In Conversation with
Recorded Live, October 2008
At Dukes 92 Bar, Manchester Castlefield.
A little background:
The enclosed interview is an edited version of an interview
With the lovely and charming Hong Kong born singer
Songwriter, Amanda Ng.
I can’t actually remember how I first met Amanda, but I
Think it was something to do with her work in the
Performance group ’24 Hour Arty People’ and I got
Speaking to her through facebook and when she
Recommended me to have a listen to her music, I
Loved it thinking it was pop music with a lovely
Organic feel to it.
Amanda describes herself as ‘originally born in Hong Kong
but relocated to England in her early teens.’
She carries on by adding she was initially enchanted by
the Pop music scene in Hong Kong before then later
becoming immersed in UK pop and club culture.
With influences ranging all the way from the polished pop off
Whitney Houston to Faithless, Moloko, Kosheen, Björk and
Kraftwerk, it was only natural Setting sun was going to
Be interested in interviewing such an original sounding act.
Instead of interviewing her by email, with Amanda living
So near to where I work, it was only natural I agreed to
Meet up for an interview.
This interview was recorded live on 14th October 2008.
Thanks to Amanda for most enjoyable interview.
Her music itself can be sampled over on her
Myspace page which is
Since the original interview, I know Amanda
has now got a band going, which she is
in the process off doing a number of high
profile gigs, which I look forward to seeing.
Thanks to Amanda for the interview.
Andy N (Setting Sun)
Can you tell us a little bit about the history of your
music – i.e. – what started you off etc?
It started off in kindergarten – it’s something that
my mum always reminded me off that I learnt that
my first song in kindergarten. I’d go home sing for
an hour, sing using the bed for a stage and get my
mum to be my audience.
Apparently every-time I finish the song, I asked
my mum do you like it? Well, I would say well
I have pictures at home of me singing at my
kindergarten graduation before I go into primary
school. While some of them would be actors, poets
or sport stars, I decided then I wanted to become a
singer so I sang a song.
Can you tell us a little bit about what are your musical
influences and what are you listening to at the moment?
Well since I was born in Hong Kong so then my
musical taste is a mixture of canto pop and very
well old school western music since as that is what
my parents liked to listen to which included for example
Kenny G’s music… Pure, saxophone music which is
one of the reasons why I like to put sax into my music…
The rest is like the Beatles, the beach boys..
They are obviously into pop rock and I also enjoy
love Madonna’s music.
Her music is so diverse, it can be so chilled while
some of the tracks can be upbeat, it made me decide
I don’t want to be pinned down with my music.
It doesn’t mean I would be to the next Madonna
of course and then of course you also have the
dance element – you can talk about my teenage
life my clubbing life which started when I was
I really enjoyed listening to Kraftwork, Faithless,
Bjork, Pete Tong, Fat Boy Slim and I thought wow!
I can do something like that.. It all developed from
a very standard case of where I knew nothing
about music aside from standard keno pop
and traditional western pop to kraftwork, Bjork
etc from almost out of nowhere.
I have always loved indie rock too – The Levellers,
Green day and The Stereophonics. They are also
my inspirations. If you listen to ‘You get it,
I give it’ you can hear a rock guitar for example.
On your myspace, there is a nice range of songs
on your page for example ‘Deepest Emotions’ which I
felt was a lovely wistful ballad, can you tell us what
made you want to write it as a piano song?
I made it such a simple piano song because I don’t want it
to be a standard love song from Mariah Carey or
Leona Lewis may sing as I don’t think it’s really original.
I decided to leave it as a piano piece, after I composed I
liked it that much I felt I didn’t need to do much with it
and only thought at the end, perhaps a little string
arrangement would be perfect.
Don’t you have your own studio at home?
Some of the music was done at university a while ago.
Most of it was done at home studio on mac however which
enables me to use my midi keyboard and then play a
guitar, bass and a vocal through it.
Most of the production aside from ‘So over it’
and ‘What is love?’ were recorded in the studio. The rest
were recorded in my room, hiding behind my wardrobe.
Also on your myspace.com page, I also noticed your
lovely instrumental track ‘You get it, I give it’ which I noticed
was a totally different tempo track to ‘Deepest emotions’ –
can you tell us a little bit more about this track – how this
differed production wise from the previous track.
This came from the fact I have a love of funky house
and Jazz (See reference to Kenny G before) a long time I
decided anything I would do with chill out dance music,
I would always use a saxophone without question.
The production for Deepest emotions was so much harder
because of the vocals because it was just strings and piano.
On ‘You get it, I give it’ you have guitar, bass, saxophone
and millions of drums, where Deepest emotions were so much
harder to do because it was a lot simpler.
What is the inspiration behind that title?
