Beijing Today has been interviewing indie bands and players in China. Here are some of the most popular ones. Don’t miss their concerts if you like their style.
“The happiest thing is to finish the performance and then go out drinking with all our members. That feels great!”
It doesn’t take handsome singers and mainstream music to get an audience up and moving. Founded in 2002, Miao Band has been driving audiences wild for nearly a decade.
With its blues-infused brand of minimalist rock, Miao Band has its roots in the moody emotion of grunge.
The “miao” in the band’s name means temple, and founder and lead singer Li Qun said he thinks of music as his religion.
While each song sounds incredibly odd when heard alone, Mr. Odd’s music takes on cohesion when heard in order. The more you listen the more you can pick out subtle changes in the melodies.
Mr. Odd has performed 29 times in the five months since settling on their current lineup.
The group’s most popular song has been “Xiaosao,” written by Liu Peizheng based on his personal experience of breaking up with his ex-girlfriend on his mother’s birthday. The lyrics are simple and tell a story of the longing and catharsis that follow a relationship.
Collision Dreamer was founded in 2009 on the ashes of Point Eight, a college rock band founded by leader singer Zhang Yu. Originally named for the members’ preference for Zhongnanhai’s 0.8 tar cigarettes, the new name was selected for its power and positive energy after graduation forced a lineup change.
“Collision is about how dreams and reality are so contradictory, but we still want to be dreamers. Eventually we decided on the name Collision Dreamer,” says Zhang, who now works for a local Internet company.
The band has won some attention for its unusual fusion of Peking Opera and electronic effects. In “Intro,” the melody is based on Peking Opera progression with driving drums and dubstep drops.
Founded in 2008, Twinkle Star is one of the capital’s top alternative rock bands. It found fame and began touring the country in 2009 after the release of Alt Senor, its first EP. It has since performed at the MIDI and Strawberry music festivals and has been the guest band of both the British Embassy and Greenpeace.
In 2012, Twinkle Star published released The End of the New Beginning, its first full-length album.
The four-member lineup includes Haitao on vocals, Zhang Shuai on guitar, Zhao Meng on bass and Guan Zheng on drums.
Founded as China’s first reggae band in 2007, Longshendao boasts a mature sound and numerous awards. It has represented China at many cultural exchange events abroad.
The group’s six skillful musicians share a love for wildness, freedom and boundless love. Longshendao attracts both Chinese and foreign listeners with its unique fusion of island rhythm and eastern philosophy.
In addition to blending reggae with other styles, the band makes heavy use of the Chinese guzheng in its songs in hopes of promoting it to international popularity like the guitar.