Xiao Zhong loves interviewing people, loves it. So he's decided to do more of it, this time it's Shanghai punk dudes Bigong Bijing, who will be releasing their first album 'BGBJ's College Companion For the Well Dressed Man' this weekend at Live Bar.
XZ: You guys have been a band for awhile and you live in Xuhui, but mostly play around the Yangpu. Is there a reason for that?
Mian Mian and myself live in the Luwan / Xuhui district - that is correct, Gil is in Putuo - but we all used to live in Yangpu / Hongkou district at one time. That is when Gil and I met at Livebar jamming. A few months after, that was where we met Mian Mian for the first time as well. So we all met hanging and playing music at Livebar, which is as Yangpu as there is.
So naturally, this is where the band was created and where we started doing gigs. I would say we stuck in that corner for a long time until the first half of 2011 (including 696 and DClub), due to the fact that's where our friends are, we know the owners of Livebar, DClub and 696 on a personal level, so this was our community. I wouldn't say that we still exclusively play there, we have played at every place in Shanghai, including Mao Livehouse (strange things do happen) and made a solid tour to seven cites in China outside of Shanghai.
However, Livebar was and is a place we like to call "home", and this is why we will do our CD release show there on Friday, 30th June.
And look at it this way, if you knock out 696, DClub and Livebar of the table, which are all in Hongkou and Yangpu, what is there left anyway? There is just Yuyintang south of Suzhou Creek, so why wouldn't you make it interesting and try to exploit the potential in the north?
XZ: You subtly dropped that your CD release is on June 30th at Live Bar. How'd you guys find recording?
Recording is a very arduous process, mainly due to the fact that we can't play the song once and have it all mixed perfectly on the first play back.
It's always been a love/hate relationship with recording; I do get very much into the actual mixing and production but it can become frustrating. Luckily we had Aho in our corner, who frankly works like a machine. He was on the same page with us 100% which made the whole process fast and enjoyable.
Personally I've always been a fan of analog recording - meaning you only have a few chances to get the take right otherwise the tape is fucked and so are you. Keeping this in mind we recorded each song playing live together, within a few takes got it to the point where we were happy with it (happy in the sense where we felt the energy was there rather than hitting each note correctly) then moved on.
XZ: Aho is the guy who does the sound in DClub, yeah? He's a great guy. What's his deal? Is he expensive to do an album with? Also, how many CDs are you guys getting pressed and what's the plan with them once it's out in the world?
Correct, he is doing sound at DClub as well as a few other places in town. He now mainly is spending his time there at Tian Zi Fang. DB Studios charges around 300 RMB per hour.
You can get a copy first at our CD release show at the door. Afterwards, we'll throw the CD around at places like Livebar, yyt, ect for people to pick-up. We are also planning to send copies to the places we did a show at while touring outside of Shanghai.
XZ: What about internationally? Any interest on getting it heard over some oceans?
Thanks for asking, who do you know?
XZ: I know the internet. On the recording, you seem to be really proud of it. Do you think it could be something that you would listen to in 10 or so years?
Well yeah, it just sounds like we wanted it to sound. So, absolutely, I'm gonna make my kids listen the shit out of it.
XZ: What kind of stuff are you listening to now?
Gil: Europeans playing American rock
Mian Mian: 农业重金属 (Agricultural Heavy Metal)
XZ: Ace. What's next for the band? It's the classic interview question.
We have a few more shows, included Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and our final show is on the 15th of July.
XZ: Wait, hold up. What's the go with the final show? Ever? Wha' happened?
Yeah, 'that's all folks' - because we found out Mian Mian is Jewish.
XZ: Schindler's rock. New bands out of the ashes?
Maybe, everything's open.
Jan: I feel we put a lot of work in Bigong Bijing, I don't feel like betraying it so soon. The main reason we break up is that I go back to Europe, so it's a case of higher power.
XJ: And finally?
The show is June 30th at Livebar, starts at 9pm; 30 RMB entry (entrance ticket price includes free CD)
If you feel Livebar is too far well then hey man, fuck you.
Stalin Garden, TNT, Androsace, 毕恭毕敬 (that's us)
WORDS: XIAO ZHONG / BIGONG BIJING
PICTURES: BIGONG BIJING