Badr is the shit, plain and simple. When I first started getting into the music scene here, BeijingDaze was my go-to place as to what to check out – between his hilarious passionate write-ups, to his desire to spark interesting discussion and debate, and his ability to form a musical community that’s open to all – well, let’s just say I hold the man up pretty highly and really, he’s one of the reasons why I got into this gig in the first place. Before things heat up this weekend at Dos Kolegas for DazeFeast 2012, I was able to ask the man himself some questions about the history of BeiingDaze and the music scene here in Beijing.
1) Let’s rewind a bit – what were you doing three years ago today? What was your mindset at the time? And what was it, the spark, which prompted you to start BeijingDaze?
The way it all started was I was getting bored of Beijing with my life falling into a certain routine of office-sanlitun-home-same \’ol. I debated leaving town for various reasons but I ultimately decided that it wasn\’t the city that I was bored with but my lifestyle. I knew Beijing had a lot more to offer and I set out to find all the little things I wish I knew about like little hidden restaurants, new products in town, music shows, special events etc… I think the first BD post was about the availability of Mountain Dew in town. At first food was more of an emphasis but at some point, around Christmas 2009, a switch happened and music took over.
2) Did you imagine that three years later you would be running Beijing’s top online music resource and throwing your own festival?
I\’d be lying if I said I did… The first town came out of a drunken rant and was more of a dare. This one is a big party, a FEAST. Professionals put festivals together, I don\’t.
3) You seem to enjoy music across many genres, as long as it’s good, right? And there any types of music you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole?
I hate labels really.. Music is music, as long as it\’s played live and there\’s some element of passion in it, then I\’ll give it a chance. I like pretty much anything that entertains me and sounds warm…post-rock and electronica are definitely two things I do not understand nor do I care for them at this point. They feel un-emotional to me.
4) You make a point to stress the biasness of your content? Do you find that people assume you’ll play fairly in reviewing shows or expressing your opinions?
Opinions are like assholes, everybody got one and I\’m not an exception. I do stress out the \”biasness\” of the content because it is biased. I like some types of music and some types of bands, I don\’t like others and I don\’t expect anyone to agree with me on this. Ruby\’s opinions are as different form mine as can with her really enjoying post-rock for example. There\’s room for everyone!
5) How has the music scene changed since you’ve been here? What do you think the future holds for underground music here in Beijing and China?
The scene in Beijing is developing faster than anywhere else in the country which presents an interesting set of challenges. Too many bands and too many venues with no standards set in terms of headliners, mid range acts or rookies. I don\’t agree with the concept that a band fresh out of the garage can ask for the same cover charge as 10 years veterans. That doesn\’t make sense and shouldn\’t happen.
That said, there is progress. The bands are more mainstream and rock n roll is starting to be accepted by society. Just the other day, Suffocated made an appearance on CCTV5. This would have been unimaginable just 4 years ago to have one of the biggest metal bands in China on national TV. We\’re getting somewhere.
6) You also cover food as well on The Noodle Diaries? What’s your advice to people covering the various scenes in the city? Any other sites that you can recommend?
I\’m not sure I\’m in a position to give any advice here.. blogging is not an exact science, it\’s an emotional experiment so you gotta be genuine and honest. There\’s a bunch of people that have been doing it for quite sometime and deserve recognition like Beijingboyce.com & grapewallofchina.com . There\’s also a great monday night dining club called Jiaozi Monday that has been doing some great stuff for years now.
7) What can we expect at DazeFeast this coming Saturday? Any chances we’ll get to see your singing chops?
Expect it to get messy again… I\’ve been a freaking caged animal over the past two weeks dealing with some business ventures and I will be letting loose at \’dazeFEAST. How loose? Who knows! With 17 bands on + DJ and what not, also expect to go all night and we\’re hoping for the mother of all Jam sessions and that\’s when there might be some howling at the moon, \’daze style.
Thanks Badr, for the insightful answers… and boy and girls don’t forget to get your ass over to DazeFeast came Saturday afternoon starting at four. Here’s a image to get you excited for the madness.
Note: photos stolen from BeijingDaze’s site!