As the leaves turn to saffron, crimson, and russet and fall to the ground, eventually fading away back into the soil, Live China Music burrows into the underbelly of Shanghai’s music scene with a bountiful offering of bold new sounds that’ll ignite your senses and lead you into happily into the abyss. Psychedelic, experimental, improvisational, kinetic and sprawling soundscapes that will faze you and leave you in a daze – enter Autumn Faze this Thursday, Octobe 14th. . Leading the way are one of Khunathi – a full-blooded psychedelic rock band that throws a bit of everything into the blender – fake Buddhist scriptures, masquerade masks, and some truly audacious grooves – whilst injecting a lean, crisp psych blues sound into their music, captured with meticulous yet riotous glee by the quartet.
Q: Introduce yourself? How did you all end up together? Are all its members based in Shanghai?
A: We all met when we were in college, and we used to play a band in school. After graduating, we separated for a few years and reunited again. We are currently in Shanghai.
Q: What kind of musical backgrounds do each of you come from? Did you all know what you wanted to accomplish musically?
A: All guitar and bass players started out as wild punk musicians. Later, they made up came from jazz foundations. YeRen learned the shakuhachi (traditional Japanese bamboo flute) and gagaku (ancient court music of Japan) in Japan. Have a preference for various national musical instruments. The drummer used to be into funk. We didn’t have clear expectations when we formed it, and wanted to try different things.
Q: Speaking of which – what does a typical rehearsal look like? Is there a lot of adjusting done in the rehearsal room – going back and finding what works in a song and what doesn’t. Or is it imore mportant to keep the process as pure as possible?
A: All the songs come from improvisations in the rehearsal room. Sometimes a story or atmosphere is determined first. ‘Great Tang Records on the Western Regions’ was a great source for foreign stories. Many song titles also come from this. Sometimes we don’t discuss the jam directly. The whole process of improvisation will be recorded. We see ourselves as an automatic music generator for sampling, a neural network algorithm in training to discover a specific sound combination. When listening back, it is like mining, intercepting some fragments for processing and combining. In fact, this process often fails, because some subtle things are difficult to reproduce. So we simply started a podcast (Khunathi 生鲜计划 which can be found on NetEase Cloud and Cosmos) to release these one-shot recordings.
Q: While there are elements of improvisation in your music, I’ve noticed more and more structure and a clear through-line within your music – is your set constantly evolving or do you look to the theme of the show or what bands you’re performing with to guide you?
A: Each song has its own life cycle. We have plenty of motivations for development. We tried some new semi-finished products on stage every time we performed last year. Some motives can survive the chaos and continue to evolve. Some songs may perish early on because of insufficient potential or too many conflicts. Every song is evoling. Recently we recorded a batch of songs. A lot of changes have been made to the arrangement, and some ambiguities have also been settled. It will be more refined and structured than before. But at the same time it also lost some risky incentives. Recently, we are obsessed with modular synthesizers and max8. In the next stage, we may try another kind of music production thought.
Q: You bring a lot into your live sets – Buddhist scriptures, masquerade masks – what’s the overarching philosophy to the band — either to the way you approach music or what you hope to convey with your music?
A: I hope our music is a trip, taking you away from here and going elsewhere. There is another reality that is slightly different from the space we are in. Music is used as a kind of evidence of relics.
Q: Psychedelic music has seen a bit of a resurgence in China over the past couple of years – what is it about the genre that’s so alluring?
A: Psychedelic music offers another possibility of reality.
当树叶开始变红，落在地上，最终消逝在土壤中时，Live China Music 深入上海独立音乐腹地，带来大量的大胆新声，点燃你的感官，引领你愉快地进入深渊。那些迷幻的、实验的、即兴的、动感的和蔓延的声音景观，将会让你困惑，让你陷入迷茫。打头的是 Khunathi —— 一支血气方刚的迷幻摇滚乐队，他们把所有的材料扔进搅拌机中：伪造的佛经、化装面具和那真正大胆的节奏。同时在他们的音乐中注入了清脆的迷幻布鲁斯之声，由四人组成的乐队将会带来严谨细致，纵情宣泄的欢乐。
Translation: Xiao Liu/Fanmu