Monthly Archives: July 2011

Listening to Music in Beijing

A lot of the music I like, just doesn’t sound very good walking around Beijing. When I get the chance to listen to music here, it’s usually on my ipod to and from work. The crush and hustle of the morning and evening commute generally dictate what sounds good.

Bluegrass, one of my favorite genres, sounds awful here. I don’t know know why. Maybe Beijing is too gritty and bluegrass needs sunlight to make sense. For whatever reason I can’t stand listening to bluegrass on my ipod anymore. I do still enjoy seeing bluegrass live, especially the stuff my friend Randy Able has put together. I haven’t deleted my bluegrass stash, but I’ve thought about it.

Sonic Youth, on the other hand, sounds great in Beijing. I would never listen to them in the US, it was too harsh and derivative for me, but I find myself listening to Daydream Nation and Murray Street once or twice a week on the way to work.

Music is dictated by context to a large degree, something we take for granted.


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Filed under China, Music

Interview Transcript: Not There & Dean Pickles

Not There has done exactly one interview in the last year. Dean Pickles, a true denizen of the Beijing scene, sat down with us over 7 alarm Cosby Chili to chat about life, music and whatever else popped into our heads.

Pickles: Your songs go on for a long time, do you think that alienates people?

Edo: Probably.

Nick: Perhaps but we don’t really care.

Jon: I mean the crowd, who cares. We’re totally in it for the art. It’s about using a post symbolic language to express our existential viewpoint.

Marco: What?

Edo: I agree with Jon, but I think that’s only true if you follow the discourse. It’s really micro-logical in essence. Pickles, have you seen Big Road?

Pickles: I guess that’s a different discourse?

Marco: But you have to consider it from a free-market perspective. I mean it’s all about incentives…

Nick: You people suck, I thought we were talking about music today.

Pickles: Ok, ok. Nick, do you like LCD Soundsystem?

Nick: No, that guy sings like a moaning hipster bitch. Jon likes them a lot.

Jon: Yeah dude. Nar Nar.

Pickles: Edo what do you listen to?

Edo: I have been listening to a collection of sheepherd music from southern Italy. It’s very droning, ambient. I get tired of all this trashy music these Americans make me play.

Marco: Yeah, I mean Jesus, I can relate.

Nick: Stay in the pocket, fill less.

Jon: Sigh…

Pickles: Jesus, enough. Are there any other bands you guys respect in Beijing?

Nick: Edo respects everyone. I like Maze, Jon likes/hates Nan Wu. We like Nico.

Jon: Not me, he’s a better bass player, but like at least I’m still better than SAM.

Marco: No you’re not…

Jon: Sigh…

Pickles: How would you sum up your sound in one word?

Nick: Lucid.

Edo: Compromise.

Marco: Mediocre.

Jon: Phish-Rip-OFF

Pickles: Are you religious? I have a friend who started a religion.

Nick: Christ, not this again…

Marco: I have a sales call to make, bye.

Edo: I want to learn more.

Jon: Sigh…

Pickles: Thanks guys, we’ll talk again soon.

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An Album as A Game

We’re gearing up to record an album and I’ve been thinking about how we can leverage gamification to do something interesting. One of my ideas is setting all the tracks to some kind of visual that listeners can tap in-rhythm on a touch-screen. People tap their fingers to music anyway, why not give them some kind of visual space to interact with the music?

You could take it pretty far out, with different colors for different notes, or do it simply with just random, trippy scenes. It’s not that hard to develop something for iOS or Android, so it seems do-able. We could either monetize it through paid downloads or build in some kind of virtual currency system where players un-lock different songs as they play.

Just a random thought, but something I’m interested in pursuing. Any app developers out there interested in a co-op?

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Filed under Digital, Not There

We Like to Party

I’ve come to the realization that the concert, as a format, is basically dead.

You have to do something more than turn up and play a good show if you want to get anyone to go. There’s gotta be a hook of some kind at the very least. In Beijing, themes are what’s been most effective for us. When we’ve put on a big show built around a theme: e.g Halloween at Mao, turnout has been great. When we’ve promoted a show as a “concert” it’s been a lot harder to gain traction.

Moving forward we’re going to concentrate on throwing parties, where the music is just part of the experience.

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