Interview – DFA 89

DFA 89

Interview by Natharb.

What does your band name mean and how did you choose it to represent your music?

DFA89 means Death From Abba Eight Nine. Just kidding, really it means Def Funk Abdul Eightynine. Only joking, it means Don’t Fuck Around, Eight-Nine. No, but seriously now, it means Deus Fidelis Anus VIII IX. Just joking, it really means…

How would you describe your sound in non-musical terms?

Rolling down the side of a mountain in an MRI machine.

What is something the audience might not realize about your band at first glance?

We’re not naked under our robes. Our cello player actually knows what he’s doing. We rehearse.

What are some bands you think The Beijing underground music scene should follow more closely?

Liberate Haze. Hugh Reed. Electric Lady.

Where would you like to see the Beijing music scene go in the next few years? What would you like to see more or less of in the Beijing underground music scene?

I’d like to see it go on quite a mundane caravan holiday to Dorset, buy some over priced fudge, get in an argument over which radio station to listen to, and then not talk to itself the whole way home. I would like to see more stoats and less lamas please.

The band will play at School Bar as part of the “Beijing Underground Summer Music Days” on the 20 of June 2018, don’t miss them !

Interview – DJ Boss Cuts

Interview by Natharb.

What does your band name mean and how did you choose it to represent your music?

For my previous Winter Days interview I revealed that it was channelled from my spirit guide after drinking ayahuasca.

How would you describe your sound in non-musical terms?

Earlier this year I travelled to Nashville and Memphis and discovered that deep-fried food is more popular than Jesus. One night in Memphis I had Skillet-Fried Pie: First take an iron skillet then dig out some chunks of butter and heat it up until it forms a deep pool of saturated fattiness. Then grab a wedge of pecan pie and fry it up until it gets crispy. Finish it off by dumping half a tub of ice cream on top and serve.

What is something the audience might not realize about your band at first glance?

For the Boss Cuts band – that its members cover every continent except South America. We are on the look out for someone who do capoeira. As for DJing – that I am spending my retirement fund on records. If in the future you see a guy on the street sleeping on a pile of records slap him and then buy him a jianbingguozi.

What are some bands you think The Beijing underground music scene should follow more closely?

A couple of years ago I went to Fuji Rock in Japan and wondered why the bands don’t come to China. I asked Freddy (drummer for Boss Cuts and Oldy Baby) and Han Ning who runs Painkiller and they said that there isn’t yet a critical mass in China. Sure there are 1.35 billion people here but only a minuscule number go out to see live music. A couple of months ago Ernesto Chahoud and JJ Whitefield from Poets of Rhythm DJed at Dada and the turn out was underwhelming. JJ almost singlehandedly brought about the whole funk/soul revival in the 90s and 2000s and yet the dancefloor was mostly empty. Freddy’s other theory is that people aren’t willing to spend money on things they don’t know. So go out and see bands you’ve never heard of and give them some money.

Where would you like to see the Beijing music scene go in the next few years?

More rockabilly, surf, garage, and psych. These styles are really popular in the US, Australia, and Europe. Bands like Guantanamo Baywatch, Shannon and the Clams, Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds, Black Angels are constantly touring but unfortunately it is unlikely that they would come to Beijing. When I started Boss Cuts I had no idea whether people would like it or not. Same with DJing. Some nights it works, other nights it bombs. One night at School a very drunk Natharb said to me “Boss Cuts was never meant to happen”. I took that as a compliment. Doing something different is risky but why be a lemming.

What would you like to see more or less of in the Beijing underground music scene?

I’d like to see fewer foreigners doing cover music. My China rule is ‘Would I Do This at Home?’

DJ Boss Cuts will play at School Bar as part of the “Beijing Underground Summer Music Days” on the 20 of June 2018, don’t miss them !

The Artists at the Loreli Affordable Art Market

3 of June 2018 at Yue Space.

Made in Collaboration with Loreli, the Affordable Art Market Showcases a large number of local artists from China. Here comes the Summer 2018 Affordable Art Market !

