Loving Youth

Posted by Pete DeMola on 15. Mar 2009

In early-2006, rising Beijing stars Ne Zha disintegrated after going through a series of lineup changes and internal turmoil. But frontman Zhan Pan rose from the ashes, and with bassist Wu Wenjie and Wang Xu on percussion, formed the Gar -- the invigorating trio who quickly rose to the top of the city's indie rock food chain with a series of high profile performances showcasing their quirky brand of highly-emotive post-punk.

Their self-produced LP drops this Friday through Maybe Mars Records. We've heard some tracks, and love what they've come up with: psychedelic-tinged melodic compositions paired with the more raw and explosive elements drawn from their live invigorating live performances.

We caught up with vocalist/guitarist Zhan Pan to learn more about the Gar and what's in store for the release party.

WeLiveInBeijing: Describe your band's sound in five words.
Zhan Pan: Youth, freedom, love, imagination, conspiratorial.

WLIB: Who have been your biggest sonic influences?
ZP: Bands from the late 80s and early 90s, and also my life experience.

WLIB: Did spending time in the studio recording a professional LP affect or influence your sound?
ZP: Nothing has changed. It only enriched our music, and made it sound better.

WLIB: Is there such a thing as "the Beijing sound," and if so, how would you describe it?
ZP: I think there is, but it's more like a term to me -- an abstract symbol. As I know, those Beijing bands' lyrics cover a lot of different themes: [the sound] has already exceeded "Beijing" as a geographic definition.

WLIB: If you could tour with any band, Chinese or otherwise, who would it be?
ZP: Chinese band P. K. 14.

WLIB: What are the biggest challenges facing young bands in Beijing today?
ZP: How to get away from the self concerned little world and write a great song that captures the times.

WLIB: How did you come up with your band name?
ZP: A coincidence... a gift from God.

WLIB: What can we expect at the release party?
ZP: We've carefully prepared light shows for videos of some of our songs. We'll also have a few special guests perform. Beside that, it's our songs -- and we sing our songs from the bottom of our hearts.

WLIB: 请用五个词描述一下你们乐队的音乐听起来是什么样子的?
詹盼: 青春 自由 爱 幻想 阴谋论.

WLIB: 谁是你音乐上最大的影响?
詹盼: 80年代末和90年代初的一些乐队还有我的生活经历.

WLIB: 花费时间在录音室里录制一张专业的唱片是否对你们的音乐有所改变?
詹盼: 没有什么改变,只会让我们把音乐做的更丰富、更有可听性。

WLIB: 是否有所说的"北京之声"?如果有的话你要如何描述这个北京之声呢?
詹盼: 我觉得有,但对我来说那只是个名词而已,被浓缩的一个符号化的东西,其实我所了解的北京乐队所歌唱的东西涵盖面很广、很丰富,早已超越了北京这个地理范畴。

WLIB: 如果你们可以选择和一个乐队一起巡演,你愿意选择和哪支乐队一起巡演?中国的和外国的乐队都可以。
詹盼: 中国的 P.K. 14。

WLIB: 在现在的北京,摆在新乐队面前最大的挑战是什么?
詹盼: 如何跳出自以为是的小圈子,写出一首真正能纪录这个时代的歌。

WLIB: 你们是如何想到乐队的名字的?
詹盼: 一个巧合,神的恩赐。

WLIB: 在专辑的首发演出上有什么值得人们期待的呢?
詹盼: 那将是我们一段时间积蓄的爆发,我们作了精心的准备,从部分歌曲的视频和灯光我们都细致的策划过,除了同台演出的乐队没有神秘嘉宾。只有我们的歌,用心歌唱和演奏。

The Gar will perform on Fri, Mar 20 at Yugong Yishan. Golden Driver and 24 Hours will support, along with several unannounced special guests.

Chang Liu contributed to this report. Photo courtesy of Maybe Mars Records.

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