Sam Debell – Yunnan – Shanren – Sea of Wood – Turtle – The legend behind the music

Hi Sam Debell, can you introduce yourself a little to our readers ?

Hi !

My name is Sam Debell. I have been involved in the Chinese music industry, specifically but not exclusively the Yunnan music industry, for about twenty years. I am a musician, venue owner, producer, and recently set up a label here in Yunnan called Sea of Wood.

What can you tell us about Kunming and its diference with other cities in China ?

Kunming is the Capital of Yunnan province, which has 25 ethnic minorities. At first glance it now looks like another big Chinese city, but below the surface it’s multi-ethnic make-up leads to a very different vibe. People are very straightforward, open and laid-back. The pace of life is slower and people have more time for culture. I believe Kunming has more active bands per capita than any other Chinese city.

You are a member of the band « Shanren » which is also based on music from the Yunnan region, how did you join the band and why ? How do you see the future of the band musically ?

I have been working with Shanren since about 2002. They were one of the early underground bands that attracted me to this city. Over the years our love of Yunnan minority music and instruments is what kept us on the same path. It also gave birth to a personal mission to establish Yunnan’s reputation as a source of music and culture.

Shanren have always had a bit of a schizophrenic musical direction. Although Yunnan music always has an important place, there are also other influences and considerations pushing and pulling the band’s style. Sometimes I don’t even know what to expect next.


Your music label is called « Sea of Wood », why ? Why did you decide to start a label in Yunnan, can you tell us about the bands you have signed to the label and introduce a few songs ?



When you set up a Chinese company you have to give about ten names that they apply for in order until they get to one which can be registered.   淼木 was about eighth on our list. When I saw that was the name I remembered doing shows in Yunnan back in the day and seeing a sea of blank expressions, wooden, you might say. So it became a feeling of setting stuff up in relative isolation. There has never been any kind of music industry in Yunnan so we’ll be facing wooden expressions for a while to come.

We have almost twenty bands signed to the label now of which six or seven have released albums to date. Our initial focus was on bands that incorporated Yunnan ethnic elements into their music but we later opened it up to anything that was ‘Made in Yunnan’.   That became the name of the various shows and events we have done over the years to raise the profile of local artists.   I would recommend listening to Manhu, who have made an impression on the overseas World music scene this year with their album ‘Voices of The Sani’. Puman have just released an album on Netease called ‘Puman’ which is a very nice addition to the Yunnan Reggae genre. Also there is ‘Mei-Rok’ also self titled, a poppy take on the music of the Wa people. Finally I would recommend Wood and Fire, a band from Nujiang that combines Nu and Lisu instruments with a Folky ensemble.

As a percussionist and drummer, what is your favorite style of music to play ?

As a percussionist I have always been fascinated by Afro-Cuban music. I spent a few months in Havana about twenty years ago and it was an unforgettable experience. The complexity and sophistication of the traditions in Cuba never ceases to amaze.

How did you start music and why? Which instrument did you start on (if you have) ? Can you give the readers a little bit of your musical background.

I studied French horn as a kid but I never really got into the classical way of learning. I was far too dependent of my ear. I gave up but a few years later got into playing the guitar. That eventually lead me on to percussion. The tradition-sensitive way of learning that’s associated with percussion lead to an interest in the traditional music of Yunnan, which, while far less sophisticated than Cuban music, is also very steeped in a feeling of roots. I have been collecting and learning to play Yunnan instruments for over 10 years. My house is full of them. It was actually got so ridiculous that it ended a relationship for me!

According to you which places in China and Asia are the best for music ?

Well of course I’m going to say Yunnan but that is related to my specific interest.   I have always appreciated the level of musicianship and musicality in South-East Asia, especially Thailand and Indonesia.   Then, of course, Japan. Shanren have played there several times and it has always been great to see Japanese people really identifying themselves by the music they are into.

How did the coronavirus afect you and how do you see the future of live music ?

Well, to b honest in Yunnan we got way relatively lightly. We never really had any community transmission, just imported cases, so life really got back to normal within a couple of months. As far as trying to run a music company is concerned, it was bit of a nightmare-no income for the best part of half a year. We made some changes and we’ve managed to get some commercial gigs to help tide us over but as for when we are going to start having real music festivals again it’s really anybody’s guess.   For a while everyone was trying to get the live streaming thing going but it never really felt like an adequate replacement and the live streaming culture in China just doesn’t seem to fit with a band show. I think live music will make a comeback as things slowly get back to normal. People have realized what they’re missing and with TV shows like 乐队的夏天 raising the profile of bands in general I’m hopeful that things will get better.

