Discussion » Music » music in beijing!

  • Peter S 李贝勒
    Peter S 李贝勒 wrote:


    it s the myspace of a band in my hometown in france. it s a 300 000 people town and that s better than all what i heard in 4 years in beijing. The Music is well write, the musicien have an excellent level, and the interpratation is fucking awesome.

    So, what do u think of the level and the quality of music in beijing?

    shit? awesome? in between? or?

  • Webslave
    Webslave wrote:

    to see the live scene of Chinese music, you can go to those venues like D22, MAO, Yugongyishan, 2Kolegas, Old What Bar, Jianghu Bar, Mako, The One, 13 Club, Tiny Salt, Hot Cat Club, VA Bar, East Shore etc.

    beijinggigguide.com provides you with news updates of live shows. rockinchina.com is a wiki about chinese rock music and others, band pages there incl. links to the band's myspace and douban.com pages (where you can access to online listenings).

    the real modern Chinese music scene actually just started to develop since mid 80's, compared to the long tradition of western pop music culture (incl. rock, underground, alternative, indie, eletronica etc.) since the 2nd world war, it is still a very young scene. But it is very vivid and creative and fast learning. Even though, China is on the fast track on almost every aspect of developments, quality and originallity still needs time to emerge and substain.

    as for me, i think Beijing, so do the whole music scene in China, provides loads of good music, no matter if rock, pop, jazz or what so every. And also, die understanding of what is good may vary due to different tastes.

    so, have fun exploring!

  • Peter S 李贝勒


    i know the places that u talked about, i performed almost in all of them.

    And i saw a lot of chinese bands, in a lot of differents esthetic...

    I really have good surprise sometimes, in rock and in pop, but most of the time i m a bite desepointed. Not to much creation, just bad copy of western bands.

    In Jazz, almost never good. maybe only one band was ok.

    If u compare to korea, or japan, the quality of jazz musician is really higher than in beijing. In shanghai u have a jazz scene, but it s most of the time foreigner.

    I was a teacher in CMI during 4 years, and U have maybe 2 or 3 students who are sensible to this music, most of the others don t understand or don t care.

    I understand the point of the taste. U like U don t like. But i think that when u re studying music u have to learn and work all the esthetic. 

    My feeling in this school was that obviously, less than 10% of the students will really do a career in music. And most of them just want to say "i m in Cma, i m studying music, so, i m cool"... I was music student, i was happy and proud to be, but i worked and practices a lot, and i was curious. Here most of them, should be gardener more than musician. (that s what one of my teacher said to students who didn't practice in france)

    BUT! in classical music U have a really high level, enormous!!!

    but in classical u don t have to create, most of the time it s just interpratation, for sure u have good composer, but definitly less than in western countries.

    all of this to say that the problem here is the creation.

    and i really fight for this in all my lesson to open there mind.

    so, we back to one of the charcteristic of china, "copy but not good to create"

    am i mistake? or maybe i didn t see or meet the good person?

  • Ejdnzlaj
    Ejdnzlaj wrote:

    China's biggest problem in Classical music is that parents only want a pianist or a violinist. There are some truely fantastic and absolutely cirtuoso soloists, but no great orchestras yet.

  • Simen Wangberg

    "Not to much creation, just bad copy of western bands."

    Pretty much every Western rock/pop band is just a copy of a copy, especially the more popular ones. I mean, what do you expect, that the Chinese bands are gonna get up there with an erhu or something?

    Actually, some of them do, but that's not my point - they largely use the same equipment as Western musicians, which is inherently limiting if you're just talking about a traditional guitar/drums/singer set-up. They're influenced by and listen to the same well-known musicians; Nirvana, '90s thrash and '80s hardcore punk are pretty popular with the kids here.

    Basically the point is, they're going to end up sounding similar to Western musicians because they share the same musical DNA. Yeah, a lot of them are probably pretty crappy...but so are a lot of Western rock bands...so. I've seen bunches of cool indie/punk bands here that were totally decent.

