How amazing is it that rad underground bands from Beijing playing will be playing the next Save Music in Chinatown benefit? Zhou Nairen, the bassist from Birdstriking, answered some questions for us as the noise punk crew prepares for its first U.S. tour which includes our May 31 all-ages matinee at the Grand Star and a warm-up gig on May 30 at Cafe NELA.
MW: The album that’s being released here is new to us in the U.S. but old to you. How has your sound evolved since then? Are you playing newer songs as well?
ZN: Yes, we will play new songs. And we’ve had a new guitar player since last year, so our sound is definitely changing–especially in our live performances. Our music has evolved to the next period and we have a different focus for our expression.
MW: You’re going to be joining Chui Wan when you arrive in the U.S. Have you been keeping in touch with them, seeing how things are going over here, and planning the Deadly Cradle Death set?
ZN: Yeah, we’re close and keep in touch all the time. We’ve known each other since both bands’ beginnings. We used to live together and have some other projects, such as Half Heavy Korean (Yan Yulong and me) and Deadly Cradle Death (He Fan and Liu Xinyu).
MW: I think it’s cool that you’re hitting Olympia and I saw a K Records shirt in one of your portraits. Is that a pilgrimage?
ZN: Haha, our drummer is a huge fan of Beat Happening and K Records, but he can’t attend the tour. So we have a guest drummer who is from Carsick Cars and also had a band with me before.
MW: Is there anything that the guys from P.K. 14, Carsick Cars, or other bands that have toured here have warned you about or told you to check out in the U.S.?
ZN: Not yet, but our vocalist He Fan is also in Carsick Cars, and I believe our tour manager, Ricky, can show us some great things. Also, my brother lives in Seattle and I hope to see him.
MW: I’m stoked you’ll be playing our benefit in Chinatown. As guys from China, what’s your take on Chinatowns?
ZN: This is gonna be a special. It’s our very first time playing in another environment of Chinese culture, so it will be powerful.
MW: Our show is an all-ages matinee, so little kids are able to attend. Do you play many shows like that? Is it weird playing during the day or without alcohol?
ZN: Yes, we’ve played some shows like that in Beijing. I think it’s cool ’cause everyone, even the kids, can come to the show. I love to enjoy the sunshine during the day. Haha, we’re okay without alcohol.
MW: There’s a Bruce Lee statue next to the bar where you’ll be playing. Is he cool in China these days? Or is he just old-fashioned?
ZN: I think he’s kind of old-fashioned but, yeah, he’s still an icon in China and cool for sure.
MW: What are you most interested in bringing back from the U.S.? Records? Photos? Recipes?
ZN: Of course records, photos, videos… But I most care about the instruments.
Catch Birdstriking with Chui Wan and Deadly Cradle Death at Save Music in Chinatown 6 on Sunday, May 31 at the Grand Star Jazz Club in Chinatown. Headlining the show will be Dengue Fever. Get info on Facebook, tickets at EventBrite.