喜好,但當然能夠站在舞台上演出的機會難得,所以我更珍惜幕前的演出機會。」


展望將來,阿光不諱言,他跟他的一眾同伴都有很大的期許:「我們會在3年內創立棋人音樂工業大樓,集錄音室、流行音樂教育、電影配樂後製、澳門流行音樂歷史館於一身的音樂基地,紮根澳門,面向世界。」


至於以個人來說,阿光說他明白現在的音樂世界只有音樂已經不足以滿足觀眾,需要跨媒體型的創作。近年他都有參與音樂劇的演出,令他更迷上音樂劇:「能夠創作一套自己的音樂劇是我的心願,當然需要集結志同道合的同伴才能完成這個創作…一直以來我都有幻想自己創作的音樂劇,情感主題是少不免的,關於夢境與現實。在忙碌生活中,人與人關係日漸疏離,男主角忽然一覺醒來,到了完全陌生的世界,身邊的親人、太太完全不認識自己,之後的每晚睡著都會來到不同空間,才再次與身邊的人從新認識……」


透過一個如此奇幻的故事,阿光想要大家反思一個命題,那就是「到底我們生命中,最重要的是甚麼?」音樂,以至所有形式的藝術,探討的不就是各樣跟生命有關的命題嗎?有阿光這位音樂工廠長,還有很他志同道合的同伴,棋人音樂工業未來的作品是值得期待的。


When the word “factory” hits you, what would you think of? The tortured Charlie Chaplin in “Modern Times”, or some mass produced products with senseless, standardised procedures? Sounds like the associations are quite unfavourable, huh…what if we take this term as a place where craftsmen work hard? The whole picture becomes different! Chessman Music Industry (CMI), despite her name, is a place like this. For this issue, Chessman Post had a conversation with CMI’s music executive producer Ken So about this factory of music.


Ken is a singer-songwriter from Macau. He joined Chessman in 2004 as a contact singer. At a certain original singing competition Ken met Jones and Siu Fay, who were the judges back then. Jones and Siu Fay talked Ken to join Chessman after the competition. Since then Ken was transformed from a performer to a crew member at the backstage when he became the head of Chessman Music Department. Ken had to take care of all the music production procedures, from singing, composing, songwriting, arrangement to supervision, mixing and post-production, etc.

This Music Department of Chessman was the previous life of CMI. “Back in 2009, it was only me. Then in 2011 when Puo Pon (Ken’s fellow music executive producer at CMI) returned from Australia, the department experienced a fast growth: from 1 to 2 people! Haha!” laughed Ken. He told us that after going through the projects in 2012 and 2013, Puo and he both agreed that they had to be left alone to produce good music, thus they separated the whole department from Chessman and started CMI in 2014.


From a department to an independent company, it is sensible to say that Ken had to face issues and problems which were much different from the previous ones. As Ken indicated, after CMI was formed, the biggest differences he had experienced so far were his expanded horizon and his way of working. “Before the only thing I had to care about was making music, but now I have to run a company, I have to face things like administrative, finance, manpower, negotiation with others, etc...I have to deal with problems all by myself. Well, of course it also means I can have more control, which is more fun!”


Being the man in charge provides Ken with more access to the variables that can affect music making, including himself as a musician. Ken confessed that after establishing CMI he had to cut down his personal creations, however he had learned more about himself. “To a certain extend I am not an extreme artist; I understand to have successful development I can’t just think of myself, that’s why now I tend to find and discover more talents, bring them in and help our mates to become great.”


Let’s not forget Ken’s rich portfolio, including the song “Things I can’t say” of Rico Long. Ken named this song as the most impressive production - not only this was theme for Rico’s live concert, but it also won the Golden Song at Macau Music Awards...plus, it caught ears of Paco (yes, Paco Wong from Hong Kong the legendary manager) who later bought the song for Siu Fay. That was also the story of Sin Fay’s famous song “Father”.


“It is my most popular song ever written...initially it was intended for Rico’s first live concert with the same title, and I could not write a note for weeks. The song was forced with an hour before the deadline and it became the most known songs of mine. This is art, sometimes the best work is powered by deadline! (LOL)”


Fighting with deadlines is a task of every creative, but not many of them can cross the border and shift between the positions of a performer and a crew member. So which position is your favourite? Ken have us an interesting answer.


“It’s quite hard to say which position is my favorite, like having Chinese cuisine and Western ones - at different situation you’ll have different choices. Of course opportunities to perform on stage are rare and I will treasure them.”


Looking forward, Ken did not hide his ambition. He and his mates have great expectation of CMI. “We will have a complex of CMI in three years. It will be a station where you’ll find studios, lecture rooms for pop music, post-production facilities for film soundtracks, and a museum dedicated for Macau music history. CMI will root deep in Macau and go global.”


How about as a musician? Ken understood audiences nowadays can never be easily satisfied by music and music only, multi-media creative productions are necessary. In recent years Ken had participated in several musical productions and he grew fondness for this form of art.


“I always want to produce a musical of my own. Of course I will need mates who have the same thought to make it...I’ve been picturing my own musical, and it has to be about human emotion, inevitably; it would be a story about reality and dream. We all lead busy lives and interpersonal relationship is getting weaker and weaker...When the male lead wakes up, he finds himself in this strange world where his wife, friends and families are all stranger to him. Every time he falls into sleep he will wake up in a new place and he has to learn about people around him from zero…”


Such fantasy reflects a question Ken wanted us to think about: what is the most important thing in our lives? Music, like every form or art, discusses things about life. With the help of his comrade, surely we can expect something big from Ken and his music factory.

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