10 Years On: Beijing Rockers Residence A on Growing Up and Finding the Light
快3开奖结果查询One of my fondest memories of Beijing?and one that pushed me into?documenting?the music scene?was witnessing Residence A one late Christmas Eve in 2010.?Watching wide-eyed lead singer and guitarist Zhao Zhao revel in his?bandmates'?raucous, earnest, and manic tunes was akin to being led into a rock and roll carnival, and the crowd soon followed suit.?They closed out their set with "Farewell Spring," a song that has been engrained in my Beijing psyche ever since?(in my opinion?it’s?the "Hey Jude"?of Beijing).
It didn’t take long for Residence A, filled out by Xiao Bing on guitar, Chen Shao on bass, and Zhao Ning on drums (who joined the lineup three years back), to become one of the indie rock scene’s most reliable and?consistently engaging acts, releasing their debut in 2012, followed by quickly by the 2013’s triumphant EP .
Beloved for their catchy, melodic and oft life-affirming anthems, they’ve steadily grown a wider and deeper fanbase, even finding some success of the CCTV’s Sing My Song?in 2015. Now, Residence A?celebrates ten years on the scene with the release of their long-anticipated sophomore release All Things Have Light?and a special performance at Tango. We had the pleasure to check in with the band before their momentous 10th?anniversary on Sunday, Dec 29 at Tango.
Congratulations on ten years! I remember my first time seeing you guys at the end of 2010 in D-22 – it was one of the best live music experiences of my life. What has?Residence A has been up to this past decade?
Thank you for being there 10 years ago. D22 is a place full of memories. Ten years has given us?many memories as?we've?grown up together, and we now all have our own families. We've played more performances, earned more fans, and luckily have achieved things previously unimaginable. Of course, we have thought about giving it all up and have argued in the past… but fortunately, we're still here today, and we can continue to write songs!
The most important moment for us was our?first performance as Residence A on Apr?8, 2009. We played at Jiang Jin Jiu as part of?a Kurt Cobain?Memorial Show – this was the gig that started our career. Then,?in 2012, we met the founder of MAO Livehouse, Li Chi, who eventually became our band manager. After that, our EP Love of This Era?was released in 2013. Then, three years ago, we added?Zhao Ning, our new drummer, whose passion is unparalleled.
Now, we're looking forward to the release of our new album for the 10th anniversary of the band, followed by last but (not the least) show of our?138-city tour that we're still in the midst of.
Is there a part of you that wishes you could play your anniversary show at a small livehouse as compared to somewhere like Tango? How have your expectations changed over the years playing to larger and larger audiences?
We still often perform in smaller livehouses now, although there are fewer and fewer in Beijing. On our 138-city tour we have been playing?both small and large rooms. There may be some bands that gradually avoid?livehouses after they become famous, but?at the end of the day, the livehouse is the foundation of rock bands. No matter how big or small the stage size is, when you are playing, the satisfaction is the same.
快3开奖结果查询I can feel that more and more people are paying attention to Residence A, and there are more people coming to see us than before. During this time, each of us has?undergone some changes. For example, in our music, we have tried out some new styles and instruments, as we want to figure out how to surprise our fans. But no matter how big the stage or how many people come to see us, the most important thing for the band is "the work"?–?I hope we will not be fickle and try to maintain a steadfast attitude towards our music and our work.
Since your 2012 debut and your follow-up?EP 2013, there’s been very little new music coming out from Residence A. Why such the long wait?
Yes, it' has been six years since the last album. In fact, these six years are the build-up of《萬物有光》[translated to All Things Have Light] as it contains six years of anticipation. This album has been in the works for three years already. We've thrown out the recordings?many times, broken through countless times, and was on the verge of collapse more than once.
Without exaggeration, several of the tracks have been revised hundreds of times. Although it's not perfect, it was all done through countless hours of painstaking effort. At the end of the day, all things have light. I hope you can feel the light of these works when you listen to this album.
The indie music industry and scene looks very different now from when you guys started.?Do you think it’s easier to make a living now performing?
The music industry is relatively prosperous. There's more?capital entering the scene. People are more likely to look at the statistics and online platforms, which means not many bands like to tour anymore. If they do go on tour,?they will look at each city and how many people might come to the show?– smaller cities are less active, bigger cities are always busy with gigs. To make a living for a band has never been easy and still isn't today.
Tell us about the new album. Based on the first single "中華兒女" released in September, it definitely feels larger and more optimistic. What themes are you looking to touch upon in it?
In this song, which took 16 months to complete, we wanted to express our love for our own Chinese culture by combining Chinese instruments and motifs with Western rock and roll ideas. Surprisingly we found this could really work!
Finally, what’s in store for the anniversary show next weekend?
This is truly our homecoming show. It will be big. We'll have other performers joining us for the show and while it was a challenge for us to put together, we couldn't be more excited. We will try our best!
A lot of the songs are being rearranged for the occasion and this will be our first time performing them in public. At the moment, we're deep in intense rehearsals. If it goes well, we will perform these works. We have also added some other instruments, such as piano, sanxian, pipa, and so on.
There'll be props and custom-made lighting for the show. But the most important thing is that our new album will on hand for everyone. The performance may not be luxurious, but it will certainly be wonderful.
Join Residence A for what will most likely be a raucous anniversary next Sunday, Dec 29 at Tango. Tickets are RMB 180 on the door or RMB 150 advance.
Images courtesy of Residence A