FEI FEI
I’m an illustrator and artist, I make drawings, prints and conceptual artworks. By using drawing as a primary medium, I make work that deals with love, fear, betrayal and human relationships. I create compositions and settings that generate tranquil poetic images that comments on the absurdity on human relationships.
Artist name: Tallin
Tallin is a visual artist and illustrator working and living in Beijing. Her works remind you of that one summer when you were a child– carefree and full of dreams.

Artist name: Guxia.
My work talks about urban city life styles, fashion, music and subcultures. My interest lies in exploring city landscapes and local life styles from different cultures. Using water color and photography, I record things that inspire me while traveling.

 

 Li Yan (Demon)

Yan is a designer and illustrator working in Beijing. She illustrates folklores using traditional Chinese symbols such as dragons and swordsmen. 

Cai Ya Yi:
Anna Gale:
Anna Gale is a freelance illustrator and patch-painting zinester. Her artistic process comes from her background in craft studies, which involved getting her hands dirty. She stays true to that style today by hand-drawing each illustration and arranging them together into a cohesive body of art. Her style is inspired by the bold black lines seen in the old-school traditional style of tattooing, another love interest of hers.

Anna Gale 是一名独立插画师, 补片手绘师,原创独立杂志作者。她的艺术风格来自于研究手工工艺制作的背景——手上总是占满颜料。她秉持着纯粹的手绘艺术,并将它们凝聚到一起编织成完整的艺术作品。她的风格受复古传统纹身黑色粗线条样式的启发,当然,创作纹身图案也是她的另一大爱好。

BURY THE BONE is a series of zines about places you’ve heard of, places you’ve been and places you’ve never known to exist. Issue one explores Beijing’s hutongs, health tips and hidden hot spots. Issue Two revisits Beijing during the hot hot heat that summer time brings, from late night eats to the people you see in the streets.

BURY THE BONE 是一本系列独立杂志。她记录了一些你听说过的地方,你去过的地方或甚至你从未意识存在的地方。系列一探索了北京胡同、当地中药偏方、还有隐藏在胡同里的特色小店。系列二重温了北京那个酷热难耐的夏天、夜市小吃和擦肩而过的街头过客。

 

 

龙虾酱lobster
毕业于北工大壁画系(fine art),伦艺(camberwell college of art, MFA illustration)插画研究生在读
毕业设计漫画《云上之国》(on the cloud)正在进行中
大学期间及毕业后作为freelance illustrator工作

研究兴趣
古希腊神话中的鸟类
“人具有动物性&动物具有人性” 的主题

 

Hole in the Wall is a collective founded by illustrators Jinna and Shui. They create illustrations inspired by Beijing’s underground culture, displaying them as zines, wall murals and prints. Overwhelmed by the vibrant energy of the city, they wanted to document the young, the excited and the lost. Hence the first issue of their zine was born. Since then they have taken part in various creative events and have published two more issues focusing on bars, hutongs and their inhabitants.


《Hole in the Wall》是一本由Jinna 和 Shui这两位插画师联合创办的插画小合集。他们的创作取材于北京地区,并以独立出版物、壁饰、插画作品等形式进行展览。

由于深刻地体会到这个城市强大的生命力,他们想记录下生活在如此背景下的人儿。可以是正值芳华的年轻人,可以是事业得意的北漂族,也可以是失意迷茫的学生党等等。因此,第一本独立小杂志就这样诞生了。


自那以后,他们便参加了很多和创意相关的活动和集会。这期间,他们在第一本的基础上又出版了两本独立小杂志。而这次,他们重点关注的是酒吧、胡同,以及活跃在里面的人们。

Aurélien Foucault is a photographer whose images oscillate between documentary and fine art.
His varied body of work ranges from late-night punk bars to artistic nudes or the peaceful mountains of Xinjiang.
More of his work can be seen at www.foukography.com

Liuba Draws (Liuba Vladimirovafollows her passion and pursues a career of freelance illustrator and artist. Living in Beijing for more than six years now, it has become a new home for Liuba, with amazing experiences and a deep love for the city, which she wants to share with everyone. People both visiting or living in China are excited to discover all the quirky things they love about this country hidden in the art of Liuba Draws. Right now Liuba is developing her own brand, Liuba Draws, with a number of products such as prints, cards, keychains, magnets and calendars that she sells at various markets and stores. Liuba is also available for personal and business commissions. Please visit her website for more information. www.liubadraws.com 

 

and more…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beijing Underground Summer Music Days, what is it ?