What’s your favorite Chinese band/artist/song you would like to introduce to the rest of the world ?

That’s a hard question to answer. I need to think about it a bit more…




Wood and Fire


Dada’s Michael on music, life in China and a new Dada club opening in Kunming

Hi Michael, you have just opened a new Dada club in Kunming after opening in Shanghai and Beijing a few years ago. How long have you been in China and how did the Dada adventure start ?

—   I’m from California.   San Francisco.   I started out as a radio DJ, then dabbled in various roles in the music industry — record labels, promoter, etc.  I interned at Sony and BMG before working at Virgin Music.  Moved to China in 2002, after a few visits.  I wasn’t planning to get involved with music here, but I met some Chinese friends who were in good rock bands, or producing electronic, or doing underground hip hop events — I got sucked back in, I guess it’s fate.   We started the Antidote events in 2005, then I managed two “live house” bars in Shanghai — Tang Hui and 4 Live.   It was a great experience, to be involved right when the Beijing ‘no wave’ scene was taking off.  We brought all those great Beijing bands to Shanghai, 2005-2008.   But it’s very hard to do live rock music in Shanghai and be sustainable.   So those venues closed.  I was also booking and managing tons of tours around China, around Asia, with live bands and DJs.  We opened Dada Shanghai in 2009, and Dada Beijing in 2012, and now Dada Kunming in 2020.   The focus is more on DJs and live electronic music.    I know a lot of people have different feelings between DJs and live music, and of course it’s a different experience, but to me I find them equally exciting.

What can you tell us about Dada Kunming and its difference with the two other clubs ?

— Ask me in a year, hah!    We will see how it goes.   We are trying to find a happy compromise between local taste and behavior, but also bringing something new.   We are stubborn about keeping it music first policy, rather than chasing easy money by playing obvious, mainstream music, and trying to catch customers with drink specials and gimmicks.   Even if it takes longer for the audience to trust us, it’s ok, we want to build something sincere but sustainable.   I guess that’s the same as our other Dada’s, but so far I’ve noticed that the Kunming audience has some different behaviors — many are ordering 4 cases of beer bottles at once, or several bottles of whiskey — very few do this at our places in Beijing and Shanghai.  It’s also a bit more laid back in Kunming — which is nice, but can also be frustrating if you’re trying to get some work done — we opened several months later than planned because construction work was a lot lot slower and sloppy than in Shanghai, for example.

Where does the name Dada come from ?

— We wanted a very simple, stupid name that anyone could pronounce or type.  It was before smart phones, and on my ancient Nokia phone I typed 2121 (d,a,d,a).   But yeah, we’re also inspired by the Dada art thing, and that’s been a part of our promotion strategy, our aesthetic, our approach, our slightly punk attitude.  I guess it’s a bit of an homage, but it wasn’t really obviously intentional that way.  It’s funny though, a lot of customers have sincerely asked me, “hey do you know about the Dada art movement?” as if I had no clue.

As a DJ, what do you like to play and what are your influences ? Who is your favorite DJ and why ?

— I’ve played all sorts of music as a DJ.  I’ve always had eclectic taste, and I am genuinely confused when I encounter someone who doesn’t.   When I was in radio, I did jazz, reggae, rock, and techno shows.   I even played a Country Western DJ set at Shanghai’s Shelter club once.   In recent years I’ve been traveling a lot, and I always get vinyl records from local shops, so I’ve been playing African music sets, and for the past 2 years I’ve been doing tours around China playing my “Ozone’s 80s Disco”, which is really only about 20% disco music.  I need a focus, a creative limitation, or I’d end up going in all sorts of weird directions.   Sorry I can’t pick favorites, I’m not good at that.

How did you start music and why? Which instrument did you start on (if you have) ?

— I briefly tried to play bass in a band, and produced some acid house tracks, but just didn’t have the time and diligence to really learn.   I decided at a young age that I’d love to work in music, but not as a musician myself.   I think it was a good decision, so I’m not lost and confused, but occasionally I wish I was producing music, I know I’m missing out on part of the fun, and I often have compositions in my silly head but no way to get them out except beatboxing in the shower.

