Rainbow Danger Club - if you've been in Shanghai for more that two weeks you'll probably have heard of them. Their second album, 'Where Maps End', was well-received by fans and critics alike, but they're not stopping there, oh no. With plans to keep recording, to play more gigs and looking forward to their first festival appearence we caught up with Nichols and Michael over a beer to discuss Black Rabbit and more.
S24/7 - So welcome! Thanks for coming down!
Both : You ....are....welcome!!!!
S24/7 - So can you introduce yourselves for people who don’t know who you are?
Hi, I'm Michael, and i play trumpet and some keyboard with the band...
Nichols - Which band?
Michael - Rainbow Danger club!!!
Nichols - My name is Nichols and I’m the bass player for Rainbow Danger Club!!
S24/7 - Cool, so we've just been talking about Black Rabbit and the fact that you are now playing Beijing as well as Shanghai. Tell us how your weekend is going to pan out?
M - Well we don't know the details but we were originally doing Beijing, then the stage got cancelled or something - and then just a couple of days ago they asked if we could still do it, and so we'll be going to Beijing on Friday night and playing around 12.30 - 1.00 on Saturday then coming back to Shanghai to play around the same time on Sunday.
N - Then we'll be up all Sunday night and then Monday teaching with hangovers!! ...Err, I mean, teaching and doing a fantastic job!
S24/7 - So someone talked to us the other day and spoke about the fact that Shanghai bands were not always made the most welcome in Beijing - have you heard that and are you worried about it at all.
N - Yeah, I’ve heard that; I don't really care. I’m just going to go up and play; I’ve been to Beijing three times and I’ve never yet experienced the music scene there... And I suppose this is a festival so could be quite different. We're just excited to play to be honest, bring it on; we'll just go there and have fun.
S24/7 - Is this is the first festival you've played?
N- I guess this is the 2nd! We played the Dudettes’ festival, which was probably the best festival we'll ever play.... Jeez there must have been 2,000 - 3,000 people there! ... That's what you'll publish right??!
S24/7 - Definitely.
M- There were crowds of 10's! ... 10's of people! Just pretend the mic cut out when we said the thousands bit... It was amazing any way.
S24/7- Dudettes Fest aside, this will be a new experience for you guys then?
N - Yeah, it's the first time we've played during the day for a start, our first time playing outside. It's our first time playing in Beijing and we're completely out of our comfort zone and I’m totally cool with that. I'm really excited to see how it all pans out. We've made quite a few adjustments, to make it all work.
S24/7 - What kind of adjustments have you made?
N - Song selection mostly I suppose, but I want to keep that as a surprise!
S24/7 - So we think your sound probably suits the outdoor festival experience. Would you agree with that?
M - I think, well what we've been talking about is that some of the more 'contemplative', darker songs, we're not sure that they will necessarily work as well outdoors. In the middle of the day, might seem a bit strange I suppose, whereas when it's midnight and it's dark in YYT and the lights come down and we play something sort of slow, and spooky there is a feeling to that. I'm just not sure that sort of stuff will work well at a festival. Thought maybe we're wrong!
N - Yeah, totally.
S24/7 - So the festival is geared toward the Chinese audience. Are you worried about that? Is your general fan-base foreign, Chinese?
N - [laughs] Our general fan-base? All the dozens of people! I hadn't really given it much thought to be honest. I suppose at say Yuyintang you totally expect at least half the audience to be foreigners but at a festival it's going to be mostly Chinese... I'm just quite excited about introducing ourselves to a new city and a different demographic.
S24/7 - So you released the new album this year, do you have any plans for another one?
N - Oh yeah definitely, we want to keep on recording, we in fact want to do something toward the end of the year. Maybe an open source EP or something. We kind of keep our expectations in check, mainly we're just having fun, not out to make a shit ton of money, just enjoying ourselves.
S24/7 - So we heard you're selling albums in Australia, any plans to do the same in China?
N - In fact, as of yesterday we're on Taobao! Yes!
Taobao link - http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?id=12864943387
S24/7 - So are you selling it as a 'pay as you want' or do you have an actual price on it?
N - Our downloads are free/pay what you want - but we'll charge for the physical record.
S247 - Can we ask how many people actually pay for the downloads? Do you find that people are generally pretty cool about it?
N - Yeah I think so
M - Better than I expected! Actually I thought my mum would put a dollar into it, except she doesn't know how to download it anyway... But in general it wasn't just each of our moms doing it!
N - Yeah, honestly! - Basically you have a ton of people who don't pay anything and then you have 'power' payers, someone who will pay 20 bucks for it and I think if you do the math we've probably made about 2 dollars per download.
M - What?
N - No! No! Not even that!
M - I was going to say, where'd that all go? You told me we hadn't made any money!
N - I'm a Math teacher, I should have totally done that better. 50c per download! But that's also including iTunes - where we've made....no money at all! The thing is you're kind of undercutting yourself if you offer it for free download in one place and then sell it for a dollar 99 somewhere else! Which we in fact do! Actually, what was I thinking!
Check out our video from the album launch.
S247 - So after Black Rabbit are you back playing gigs? You've had a bit of a break over the summer right?
N - Yeah
M - Yeah we've got a few things coming up.
N - I guess we're notorious for not playing a lot, we've got BR, and then we have Modern Sky festival in October.
S24/7 - So you also recently went to Wuhan with a bunch of other bands, how was that?
N - Yeah it was awesome, for me it was one of the most fun times I’ve ever had in my life, just a bunch of Shanghai city folk invading another town! We didn't get a huge crowd to be honest but it was still awesome. The places didn't really know what the hell we were doing but i think next time thought it will be different.
WORDS: Shanghai 24/7
PICTURES: Angelika Lincoln