Posted by Nevin Domer on 11. May 2009
Let’s start with a short introduction of your band for those who might not know much about you?
We’re Turdus Musicus, we’re from Tromso which is above the artic circle. We’ve been around for ten years and we’re the main contributor to the hardcore / punk / metal scene in northern Norway. We play a mixture of metal, hardcore and punk, and have released three albums and a couple of EPs. We’ve toured mainly in Scandinavia and the US but came to China for the first time last year for MIDI. MIDI ended up being canceled, but we still did a couple of shows that made the trip worth it and just made us want to come back here as soon as possible. So now we’re here doing our first real China tour.
Another obvious question to get out of the way is about your name. In English it brings to mind bathroom jokes but what’s the real meaning behind it?
It’s a long and complex story, well not really. When we started out I used to play the flute. It’s not often that you find a hardcore band with a flute but it sounded really cool. And we got our name from a Finnish professor in a bathrobe who came out during our rehearsal. We were practicing in our drummer’s bedroom at that time. He said it’s so beautiful, “it’s like turdus musicus” and “turdus musicus” means the singing of the thrush which is the bird with the most beautiful voice. We play hardcore and we thought it was a cool name because of the contrast. We didn’t realize later until we actually went to the states that, especially for American’s and their pronunciation there that it was going to be a problem. Well not really a problem, but people are usually like, “What the fuck?” But they always end up remembering our name.
You played in China last year at MAO and Get Lucky how were those shows and what were you impressions of China at that time?
We were blown away. First of all, all the shows were packed. We’re an unknown band and we came her not nothing what to expect, but the pure intensity of the crowd was mind-blowing. We’ve toured the states, we’ve toured in Europe and people tend to be more reluctant to involve themselves but here it was more like people getting into it from the get-go. And the way I see it, coming here and playing this kind of music in China is the same as rock ‘n’ roll back in the 50’s when people didn’t really know what it was, when it was brand new. No one has told them how to react to it, how to move to it, they just do it. And they don’t buy anything, it has to be good. You have to have a solid performance, but if you have that people are going to go nuts.
Coming to China the first time, was it different from your expectations?
We didn’t really know what to expect. We’d seen videos from MIDI and we kind of had that in our minds… I was here in 2003 and I went to the old Get Luck bar. I had seen in a magazine that there was going to be a hardcore show and I was like, “oh, there’s a scene here?” I just jumped in a cab and went and it was Tookoo having a release party. I was just blown away. It was like walking into an 80’s skate-punk film. I met those guys and gave them a CD and we ended up playing with them last year at the New Get Lucky bar. That was my first impression of Chinese punk.
On this trip you’ve already played Yuyintang, MIDI and VOX…
Ok, and you will continue on with two more shows. How have those shows been and has this trip been different from your first time here?
The thing that’s different was playing the actually festival. 9,000 crazy people just going at it from the minute you start your set. It was such a huge experience for all of us, we had never played a show that big before, it was just mind-blowing. The reactions we got from people were so intense. The organizer, Zhang Fan, he came on before our last song and stopped us. I didn’t think we were going to get thrown off, but he had to ask people to calm down in the front because the barriers were about to break.
So you almost caused a riot in China.
Do you think this time there were people who knew you and recognized you from last year?
Yeah definitely, but this time we played different cities, last time it was during the MIDI week when it got cancelled. This time we played Monday in Wuhan and Tuesday in another city. It’s more like doing a tour in the US or Europe where it’s not going to be a lot of people and you must do an even better job to get the crowd going. Both our shows in Starlive, which was not so many people, and in Wuhan ended up being super fun. Tonight I’m especially stoked though because the people that are here are like the core of the musicians.
What are your impressions of the Chinese music scene?
I feel like it’s about to explode. I went from being a part of it where I felt like I kind of knew what was going on. Then I realized that there was so much going on that I don’t know of, which is super cool. My sister lives here and she keeps bringing back magazines and CDs and stuff and I get to read about it and the new events coming up and I keep reading about D-22.
Do you guys have future plans to be involved in China?
Totally! It’s cool to feel like you’re kind of a part of it coming back and being a part of what’s going on here. Plus the fact that it’s so much fun being here and next time we want to do a bigger tour and go to cities where there are less established scenes and be a part of that whole evolution of it. We’re coming back next year for MIDI and hope to do another tour again at that time.
Out of the Chinese bands that you have met do you have any favorites?
Tookoo. There’s something about them that I’m just totally into. People asked me… two years ago before I had met them, people asked me what was the coolest concert experience that I had had. It wasn’t Slayer or any big bands like that; it was Tookoo in Beijing because that experience was so much more than just seeing the show. And I have a lot of respect for guys who are being a part of building the scene themselves. Which is so rad. Also how they have developed. Now they are described as being dance-rock or whatever and it’s so groovy and it caters to so many people but you can still hear where they come from, their hardcore-punk background.
Also I saw AK 47 at MIDI and they were pretty cool too.
Is there anything else that you want to add?
Just keep supporting the scene and we’ll come back. We want to be a part of it. We also want to be involved in a bilateral exchange where we can help Chinese bands come to Norway.
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