Can you give the reader a little bit of your musical background (bands, side projects, labels, etc…)
What’s your favorite thing about Dj’ing in Beijing and China, how does it compare to other countries in the world? Which city in China ans Asia has the best vibe for Dj’ing ?

—  Audience taste is different.   For example, my 80s nights are well loved in China, but when I did a little Eastern Europe tour, people looked at me like I’m a taxi driver curating the music.   They hear those songs all the time.   But in China, they never really had this music, the kids think it’s cool, not like “oh that’s my parents music, yawn!”

I find it foolish to pick a “best city” because whenever I do, it’s all changed a year later.  I also think the actual venue is more significant than just the city.   But I always sing the praises of Manila, which I think has the most underrated music scene in the world.  Incredible talent there.

What can you tell us about the state of Dj’ing since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis ? how do you see the future ?

— There’s been a lot of online events.  People asked us to do these, but I just never really got into the idea.  I get it, but it’s not for me.   But also, coming out of the quarantine time, there’s suddenly a lot more new DJs, because they were bored at home and wanted to learn how to play.  I know one friend who just started learning to DJ in February during lock down, and is now headlining a national tour — which seems absurd, but hey more power to her !

What’s your favorite Chinese band/artist/song  you would like to introduce to the rest of the world ?

— Well, if you insist.   Just before Covid hit, we did a few gigs with White+ from Beijing.  They were great 10 years ago, but now they’re absolutely amazing.   Their new album is in post-production now and can’t wait to have them back to play with us.

visit the new Dada if you come to Kunming, and if you don’t, go to Dada Beijing as it has just re-opened and go to the new Dada Shanghai when it re-opens !

Interview – Shuilam Wong of Hole in the Wall – iFLY! (¿Mosca?) event – 23 November

Interview – Shuilam Wong of Hole in the Wall – iFLY! event.

Firstly, can you give the reader a bit of your artist background as well as organizations you are involved in in Beijing’s art scene?


Sure! I’m an illustrator, visual artist and designer currently based in Beijing. I studied illustration as a bachelor degree in London but didn’t really practice art until three years ago, which is when I moved back to Beijing. Since then I’ve been involved in various art projects, including illustrations, murals, workshops, markets and drawing events. I’m currently running a creative collective called HOLE IN THE WALL, which started out as a zine about the underground culture and has now grown to a platform for creative events.

How would you describe your style(s) of art? What methods do you use and what do you normally use as subjects? Do you have common themes in your work?


My style tends to be quite loose and bold, using strong thick brush strokes and bright vivid colours. I virtually always use an ink brush pen because I like to draw on the go and have less control of my lines. During live performances, I use an iPad and an app called Tagtool, which allows me to draw and animate in real time. Though the complete opposite to a traditional brush, I still draw in a free and loose way, quickly creating whatever that comes into my mind.

When I draw from observation, my subjects are usually people I see at bars, cafes, and live shows. Whereas when I draw from imagination, they tend to be cute sleepy creatures trying to look fierce, like bears, cats, monsters and astronauts. I suppose an overall theme in my work is the simple, almost abstract depiction of characters. Be it people I see in real life, or things from the depths of my mind.


What is the ultimate feeling that your work gives you? In what ways does it influence or move you?


This may sound cheesy but I suppose it gives me a sense of freedom and fulfilment. Whenever I’m out and see someone interesting, I have the need to capture that person. Whenever I listen to music that is moving, I have the need to convey those emotions. So when I draw, I feel like I’m releasing the desire to express and create. My work influences me to be active and constantly look for inspiration.

Do you have any expectations toward your performance with ambient solo musician Solent?


I’m really excited to collaborate with Solent! I watched his show at Fruityspace a few months back and was really moved by his performance. His ambient music is slow-burning and immersive, which I can already imagine stimulating some emotions I’d want to express during our performance this Saturday night. Expect abstract shapes, lines and characters moving gradually to the music.

Can you recommend some of your favorite artists that have impacted your work? Anyone who constantly inspires you and keeps feeding you new ideas?