Organised in partnership with several cultural organisations in Beijing, The Beijing Underground Summer Music Days aims at showing the diversity of music and culture in the Chinese capital.

Spread on many different days and events the Beijing Underground Summer Music Days involves several organizations and venues such as Loreli, Spittoon, BLKGEN, Sub Tropical, Rock against jams, School Bar, Yue Space, Temple Bar as well as many artists, musicians, and more.

Be sure not to miss these events and celebrate the beginning of the summer in a different way !

Part 1, 3 of June:

The Loreli Affordable Art Market.

Part 2, 3 of June:

The Beijing Grand Slam at Yue Space.

Part 3, 19 to 23 of June:

The Beijing Underground Summer Music Week at Temple.




Part 4, 20 of June, School Bar “Rock Night”:

Part 5, 20 of June:

Spittoon presents: Spittunes.

A Poetry and Music Collaboration – 28th June Yue Space.

More details will be given little by little on social media and more so don’t forget to follow us !

The Beijing Underground Summer Music Days ! The Art Market !

The Beijing Underground Summer Music Days are coming, a lot of events of music and art, more informations will be told soon !!!!

Here is the first part of it, the Loreli Affordable Art Market.

It’s all coming in June, don’t miss this !

3 of June, The Loreli Art Market.

More infos about the artists participating and more details will be announced soon, stay tuned !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wang Lei, A Pioneer of Chinese Music.

Wang Lei at School Bar. The picture hangs on the wall of School bar’s second floor.

Today let’s talk about one of the legends of underground rock music in China, Wang Lei 王磊

While I was in Yunnan in February, I passed by Dali and met Wang Lei, a musician often mentioned as the “Cui Jian” of the south, but who was more importantly one of the pioneers of electronic music in China. We jammed together two nights in a row at one of the local bars and that’s when I decided I would actually write something about the guy.

I first encountered the music of Wang Lei in 2006 while I was back for the summer in Bordeaux and came across his electronic album “Xin”, this was the first time a Chinese electronic music album made it to stores in France, I was surprised to find that out, and I liked that album so much that I later sampled it as a DJ.

After meeting Wang Lei and jamming with him, happy about that encounter, I decided to listen to every one of his 9 albums since the 90’s and write something about it, so here we go !

Cui Jian 崔健 (left), Wang Lei 王磊 (right).

Before we start know you I did this review listening to the albums on Chinese website QQ Music, except for “Wangtone” which is not available in China but available on Spotify and Youtube. 
QQ music is only usable in China, if you are not in China it might work if you have a VPN that helps you use Chinese websites. Some of Wang Lei’s album are available on Spotify but most of them aren’t.

—————————————————————————————————————————

Wang Lei emerged at the same time as artists such as Dou Wei 窦唯, Zhang Chu 张楚 and He Yong 何勇, but made music different than these other artists in the way that his sound is sometimes more rough. He has an artistic quality that I would sometimes compare to a sort of Chinese Syd Barrett or Chinese Tom Waits, especially with what was recorded in the 90’s, as we will see later. After completely embracing electronic music, Wang Lei will go on to create one of the most important albums in Chinese electronic music “Xin” 馨 If you don’t know the artists I just mentioned, please research them, they are at the basis of modern Chinese rock.

His first album, from 1994, “Chu Men Ren” 出门人 (Out of the door), is a rock album, sometimes taking inspiration from Pink Floyd, sometimes going into to pop, with a little bit of experimental music here and there. It has also moments of weird reggae and there even a bit of hip hop in there.

His second album “Ye” 夜 (meaning “Night”) starts with the song of the same name, a song that feels like a drunken melancholic lonely night in the heart of the Chinese 80’s. Though the song is characterized by its 80’s sound, one can’t escape the madness inhabiting Wang Lei’s voice and the experimental part of it that seems to be mandatory in these early albums and in his own personal style.

