Here at Beijingdaze we try to do what we can to promote local Beijing, and Chinese music to an English speaking audience, and there’s also some great sites out there doing the same in Chinese. One of the earliest formed ones, IndieChina, is turning 8 this year and having a two night anniversary show at Mako tonight and tomorrow to celebrate, bring in some great indie bands such as Low Wormwood, Onmipotent Youth Society and Glow Curve. Indie China’s owner Road, took some time out of his busy week to answer a few questions about their site and his views on the local music industry.
1- Who is Road and what are you up to? This is your chance to plug your stuff.
Road is NiuLei (牛磊)’s online name, his nickname is DaRou (大肉) or DaRouRen (大肉人) because he’s tall and used to like to eating meat, but he’s been vegetarian for 2 years already. A Beijinger, 35 years old, male, likes rock music and football. Recently I’m focused on preparing IndieChina’s 8th year anniversary show.
2- Your website IndieChina http://www.indiechina.com/ has it’s 8th anniversary celebration this weekend, congratulations! I think some of our English readers maybe aren’t familiar with the website, can you tell us about IndieChina what can we find there?
IndieChina website started in September 2004. I started to post information about rock music (news, interviews, comments, reviews, as well as authorized downloads.) also organized shows (locally in Beijing and nationwide tours) and we also offered services to music lovers to build websites, produce and promote records and arrange shows.
3- You started IndieChina in 2004, why did you decide to start it? Was there other websites like this around then?
8 years ago there were very few websites doing the same thing as IndieChina, and now they’ve all already disappeared. Indie China was firstly a BBS, to allow people who like indie music to exchange and share information, among the users were musicians and producers.
4- 8 years later how has IndieChina grown or changed? What plans do you have for it in the future?
In the beginning Indie China’s content was mainly focused on western music scene. After around 2 years we finally made contact with more Chinese bands, discovered they needed more specific assistance: finding the right people to form bands, publicity, publishing albums, marketing. In mid 2006 we established 1724 records, to try to do that work. IndieChina’s content became more focused on Chinese music. Of course we wanted to give foreign bands coming to China the same assistance, sometimes completely free. We hoped to specialize in assisting musicians, overall, to help musicians and music fans connect with each other, help each other.
5- This weekend’s show is two nights and all the bands playing are really great. Which bands do you recommend as ‘must see’ and why?
I personally recommend 3 bands: Friday night the first band, The Dyne, a two man band from Shijiazhuang, but really experienced, with great stage presence. They don’t perform often, and are worth seeing. The second day Amber and 48V, these two bands come from Xi’an and Chengdu respectively, there’s not many opportunities to see them in Beijing. Amber’s music is really good, 48V are at international level. Don’t miss them!
6- This weekend’s show has many post rock bands. You also run 1724 records and manage some post rock bands. Why do you think post rock is so popular in China??
Chinese people’s temperament is mostly introverted. This is very close to post rock’s melancholy characteristics. Another important point, the internet allows the younger generation to distinguish themselves from older generations: they learn to have their own independence, and not look the same as the majority of people. A lot of post rock doesn’t have lyrics, so these young people just put on headphones, post rock is really their best wall from the outside world. Also, nowadays so-called post rock is becoming more and more pleasant to hear.
7- Which bands do you think are the most promising indie bands in China right now? What Chinese bands do you think can be popular outside China?
I really want to say Hualun and 48V, because they are really outstanding, and they’re also my bands! Haha … actually I really like Lonely China Day, their music has a definite Chinese feel, but it’s also very international and is most promising to be accepted by people overseas. But I don’t know who’s able to become popular, because of lack of understanding on mainstream music.
8- In China now, what are the challenges for indie bands? Not enough money, marketing, too many bands, or other things?
China is now quite wealthy, for example football teams can buy expensive players. The music industry is in the process of entering into more and more investment. But it doesn’t have enough specialized professionals, including bands. Comsumers are making investments, spending money to see bands, or buying albums, regardless of whether it’s good. It needs more segmentation of specialty jobs. I think this is independent music’s biggest challenge. Because our neighbours Japan have an ability for this kind of specialized roles, they’ve quickly becomes the world’s second best music industry. I hope we also in time can quickly accomplish this change.
Thanks to Road for answering our questions!
IndieChina’s 8th Anniversary show is tonight and tomorrow at Mako Livehouse, starting from 8.30pm each night. Tickets are RMB60 per day, or RMB100 for a two day pass. Here’s some links to the bands you’ll see …
(note. Road answered in Chinese, so apologies for my bad translations!)