A post by Archie Hamilton (Split Works and China Music Radar laoban) on the occasion of Gang of Four performing in China, March 2013. Cross-posted from Tumblr.
JUE | Music + Art 2013 encompassed nearly 100 events across Beijing and Shanghai over the course of 17 days. It is both the most exhausting event and the most exhilarating event that Split Works puts on every year. It is also the reason why things have been quieter over at the Radar for the past few months. For the rest of the summer, we will be returning to our regularly scheduled programme of updates here on the blog. In the meantime, click through to read some of Archie’s thoughts on the performance of the legendary Leeds post-punk band Gang of Four during JUE 2013. Continue reading →
As Beijing bans toy airplanes and pigeons from its skies, knives from the store shelves and removes all the handles to roll down rear windows in taxicabs, things are a bit more relaxed elsewhere in China. Over the weekend, we saw photos of Kikuyu playing in the courtyard of a wine shop in Shanghai while intrigued punters looked on.
And tomorrow in Wuhan, an even bigger performance will happen in one of the city’s outdoor squares. Called Punk Eek in English and 蹦移 in Chinese, the free outdoor concert features sets from Maybe Mars stalwarts Mr. Graceless, Carsick Cars, and hometown heroes AV Okubo. We’re still squinting at the poster and looking for those pesky sponsor logos but it seems like the entire operation was put together by a Microneme, multi-purpose cultural space in Wuhan in collaboration with Chutian College at Huazhong Agricultural University.
So if you happen to be in Wuhan tomorrow night, this kind of looks like the place to be. Trust us, at Radar HQ in Beijing, we’re jealous.
There isn’t much that hasn’t already been written about Maybe Mars. China’s first record label focusing exclusively on young Chinese bands, the 1-2 punch with D-22, pillar of the still-young industry here. With offshoots Maybe Noise and Maybe Folk, the label has expanded beyond its original expertise of indie rock to acclaimed artists including Xiao He, Low Wormwood and WHITE+. This summer, Maybe Mars has been touring it’s artists all over China in celebration of their 5th anniversary. On September 1st, they had their triumphant homecoming bash at Beijing’s Yugong Yishan. The Radar was there to congratulate Maybe Mars and pour a little out for the next 5 years.
As we’ve previously noted, Music Matters has moved from Hong Kong to Singapore. Last week, they held a press conference in their new home city, featuring Jasper Donat (Founder of MM), Sandy Montiero (President of Universal Music Group SE Asia), Robin Seow (VP of Marketing at HP) and Lynette Pang representing the Singapore Tourist Board.
Essentially, the press conference concentrated on the Live component, Music Matters Live, which had an inaugural year in Hong Kong’s Lan Kwai Fong in 2010. As a part of the new format, Music Matters Live will be concentrated in Clarke Quay, the new-ish F&B and entertainment centre in the middle of Singapore. The lineup will contain 40 artists from around the world. Converse are sponsoring a Beijing panel at the conference itself and also seem to have a hand in the China live programming, with Carsick Cars, Re-Tros and AV Okubo making the trip to Singapore. Of the other bands from around the world, we have to admit we haven’t heard of too many of them, but that is the point of these kind of showcases – to expose up-and-coming bands to both new audiences and to the industry. We were critical for the last few years about the lack of music featured as well as the poor conditions for showcasing in LKF. Branded seem to have taken this to heart with this massively improved offering in 2011.
We will be in Singapore next week. Please let us know if you would like to meet.
There were 11 festival stages operating in Beijing during the 4 day holiday, 1-4 May. This is how we felt it went down…
Westerners working in marketing in China often spout forth that Chinese kids do not mind branding. In fact, our research actually shows that youth in China actually feel safer about an event if there is some level of branding involved. Strawberry Festival organizers are certainly taking this philosophy to the limit.
Saturday morning broke blue-skied and cloudless in Beijing. Tongzhou is a suburb on the South Eastern edge of the city, and traditionally has been something of an artistic community. Recently though, it has been the recipient of large chunks of developer cash and has a whiff of new construction & new middle class about it. The Strawberry Festival has that same air, of developers that care less for the artistic community and more for their own financial gains.
UPDATE: a great little review of the actual showcase (which we missed) at our friends Layabozi HERE.
As reported HERE, Beijing based label Maybe Mars have been in Austin for the last week at the biggest festival for emerging artists, SXSW. Label stars PK14, Carsick Cars and AV Okubo played a bunch of day shows which culminated in a showcase at the Speakeasy on Saturday night, which attracted in excess of 300 people. We caught tour manager, publicist and label jack-of-all-trades Nevin Domer very briefly after the Houston show last night (which was unfortunately less well attended at around 30 pax). We will try and precis our scattered conversation and give you an insight to the tour so far:
Yes, we like our multiplication signs here at the Radar. We also like to follow the fortunes of Beijing label Maybe Mars and sneaker brand Converse.
So, we were excited to learn that Converse are taking their relationship with Chinese indie music out of China, by supporting the bands PK14, CarsickCars and AV Okubo on their tour to SXSW and the surroundings this month. Dates still aren’t confirmed, and Youku might be covering it. It’s going to be interesting to see how the US receives Maybe Mars for the second time. We wish them luck!
Maybe Mars are going to New York for a big old party. Central to this party will be a photographic exhibition by Matthew Niederhauser, a photographer who has documented Maybe Mars and D-22 through images of the bands that have created this label/ venue community up in Beijing’s Northern reaches. He is launching his second book, Sound Kapital, at the same time.
You can read the first part of the interview HERE.