Hefei, a quaint little hamlet of three million people in Eastern China, is home to the Temple of Lord Bao, the National Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, and an outfit called Miniless Records. Though its manager eschews the “indie” label, Miniless represents a roster of 18 bands encompassing shoegaze, post rock, noise rock and other subgenres under the indie umbrella.
CMR caught the Miniless showcase at Yuyintang a couple weeks back, and were impressed by Grace Latecomer and Self Party (who recently opened for Queen Sea Big Shark and P.K.14 when the Love Noise tour stopped in Hangzhou). We would have liked to have seen Muscle Snog and LAVA|OX|SEA too, but Saturday night had other plans for us.
We like Miniless. It’s a refreshing time capsule from the not-so-distant past, when an artist’s record label said a mouthful about the artist themselves, because small labels had had personalities and musical tastes as defined as those of a trusted friend. Sub Pop fans bought albums from new bands they’d never heard before, because they came recommended from Sub Pop. Likewise, Miniless has its own aesthetic, vibe, and laidback approach to making and promoting music. From SmartShanghai’s interview with label manager Hans:
Another reason why Miniless Records came about was that we thought that there was no label which could be considered as a gathering of people who shared a common idea toward the world and society. Most of the bands on the label tend to view society as “absurd” or “funny,” and nearly all the bands tend to consider the world in a more cynical way…I would use the world “irrational” to describe our take on mainstream music, and “pretentious” to describe false gestures. Talking with my friends in the US and the UK, or other countries seemingly more democratic, in my opinion all media in all countries is irrational because they’re designed to “push” something on their audiences. And that’s the most absurd thing. As we all have a job or are still at school, we have our own routines. So ‘the true immerging status of the musician’ is what is valued at Miniless.