By admin, 2011年 3月 31日
Not in China? Watch on YouTube
(这篇访问由Liz撰写，近期将刊登在city weekend 杂志的专栏。由此阅读City Weekend)
HEDGEHOG is making big moves this spring. Currently on a comprehensive China tour, they return to Beijing on April 22nd, when they will officially release their new album “Honeyed and Killed” to their hometown fanbase at Mao (view douban event).
With all of these developments, we figured we’d cover Hedgehog’s newest developments with not one, but two interviews. Above stream a video by Benny and Kun to hear tour stories, the band’s perspective on the growing “Beijing scene”, and what the future holds for Hedgehog. Below, dig deeper with Liz Tung’s comprehensive interview covering the band’s new releases and sonic maturation (jump to the English translation).
(Liz’s interview was excerpted in her recent City Weekend beat column, which you can read on City Weekend’s site)
Liz: 新专辑跟以前的有什么不同？ 你们新的音乐有什么变化？
刺猬 – 《甜蜜与杀害》(2011)
子健: 《蜜杀》是在何一帆加入乐队之前就录好的，贝斯是由子健弹的，之所以托了快1年才发行是因为混缩一直没能安排出有效的时间。一帆是2010年6月份加入乐队的，他加入进来之后我们就一直在排练新作品，大家可以在我们和这张专辑同时发行的demo《2011 DEstory meMories》里听到，变化是十分明显的。一帆最喜欢的乐队是Fugazi，他的贝斯更加强硬，其实这也是刺猬一直想要找的感觉，我们本来就不是什么轻音乐或者流行摇滚，我们是支很重的乐队哈哈。
刺猬 – 2011 DEstroy meMOries
Liz: 你们为什么决定叫这个专辑《甜蜜与杀害》？ 这个名字是什么意思，或者什么意义？
子健: “甜蜜与杀害，爱情与死亡” 是这张唱片的一个主题，大家拿到唱片应该会有明显的感觉，几乎每首歌都涉及到了这个情感。每首歌听上去都很甜美，但都是暗藏杀机。生活也是这样，可能刺猬一直以来给大家的感觉也是这样，这张专辑我们会放大这种情感，可能更隐晦，也可能更暴露，这个可能每个听众会有不同的感触。
Liz: B-SIDE LOVERS的音乐给HEDGEHOG的音乐影响吗？什么样的影响？你们为什么决定组建这个乐队？
Intro and interview by Liz Tung:
The first time I ever saw Hedgehog was at a show at D-22. They kicked ass, and Atom even played a song with the accordion, causing most of the guys in the audience (and a good portion of the girls) to leave, swooning, into the night. Afterwards, one of my friends asked, “What was that one song they played?”
“Which one?” another friend answered.
“You know – the catchy one?”
Everyone laughed. For a long time, Hedgehog has occupied a unique position in Beijing’s underground, as an indie-pop band flourishing in a scene where noisy experimentalism is often held up as the standard of cool. Hedgehog has consistently gone their own way, carving out a space for themselves with music that mixes hook-filled melodicism and quirky art rock. It’s a sound that the trio has become known for, in China and, increasingly, abroad.
This year, however, has seen the band moving in a different direction, with the simultaneous release of their fourth studio album, Honeyed and Killed, and noisy new demo, both of which ditch bubbly toe-tapping in favor of a darker, at times more experimental, sound.
I talked to guitarist Zo recently about Hedgehog’s new work, as well as their recent trip to New York and side project, the B-Side Lovers. The band is currently on tour in China, but will hold their CD release at Mao Livehouse on April 22.
Liz: Where and when did you record the album? When will it be released?
Zo: The album was recorded last April at the Dunhuang Audio and Video recording studio. The official release date should be March 18, and we’ll be taking plenty of records on the tour.
Liz: How will the new album differ from your previous records?
Zo: It’s not as ebullient as the albums before. This music is a lot more calm; it’s an extension of before. Both the lyrics and the music itself are a little more introspective. This album should be seen as the end of Hedgehog’s style and feeling. We look at Noise Hit World, Blue Day Dreaming, and Honeyed and Killed as our youth trilogy. This album has a strong “end of youth” melancholy mood to it, but when you listen to it, the music is actually very sweet.
Hedgehog – Honeyed and Killed
Liz: How has your new bass player changed the dynamic of the band?
