Michael Pettis on the End of D-22
终极线报:Michael Pettis在D-22的最后时刻

By , 2012年 1月 4日


D-22 is scheduled to close next week. Founder Michael Pettis explains why and what’s next:

pangbianr: By now the rumors have spread so widely that it’s common knowledge D-22 will close… Why? How long has this been in the works?

Michael Pettis: We’ve really wanted to do something very different in the Beijing music scene for a long time and so we have been thinking about closing D22 pretty much since the beginning of 2011. Our original plan was to close on our sixth anniversary, on April 1, 2012, but the owners of the space have asked us to close earlier because they are concerned that 2012 may be a pretty sensitive year.

It wasn’t an easy decision of course, especially since the audience had been getting bigger, particularly on weekdays, and this suggested that our drive to get more local students to attend music shows was working. We have always lost money on the club, but in 2011 we lost much less than ever before – which is a victory of sorts, I guess.

pbr: When will the club actually close?

MP: I think the last show will be January 10 which, very fittingly, is a Zoomin’ Night, because it was the development of the Zoomin’ scene that was probably the biggest factor in my decision to close D22 and open another space.

pbr: In recent years Beijing has seen proliferation of new live music venues, many of which are located more centrally in Beijing’s Gulou district. How has this affected D-22?

MP: We always saw our role as to find and support talented new musicians so it didn’t really matter to us, especially since the Gulou clubs tend to draw a pretty different crowd from ours – older and more expats, especially non-student expats, and mostly looking for more familiar sounds and well-known bands. Whenever our bands became big we would only let them do secret weekday shows at D22 and book the big weekend shows for them in other places around Gulou. Our favorite was always Yugong Yishan, which may be the biggest club in Beijing but is still the one most willing to take risks on new music.

pbr: What was the goal when D-22 initially opened? Do you think you accomplished this goal?

MP: Our first goal was a little immodest, but we thought that with the right kind of support Beijing had enough talented musicians to become one of the most exciting new music cities in the world, and we wanted to be part of that process. This happened much quicker than I thought it would, to tell the truth. Our second goal was to help shift the audience for new music in Beijing, and in China more generally. Several years ago expats and locals in the scene dominated the audience, but for me it was clear that if Chinese college students didn’t become the backbone of the scene it would never develop. That’s why we opened in Wudaokou and catered to Chinese students, even though they have less money and don’t drink as much as the expats.

pbr: If you could change anything about D-22’s nearly 6-year run, what would it be?

MP: I would have spent more money on the bathrooms and the electrical system. There is nothing worse than the nagging worry during a great show that we will have another bathroom disaster or the circuits will once again blow out.

pbr: In many people’s minds, D-22 is synonymous with Maybe Mars, since the club and the label are both owned and operated by you. Yet some of the bands that cut their teeth and came of age at D-22, such as Hedgehog and Queen Sea Big Shark, went on to record albums for Modern Sky and other labels. In your mind, what is the connection between D-22 and Maybe Mars? I.e., is one a branch of the other, or are they separate units with different objectives?

MP: They are not synonymous at all, although they both have very similar objectives, which is to support local musicians that we think have a great deal of talent. Many if not most of the great bands and musicians that have emerged in Beijing over the past five or six years were closely associated with D22, but we simply couldn’t sign them all – especially [Queen Sea Big Shark], who signed with Modern Sky before we even started our own label. Putting out CDs nowadays is a money loser, and the more performers you have the bigger the bills, especially the way we do it, since we try to get high quality recordings even for bands that will always be too experimental and difficult ever to sell many CDs.

Actually our problem with the label has been very different. Every band that we asked to join Maybe Mars, with one exception when we first started the label, has joined our label, and even that exception asked us last year if they could switch from their label to ours. The problem for us is that a lot of bands that we love but are not prepared to take on get upset if we don’t sign them because they associate themselves strongly with D22 and assume that D22 and Maybe Mars are the same. If I had enough money and could easily hire more of the kind of first-rate people we have working at the label, I would expand the label tremendously, but I need to make more money first.

pbr: There are also rumors that the team behind D-22 will open a new club. Will the aesthetic and mission of this new venue be a continuation of D-22’s, or something different?

MP: It will be very different, I think, and much more oriented towards a group of very sophisticated and talented young musicians that congregate especially around our Zoomin’ nights. In fact this was the main reason we decided to close D22. There is a really interesting scene developing around the Zoomin’ and the No Beijing musicians, with a lot more experimenting with different sounds, many short-term on-stage or in-studio collaborations between different musicians, and lots of swapping ideas and styles. Our new space is going to be designed with this kind of thing in mind. I was eager to do something like this for years, but six years ago we would have never been able to pull it off. The new space will be an attempt to see if we can pull it off in today’s Beijing.

pbr: Do you have any closing remarks to sign off the D-22 era?

MP: It’s been too busy to think in terms of the end of an era, but I will say that the last few weeks in a sense explain what we did well and also, perhaps paradoxically, why we have to close D22. As you know the club was pretty much packed for much of the past two weeks and we had three nights in which the audience was so large that by 10:30 we had to close the doors and turn away hundreds of kids at the door – 350 people is our limit.

This is very positive in one sense, because a few years ago no one would have imagined such large audiences lining up for hours in frigid weather to see these bands, but it also convinced me further that we really couldn’t keep on going as we were. Strangely enough when D22 is packed I am more than ever convinced that we can and should move on to something else. I am happy in an abstract way when the club is full because of course the musicians like big audiences, but honestly I hate being there during those times – it is just hard work, not music, and if you are losing money anyway it is hard to justify working so hard.

D-22: May 1, 2006 ~ Jan 10, 2012

Not in China? Watch on Vimeo.

View English Interview

中文编译Lulu Chow

D-22将在下个星期按计划关门。D-22的创始人Michael Pettis对关门一事做了说明,同时也谈到了未来的打算:


Michael Pettis:我们一直以来就非常想在北京独立音乐领域里做一些不一样的事情,可能是一些超越现场音乐形式的东西,或者伴随着地下音乐圈里的新势力,做更多的尝试。关门的想法在2011年初就已经浮现在我脑海里了。我们最初的计划是在6周年纪念日的时候正式关门,也就是2012年4月1号。但很遗憾,我们的房东等不了那么久,他希望我们能尽量提早关门、终止合同,至于什么原因我也不清楚,他可能出于对2012这个敏感的年份的恐惧吧,对此我个人非常理解。













MP:我觉得肯定会很不同,而且会更加面向多变而年轻的乐手们,特别是偏向类似燥眠夜,以年轻乐手为主的实验舞台。燥眠夜和No Beijing阵营带来了太多的惊喜,我们的新场地将会更多的着眼于此。这也是我一直迫切想做的事,六年前我们没有能力去实现它,那是一个小众集体自杀的年代,但是现在,在今天的北京,我想是时候了。


MP:一直很匆忙,以至于头脑中完全没有空暇去意识到这是一个跨时代的事件,但是我想说,在这最后的几个星期里,我们成功地像人们展现了在过去的岁月中取得的成果,同时也相当的矛盾,这些成果所反射出来的画面也恰恰告诉我们,的确是该终结的时候了。过去两个星期你看到酒吧几乎场场爆满,10:30我们必须关门限制入内 ,达到了350人封顶的局面。


D-22: 2006年5月1号 ~ 2012年1月10号

SHARE / 分享SHARE / 分享: