The Big Picture – Handwaving CD Release

By , 2011年 2月 16日

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The Big Picture has been playing in and around Beijing for the last few years. This Friday at Hot Cat Club in Fangjia hutong they’ll release Handwaving, a follow-up to their 2008 self-titled collection of demos. The material on Handwaving was written over the last three years and recorded in late 2010 by Swedish bandleader Mikael Salomsson.

Handwaving will be released on the recently launched Swedish label Lötkärr Records and distributed by Mikael in Beijing, where he is joined by John Marrett and Luke Hansford for The Big Picture’s live shows. The release show on Friday is FREE, and will also include an opening performance by Thruoutin (aka 白面包).

I asked Mikael a few questions about the new release and the Stockholm/Beijing connection represented by his music:

pangbianr: Does Lötkärr Records have a special connection to China, or do you just have a personal relationship with them?

Mikael Salomonsson: Lötkärr Records is a small label that has recently been started by Lina Cullemark and Peter Gunnarson of the band Springfactory. The only thing that they’ve released so far is a compilation album called “Sound of Young Lötkärr“, where I contributed one song. Basically everyone on that compilation are friends, and many of us come from the same Stockholm suburb – Haninge. The label is just getting started so there’s not much info about it at the moment, but there will be a website up pretty soon.

pbr: Do you feel Beijing influences your music at all?

MS: The music in Beijing does not influences me much. I don’t go out to see shows much because I haven’t found much music that really interests me here. But I do find the experience of living away from home, and living in a culture very different from my own quite inspiring. I like Beijing a lot, but at the same time miss a lot of things about Stockholm, and there are some songs on Handwaving about wanting the best of both places and sometimes not feeling like you belong in either one.

pbr: Being an artist with experience performing inside and outside of China, what characteristics do you think makes China a unique place to write and perform music?

MS: There are lots of places to play in Beijing and it’s really easy to get gigs, so Beijing is a great place for getting experience being on stage. Also practice places are many and fairly cheap. So the conditions for having a band here are really good. Most venues don’t seem too partial to any specific style of music which is sometimes kind of funny. Like the other week when we played at Hot Cat Club there was a metal band playing after us, and then, a soul band after them… Weird mix. It doesn’t always turn out that good, but it’s liberating in a way to get away from the kind of trend-sensitive scene we have in Stockholm.

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