[专栏]入耳 In My Ears #2:章鱼鼓手的问题——北京有没有DIY?

[专栏]入耳 In My Ears #2:章鱼鼓手的问题——北京有没有DIY?

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关于国内独立音乐人的介绍侧写或者是演出回顾,大家其实也都经常看到,但是来自于一个活跃于北京地下音乐圈多年的资深老外的观点一定显得更加特别。Josh Feola(赵识)住在北京,他既以乐手身份参与及组织摇滚乐和实验音乐演出,同时也是一位优秀的撰稿人,独立运营着音乐网站pangbianr.com在以后每周的专栏[入耳 In My Ears]里,Josh 会以他的独特视角,讲述独立音乐场景中的种种故事,也许还会展示出音乐人更加不为人知的一面。本期 Josh 从“章鱼鼓手” Kid Millions 的故事出发,谈到北京乃至中国独立音乐场景中的 DIY 精神的普遍缺失。一篇引人深思的文字。

  

For English Please Scroll Down.

 

 

相关发行:Oneida & Rhys Chatham《What's Your Sign?

点击收听单曲《You Get Brighter》

 

撰文/Josh Feola 

 

在豆瓣音乐办公室,John Colpitts(又名 Kid Millions,布鲁克林乐队 Oneida 的鼓手)现在依然不时会被叫做“章鱼鼓手”。这是因为在2014年宣传“公告牌之外特别演出:永恒之男”的时候,有一位豆瓣的员工画的一幅卡通画。我有幸作为鼓手之一,参加了那次打击乐团的双城表演。其实那段时间我行动不便——演出前的几周我摔坏了膝盖——不过幸运的是我负责的是军鼓部分,我可以坐着演奏。

 

听得出来,Kid Millions 打得更好了。在《What's Your Sign?》这张专辑里,尽管被 Oneida 重重的混响包裹,此外还有先锋作曲家 Rhys Chatham(纽约早期 No Wave 场景的启发者之一)所构建的循环,停落与重组段落,Kid Millions 的技巧依然可以被完全捕捉到。这张专辑回溯了地下音乐史的不同篇章与根源:开场曲《You Get Brighter》如果放在 Black Flag 的《My War》里也没什么不妥;《Well Tuned Guitar》则像是 Can 的《Lost Tapes》的遗失曲目。Kid Millions 的鼓技贯穿整张专辑:精准、重复,同时又自由、流畅,就像是指纹标识一样毋庸置疑;对另一些人而言,比如我,它则是一份宝藏——真希望某天能打得像他一样好。

 

Kid Millions 的“章鱼鼓手”卡通画像

这张专辑我整整听了一周,而让 Kid Millions 跑进我脑子的还有其他一个原因——其实是跑进我的邮箱啦——他写了《Goodnight Brooklyn》的影评,这是一部关于DIY场地 Death By Audio 关张的一个纪录片。VICE 在2014年圈下布鲁克林一整个街区的地块,Death By Audio 也被包括在内,此后很快就歇业了。他问我北京的DIY是怎样的?或者说,它真的存在吗?

 

有点不太好回答。DIY 意为 Do It Yourself(自己做),在西方被认为是一种特别的地下文化。持这种理念的人(通常是音乐人和艺术家)希望他们的创作在各个层面上由自己决定,且非商业化。我在北京住了七年了,我所发现的一点是,就与我所了解的西方相比,中国的文化历史与社会基础中缺乏 DIY。

 

我最早接触 DIY 是高中的硬核时光:组乐队,用很低的预算做 CD-R demo,做自己的 fanzine,为巡演路过当地的乐队做采访……大多数美国的地下乐队都有着类似的故事。我们以80年代的硬核朋克乐队为榜样,比如 Black Flag,在网络时代之前他们就知道怎么自己组织全国巡演了,而那会儿其实连手机都不怎么普及。此外,DIY 在西方扎根很深,可以追溯到1960年代的反文化先锋运动,比如激浪派。

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文中提到的布鲁克林DIY演出场地 Death By Audio

显而易见,至少在1978年以前,中国是封闭的。从90年代开始,地下摇滚乐的场景才慢慢开始成长,经过全球化、互联网、社交媒体共同使劲,现在还要加上最普及的智能手机的和app,如今它成为一个惊人的混合物。

 

