创业融资 or 微型组织:“独立厂牌”的当今日常|专栏

创业融资 or 微型组织:“独立厂牌”的当今日常|专栏

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入耳 IN MY EARS #28:创业融资 or 微型组织:“独立厂牌”的当今日常

撰文/Josh Feola

 

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、厂牌或是演出场地更加不为人知的一面。

 

For English Please Scroll Down

 

推荐曲目 Selected track:The White Tulips - TARDY

 

Haze Sounds 厂牌发起人艾晶

 

在中国音乐产业的语境里,很难说“独立”一词究竟是什么意思。在90年代以及2000年初,连王菲都会被称为“地下”,那时候除了想做主流音乐的大公司,就没有厂牌了。因此像摩登天空那样的新厂牌从任何角度来说在当时都是“独立”的。那么现在呢?摩登天空现在的业务特别多样:音乐授权、全国连锁的演出场地,国际品牌的音乐节,发行杂志,数字产业……不知道他们的核心到底是什么,反正我觉得不是专辑的录音发行。

 

对我来说,摩登天空今天的产业模式更像是吸引投资而不是发行音乐。在这方面来说它更像是一个创业公司:获得一轮融资,把钱投到很大规模的项目里去,提高品牌的知名度和市场份额,然后利用品牌价值和市场份额获得更多的投资。

 

大型的独立厂牌如今越来越像是互联网创业公司,这并非偶然。你没办法指望卖CD和MP3获得收益。要想生存下去,像摩登天空,太合麦田(旗下有着众多负责独立项目的支线团队,包括艺人经纪,在线售票,数字推广等等)需要多元化。这种体量的厂牌必须要足够大才能在一些不赚钱的领域承担损失,然后在人们如何消费音乐与文化方面做出回应——大多数以在线的方式,故此其变化之速度非常快,正如科技本身。

 

因此很难说这些厂牌是“独立”的。或许“DIY”承载了以前“独立”的含义:精益,便宜,富有激情的快速运转,盈利不是其推动力。

 

这种大厂牌的好处是——包括摩登天空,太合麦田,以及规模中等,资金运转还不错的兵马司——它们成长为大树,在此之下一些小型的DIY厂牌可以自己生长。一些我喜欢的中国厂牌都是从其更大的母体中生长出来的,比如燥眠夜和根茎唱片,它们最初的母体都可以追溯到兵马司。

 

最新的一个微型厂牌是 Haze Sounds(迷·声),这一平台的发起者是艾晶,35岁,北京人,在北欧住了10年,2014年8月回到中国,去年夏天之后回到北京,目前是秀动网的(太合旗下的票务网站)高级项目负责人,工作内容主要是外国乐队的演出事务。Haze Sounds 从去年开始运作,希望在他的工作之外,为这一场景注入自己的 DIY 汗水与审美口味。

我和艾晶一起聊了聊 Haze Sounds。这个周末,Haze Sounds 和上海的厂牌“生煎唱片”合作举办一个名为“Express”的双城演出,他们会把厦门的 The White Tulips 和南京的 Schoolgirl Bye Bye 带到上海和北京。

 

The White Tulips

Shoolgirl Bye Bye

 

你的音乐背景是什么?你是怎么成为一位中国地下音乐的乐迷的?

 

我的音乐背景可以说主要还是兴趣,从中学时代起对摇滚乐有了比较强的兴趣,特别那会儿可以说又是中国摇滚的黄金时代,所以开始大量的接触。大学的时候玩儿过乐队,后来也在挪威学习了一年录音制作,之后一直从事将海外乐队带到中国演出的事情。

 

 

你喜欢什么类型的音乐?你喜欢的乐队有哪些?中国的外国的都说说。

 

大一点来说的话最喜欢的是 indie,独立摇滚/流行、英式、盯鞋、后摇、新浪潮、迷幻、梦幻流行等等。除此之外,我也对爵士、民谣和世界音乐非常感兴趣。基本上在大流行和大金属之间的中间区域我还都挺喜欢的。乐队的话,喜欢的特别多,随便说几个吧:麦田守望者,Carsick Cars,子曰,早期的木马,Slowdive, Ride, Kaiser Chiefs, The Cure, Pixies, The Smiths, Pink Floyd等等。

 

 

你在太合的工作是什么?