This was a joke between a guy I had met and really fancied
and we were supposed to go out on a date and a drink
many times but it never happened. One night I just called
him and said ‘Are you out tonight?’ just to say when am
I going to get my drink and he said ‘What am I going to
give? And I said ‘And what I am going to get?’ And the title
came from that. ‘You get it, I give it’
Now I would like to know a bit more about your title track
of your album ‘What is love’ which I am guessing will
probably be your first single.
That was probably the ever first hunky house I
ever attempted to write which was majority
inspired by old school, Chicago house with
bongo and sax driving the rhythm.
Easy pestery, then?
It actually took two years to write to mix and
mix and mix it before I put it on myspace.
Every time I heard it, I didn’t like it –
I kept mixing and mixing and mixing
it before I put it up on myspace.
I’m lying there - there was a different
mix up there without any drum beat and just
the bass line with the vocal and sax and the
bongo percussion.. that was old school
and I am considering putting it back
I know when I spoke to Gemma (from
’24 hour arty people’ – Andy N which
Amanda was also involved in) I know you
did at a gig at the Royal Exchange fairly
Yes, I was invited as a guest
besides the poetry.
I was meant to be performing
that day, but I got my dates mixed
up and I was down south that day.
Amanda Ng: (LAUGHING)
How very dare you? That was my
very first gig in Manchester.
Obviously I didn’t hear it, but you
looked very confident on the
photographs I saw.
Well I looked very emotional. When I sing,
I have to get myself into that emotional state
in order to deliver the vocal of how I want my
vocal to sound. Some people may think
I am nervous, but I am not.
How do you prefer playing gigs to
your studio work?
Is their one you prefer to the other?
Well.. I am more naughty in the studio.
When you are singing live, you can’t sing
out of tune. I am sometimes more irrational
in the studio, I must admit but as soon
as I am on stage, I always want to deliver
my best to the audience. And besides which
I have done gigs previously before in
Hong Kong as a backing singer.
Can you tell us a bit more about
Referring back to Question One
apart from when I learnt my first gig
as a little girl when I learnt my first
song.. After that when I was 17 gone
18, I did a work placement in a studio
called Q Sound Studio.
Obviously that there was when you
gained your first real experience was when
you wanted to become a singer
It was a producer who suggested to me
‘You’ve studied art, you play piano, you’ve
obviously creative, why don’t you try singer
songwriting?’ Then an different producer
said to me ‘you’re bi lingual, you speak different
languages’ and then one day he just kicked
me into a studio and gave me a vocal booth.
Since then, I’ve done various things. I’ve
done backing vocals for some acts, and a
backing singer for an act in front off 2,000 people.
That all started from me being a recording engineer
assistant then turning out to be a P.R. to be a
translator and then to be a backing singer
and then partying with them! That’s kind of
how I wanted to be more professional.
What’s next for you? Do you have any more
gigs / recordings planned?
What’s next for me?
Well, I am hoping to get the album
finished by the end of this year, and from then on,
we are heading to put some gigs on before the end
of the year and then the target is to put on some
gigs down south. I’ve met some people who had put
on lots of gigs around Nottingham and London and
Bristol. The idea is to get my name known to
the public as much as possible as I’ve done very
little in getting myself marketed to the audience
in the past couple of years. That is the target.
Getting the album finished or if I haven’t get
most finished, and then organize all of the gigs.
I’m also in touch with Sony over in Japan which is
Looking hopeful also.
That’s good as it shows you are using
your past contacts.
Basically all the people I know are the
people I go and talk to and speak to. Most
people just don’t believe I am a singer songwriter.
I am not just a singer songwriter. I am
also a producer cause I write and
produce the song. I’m learning from a
guy called Mark Stagg, who used to
produce K Klass back in the day.
Now some light fun questions to finish
off with. First of all, what would you be
your dream job if you weren’t doing music?
Never really thought about that.
Movies. I don’t think I’m a very good actor,
but I like editing.
What do you like to do when you
aren’t doing music?
Snowboarding and partying
I’ve always being a very sporty person.
Snowboarding and skiing are always something
I wanted to do. When I was at boarding
school, at the end of every term I always had
to go home and my parents always used to take
me to hot countries on holiday. When I finished
university, I thought to myself I’m still quite
young I can snowboard and learn to ski
and I fell in love with it.
I think it’s the kind of sport I will do for
the rest of my life. In fact, I’d thought
about if I ever get my songs released –
I’ll do a video using my snowboarding.
What would you like to be doing when
you are 60?
Still writing songs. Maybe if not for myself, other great
artists who will still appreciate my songs. Maybe when
I am 60, I will have maybe have calmed down a lot but
still like to be involved in music because that is what I am.
What will you be doing when you are 60?