Posted by Nevin Domer on 25. May 2009
Thank you for coming to the show. I didn't even know that there was hardcore-punk in Guangzhou.
Zhi Yuan: Tonight, the people who standing close to the stage, all of them are our friends. All of those guys play hardcore and punk and we often play together.
Both of you play in a band. Can you tell me a little bit about your band?
Zhi Yuan: Our band's name is really hard to speak in English. In Chinese we are called "Shou Jing and CQ2." If you are a weak guy "shou jing" means that you are very scared, but if you are a bad guy shou jing means that you are a gangster. This name comes from a band that played music ten years ago. They were a very small band and very few people knew about them. If you met these people you wouldn't think that they played music. Their music was about the lives of common Chinese people. I think this is the most important thing for us. If you are Chinese you shouldn't make music for foreigners, you shouldn't make the music for a company, you shouldn't make music because you think that it can make you a rock star.
You should make music that reflects your own lives and that of those around you.
Zhi Yuan: Yeah, we are really very common, he is a student and I am a worker. I think that the bad things in life can give you energy, the energy to keep going, to struggle. If your life is too good, if you live rich, it's not good for this kind of music. A lot of our friends are very rich, so they will not play this music, because it doesn't make you look like a rock star. If you watch MTV, or Channel V, or any other mainstream videos the bands will not play this kind of music. If you are a rock star you should not live in this way. If you are a rock star you should not go to work or study. A lot of bands in China just want to copy what they see on TV but cannot see a part of China in their music. They can't understand the common people's lives. Our music is about the lives of the common Chinese people.
Yun Feng: How we live, how we work, how we study.
Zhi Yuan: But in Guangzhou so many people don't like us. They think we suck, because we don't sing in English and we won't play our guitars like rock stars.
You band is about being Chinese while most of the bands in China are very concerned about fashion, only sing in English and want to live the life that they see on MTV. Why did you guys decide to play the type of music that you play and talk about the things you talk about when almost all the other Chinese bands are doing something very different?
Zhi Yuan: A very long time ago there was a band called "Ying Huan."
Yun Feng: "Hidden Danger"
Zhi Yuan: It was a very small band from Tai Yuan. They were very small and their lives were very hardcore, nobody liked them but their lyrics were very good.
Yun Feng: Their lyrics were all about the common Chinese people.
You told me before that because of your lyrics and the stuff you sing about that all of the information about your band got taken off of douban and the Chinese myspace. Can you tell us a little bit about your lyrics and what you talk about?
Zhi Yuan: All of our lyrics are from Hidden Danger. We write our own music but the lyrics all come from Hidden Danger. We think these lyrics are very good and we should not let the tide of time destroy them.
When did you first hear Hidden Danger's music?
Zhi Yuan: I first heard their music ten years ago.
You were a college student at that time?
Zhi Yuan: Yes, and I heard the music from a magazine. The magazine came with a CD. The first time I heard the music I was shocked. I had never heard this kind of sound before, no one would sing a song in this way. And the lyrics were very very hard to accept. Many people will not accept these things. They want to hear the good news but will not accept the bad news. If they hear the bad things they will turn around and go away. They cannot face the bad things. They are afraid of the bad things.
When did you guys start playing?
Zhi Yuan: We started around two to three years ago.
Now in Guangzhou are there other bands also playing hardcore punk and underground music?
Zhi Yuan: It's hard to say what underground music is. Everyone who plays rock 'n roll thinks they are underground. If they sing in English they think they are underground. Some bands play Green Day covers and they think they are underground. So it's very hard to say what bands are underground.
Ok so let's just talk about hardcore-punk.
Yun Feng: There is a band from Guangzhou called Smoke Town.
Are there many places for hardcore-punk bands to play shows?
Zhi Yuan: Very few, we do a lot of performances in Universities, along the road or in stores. Also there are some competitions for bands. We often join these competitions.
Is there any audience for this style music in Guangzhou?
Yun Feng: A few.
Zhi Yuan: Not very many people. There are a lot of people who like emo, metal-core, pop-rock but very few people like bands like us or Smoke Town.
Yun Feng: When people judge if your band is good or not first they look at your technical skill.
Zhi Yuan: If your skill is bad they will not accept you, but I think this is bad because everybody should have the chance to go to the stage whether you can play guitar well or not. Everyone should have the chance to go to the stage and show their mind to the other people.
How about your lyrics? How do audiences react to your lyrics?
Yun Feng: When we play we print our lyrics and hand them out to the audience. After the show there are usually two or three people who come up to talk with us and tell us they like our lyrics. Sometimes they will give us a hug. If you look at these people they don't look like rockers or fashion guys, they look very common, just like an average worker. It's a very important thing for us because we just want to communicate with the common people. Out of a hundred people there may be just ten people who are moved by us, but these ten people allow us to keep doing what we do.
Are there any places in Guangzhou where you can sell your CDs or buy CDs from other local bands, especially DIY CDs?
Zhi Yuan: Just in front of the bar like you guys did, sell them by yourself. There are no stores that sell these sorts of CDs. Maybe there are some stores but they are very small and hard to find. The common people can not buy these CDs, just the rich people that have plenty of money and plenty of time to spend looking for these things.
Yun Feng: A few years ago the vocal and the guitarist published a CD collection of Guangzhou's underground bands. It featured many Guangzhou underground bands. He published this CD all by himself. He paid for it himself. Unfortunately the CD couldn't be widely distributed and you could only buy it in Guangzhou. People in China will not help each other.
Zhi Yuan: In China you can understand real discrimination. We don't need people from other countries to discriminate against us; we spend enough time fighting against ourselves.
Where do you think the underground scene in Guangzhou is going? Do you think it will get better for DIY bands?
Zhi Yuan: Yeah, I think it will get better.
Yun Feng: I don't think so. I think it will get worse and worse... but it's ok.
Zhi Yuan: Guangzhou does not have a market for this type of music. The common people will not accept this kind of music. Some bands copy Metalica or other popular bands then they can become very popular and can sell a lot of CDs, but if you play hardcore-punk in China nobody will buy it, just a few people. You might think that in China people are getting richer and richer; more people have access to computers so more people would buy this music, but in fact it's getting harder and harder to sell the CDs.
Yun Feng: I think that maybe after sometime we will stop but someone else will step up and do what we are doing. I think there will always be people doing these sort of things.
Zhi Yuan: We just want to encourage bands to have an idea, stand away, stand out, go DIY. We don't just play music we also want to tell bands, let them know, there is another way to show themselves and express their minds.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Zhi Yuan: I hope that someone will see what we are talking about from your magazine, even though our English is very poor. It's very rare in this world that people will persist in doing their own thing, we keep going. And if you want to do a live performance in Guangzhou just let us know and maybe we can help you. We will do our best to help you because we don't want people to think that the Cantonese just care about money. I want people to know that the Cantonese are the same as people in other places, we are very warm and we can do what we can to help the bands from other cities come to Guangzhou to have a show.
Yun Feng: We used to do this and we want to keep going to do this.
Zhi Yuan: We just want to help other people to come here and have communication with us. We want to know what they are talking about and also we want them to know what we are talking about and what we are doing here.
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