Interview: Han Han (Duck Fight Goose)

 \"P1180079\"Interview conducted by Michael Cupoli
Han Han is one of the members of the amazing and always changing Duck Fight Goose. The band originally started with two guitars, bass, and drums and has evolved into a heavily electronic based band. This August, Duck Fight Goose is going to release their first new album in five years on D-Force Records with a release show in Beijing on August 20th at Tango alognside labelmates DOC. In addition to being a member of Duck Fight Goose,Han Han has a solo project called GOOOOSE which recently took part in the Shanghai edition of Boiler Room. Also, Han Han runs a monthly series at Yu Yin Tang in Shanghai called The Centaurs that features a wide range of bands and performers. Here\’s a taste from their forthcoming CLVB ZVKVNFT which you can find on xiami, iTunes, and douban.

How did you first get into playing music? What instruments did you learn how to play? What bands or music projects were you involved with before Duck Fight Goose?
I was fascinated by the introductions of bands from a magazine called Music Heaven when I was in high school. And I was thinking at that time:hey man I wanna be in a band when I’m in college, you know, that’ll be awesome. Then I got the admission of the college that my parents wanted me to go to. I was like: hey now I kind of fulfilled your wishes, what about buy me an electric guitar and an amp? Then their nightmare began. I had 2 bands in college, first one was called DCTV, and later Lava OX Sea. Both kind of sucked. Also has a solo project I feel embarrassed to mention.