This album is very folky in parts and retains clearly an influence from western rock of the time and a dimension that is purely personal to Wang Lei. I would also recommend you to have a listen to songs such as “Zhu ren” 猪人 (Pig Man). In the song “Lang Lai Le” 狼来了 (The wolf has arrived” I can clearly hear sounds that will later influence bands such as “Mu Tui Gua” 木推瓜 (Wood Pushing Melon) and “ZIYUE” 子曰 (Confucius Says).

The next song is a dialogue between two rats in Guangzhou, I don’t know if you have been to Guangzhou, but the rats there are as big as cats, it’s pretty funny to hear such a weird conversation.

The Next album “Lai Hui” 来回 (Back and Forth) is even more experimental and seems to be driving deliberately the listener a step forward into madness and audio hallucinations.

The song “Hui” 回, a 20 minute track, is probably one of the first electronic song produced by Wang Lei and clearly plunges the listener in a unique experience that seems to never last.

The Next Album “Chun Tian Lai Le” 春天来了 (Spring has arrived) published in 1998, made of drum beats and voices, is a bit more into the vibe of the time. While the first tracks are easier to understand for the common listener the album also has its experimental moments with tracks such as “Bu Xiao De” 不晓得 (I’m not familiar with this), “Wenhua” 文化 (culture) or “Mei You Le” 没有了 (there isn’t anymore of it).

“Yi Qie Dou Cong Aiqing Kaishi” 一切都从爱情开始 (Everything starts from love) is a more acoustic album that keeps the experimental edge heard in former albums but takes the acoustic form to another dimension. The songs are often slow, and feel like a drone at times that digs into your brain to scratch your ears from the inside.

It feels in all like a reflection on nostalgia, lost, and a bit of anger and regrets here and there.

Wang Lei and Pump Band “王磊与泵乐队“.

This album relies more on drum samples and is one more step towards into electronic music, with heavy drums and distorted voices, songs such as “Hey Dog” 哎狗 or “Live” 现场 announce partly the sound of the future albums of wang Lei.

“Meili Cheng” 美丽城 (Belleville).

Composed after his first encounter with the electronic music scene in Paris, “Belleville”, also the name of the largest asian district in Paris, seems to be a departure from the other Wang Lei albums as it is the beginning of Wang Lei the electronic musician, and the beginning of an international career. A lot of the tracks of the album present sample of all kinds, including sample of voices of people talking, but also samples of Chinese instruments, cool beats, drums, and crazy sounds.

“Xin” 馨 (Strong and pervasive fragrance).

Maybe the best album has done so far, “Xin” mixes the experimental abilities of Wang Lei with the idea of the electronic sounds created on the album “Belleville”. It is a masterpiece and an underrated album in many ways. If you only listen to one of Wang Lei’s album, that’s the one.

 

In 2005 Wang Lei and the band High Tone released “Wang Tone”, a collaborative albums mixing the High Tone vibe and the Wang Lei vision.

A cool album, allowing a different kind of idea on music and maybe showing the way to something new and different in the field of music at the time.

This one is available on youtube.

But also on Bil Bili (Chinese internet).

A pretty cool live set, that shows the evolution of Wang Lei from the 80’s to now.

We hope to see very soon a new album of the artist who now lives in Dali.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the article, please follow us !

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Beijing Underground official website: http://beijing-underground.com/

“Macondo” an album review/interview

The First Macondo album is out, and it’s called “Macondo”.

So here we are now and Macondo is about to release there album on the night of the 27 of January 2018 at Yue Space in Beijing and I got the pleasure to receive the album and listen to it before most people will.

So what is Macondo you ask me ?

Well Macondo is a band formed by 5 musicians living in Beijing and coming from countries as diverse as China, England, South Africa, and America.

It was Scott, the guitar player in the band who sent me the 5/6 tracks, then later while listening to the music it’s Matt, the drummer in the band who gave me some explanations about the album.

Here’s what he said:

“The album drums were recorded at Kun studios and everything else has been recorded and mixed either in Gerald’s or Scott’s bedroom – The process has been painstaking to try and convert drums recorded in a day into a professional sounding album and the band, especially Gerald, has really achieved that and learned a lot from it. The album itself consists of 6 songs of length ranging from 4 – 10 minutes and consists of the band’s earlier material – an evolution from a more conventional instrumental band sound to an increasingly electronic and progressive sound.”