在中国地下音乐场景的一些角落里依然活跃着 DIY。比如说吧,我的朋友朱文博,他运作着一个磁带厂牌(燥眠夜),在一些非常规的场地办演出,比如地下通道里,为自己办的大部分演出做海报,印海报,然后自己去做宣传,同时也经常作为表演者参加这些演出。但并没有很多人像朱文博这样;而磁带厂牌与 DIY fanzine 更像是刻意地、不合时宜地复古回潮,而不是一种在数字时代里,能让一个本地场景延续并活跃的存在。

 

2015年燥眠夜在地下通道的公开演出

确实,北京很难 DIY。对 DIY 组织者和乐队比较友好的小场地,两个好朋友,杂家,小萍,老 What,还有更多别的,最近几年纷纷关张。原因包括与政府管理部门的冲突,日益上涨的租金,不断缩水的收入。最终结果是,更大更商业化的品牌,如摩登天空和树音乐,由于缺乏竞争从而带来了更多的影响,并力图在独立音乐领域制造垄断。而那些生活方式品牌则利用现场演出来做营销策略——Vice 很擅长这个,和他们在布鲁克林做的一样——由于 DIY 的缺失,他们从中获益。他们所倡导的文化,最初是由那些关注艺术而非商业的人所奠定创建,而现在他们将其推广成为一种商业模式。

 

真的一定得要这样吗?我同意像 Vice 或匡威这样的品牌的确向更多的人展示了中国的地下音乐,但是他们是否带来了乐迷,或是消费者?Vice 这样的公司成为地下音乐的权威,其问题在于,他们并没有给做这些音乐的人帮到很多。某种程度上,像 Vice 这样的品牌很难促成一个繁荣的、有机/非商业化的地下音乐场景。这些品牌,实际上是将乐队的音乐和造型资本化,而非任何层面上的塑造。在潮流更迭之后他们也会迅速将这些乐队遗忘。

 

所以,这个周末你可以想想看,在北京能做哪种形式的 DIY。或许现在的年轻人可以用一些app如微信,捣鼓出一些新的方式,来组织他们的活动,传播他们的想法和音乐。这会是一种新的北京 DIY 方式,但或许你还有更好的主意。

 

同时,不妨也预览 Oneida & Rhys Chatham 的新专辑《What's Your Sign?

 

相关豆瓣页面

燥眠夜:http://site.douban.com/zoominnight

Black Flag《My War》:https://music.douban.com/subject/1432326/

Can《Lost Tapes》:https://music.douban.com/subject/10566763/

 

 

关于作者

 

 

Josh Feola 是一位音乐人/撰稿人,现居北京。自2010年起,他通过自己的平台“旁边儿”(pangbianr)组织音乐、艺术、电影活动,并先后担任D-22与XP的演出经理。他的长期项目有撒丽不跳舞实验音乐节(Sally Can't Dance)与北京电子乐偶遇(BEME)。他为以下出版机构撰写过关于音乐、艺术的文章:The Wire,Leap 艺术界,Sixth Tone,Tiny Mix Tapes,他也是纽约观察者报 Gulou View 观点专栏的共同作者之一。作为音乐人,他曾在北京乐队吹万担任鼓手,参与首张专辑《白夜》的录音与巡演;目前他是乐队Subs、迷走神经的鼓手,也化名 Charm 录音、演出。

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IN MY EARS #2: Question from The Octopus Drummer - Do We Have DIY in Beijing?

 

Release: Oneida & Rhys Chatham - "What's Your Sign?" (Northern Spy Records)

Listen to the track "You Get Brighter"

 

In My Ears is a weekly music column by Josh Feola 赵识, Beijing-based writer and musician and founder of pangbianr.com

 

Around the Douban Music office John Colpitts (aka Kid Millions, drummer of Brooklyn band Oneida) is still sometimes referred to as "章鱼鼓手": the octopus drummer. This is because of a cartoon drawn by one of Douban's staff when they brought Colpitts to China for two performances of his Man Forever percussion ensemble in 2014. I was lucky enough to participate as one of the drummers. At the time I was actually down to three limbs myself, having broken my knee a few weeks before, but luckily my part was on snare and I could perform sitting awkwardly.

 

I listen to Kid Millions to get better at drumming. His skills are fully audible on "What's Your Sign?", though buried in the heavy reverb of his band Oneida, and further looped, chopped, and reconfigured by avant-garde composer Rhys Chatham, a major inspiration for the early New York No Wave scene. The album cycles through different influences and phases of underground music history — opening track "You Get Brighter" wouldn't sound out of place on Black Flag's "My War"; "Well Tuned Guitar" could pass as a track missing from Can's "Lost Tapes". Kid Millions' precise and repetitive but also free and fluid drumming style is there throughout, an unmistakable fingerprint and pure manna for someone like me, who hopes to one day be a fraction as good as him.