    I can't really speak about the jazz or classical music scenes, but that doesn't surprise me that the parents want their little emperors to be the stars of the show.

    As far as jazz goes, I know they've got some people doing free jazz/noise over at D-22 once a week or something, if that's your thing. It's likely more "original" - whatever that means - than some of the other jazz groups around town.

  • Webslave
    Webslave wrote:

    how long does it take for a new born to learn how to crawl and from there how to stand up and walk and maybe years after that to be one of the fastest in the world? Dont let the fast development of China fool you. It seems, China's major cities have got everything you would expect in the west, but in culture, especially the culture that is compatible or even adopted from the west, ist doing very slow. cutlure growth and development still is very limited and not the main focus of China's general policy. It is ok for amusement but if you want to dig deeper, you will be on your own. And this general situation is also affecting on music.

    basically, i would agree with Pierre's observation and yet still behind all the fuzz of imitating and interpreting i think there is something there that one can see as created in China, not only copied in China. It's just that the majority of music ppl need to develope a stronger idendity and awareness of how to express oneself in music. Document this moment for yourself and comeback 10 years later and you will see what has happened in between.

    I guess another questions is WHY. Why do they do music? Well, some simply cant help, but that is not the majority. It is not only that music ppl needs to improve, the main "problem" is the listenship. A good deal of listeners arent supporting local music scene at all! Pop is another story, but everything else that is going on (alternative means less money and chances to participate on the mainstream market) simply doesnt matter to the majority of the society. That is a major different to the west. Hopefully that might change a bit in the next few years. With a higher demande of "quality"-music there will also be a stronger reply by music folks to meet this need.

    all in all, it takes time to ripe (for beer faster than for wine :)

  • Peter S 李贝勒


    yes yes, but very good soloiste


    agree with u about the fact of that u have a lot of band in western countries who are copy too (bad or not). BUT I gave an example in jazz but i can give u a several examples in others esthethics. I mean that really, i have good surprise every week in a little town who smaller than the area of dongzhimen. 300 000 people against beijing 20 000 000... Really people think and create. Then maybe it s just my hometown, cause u have conservatories in classic and jazz, and severals famous music schools. It's really rich.

    oh and about D22 i know the team u talked about, i performed with one or 2 guys from this team... Really free, was fun, but U give me only one example and to be honest, it s the only example that i can give too...( i m not fan of listening free jazz, but i really have fun to play it)

    oh and last things, I m agree too about the fact that in rock and punk U have descent band( but no surprised)... I observed that finally all the musics who are more "white" than "black" are better... in funk for example, it s just a no man s land.


    I don t want to have bad words or being angry with someone, but i think that i m not fool by the development  of china. I really think that china is always very late and far from beiing developped. It s not because u have an "armani" shop and a supermarket on the corner of ur street that u are a develop country. A big part is the evolution of the mentalities. And this will be really long and hard to move (i hope i mistake). So, i don t believe than the creation, will be better, cause u always have things that u cannot do or say here. And i think that one important things in creation is to be able to have a "freedom to think"...

    no gates, no limits...

    last thing... and yes, i m agree that there s a problem of listening, there s no culture of sounds, of quality of sound, U almost cannot find a descent sound engineer...

    BUt I did as a music teacher, a work to open my students, to give them the knowledges, to let them think by them selves... It was very hard, but we have to fight for the opening of the minds...

    i always say,

    be curious, open ur mind, go further...

  • Webslave
    Webslave wrote:


    it's always fun to talk about music with someone who has a great insight of things.

    well, yes, i see what you mean and i have to say that in China, it seems, music is the least developed discipline among all arts. I was awkward when a visiting friend asked the questions, who are the most influencial composers in Chinese history. In the west, you could roll out a damn long list of names. But in for China, none of us could even bring up one name. We conclueded that, compared to literature and paintings, music has been not so important, somehow. And that may reflect what you said.

    About political limits, well actually, i dont see it as a real hinderness for artists to find creative ways and overgo these limits. There is a fashionable saying: where there is oppression there is resistance. I even go this far and say that certain kind of limitation may boost the creativity of those who are born not tu shut up.