We went on having a small conversation:

Matt: Gerald’s laptop where most of the magic happened. (Gerald is the keyboard player).

Matt: One of the speakers:

DS: cool pictures that’s nice.

Matt: His blind dog Lucy – his main companion throughout the mixing period.

DS: Blind ?

Matt: Yeah his dog is blind.

DS: Is there a concept behind the albums or the songs ?

Matt: It’s a journey – kind of interstellar but loose ended – we wanted a sci-fi feel – it’s difficult to give the album a quick narrative because there are no lyrics so we’ve kept it open ended.

DS: What’s the meaning of title of the first and last songs ?

Matt: The first song means “The Beginning” in Afrikaans.

DS: Yeah I thought it was a title in German.

Matt: The last track name is taken from a line given by Paul Atreides in the Dune film – we wanted an open ended message of resistance – pretty much against meaningless or general existential crisis.

DS: To me it feels almost like one very long track, it feels each track is responding to the one before.

Matt: Yes it was definitely important that each track responded to the next.

That was a big consideration during music and mixing to give it a journey feel.

DS: Yes it feels like a Journey, this album should be called “Journey”, not Macondo !

Matt: Haha Shit ! It’s too late now :-).

DS: Can you tell me the meaning of the title of each other track ?

Matt: 

Seek – searching for meaning

Nebula – a title reflecting the spacey / interstellar journey feel of the song.

City of mirrors – we thought it reflected the song in a cool way and referenced the novel.

New home – new beginnings.

Long live the fighters – Carrying on regardless of anything.

DS: What Novel ?

Matt: 100 years of solitude. the name Macondo came from a fictional town in that book.

DS: You mean “1000 thousand years of solitude” ?

Matt: Oh Christ yes, I always make that mistake.

DS: But what’s the link between the music and the city of Macondo ?

Matt: No profound link – our precious bassist Sebastian is Colombian and it was his idea. For me it gives a conveniently mysterious and open ended name to a post-rock band (no lyrics :D).

DS: Precious ?

Matt: Haha *previous – not precious.

Although, he is of course precious.

DS: There are a few bands called Macondo does it bother you ?

Matt: Doesn’t bother us

DS: Alright.


So what do I think about it ?

In order to really get into the music I listened to the album about ten times in the last few days and tried to concentrate on each track.

There’s a lot of Pink Floyd in there, I can’t deny it, especially from the Dark Side of the moon/The Wall period. I love Pink Floyd, it was always one of my favorite bands, so in this album I find a bit of this psychedelic and progressive rock I’ve always loved.

But there is something else, something from post rock bands like Mogwai and what adds to this music is the possibility to dance to it or dive into the feeling of positive melancholic nostalgia it gives you.

The electronic element in the music is there, but to me it doesn’t define it, it is just there to support the melodies and rhythms while the guitar still seems to be one of the most important element in the album and drives most melodies.

It’s a good album, it’s a journey, you can go to sleep or work while listening to it, or you can listen to it on the bus, in the subway, anywhere really, it accompanies you while you’re trying to escape from your daily life.

It also shows you don’t need too much production or money to make something sound good these days (see pictures at the beginning), you need dedication, passion, creativity, and a lot of work.

The last track is definitively my favorite one.

On a less positive note, I wish the album was called something else, I’d say it deserves an identity on its own, and I wish there was a story built around it, because it feels like a story is being told but you’re not sure which one.

In brief Macondo is band that deserves to be supported, so you should go to Yue Space on the 27 of January 2018 and enjoy the music while you close your eyes and dance to the rythm.

Article by Djang San.

 

 

 

Ko

N: So, Ko.

Ko: It’s so funny that you are interviewing me. It’s so weird.

N: You’ve been in Beijing for how long?

Ko: Like a year and five months.

N: What brought you here to Beijing and what were you doing while here?

