Music Industry Insight: Djang San of The Amazing Insurance Salesmen
For our September Music Issue, we asked a selection of the city's music experts for their take on the current state of the 'scene' here in the capital. Their insight was adroit, humorous and controversial in equal measure. In this blog series we post the interviews in full. Next up, Djang San of The Amazing Insurance Salesmen.
On the best acts of the last 12 months
In the last twelve month, I've seen quite a few bands here in Beijing. I know it's not really new but I saw Metoo for the first time this year and thought it was quite interesting. I think Residence A is quite cool, too. I also saw the Hedgehog release party and it made me change my mind about this band, I used to think of it as not so interesting, now I think it's good.
Also, Devils at the Crossroad are quite good, Nova Heart, WHAI, Not there, DWAAS, LIDONG.
On the development of the Beijing 'scene'
I've seen more and more bands with foreigners in them, and also the growing influence of Eletcronic music in the Beijing Rock music scene with bands like Jungle Mico, Nova Heart and WHAI. Everything seems to have moved towards the Gulou area with bars like Temple, Modernista, Zajia Lab, XP, Tushuguan etc...
On the future of 'the scene'
In order to grow, the Beijing music scene needs serious investors and people who want to promote this music more in Europe, Japan and the US, where the biggest markets for music are. The music also needs to reach larger media in China, otherwise it will stay underground forever, and maybe disappear completely.
On current trends
The hot genre of the moment is to mix all kinds of music and come up with your own sauce.
On how Beijing stands up to other musical cities
Other big music cities in the world have structured systems for music, which allows good bands to tour and play more. Also, there is a lack of good sound engineers and good equipment in general in the city, which sometimes can give you the wrong impression about the quality of the music.
One good thing about the music scene here is that you can experiment a lot with different styles of music, and play a lot too.
On the main obstacles for new bands
In Beijing, the audience tends to go see what is “trendy” and you often feel there is a lack of a solid fan base to work on. People in Beijing come and go - few people stay. You end up with lots of people in a room seeing a band not because it's good, but because people told them it was “the thing to see”.
On current influences
Influences in Beijing can come from anything ... I think that apart from music influences, there are influences that come more from the city itself. The whole mood of Beijing and the people's feeling toward the city can change from one day to the next, and this feeling of uncertainty definitely has an influence on the music that people create here.
How can a new band get ahead in the industry here in Beijing?
I think each of us find our own ways of dealing with things here. It's difficult to put your finger on what actually is “the industry”, basically, you have to find it out yourself.
On getting a foot in the door
The best way is to play good music, like everywhere else.
On who new bands need to know
Know yourself and the rest will follow.
Click here to see the September issue of the Beijinger in full.