How did Duck Fight Goose begin? How has the band changed over the years?
I went to Shanghai after I finished my graduate school and by that time I knew 33 and Panda already, from Muscle Snog. And I called them and said what about we try make something different, you know, something far far away from Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, EITS, MONO or anything that was considered to be the holy bible for indie kids. Then we played till now, been 7 years. It’s changing a lot, new elements, new approaches of reaching the sound we want, and deeper understanding of music, collaboration, and our instruments, as well as others’ music. We just can’t stop evolving to an unknown state.
In the beginning of Duck Fight Goose you and Panda used to play guitar. Now neither of you play guitar in the band. Why did both of you decide to not use guitar and use electronics instead?
To us, we find guitar to become more and more of an obstacles gradually. Not saying it’s a bad or old instrument. It’s still cool, but it’s somehow limited, and also different kind of instrument will generate different feels or images of the band. We are kind of sick of the typical rock\’n roll image of a band. I still really love playing my gibson. I always wanna record an album with only guitar. And if we try to mention music concrete here, guitar has only one sound in the spirit, it either helps or not at all. Synth is a completely different story.
Duck Fight Goose is about to release a new album. When does the album come out? How is it different from Sports and Flow? Is there anything else you can tell us about the album? I remember you mentioning something about remixes.
It’s gonna be out this August under D-Force records from Beijing. To me I would say it’s more matured and more like “music”, rather than “band sound”. There’s no right or wrong, just we wanna do it this way. Less layers, more diverse instruments, real drum kit and real bass. Moog, Dave Smith, Reel to Reel master versus Operator from Ableton, Transient modulation, 50 something automations in one track, Marimba, Vibraphone, some weird Thailand instrument, xoxbox, Fender rhodes, etc etc, we grab any sound we like. Yes I sent tracks to some friends that we respect and they are still working on remixes. We will release another remix album after the main one that’s for sure.
Is there going to be a tour to support the new album? If so, where will you go? 
We might only play in Shanghai and Beijing for the album release and then head to Europe for a short tour, maybe 10 days or something. I’d like a tour but it’ll depend on time. I mean 33, panda and JB all have to work daily so we have to choose how to use our vacations. Exotic places are always more attractive :]
You also have solo project called GOOOOOSE. When did you first start doing music under this name? How do you separate the music you make between the band and your solo project?
I probably start to use that name seriously only 2 years ago. It’s quite easy to separate because when i’m playing as GOOOOOSE i was totally into my world, I don’t look at the others, I only think and talk with my controllers, improvise. Sometimes it sounds really shitty, but time to time it turns out to be good. It’s a bit like yoga i think. For DFG it’s a collaboration, we have eye contact and stuff and it’s different fun, and also different kind of troubles.
Recently, GOOOOOSE took part in Boiler Room Shanghai. What was it like to take part in that event? How is different from playing a regular gig?
Oh it’s was fun. The most interesting parts are: Firstly, they manage to bring a funktion-one system to Boiler Room Shanghai and it sounds really nice. Second is this is the first time I play a live-streaming show, and it’s intense. But when I accept their invitation I already decided to improvise, I mean, that’s who I am. I wanna be honest, rather than deliver an perfect but boring performance.
The Centaurs is an event that you have been organizing in Shanghai. What is the concept behind The Centaurs? How have the shows been? What is your plan for The Centaurs in the future?
The concept is all about fighting with the obsolete binary views toward musicians, music or information in general. It’s that I gradually realized most of the musicians I respect shared something in common, which is diversity. I mean he might like black metal but at the same time is a huge fan of house music. It’s not conflicting. And the seemingly conflicting stuffs makes people unique. I would like people to know from this event that genre is not important at all. Just start making something, music, noise, sounds, or anything else.
Miniless Records was a label that you ran before and are starting up again. Why did stop doing Miniless Records? Why did you decide to start run Miniless Records again? What plans do you have for Miniless Records?
In year 2008 a lot of bands just finished because they graduated! Sad but true haha. I saw some interesting bands from Shanghai, Hangzhou and everywhere and I wanted to start it again. But now there’s some problem plus i’m quite busy still with a lot of stuffs. For some reason it won’t start all over again really quick, but it’ll definitely start again.
You just got a eurorack set up. Why did you want to start using instead of only using software synths? How is different from using Ableton Live? What kind of set up do you have? Does the term eurocrack apply to you?
I’m just reading a lot of stuffs about synth and kind of wanna try other stuffs that’s not hard-wired inside of the machine, that apply to both hardware and software synth. For me I like nicer, fatter, retro kind of sound of course but I think that’s not the point of me playing with modular synth. It’s the control of the flow of signal, also the instability of modules that fascinated me, I heard a joke from Alpine Decline, it’s about when they are back in LA, one of their friend would patch his system and they went out for a lunch or something and when they are back, it sounded totally differently. Seriously, this is amazing. It’s about control, but also about randomness, curiosities, accidents. Like improvise, and it’s a total mind game.
I still use  Ableton a lot, it’s my favorite platform. I feel comfortable when I’m using it. But from time to time I wanna get away from computer screens. So I use push2 and different controllers.  To be honest I don’t really think modular synth and ableton are that different, they are just tools for me to design sounds into the shape that I like. Max for live has some really awesome stuffs that could generate things like modular synth, the BEAP set is crazy, if you are interested check out the guy behind it, called Matthew Davidson, a pure genius. Also there are Reaktors, and actually Arturia and Eventide emulated modular system like maybe 6 years ago? And then 10 years ago there’s Buzz Machines and Nord’s awesome modular G1 and G2. Maybe it’s not that early but anyway modular synth is an ancient tech, and now it just becomes a trend. I happen to have that money i can spend on a synth and I saw Make Noise and i like the depth of it then I bought it. Really simple…
I’m now using push2 and 2 monome128 as the basic controller, send signal from ableton to my modulars to sync, and real time record and chop sounds from both ableton and make nosie, and resample. Still practicing the system now. Endless choices makes me nervous. I’m trying to limit functions of both hardware and software, like when I’m using operator now, I will only use one instance of it, and limit the sound to one, just make it monophonic. Polyphonic is a trap man. To be honest I’m not that obsessed with modulars, I’m not a collector of instruments. If I buy something, I’ll do my homework before buying, and try to use it to the most extent after i have it. And right now I’m trying to just make things simple. I really really like those huge sounds come from a simple system. Like Monk on his piano, Bird on his saxophone, etc etc.
To finish the interview I really really would like to quote something from Matt Rogalsky about David Tudor. I think these lines are timeless. he said,\”The electronic devices, though human-made, are following their ‘natural’ tendencies: the performer’s role in creating the piece is to herd the electrons in one direction or another. The sounds are only semi-controllable and the instrument’s barely manageable complexity is strategically designed to thicken the plot\”

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