    And still, i think, the real missing push for Chinese musicians to really get creative may, as you say, ly in their minds. But again, i m not at all pessimistic about the future of Chinese music.

  • Webslave
    Webslave wrote:

    this is one of my favorite electro artist in China, i like his songs:


  • Peter S 李贝勒

    @Spire Arsov

    definitly, they didn t have the 65 to 75 western musics, a big miss! it s an enormous print in the history of music, too much ideas, the beginning of the big sound systems, the multi track recordings, the fender rhodes, then all the artistes, father or all the music movements that we have now. And sure, my older sisters bring me the culture, when i was 10 years old, i already listen so much music, led zep, Crimson, beatles, marley, RTF and chick corea, sex pistols, kraftwerk, Ac dc, gene vincent, Aphrodite childs, queen, sweet smoke, mahavisnu orchestra, peter gabriel, herbie hancock etcetc... the list is so long and in a lot of different esthetics. Thank u mama and sisters!


    I listened Ur link, sounds interesting. they put distortion on drum loop, i like this.

    I will listen more in detalis and tell u what i think about. thank u for the link if u have others give it to me I ll be glad to listen it.

  • Simen Wangberg

    "So, i don t believe than the creation, will be better, cause u always have things that u cannot do or say here."

    I don't really think the lack of political freedom has anything to do with the music scene here. You don't have to be politically conscious to be a decent musician or to have original ideas.

    As far as Beijing goes - another thing that hasn't been mentioned is the economic factor. A crappy 山寨 Fender Stratocaster is 300-400 yuan in most shops. A lot of kids don't have that kinda cash to throw around. The ones that do are probably more interested in spending their money in malls or nightclubs, buying designer jeans or whiskey & green tea.

    In the West, any punkass kid can get a job flipping burgers on the weekend and save enough to get a guitar pretty easily. And many of them do, much to the chagrin of concert promoters and live music fans everywhere.

  • Webslave
    Webslave wrote:

    i think, it has to do with the general music environment here in China. There is not much that music interested kids can use to start doing music. And the main focus of the parents and public educations isnt about creativity of the individual. And yes, Mike got a point there too. Of course there are many young ppl starting to do music but the questions what is their aim. How many of them end up to be a musician and how many of them can survive by their own music.

  • Webslave
    Webslave wrote:

    this is the girlfriend of Keemo, also very creative and talented:


  • Peter S 李贝勒
    @mike I m sorry, but i really think it's a problem "an england screaming, no futur, no futur for u" from sex pistols, the fathers of punk music! Do u think that if a chinese band say no futur for china won t suffer from censure? or that u could see them on CCTV? no, that s one of the reason why what u see the most is shitty pop, with no soul. Then U can observe that during the periode 65' to 75 ,who s one of the most creative periode of the history of music, one of the most important word in mind of all of them, was "freedom" it was in a special political and historical environment. I'm more than convince than the cultural and political environment have a big influence on creation. @webslave&mike U do music cause u love it (if i didn t have often creeps when i listened music when i was young i didn t choose this career). If u re enough clever, enough talented, not lazy, and if it's ur will, u'll find the way to live with. In france, most of the musicians that i know who are living with music have a master or degree in something. U Know, career in music, is not only playing well an instrument, U have to be a buisness man. Always, have to be good, always judge by the others, be cool. then, U know most of the parents, in all the countries prefer to hear their childrens say, "i m gonna be a doctor or a lawyer" or will more easely push them in this kind of directions than in the direction of music, because musicians are druggs addicts(eheh), the futur and the career will be hard, it s not stable etc etc... in classical it's an another world, U can be permanent staff in an orchestre, u re there for all ur life if u want. @webslave I will listen Ur link, thank u again... don t forget all of u... be curious, open Ur mind and go further... fuck, i talk to much, let s go to play and have fun!
  • Webslave
    Webslave wrote:

    i dont think that a Chinese punk band would have serious problems if sing "China has no future" cuz that is not a political problem or against the regime. If they'd say "the KP has no future" that would be something else. So it is about to estimate and know the limits. China has a huge censorship machinery but they dont waste time on any small shit. You wont see any serious rock bands on CCTV anyway, at least not that often.

    and the situation in France is totally different. i dont know if you still have it but i know from french musicians that there is somekind of a support money for musicians by the state which makes it generally way easier to become a professional as musician. The market demand for music is also way higher than China.