The artists who have hugely impacted my work are mainly the illustrators I met or discovered during my art school years in London: Jim Stoten, Lucinda Rogers, Tim King and Jean Julien. Jim Stoten was my first year tutor who shamed me out of drawing from photographs and into exercising the imagination. Lucinda Rogers was a visiting artist who introduced me to the practice of recording people and places through direct observational drawings.

The people who currently inspire me are actually within the Beijing underground art scene, such as those behind nugget records, Shining Dimensions, Loreli, Spittoon and Hutong Art Fest. They are active in the community and constantly creating new things, which in turn makes me want to do more.

Interview – Solent – iFLY! (¿Mosca?) Event – 23 November

Interview – Solent “iFly event”.

1. Can you give the reader a little bit of your musical background (bands, side projects, labels, etc…)?

I’ve been playing in bands and other projects for about 15+ years. Most of that time I’ve been based in Beijing, ever since I arrived here as a university student. Way back when, during my second year of uni I played bass for a local Chinese indie pop band called Candy Monster, which was my first exposure to the Chinese underground. It was really fun sharing stages like D22, Yugong Yishan, 2 Kollegas, etc. with up and coming acts like The Gar, Steely Heart, Guai Li, and a bunch of other groups that have gone on to do cool things. Through that experience I was really sold on the energy of the Chinese underground. Over the following years I performed with a rolodex of rock bands such as Yantiao, Luvplastik, Death Narcissist, and personal side projects that leaned more towards loops and electronica (which come to think of it were primarily collaborations with Noise Arcade, such as D.C Bros and Comp Collider). I think the ability to keep music interesting and maintain an exploratory frame of mind is really important.

2. How would you describe your sound without using the typical genre labeling? Ambient, Psychedelic, Drone…well Drone is kinda straight forward, but don’t these genres get a little too vague? What is Solent’s sound in your own words?

I’ve only been doing Solent for a year or so. I think at this point there still lots of different ideas towards how to play live and approach making the music. So far the music has been beat-less, and guitar/synth driven, but I think there’s a lot of space to use more sample based sounds and “found sounds”, whilst the guitars/synths accent the remaining space. I’m the kind of person who gets bored easily, so I try to avoid thinking of a specific sound to focus on, but rather something which can continue being reinterpreted and reformed.

3. In your latest album Digital Naturism, there is a clear sense of delay, synth, looping and layering along with mini percussion spots and other cool stuff mixed with recordings of nature. How does the Digital blend or combine with the Nature? What were you communicating with those two?

To be honest, the idea behind those pieces was to convey the paradox which exists between the roles of nature and technology in modern mega cities such as Beijing. I didn’t want to actively communicate anything though the music though. Rather, the songs are intended to be a blank canvas for the listener to attach their own ideas to.

4. Do you have any expectations for your upcoming performance alongside Shuilam Wong? Have you got a chance to view her work and do you have any ideas for the collaboration?

Shuilam Wong is a favorite artist of mine, so I’m really excited to perform alongside her! I heard Noise Arcade is going for a doomy drone set, so I’m going to go the opposite way and make pretty washes of sound for my set. I think it will fit nicely with what she’s doing.

5. What are some bands/musicians/singers that help you in your writing process? Do you have anyone that gets your juices running, whether in music or any other art?

I usually try to clear out my mind before writing/recording music, but there are certainly some musicians and artists that really inspire me. I have a book of soviet era propoganda posters/cartoons which I picked up in London, and that’s something I find really interesting to reflect on at the moment. As for listening to music, at work I usually put on a mishmash of ambient electronica, latin jazz, world music, instrumental hip hop, punk rock, whatever feels good in the moment. I always appreciate when friends throw me reccomendations of something new that I haven’t heard.

Scream Maker – Metal from Poland at the Beijing Underground

Interview by Chairman Wow (Marshall) 

When did you guys get started?

We started in 2010. Since then recorded three albums, one of them re-released in China (We Are Not The Same), played over 350 shows, including big festivals like Metalfest in Czech Republic, Powerfest in Poland or Midi/Strawberry in China. We had the pleasure to share stage with Motorhead, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Tarja Turunen, Saxon and many more.

What is the music scene like in your hometown?

We are based in Warsaw which is the capital of Poland so the music scene is very, very diversified and rich in various bands and solo artists. The Metal scene is very strong, especially if we’re talking about heavy, power, stoner or death metal.