Ko: Well, so I was living in Chicago before I got here and my friend who I was in this cult with back in 2005-2009, he opened up a performing arts school in Yizhuang and he wanted me to, kinda, oversee the performing arts so I came out here to help him. I was only gonna stay for about 6 months but I ended up staying longer.

N: Why did you stay longer?

Ko: I really liked Beijing and China is very interesting because it’s like a weird sitcom everyday. Weird stuff happens.

N: What were some of you favorite spots and interests in Beijing?

Ko: All the different people. Everyone acts very different here than they do in America so that in itself is super entertaining. And then obviously going out to shows in the Guloudajie area is always fun. The nightlife here is completely different that in the States.

N: Any favorite spots?

Ko: Obviously like Temple Bar has always been great. School Bar is really cool, and Modernista, DDC, and Yue Space.

N: Have you been playing shows the whole time you’ve been here?

Ko: When I first moved out here I was really excited to play shows. I did my Yes Mistress project two weeks from moving to Beijing. It’s my weirdo electronic project and I did that at Temple Bar. That was my first show here. I think it was a Wednesday night or something like that. The first show I saw was at School Bar, Round Eye, and some old punk rock band from the 80’s and a couple other local Chinese bands. It was all original music and it was such a high energy show. And then I saw Chui Wan, who I had never heard a sound like that.

N: And so what have you been doing since your Yes Mistress electronic project?

Ko: So I’ve been playing solo, as Ko, for months, doing loop pedal stuff. I have a Boss RC-30 and a couple of effect pedals for my vocals and stuff. It was hard for me to find people to play with as a band. It had never taken me that long to find people to play with as a band. Like, if I move to a new city I find people to play with in a couple weeks and in Beijing took me a year. Now I’m playing with you, Daniel from Boss Cuts and Frankie on drums, who’s mostly in the Wudaokou scene. It’s nice to have a full band and I feel really bad leaving as soon as we are starting to get things going, but, I gotta do what I gotta do.

N: You gotta do what you gotta do. Can you tell us some reasons why you are going back to the states?

Ko: I came from a very very lush music scene where you can go to 50 million music shows a night and there is a huge D.I.Y. scene. You can go see a band in a basement and then go see a band in a really amazing venue right after it. The scene for female artists is such a booming thing right now, and really inspiring. So I think it’s best for me to go and be a part of that and be part of the ever-growing music scene. I miss it a lot.

N: What were some bands and stuff you did over there?

Ko: I had two bands and was touring and played SXSW. I was doing a lot and my bands back home were really good at kicking my butt and getting me to do shows and I’m always glad after playing the shows. And another thing why I’m excited to move back was recording other artists. I have a couple 7-inch recordings on Joyful Noise Recordings and those were all done in my apartment, mixed and recorded by me.

N: Who have you recorded?

Ko: I discovered enjoying recording in Beijing so I recorded my friend, Jordan Darling. And I had the best time ever and realized this is what I wanna do, so I got a music residency back home so I’m going to be curating shows and also saving money to go to school for audio engineering. Honestly, there is not a lot of women out there, and if there are I never really see them out there, I always see males running sound and doing shows and recording. I think it would be really good to be aggressive in getting my foot in the door to be a female audio engineer. Who cares if I have a vagina? I am good at what I do and passionate. That’s all anyone needs anyway.

N: So you are planning to ultimately go back to school?

Ko: Yeah, go back to school, but might be a thing where I do an internship in a studio and might fall into a job that way. But I really don’t know other than the residency, everything is up in the air. But that’s the fun in it, trying to find what I’m gonna do next. I’m not really scared anymore, now I’m just excited to see the next step.

N: So do you have a last show before you leave?

Ko: Yeah, the last show is January 20th with a full band playing at Yue Space (Beijing Underground’s Sweet Winter Music Days and Loreli has a market before and we are the first band, starting at 8pm. It’s early for most people, but it’s a Saturday so I think people will come early. My last show in Beijing.

Check out
Joyful Noise : https://www.joyfulnoiserecordings.com/Ko
White Moms : https://whitemoms.bandcamp.com/

Beijing Underground : https://www.facebook.com/groups/beijingunderground/
Loreli : https://www.facebook.com/Lorelichina/