Alright, disclaimer before getting to the interview. This was my first interview I conducted for LBM back in February – it was originally suppose to be a video interview, to be spliced together with their show the day after and their rehearsals at the Snake Pit in Andingmen. But because of the massive retard I can be time to time, I ended up accidentally deleting the whole interview (as well as countless other concert footage) in an effort to free up space on my hard drives. Yeah, it sucked big time, and I cowardly left it at that, basically in denial since then that the interview ever took place. During some more footage shuffling this summer I stumbled upon the original audio file for the interview, as well as a few scattered corrupted video files, to bring up the guilt again. But Hell, a half victory is still a victory in my book – so here’s my interview with Unregenerate Blood.
One of Beijing’s premier hardcore bands, and true advocates of the scene, Unregenerate Blood, was my first foray into the hardcore scene. Li Chai (guitar), Wu Gang (drums), Li You (vocalist), Li’ang (bass), and Chen Hao (guitar) were simply put, some of the nicest guys I met – calm, collective, and extremely leveled-headed – which was shocking to me, initially at least, after seeing them rehearse, and blow out my eardrums effortlessly. Their music packs a punch and seeing them live only cemented the fact that these guys don’t mess around. So here’s the interview, in audio form, and yes, in Chinese – thanks to my ex-roomie Aja and girlfriend for holding my hand during the whole process – as I was a unprofessional mess the whole time. And if anyone out there is willing to do more translation (for a fee of course) for LBM shoot me an email. Here are some of the highlights of the interview.
On The scene here
There are very few hardcore bands in Beijing, really only three that we consider pure – even fewer in the other cities. Since this style of music is new; in Western countries, hardcore has a long history. In china, we’re one of the earliest bands to play hardcore, King Lychee even earlier. We’re all underground bands.
There are a short period of time where ‘hardcore’ was popular – it was nothing like what we play now – too many metal groups viewed themselves as hardcore.
Getting to the essence of hardcore
A ways back, the singer and I had an old school hardcore band – but it’s wasn’t real enough. We needed to start again – get to the core of hardcore music, to the beauty of the music that’s essentially about seizing the opportunities we are met with. Musically, there’re elements of metal and punk – yeah, it’s loud and noisy but under it all, you have music that’s about friendship, brothers, family – it’s all very positive.
On Hardcore’s Future
Nowadays, rock music seems to be gaining more support, but we still feel the real thing is still suppressed. We’re still shocked at how much support we’ve received underground so we’re just gonna continuing doing what we like and hope for the best.
The important thing is heart…we hope as more people come to our shows there gain a deeper understanding of the hardcore culture and what it’s trying to express…even for the bands themselves…not just some surface, ‘throw on a hardcore T-shirt ‘ understanding but to dig in deeper.
Expressing themselves through hardcore
Just like in any other society we have our lives and our music, and we look to express our lives through our music – though we are using the western form of music – we are putting our lives, our issues, our message into the music. Lots of people wonder why we put our lyrics in English – well, even if the English isn’t perfect we feel it’s important for everyone in the world who are hardcore can hear our voice.
We want people to take away positive things from our music. For example, in “Friendship is not a trap”, we express how it’s not a problem to treat your friend well. In other songs, we come out against family violence and the demolition of old buildings in the city.
On achieving credibility
There still are plenty of foreigners out there who think rock music doesn’t exist in China – they still think we have long hair and pray to an emperor. The fact that there is hardcore, punk, and metal in China is a miracle.
A lot of Chinese people see rock music here as against society. The fact is it’s not. We just want to express something positive. For us, it’s a misunderstanding. They would think playing rock n’ roll is taking drugs, complaining, being degenerates.
We are like a flagstone now, we won’t know where Chinese rock is heading to for 30 years. Maybe one day everyone will listen to it – who knows.
Here’s the full interview. Be sure to check out their douban page to see when they’ll be playing again – and stay tuned next week for clips from the CNHC Hardcore Festival.