What is the best and worst show you’ve ever played?

There were two best shows with no doubt – the one with Motorhead and the one with Judas Priest. Amazing experiences not only to play with but also to get to know those legends. Sadly, Lemmy passed away. He was a hero. The worst show? I think it was when we played some years ago before Primal Fear and had no time for soundcheck. We sounded like shit and were very upset for this very reason.

What have you heard about rock music in China?

We’ve been to China 4 times already and heard a lot of bands. There is this classic band Tang Dynasty. Great one! But we noticed you have a lot of new metal stuff around and you like experiments in music. I think there is a lot to look forward about music scene in China. Young people love energy, rock brings energy and you have millions of young people 🙂

What should people in China know about the music scene in Poland?

That Poland is not only Chopin! We have lots of interesting bands. You may have heard of Behemot or Vader, but we do have a lot more. I think there is also a place for Chinese bands in Poland. This fact is proven by the regular visits of Chinese bands in Poland, that one of your bands has been playing our country for 2 or 3 years – Nine Treasures.

How much can you drink?

Depends. We Poles used to drink a lot and there is this opinion that normal rules of drinking do not apply to us and Russians. I personally can drink less and less – I am not 20 anymore, but 32 already 🙂 But on tour… you better be careful, especially if you are a singer. Drinking and partying all night can kill your voice 🙂

See Scream Maker on the Metal Night of The Beijing Underground Summer Music Days on the 22 of June 2018 !



Interview – The Last Resort

Hi Rambo (is your name really Rambo?), you play in The Last Resort, a band that will play on the 22 of June at Temple Bar as part of the Metal Night of The Beijing Underground Music Days, can you tell us more about your band ?

RE: No, Rambo is just my name in English, and my real name is Junyang Lun. Me and our bass player Link we have been in a band for almost 11 years. We came from the Punk rock scene and named our band in tribute to the famous English Oi! Band. We love music, but we chose Hardcore to represent us!

How did you start music and what lead you to get interested in Metal ?

RE: It was around 2005, the idea came to my mind for the first time when I saw a Skinhead Band called “Life for drinking”, they are the GOAT! Hardcore music lead me to Metal \m/ due to the fact they have some relationships 😉 and you can dig the new stuff from the Metal made on our own songs, it’s “Sexy and Heavy”.

What is your favorite album of 2018 so far ?

RE: Time & Space – Turnstile

What Chinese Metal Bands can you recommend to people who know nothing about Chinese Metal ?

RE: Tumourboy, and no offense to the other metal bands.

What do you think is the future of Metal in China ?

RE: I don’t have a clear view of the question, I just hope there will be more bands and we will marching. Also I hope there will be more people to support local bands.

Are you planning to record an album and do you have any links you want to share ?

RE: Yes,we will record our First EP this year but we need to schedule the time because we all have our jobs. You can find more about us through our Douban Site.

Anything you want to add ?

RE: Nope, just move your ass and come to the gig!

Interview – Li Er Yang, breaking through.

Hi Li Er Yang, I believe you have participated in Beijing Underground events before, what’s new since the last time we met ?


I’m still growing and breaking through.

What’s your favorite music to listen to? What was your favorite album in 2018 so far ?

我喜欢能给我突破的音乐,探索神秘,富有灵魂。这是一种直觉,无关音乐风格。最喜欢的 2018 年唱片?可能还没有。

I like the music which can give me a breakthrough, exploring the mystery, full of soul. It’s intuitive, not about music style. Favorite 2018 album? Probably not have yet.


Are you planning to record an album in 2018? do you have a demo or album already released?


Yes, I am recording. There are some old demos on Netease cloud music that can be heard.

How did you start music and why? Which instrument did you start on?


I felt that something was leading me, that I was pursuing my passion. I started with the guitar

Do you have any other projects now than your solo project ?


I’m going to start a  band project. I’m working with a percussion player.

Anything you want to add ?


Come and see something.

Hear some of Li Er Yang’s music here, he will be playing at the Beijing Underground Music Days, Music Week at Temple Bar on the 19 of June 2018, don’t miss this !

Swarrm, progressive rock with a twist ?

