Interview: Lonely Leary

Since I first catch Lonely Leary in early 2015, I’ve been championing them as the risen through the ranks and the while maintaining their knack for live-wire performances and razor-sharp tunes. Over time the band has managed to find ways to elevate and twist further the knife on their paranoid angst, cool-headed melodies, and cesspool of infectious post punk unease. A rollercoaster ride of jagged edges, hushed aggressions, manic energy, and taut bass lines that barrel full speed ahead – it grips you and doesn’t let go. The band has been preparing the release of their sophomore effort this year – and not even COVID-9, delayed tours, or lockdown can stop them. The band, originally supposed to tour last month, are finally being let loose upon the country as they head to Hangzhou, Shanghai, Nanjing, and Qingdao starting Thursday, August 6th. I had a quick chat with the band last month about life during quarantine and hitting the road again. 


Q: How’s life been these past six months!? Give me some good news!


A: We finished most of the recording for the new album before the Spring Festival. Although it was delayed by the corona virus for a while, it was finally completed this past May! Our producer, Yang Haisong, is commendably doing the post-mixing work at the moment, and I believe it won’t be too long till its release. 


Q: How did the pandemic change your plans for the year? Were you lucky enough to finish the recordings before everything went to shit? 


A: Except for recording the new album, we didn’t have too many concrete plans before the pandemic raged, so it’s hard to say how much it was affected. The only ups and downs for this tour were we originally had planned to join the Swiss band Penkowski on the road, but the epidemic made it impossible for them to get visas. Luckily, we’ve been catching up and rehearsing quite a bit, and we didn’t have to completely overthrow and rebuild our tour plans from scratch. (Editor’s note: if that wasn’t enough, the band had to postpone their plans for a tour a month back due to the virus popping up again in Beijing). 


Q: How did you keep from getting rusty musicality during these past months? Have you been able to rehearse together?


A: In the past six months, we have not been together most of the time, and all we can do is have scattered remote discussions. But sometimes, putting down the music for a while isn’t such a bad thing! 


Q: What do you want to achieve as a post punk band and what are your thoughts on the post punk scene in China and how you fit in? 


A: If someone listens to our record and subsequently all the emotions and thoughts lead to the phrase “fuck” – I think there is nothing more exciting for me than this. Of course, this has very little to do with the so-called “post-punk” status. If there is a “post-punk” scene in China, I would rather stay away from it. 


Q: When was the last time you were on the road for this length of time? Excited?


A: Our last time ‘on the road’ was the European tour in the fall of 2018, which was almost two years ago. It was a very interesting experience: before each performance, we would set up the entire stage and all the equipment (including drums and speakers), and the audience was often dominated by punk uncles and working class folks. Quite different from the situation in China, but pretty close to what my imagination was of the European indie rock scene based upon movies. 


Q: What were some of the highlights of your past China tours? What’s the secret to keeping your sanity on tours like this?


A: During our last national tour, the real “highlights” often took place in cities outside of our expectations, such as Shenzhen, Yiwu, Wenzhou, etc. – places that we were barely aware of. Of course, the so-called “highlights” are also based on our own experiences, and have little to do with box office and how the performance went.

For us, the more intense the tour schedule, the more exciting and vigorous it becomes, but taking one to two days off has a significant effect on our bodies allowing us to completely decompress. During the tour, late night dinners and drinking sessions and waking up early in the morning to travel is often inevitable. So I think a nap after arriving in every new city is the most effective way to conserve energy!



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