Zo: “Honeyed and Killed” was already recorded by the time He Yifan came into the band, so the bass on this album is played by Zijian. The reason the album’s release has been delayed nearly a year is because Hun Suo never had enough time. Yifan joined the band in June of 2010, and since then we’ve just been continually rehearsing new material. Everyone can hear our new sound in our new demo, 2011 Destroy Memories; the change in sound is really obvious. Yifan’s favorite band is Fugazi, and you can hear that in his bass playing, which is even stronger. Actually, this is the kind of sound Hedgehog has always been looking for. We’ve never really been about light music or pop rock; we’re more of a heavy band haha.
Hedgehog – 2011 DEstroy meMOries
Liz: Why did you decide to call it Honeyed and Killed?
Zo: “Sweetness and murder, love and death” is one of the themes of this album. That’ll be obvious to anyone who listens to the record; just about every song touches on that feeling. Every song sounds very sweet, but they all conceal murderous intent. Life is like this too, and maybe Hedgehog has always given off this kind of feeling. On this album we’re going to expand on that feeling; it may be more subtle, but also more revealing, and it’ll probably elicit different emotions to everyone who listens to it.
Liz: Some people have noted that your new songs have more of a “rock” feel to them, for instance with “Sparklehorse,” as well as the three new demo songs, which all feature intense guitar riffs and even a bit of noise. Was this a conscious decision to move in a more noisy direction?
Zo: Yeah, we’re definitely moving in a more energetic, rock direction, but it’s not totally noise rock. Our new demo is an bolder attempt, and next we’re going to be trying even more things. Generally speaking, Hedgehog shows are even bigger and more powerful than before. Come to a show – guaranteed fun.
Liz: How has the work you’ve been doing with B-Side Lovers affected Hedgehog’s sound, if at all? Why did you decide to form the band? What can you do with it that you can’t do with Hedgehog?
Zo: Actually, Hedgehog’s latest tunes were motivated in part by a B-Side Lovers’ rehearsal from early 2010. That day, our goal was to just jam. With B-Side Lovers, there’s a lot more freedom than Hedgehog. Whether you’re making music or just rehearsing, it’s a lot easier when you’re practicing with just two people to come out with some really sharp, really unique stuff. The song structures are also looser, as we’re free from a lot of the arrangement conventions of three-person bands.
For us, these attempts are very beneficial, and have directly influenced Hedgehog’s latest batch of songs. B-Side Lovers’ rehearsals are extremely productive, we can sometimes write five or six songs in one session. It’s a great feeling, and completely different from Hedgehog’s songwriting process. Some of the songs that we think need a bass line we’ll take for Hedgehog. And of course there are a lot of ideas that can only be expressed through a two-person band, so for us B-Side Lovers is a really useful project.
The original reason for forming B-Side Lovers was that we really wanted to zero-in on the songwriting process. It’s a quicker and more efficient way of trying new things, whether that’s stream-of-consciousness or noise guitar or some weird and awesome percussion noises or whatever.
Liz: You recently went to New York for CMJ. What was that experience like? Did you get to see a lot of bands?
Zo: This trip to New York was really fun; we played four shows in two weeks. For most of the rest of the time we were just experiencing the city, seeing shows, seeing exhibitions, going to record stores, and so on. It was really great. We were hungry for everything. In short, we learned a lot and improved a lot. Our show at CMJ was really good; everyone really liked our music, and the atmosphere was really good. A lot of Americans didn’t believe we were a Chinese band (laughs).
Liz: Where was the audio of people talking in the beginning of “Honey and Killed” recorded?
Zo: It was recorded at a small performance space in Manhattan. It was a small exhibition of avant-garde games and handicrafts, and it also had some bands playing. That day, there were a lot of really fun game machines, so while we were playing, we recorded the sounds of people talking and the background music.
Liz: Why did you decide to record that video in New York? What kind of connection does the city have to the song’s sound or emotion for you?
Zo: The world is huge, we are tiny, and New York is the capital of the world. Every day in Manhattan, there’s the craziness of people rushing off to work and taxis everywhere. Big cities like this will make people insane, yet hidden in the possibilities of this crazy world is everyone’s private loneliness and pain, longing for love… These kinds of feelings are, by contrast, very intense. We feel that [the video of NY] most represents that side of the world’s craziness. Those scenes can, in some ways, explain what we’re singing about in this song.
Liz: Where exactly is the roof that Atom is dancing on? Whose building is it?
Zo: That’s on this stone platform in a small waterside park near the Williamsburg Bridge. She’s standing on top, and in the background is the Manhattan skyline. At the time, we thought it was really beautiful. It looks like it’s really far from the city, but in reality it’s right up next to it, yet the heart is very far.