Around  one month ago, Djang San asked me if Subtropical Asia would like to be involved in the Beijing Underground  music days that he is organizing. His suggestion was that we presented a band that we like and make an interview. Among all the bands from all the labels in China I felt a band that deserved some recognition and exposure is SWARRM. SWARRM is a band that looks and sound so experienced that every time I see them around small underground venues in Beijing such as Temple and School I ask myself: “why are these guys playing here?” I mean, their sounds may be too heavy for most of the people and they for sure don’t have the fresh young attitude in sound and looks to strike young kids in a search for a band to be devoted to. No! SWARRM is mature, dark, moody, violent and decadent. A power trio that fusions heavy rock with a touch of progressive and noise.

I had a very short and direct chat with GAOXIAFENG, the charming guitarist/aggressive riff machine of the band to know more about him and the band, here it goes:

First, can you introduce yourself? Name, age, born & raised place?

“My name is Gao Xiao Fang 38 years old I was born and grew up in Beijing”

how long have you been playing music?

“I have been playing music for 18 years”

and how long has SWARRM been together?

“SWARRM was founded about 1 year ago”

Are u married? do you have kids?

“I got married, I have two kids”

Why do you use makeup? It looks gorgeous! but are there any other special reason beyond looking fabulous?

” I love make up since I was 20 years old, first make-up was a hobby for me, not that I want to express anything else I think”

What does the name SWARRM mean ?

“SWARRM means SWARRM of worms”

As I am a musician I know that you guys are highly skilled and experienced artists, so what brings you guys to play in small bars and venues? Are you doing this for fun?

“We’re not very picky about where we’re going to play”

Any plans for recording and tours?

“We are going to have some singles and tours this year. When ? Im not sure”

Cool! Thanks for you time.

“You are very welcome”

Listen to Swarrm here:


Interview – Nocturnes 曳取, Making lines and codes in China.

Hi Nocturnes, can you introduce yourselves and your music?

Hey, we’re Nocturnes曳取, an Indie-Electronic band based in Beijing. Weidu sings and Dave plays some instruments. We’re really interested in the idea of combining live music with a more electronic DJ-like setup, bringing a more performative element to electronic pop music. If you like Coldplay, Bonobo or Foals then you’ll probably see elements of those bands in our work. In Beijing, we’re probably most similar to Nova Heart or Da Bang’s newer material.

Nocturnes曳取是一支来自中国北京的独立电子乐队,乐队有两名成员:萎度,主唱/作曲/作词;大卫,吉他/编曲/制作。他们的音乐动情迷人,氛围感和沉浸感极强,将现场音乐和DJ set融合在一起,乐迷认为兼顾了Foals的情怀力道,Bonobo的灵动迷幻,以及Coldplay的流行张力。

Why is your band called Nocturnes? How did you two meet?

Dave: I came to China in 2015, and had a short-lived band called Palaces that broke up soon after I arrived. I needed to find someone to work with, but I had grown a little jaded of playing in bands and wanted to take a more commanding role with music in terms of instrumentation. Vocals were a weak point of mine so I posted an ad on to find a singer. I had tons of replies, despite how terrible my Chinese was at that time, but one voice in particular stood out, Weidu’s. While everyone else was striving to have that high Mandopop style voice, Weidu had her own very unique tone. She had never written a song at that point, but I still knew she was the one I needed to work with.


People talked to me about your band and I listened to your album on bandcamp and liked it, what is the album about? Can you tell us more about it?

Dave: Our album is called Lines Written in Code, our debut LP. We spent a super long time on this, really trying to make everything consistent, and to give the album its own distinct sonic signature. Having a cohesive set of songs was very important to us, and we were still making changes up to the very last minute. In fact, one of our favorites on the record, Free Falling, was added about a month after everything else was finished and sent for mastering. I just knew it was the perfect addition to the album.

大卫:这张专辑叫做《密眸》,是我们的第一张正式专辑。我们花了很多心思在上面,想要为大家呈现一个属于曳取,有辨识度,同时调性又非常统一的整体声音感觉。专辑中我们最喜欢的一首歌是Free Falling《自由落体》,这首歌是最后一刻加入专辑的,当时直觉告诉我它属于这张专辑。

Weidu: I’d like to say I’m very proud of this album. It’s our first LP that we dedicated so much, maybe over one and a half years? Every time I listened to it, I was trying to think about where we were and what we were doing at that time when that song was born, haha. Lyrically, the whole album, I mean every song delivers a specific thought of mine, what I’ve been thru, and what I’ve learned from that experience. So yeah, it’s like a secret message for every song, such a valuable gift from last year, something to remember when I get old, haha.