 

Kid Millions, "The Octopus Drummer"

Besides jamming this album relentlessly over the last week, Kid Millions popped up in my mind recently for another reason. Actually, he popped up in my inbox. He's currently writing a review of "Goodnight Brooklyn", a documentary about the closing of DIY venue Death By Audio. Vice Media made an arrangement to take over an entire block in Brooklyn in 2014; Death By Audio was included within that, and promptly shut down. He asked me what "DIY" looks like in Beijing, or if it even exists here.

 

That's a bit hard to answer. "DIY", if you don't know, means "Do It Yourself", and describes a specific underground culture in the West, consisting of people (usually artists or musicians) who want their creative work to remain self-sufficient and non-commercial on every level. One thing I've come to realize over my seven years in Beijing is the lack of a cultural history and social infrastructure for "DIY" in China, compared to how I know it in the West.

 

My first experience with DIY was as a hardcore kid in high school, making a band, putting out our low-budget CD-R demo, making our own fanzine, interviewing touring bands who played in my hometown, etc. Most underground American musicians have a similar story. We stand on the backs of '80s punk/hardcore bands like Black Flag, who figured out how to book their own national tours decades before the internet, and long before mobile phones were widely available. DIY in the West also has deeper historical roots, tracing back to counter-cultural and avant-garde movements of the 1960s such as Fluxus.

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Death By Audio

Obviously, China was more or less closed off from all of this until at least 1978. An underground rock music scene was slowly born here in the '90s, and has grown into a pretty incredible hybrid today, due to factors like globalization, the internet, social networking, and, most recently, innovations in the use of smartphones and apps.

 

Today, in some corners of China's underground music scene, there is some DIY activity. My friend Zhu Wenbo, for example, runs a cassette label (Zoomin' Night), books shows in unconventional venues like public underpasses, designs most of his event posters himself, prints the posters and promotes the shows himself, and often participates in the shows as a performer. But there aren't very many people like Zhu Wenbo, and things like cassette labels or DIY print zines are more intentionally retro and anachronistic than something that can sustain and activate a vital local scene in this digital age.

 

One of Zoomin' Night's public underpass shows in 2015

Indeed, it's hard to be DIY in Beijing. Small venues friendly to DIY bookers and bands — 2 Kolegas, Zajia Lab, XP, Old What, and quite a few more — have closed one by one over the last few years, for reasons including clashes with authority, rising rents, and diminishing revenues. As a result, larger, more commercial music brands like Modern Sky and Tree Music gain more influence as they face less competition, and actively maneuver to establish a monopoly on the independent music scene. Even lifestyle brands that use live music events as a promotional strategy — Vice Media is a big one here, as in Brooklyn — benefit from the lack of DIY activity, since their objective is to push forward a commercialized version of a culture that was originally created by people more interested in the art than financial gain.

 

Is this necessarily a bad thing? I applaud brands like Vice and Converse for exposing more people to underground music in China, but are they creating fans or consumers? The problem with a company like Vice claiming to be an authority on underground music is that it doesn't contribute much to the people actually making this music. In some ways, brands like Vice actually make it more difficult for an organic, non-commercial underground music scene to flourish. These brands are, in fact, capitalizing on the sound and style of bands that they had no role in shaping, and will forget once the fashion changes, as it does often.

 

So your homework this week is to think about what form "DIY" can take in Beijing. Maybe the way that younger people in the scene today are using apps like Wechat to figure out new ways to organize themselves and broadcast their thoughts and music is a potential new form of DIY that makes a lot of sense in Beijing. But maybe you have a better idea.

 

In the mean time, enjoy a preview of Oneida & Rhys Chatham's "What's Your Sign?

 


Associated Douban pages

http://site.douban.com/zoominnight
https://music.douban.com/subject/1432326/
https://music.douban.com/subject/10566763/

 


About the author

Josh Feola is a writer and musician based in Beijing. He’s organized music, art, and film events in the city since 2010, via his label pangbianr and as booking manager of live music venues D-22 and XP. His ongoing event series include the Sally Can’t Dance experimental music festival and the Beijing Electronic Music Encounter (BEME). He has written about music and art for publications including The Wire, LEAP, Sixth Tone, and Tiny Mix Tapes. He also co-authors the Gulou View opinion column for the New York Observer. As a musician, he formerly played drums in Beijing band Chui Wan, recording on and touring behind their debut album, White Night. He currently plays drums in SUBS and Vagus Nerve, and also records and performs under the name Charm.

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