    Of course you have to be smart and hard working just as in any profession if you want to survive. But i think in China, the situation hit musician pretty hard, at least compared to other countries.

    Just look at the other cultural fields in China. You can almost sell any shit on the art market, they are making loads of money. Literature is not doing bad at all either. Film and theatre is starting to get much better then some years ago. But compare to those, music is still in a shit hole. The only major boost for the last decade is this new festival boom but who knows how long this fashion may last.

    Most ppl in the music industry are under paid and have to do over times. It is just a question about time how long they want to stick with their jobs in the music biz.

    I guess ppl are open minded enough, it's not that they really dont know a shit, i would say it's the bigger environment that makes the survival critical.

    I m really not so sure, how much an individual can make changes against the odds.

    As for douban links, I will share more if i get hold of them. Many of those artists sounds exciting, but i m not sure if they are able to performe the same quality on stage.

  • Peter S 李贝勒


    it s just a conversation where we exchange points of views. So, i hear u but i m not really agree.

    U said censure don t care but 2mn after u said few rock band in cctv.

    i think china is really controling media really closely. For a lot of people Rock is the music of protestation! U have to say "fuck the establishment". Just say it in the middle of tien an men square to see what happen...

    Then U said the demand is higher. Not at all! look france is a country of 60 000 000.

    Just 3 times beijing! Chinese market is from beyond the hudge compare to french market. Then, U have a lot of people who have very good ideas and a high level. so, it s really hard to do a "hole" there. high quality ask u to produce something very good and original. China ask u a really lower level to do a hole. I know it cause in france i m good in my land, but i don t have a national level. When i arrived in china, i worked very quickly with Pop stars. for sure i m not lazy and i always work hard. So, i think if u want it really more easy here.

     About the allowance in france, it s really hard to get it. A lot of musicians try to have it but few of them get it. And u cannot live a life with an allowance.

    Then about art, litterature and movie, i will send u a private message to tell u what i really think cause it s not really nice and cool, as ask this website, eheh...

    and don t forget

    be curious, open ur mind, go further...

  • Webslave
    Webslave wrote:


    I guess there is a bit misunderstanding here.

    Maybe i didnt put it the right way. I dont think that there is a bigger demand on real music in China than in the west, what we have here mostly are what one would call Entertainment Music, there the market is damn huge but it's just stupid meaningless music and copies of copies of what ever were catchy and cheesy. But the real exciting, hand-made music is very small in China. So we are actually talking about the same think here.

    About rock, i guess you might have noticed, Chinese rock music is still very underground. You cant consider it as mainstream yet, so no matter what you are singing about, it is most likely that you wont get featured on CCTV. Of course there are fake rockers like Wang Feng or Ling Dian, but that's rather mass pop in a rockish approache, you cant count that in as rock.

    But on the point that a rock band has to have a political statment, especially against the establishment, i dont think that is the centrual meaning of rock and also, if one needs to express such thoughts, you can do it more sophisticated and less vulgar. Of course it doesnt help for the develompent of rock music if you have such a freaky massive political controll over all media events, but i really dont think that the political climate is the main hinderness for rock to thrive.




  • 随便叫兽
    随便叫兽 wrote:

    Sex Pistols

    fathers of punk music

    My face when:


  • Peter S 李贝勒

    @Dando Z 单独子

    ahah! sorry, I should say one of the fathers of Punk, one of the most famous and popular. i don t forget the ramones, the clash, exploited, Damned, etc etc


    In france we re not like in US, we really have a small market, most of the time french for french> Our english most of the time sucks, prononciation is not good, but u already knew that, eheh. but We improoved and french bands started in late 90's to have an access to the international market. for metal it started earlier, end of 80's. So, our situation is not so comfortable as u think, and the market is really small. if u compare, what is small for china is always hudge for us. eheh! if u touch 1% of the population it s already 13millions people... for us it s 600 000...

     we have differents positions but i got ur point, i think that my observations are not wrong, but i don t know who s right? just wait and see what will happen?