What’s your favorite music to listen to? What was your favorite album in 2018 so far ?

Dave: I listen to quite a wide range of music, so picking a favorite album is pretty hard. In terms of Chinese releases, I’m a big fan of Hiperson’s new album. They recorded the whole thing on an 8-track apparently, and it just gives it this really cool, punk aesthetic. As a producer, I am incredibly guilty of listening to cheesy mainstream music and taking it apart to study and learn from. In that regard, Charlie Puth’s VoiceNotes, which just came out, is amazing. It has this really cool throwback R&B sound and it gives his music this nice edge versus his first album, which was way too sickly sweet for me.

Listen to the album here.

大卫:我听得挺杂的,所以选一首最爱的专辑太难了。中文的话,海朋森的新专挺好听的。8首歌一气呵成的感觉,有朋克的真和美在里面。但作为一个制作人来讲,我不得不承认自己很喜欢听主流的,甚至被认为很俗的流行歌,比如Charlie Puth新出的VoiceNotes就很好听,我觉得比起他的第一张专辑来说,这一张偏复古的R&B感觉很酷很潮。

Weidu: I don’t have a specific genre to listen to, usually I just browsing personal recommendation song list from, that could range from electronic music, to indie rock, to rap, maybe. Personally, I think the album, I, from WAV, it’s Canadian indie band, really stands out.


Are you planning to record an album in 2018?

Dave: We just released our album in December, and I think the process aged me about 10 years, so we’d like to take a break from albums for a bit! That being said, we’re always writing songs, and we’re putting the finishing touches at the moment to a new single, and a new EP. I’m pretty excited about this new EP, it’s a lot groovier (not in the Austin Powers sense) than our album, probably inflected a bit from Charlie Puth’s album like I mentioned earlier. My partner refers to the new single – called Any Kind of Mood – as the perfect soundtrack to a Kung Fu movie, so if Jet Li happens to be reading this, get in touch.

大卫:刚在去年12月发了专辑,感觉老了十年,想缓缓。但其实我们一直都在写新歌,为每首歌找到属于它们的位置。下一张EP我很期待,会更groovy一些(这个单词无法翻译哈哈),估计是受到了Charlie Puth的影响。我女朋友说我们的下一首歌Any Kind of Mood《私人情绪》,简直是功夫片的绝佳配乐。所以李连杰先生,如果您看到这篇文章了,和我们联络一下,谢谢您!

Weidu: We’ll release a new single in this July, and a new EP next year. The new single is called Any Kind of Mood, probably the best lyrics coming out from me, a lot of fans like it when we test play it live, during the tour. And for the EP, we really tried to put in the groovy songs that are different than the previous album, so I’m really looking forward to it.

萎度:我们会在7月发一首新单,在明年发新的EP。新单叫做Any Kind of Mood《私人情绪》,恨不得是我写过最满意的词了吧,哈哈。在巡演和很多现场试着演了一下,很多人喜欢。对于下一张EP来说,我们尽可能把手上最优质的作品放在一起,所以我满怀期待。

How did you start music and why? Which instrument did you start on?

Dave: I got into music a little late, picking up the guitar at 16, and heading to music college completely unprepared at 18. For me, it was the only thing I never got bored of. I tend to flit from thing to thing pretty quickly, but music has captivated me from the start. I realized soon after I began that I was never going to be the most technical, so since then I’ve tried to pursue individuality in sound instead. I started with guitar, which is still the only instrument I really consider myself any way proficient in. I took up piano a couple of years later. This year marks 10 years since I picked up an instrument in fact. I’m not sure I would ever have imagined myself playing this kind of music on the other side of the world 10 years ago!


What’s your favorite thing about playing music in Beijing, how does it compare to other countries in the world?

Dave: Beijing is unlike anywhere else in the world for music. Back home in Ireland, music so often is in the background, a complement to a night of drinking, instead of the main focus. Here, people are so much more willing to give their attention to bands, even completely new ones. I’ve been at school bar where new, objectively terrible, bands have taken to the stage, and people still give them their time. That was the case with us 2 years ago, when we were super super shit, and it’s something I still hold dear to me now. China has the best music audiences in the world.


