Singer and award-winning actress Josie Ho and her band The Uni Boys are currently working on a new film with American History X director Tony Kaye, as well as new material with more of a “new wave sound”.
Ho (who has starred in the likes of The Courier, Open Grave, Contagion, Naked Ambition and Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li) and her Hong Kong-based band told NME how they’ve had a “super busy year”, with a number of new projects set to launch in 2021. The biggest is a movie with Tony Kaye with the working title of The Hong Kong Sound.
“Tony came and started shooting a few of our gigs,” Ho told NME. “He asked me to do a few other things to showcase my other talents, while the band are working on the musical side. It’s very exciting.
“He’s going to utilise the footage from our live shows. We’ve got the script, but Tony’s very much into improvisation. It’s got a sweet little story and a lot of good paintings and a model to show how it’s going to look.”
She continued: “He has to come back to Hong Kong next year to start shooting it. Our band has to re-record some of our songs in English for the Japanese market for next year’s summer release after the Olympics. This is going to be huge for us.”
Uni Boys bandmate Don said that they were “turning towards something different” for the new songs that they had been writing to go with the project and for other releases.
“We’ve been mainly hard and heavy rock,” he said of their decade-long career so far. “We started off as heavily influenced by Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Kills, but mixed it up with a bit of classic rock like Zeppelin and a twist of Foo Fighters. It’s simple and direct rock that reflects on Josie’s personality – very in your face.”
“We’ve got a lot of homework and new songs to write, but the new stuff is going to be a bit more stripped down. We’re talking about the idea of going in the direction of Tame Impala, Arctic Monkeys and The 1975. We want to sound a bit less hectic.”
Josie, meanwhile, added: “I saw The 1975 at the NME Awards this year and they were so cool. We want to go into more of a vintage wave.”
Claiming that their songs “are mainly about releasing stress and making people laugh”, Ho said that she feels most at home when playing live. “I feel like my role on stage would be best compared to Harley Quinn – the female joker,” she said.
With that in mind, the band are hoping to hit the road in 2021 for some very ambitious shows.
“I like the shows that we put on recently with some visual artists,” said Don. “We got inspired by the old Nine Inch Nails shows to take our shows to a new level. It’s quite special. We used this AI technology that NIN and Massive Attack have used. It was mindblowing and took the concert to another level. We’re excited to get back to that.”
Josie added: “We’re lucky that we still get to be busy after the pandemic and everything. We treasure all of our new opportunities. We’re just a group of people who are very passionate about jamming.”
As well as their movie with Tony Kaye, Ho also has a number of projects in the works with French director Luc Besson and earlier this year wrapped the film Habit, alongside Bella Thorne, Paris Jackson, The Kills’ Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart, and Bush’s Gavin Rossdale.
“We had a crazy fun time and just kept laughing,” she said of the film. “It’s a contemporary period piece with a crazy story. I have a crazy look and image in this film and get to be completely awkward, which is rare for me. I love it.”
— Screen International (@Screendaily) April 13, 2020
Habit, directed by actor and filmmaker Janell Shirtcliff, follows “a street-smart party girl with a Jesus fetish who gets mixed up in a violent drug deal and finds a possible way out by masquerading as a nun”. It is expected to be released in 2021.