  • Webslave
    Webslave wrote:


    it is never about who is wrong or right. I m happy to get know new perspectives and point of views from others. I m very curious what will happen to the developement of Chinese music. I only wish that we could have the opinions of some Chinese musicians and other local music ppl on this.

    BTW: my favorite French metal bands are Loudblast and Massacra, both are very creative and their time a bit ahead. I lost track of Massacra when they were experimenting too much and driffted away from the heaviness i once enjoyed of them. Loudblast is still around i think, their vocalist actually told me about the musician allowance think back then at the beginning of the 90s, he was lucky to have successfully applied for it. I know that you wont make a living out of it, it wasnt designed to provide such a feature anyway, but it helps musicians to have less pressure financial wise.

    In terms of the origin of punk, i like to add that The Kinks might have been a major influence on the punk rock sound. :)

  • Kay
    Kay wrote:


    I will agree here with you in the whole thing, chinese ppl had a very poor culture of music, as you said as soon the esthetic sounds black they ar not really interested... so beside heavy metal music and the classic music which close to their culture, so far i am not expecting better days soon later....

    here still many many things to do, someone says here that the music produce in china is more for entertainment, ok will you entertain all those bars and cafe only with heavy metal or classic music, i dont even talk about pop music, coz for me the chinese pop music is the bad quality of the copy of the bad copy....

    No interest for soul, gospel, funk and faking a pseudo interest in jazz, rythm and blouse or hip hop (which is a very important part in the  basement of contemporary music)... having good music development is fact of mind, as example, since hong kong was just a nominative part of china, there you can meet some real artist musicians, and their taste of music are very diversified .

    China is a developing country, since the development of a country is 60 % fact of mind... we should wait couple of decade to see a small evolution in that field

  • Peter S 李贝勒


    I went to see a concert of loudblast in 1989... fuck! i become old...

    I liked it, i don t know too much massacra, but i like what i listened... it s not the same esthetic but U can have a look here 'Blockheads'


    I performed with this band in 1991. 20 years ago, i was 20. They re always alive... Take care it s not for children, eheh!!! make me laugh, i really did everythings...

    oh about the kinks, it maybe influenced, but it s not punk, it s rock...

    punk was born in 1974/1976

    @Kayenga Jokay

    definitly more white than black!

    i think the exception is coming from xinjiang... i performed with 'panjir' 2 years. a band who is a mix between traditional xinjiang music, indian and jazz. in these band u can see a real feeling and understanding of the rythm. We can smell the middle east rythm influence... but xinjiang is not really chinese ahah, it s like tibet ahah... i m joking...

    And then, i m not fan at all of chinese pop music, but i had surprises when i analysed it more deeply. of course 90% is really pfffffffff... but in the 10% u have sometimes some very interessting harmony, it gave me a smile and hope when i discovered it.

    ANd about hong kong, for sure, it s an another world. I don t know to much, but when i went there i felt the difference with the main land.

    as i said wait and see...

  • Webslave
    Webslave wrote:

    Thanks, Pierre. I didnt know the Blockheads but it sound pretty intense, a mix of hard core and grind core. Not nessesarily only for adults, you'd be surprised how many teenies are into this kind of music :)

    And yeah, i know the Kinks are no punks

  • Ekki
  • Webslave
    Webslave wrote:


    what are you trying to tell us? SiIf is a small place somewhere in Bei Luo Gu Xiang where they used to teach bongo drumming and do tiny indoor flee market in summer. Nice to hang out but not a good place for decent live music, i guess.

Please login to post a reply to this thread.


WeLiveInBeijing.com is a social community for people living in or traveling to Beijing.

Powered by: Bloc