Interview: Chui Want at the Museum

By , 2016年 8月 26日

Chui Wan has been peddling their particular strain of psychedelic rock’n’roll around the world over the last two years, with multiple international tours under their belt. Their Europe tour earlier this year included a residency at a rural commune in Caen, France, during which the band prepared a new piece. They debut it this Saturday, August 27 at the Beijing Minsheng Art Museum. Before that, I asked drummer Li Zichao, bassist Wu Qiong, guitarist Liu Xinyu, and vocalist/guitarist/violinist Yan Yulong a few questions about the residency and their new material:

pangbianr: I’ve never heard of a rock band residency. What was it like?

Li Zichao: I’d heard that the place we were staying had chickens and cows, but I was pretty shocked when we got there and found out that was true. We were the only band there at the time, everyone else was locals or their friends, it was a very passionate group. They built a simple rehearsal studio for us, and we practiced every day for four or five hours at a time. The rest of the time was casual. The street lamps shut off at 1am every night.

Wu Qiong: During the four or five days of the residency we were given a studio to work on a new piece, to be performed at this DIY music festival. So that process was very different from our normal rehearsal. There was way more improvisation, and we thought it was very inspiring. But unfortunately the music festival got canceled in the end, so we couldn’t play. But we found the whole experience interesting and inspiring.

Liu Xinyu: It felt like a reality show. It was like a survival show. It brought about some changes in the band, but for now I can’t put my finger on how. It was like a utopia. It was on a commune where some contribute cooking, some do dishes, some put up the stage, and everyone pays very little rent to live on the farmland. It reminded me of Raying Temple in Beijing

pbr: Having toured widely in China and Europe now, how would you compare the two?

Yan Yulong: One thing our residency made me think about is, why is music culture — underground music scenes — formed in urban areas in China, while in Europe a lot of them exist even in rural areas? We stayed on a farm. There’s this tradition in Europe that people don’t have to do it in the city.

Liu Xinyu: I think a lot of European bands seem more independent compared to Chinese bands. Here for example, if me and a friend have two different bands, and we’re really close, we go out and put on shows together and hang out all the time. But in Europe, say a show has four bands: the four bands may completely not know each other, and they play completely different genres of music. So that’s a pretty weird difference.

pbr: What came out of the residency musically?

Yan Yulong: This is still a Chui Wan work, but it could be considered the flip side of Chui Wan. On the album, we work on a rock music base, a big frame, with experimental stuff added to it. But for this work we flipped that, using experimental material as the main base with rock music on the side.

Chui Wan at the Museum
Beijing Minsheng Art Museum
Admission: 80rmb
Saturday, August 27
8pm start
9 Jiuxianqiao Road, Chaoyang District

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