By Colin Gallant
CALGARY — BeatRoute is thrilled to be a co-presenter for Chinese Indie Rock Night on October 7th at the #1 Legion in Calgary. We had Ricky Maymi (Far Out Distant Sounds distribution, guitarist for Brian Jonestown Massacre), Barnaby Bennett (Two Headed Dog booking) and Kid Millions (performing at the show, Oneida, more) answer a few questions to get you acquainted with what’s in store at the show.
BeatRoute: How did you first become aware of Carsick Cars, Chui Wan, Zhang Shou Wang and Alpine Decline?
Ricky Maymi: I was exposed to this music in August 2012 in Melbourne, Australia by a good friend named Julian Wu. He’s Chinese Australian and went to China to visit some family and came back with a suitcase full of CDs. I found the music to be foreign yet familiar. Greater than its influences and also slightly dangerous, brimming with a certain youthful vitality seldom heard in the modern day youth culture of the Western world. I got involved with the labels Maybe Mars and Genjing Records in Beijing to help with some DIY distribution and now we have a new company, Far Out Distant Sounds, which deals exclusively in underground Chinese bands. I’ve tour managed and booked North American tours for Carsick Cars and Chui Wan in the past and work with Two Headed Dog in Canada to bring the bands there.
BR: How do you think these bands fit in/stick out from the indie scene in China? How do they fit in/stick out from one another?
RM: Carsick Cars are one of the longest standing names in Chinese rock. They, along with PK14 paved the way for almost all the bands that came after them in the Beijing scene, maybe some other places in China too. Chui Wan are a world unto themselves. They don’t fit in with anybody, nor do I believe any of that interests them as artists. Alpine Decline are a band originating from L.A. but who decided to move to Beijing and found themselves embraced by this scene to the point where they are basically a Chinese band.
BR: What can you tell our readers about the collaboration between Kid Millions and Zhang Shou Wang?
Kid Millions: The performance will be drum set and whatever instruments Zhang Shou Wang is interested in playing. When we played last time he used electric organ and Shahi Baaja [a modification of an early 20th-century Indian instrument played with strings and typewriter keys]. There’s no discussion in advance. I had just met Shou Wang a few minutes we went onstage. We just got up there and improvised. It will be the same on this tour. This performance was instigated by Nevin Dormer (founder of Genjing Records) when I visited China in 2014, I had heard of Carsick Cars of course and was open to anything.
BR: It’s not often we see Chinese bands in Calgary. Do you think there’s a cultural value to this? If so, what?
Barnaby Bennett: One-hundred per cent – not only are these some of China’s best bands, they are some of the best live bands performing anywhere right now, period. Chui Wan’s unique style, anchored by Wu Qiong’s hypnotic bass riffs, has led to them to play festivals such as Austin Psych Fest and should appeal to fans of bands such as Tame Impala. The last time Carsick Cars played in Calgary the venue was at capacity all night with a wild crowd, and another Chinese band we booked with Ricky called Birdstriking played last year’s Sled Island and was named as a festival highlight in multiple publications. And speaking of Sled Island, Kid Millions was just at this year’s Sled with Oneida, Man Forever and People of the North, and this will be the first ever North American performance by his project with Shou Wang from CSC.
Carsick Cars, Chui Wan, Kid Millions + Zhang Shou Wang and Alpine Decline will be playing at the #1 Legion in Calgary on October 7th, at the UP+DT festival in Edmonton on October 8th, at The Royal in Nelson on October 9th and at the Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver on October 10th. For the Calgary Legion show, we also have a few pairs of tickets to give away! All you have to do is like our page and share this post to be entered.#1 Legion, AB, Alberta, Alpine Decline, BC, British Columbia, Carsick Cars, Chinese Indie Rock Night, Chui Wan, Kid Millions + Zhang Shou Wang, Rickshaw Theatre, The Royal, Up+Downtown Festival