What’s your favorite Chinese band/artist/song you would like to introduce to the rest of the world?

Dave: I truly believe the stage is set for the first Chinese bands to become globally famous in the near future, especially with the achievements of bands like Re-tros recently. I think the most accessible bands for foreign audiences would be Nova Heart, Future Orients and Glow Curve, and I’m endlessly badgering my friends back home to listen to all three. One of the reasons we hope to be more successful in the future is to shine a light on the great scene here. China often has this perception of not being cool, and that’s something we’d really like to break.

大卫:我认为第一批成功的中国乐队,会在国际舞台上越来越耀眼。就国际化程度来说,重塑雕像的权利,Nova HeartFuture Orients,发光曲线都是非常厉害的。我不停地向自己家里的朋友推荐这些优秀的乐队,让他们知道,中国,真的很酷啊。

Anything you want to add?

Dave: We’re really looking forward to playing with Swarrm on the 20th! It’s been quite a while since we’ve been in Temple, and we’re looking forward to getting back there.






Interview – Sino Hearts, from Vienna to China

Hi Sino Hearts Can you introduce yourselves and your music, what’s new since the last time you played a « Beijing Underground » event ?

I think last year we played at Yue Space


Where did your name Sino Heart come from ?  I think I didn’t ask last time….

I wanted to have a name which related to something chinese for an european group.because we were a viennese band before.


What’s your favorite music to listen to these days ? What was your favorite album in 2018 so far ?

Recently I bought lots of records,including some compilations of us 60s lost garage/beat bands and my favourite album so far is <Evil Spirits> by The Damned

最近买了不少六十年代美国车库音乐的唱片,没人听那种。今年最喜欢的是THE DAMNED的新专辑<Evil Spirits>

Are you planning to record an album in 2018 with any of your musical projects ?

We finished our full length album<Leave the World Behind>on Jan and it was recorded in Beijing and produced in Germany,recently it will be released via Monster Zero Records/Bigmic Records in Europe,via Waterslide Records/Target Earth Records in Japan,via RubyEyes Records/D.O.G in PR.C

今年我们将在欧洲日本和中国一起推出我们的新专辑《把世界抛在脑后》,欧洲LP将由Monster Zero Records/Bigmic Records 联合发行,日本版CD将有 Waterslide Records/Target Earth Records 中国大陆将有D.O.G发行

Zhong Wuli, you stayed a while in Austria, I saw a video of you playing somewhere in Vienna a few years ago, what was it like to play rock n’roll as someone from mainland China in that environment ? What di you like/dislike about the experience ?

Well I’m straight from austrian punk rock scene and I went there when I was teenager and started music career with Frankenstyle(77 punk band from vienna) at the beginning,but somehow I’m mandarin native speaker too,so we did a china tour in 2011 crossed 18 cities and It’s the first time for us to really getting involved to chinese music scene.

I’m never selling those Chinese Identities to European because the real audience won’t buy it anyway,the real deal is how good your music is.Through speaking fluent german and viennese,my european friends normally won’t relate me to mainland china.Being asian face in europe music scene is very dope ,cuz you are the only one.haha

The experience I like about european scene is their cultural tradition,I have number of elder friends who were the first wave of 60s garage or 77 punk movements in the uk,germany,austria and our generation isn’t like much different than them.You could dig everthing on your own and every genre of music has its own system which never exists in china so far.china is everything just chaotic.

What I dislike europe is the media,what they report are always very negative about china and being chinese abroad is so awkward all the time,but I totally understood it too,cuz the real social conflicts don’t exist so brutally in the countries like austria or switzerland.


The interesting fact is that there are lots of very young audience when you play in beijing,there is fresh energy amoung them.In europe,the audience sometimes could be elder,but normally the european audience really understood the music background and much easier to communicate with.

The Passion and Wildness at rock shows is the same thing,I don’t see much different between china and any other countries.


What’s your favorite Chinese band/artist/song  you would like to introduce to the rest of the world ?

Cosmic Project is a chinese group I recently dig and musically they are quite bizarr but creative.

最近发现了Cosmic Project,很不错,很有想法的乐队,看了他们西雅图KEXP电台的录像感觉很东方。