 

在太合旗下的秀动网我主要负责海外项目的引进。

 

 

你是从什么时候决定要做 Haze Sounds 这个厂牌的?它和别的厂牌有什么不一样?

 

2016年初的时候开始准备做一个自己的独立厂牌。主要是感觉有个厂牌的话更为正式一些,有一个品牌在也更有助于长期发展,另外在很多规章流程方面有公司也更好一些。在英文中如果说 record label 别人一定认为是做唱片的,但中文厂牌的概念似乎宽泛很多。Haze Sounds 并不是一家唱片公司,而是以推广和巡演筹划为主的演出商(Booking Agency)。我们的目标是将更多国外优质的,当红的真正欧美年轻人在听的乐队/音乐人带到中国来演出。

 

 

现在中国的独立音乐场景基本就是那么几个大的厂牌主导,比如太合麦田,摩登天空,树音乐,兵马司。你觉得更小或更DIY的厂牌出来,它的重要性在哪里?

 

我认为任何一个行业,无论垄断有多么集中,多元的竞争总是好事。再说独立厂牌也有自己的优势那就是行动力强,没有那么多流程的限制,自由度高,这点对于艺术很重要,很多音乐人也很看重这个自由度。

 

 

介绍一下生煎唱片吧,他们是谁?

 

生煎唱片是一家上海的新厂牌,主理人是盯鞋新星 SOFT 乐队的吉他手 Nick,旗下签有4支乐队,北京的缺省,北京的 Goodbye Honey Boy,上海的 SOFT,杭州的杨公提上下运动社团。

 

SOFT

 

也介绍一下北京场的 Express 演出吧。这些乐队你们是怎么挑的?

 

在全球盯鞋复古的风潮下,我们将国内几支年轻并优秀的 Indie Rock 乐队再次集结在一起,依然沿用之前巡演系列的名字 Express,而这一次 Express 将要第一次开到北京。我们精挑细选的四支参演乐队分别为来自北京的 Default,镇江的 The Cheers Cheers, 南京的 Schoolgirl Byebye, 以及厦门的 The White Tulips。除了缺省之外,其他几支乐队都是在南方发展很好的乐队,很少在北京表演,所以这次演出北京的乐迷可以一场把他们都看到。

 

缺省 default

 

The Cheer Cheers

 

你们选择了很多北京之外的乐队。所以在北京和上海之外,你们觉得中国最有意思的音乐场景在哪里?

 

北上之外,我认为成都的氛围是最好的,涌现出了很多好乐队。武汉也不错。广州也有几支非常优秀的乐队,但是跟广州这座城市在中国的地位相比,音乐方面我个人觉得应该氛围要更好。

 

 

Haze Sounds 未来有什么计划?它会一直独立在太合之外吗?

 

Haze Sounds 对未来的规划简单来说就是带更多好乐队来中国。一方面我们希望能够做几个相对“大牌”的乐队,像今年8月的瑞典电子流行“The Royal Concept”,9月的英国迷幻“TOY”,明年来说像 Chvrches,Wolf Alice 我们都有接触;另一方面我们会继续与一些不太出名但优质的小乐队保持合作,帮助他们开拓中国市场。世界音乐方面,今年我们会带来 Imarhan,Tarabband,Sousou & Maher Cissoko 这三支优秀的组合,未来这一块的重心会放在寻找/开拓更多适合世界音乐的演出平台/机会。同时,Express系列作为Haze在国内乐队方面做的可以说唯一的项目,我们希望能将它延续下去,陆续会推出 Express 成都/重庆,以及武汉/长沙,希望在明年可以完成。

 

另外,Haze 会一直独立于太合。这点对我来说还是比较坚持的,在近期不认为会有改变。

 

 

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 #28: Big Indie Labels and the Splinter Effect

by Josh Feola

 

Selected track:The White Tulips - TARDY

 

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

 

Ai Jing, founder of Haze Sounds

 

It’s hard to tell what “indie” means in the context of the Chinese music industry. Certainly in the ‘90s and early 2000s, when there were no labels except majors looking for mainstream pop acts — an era when Faye Wong could be considered “underground” — a startup such as Modern Sky qualified as “indie” by any measure. But what is it now? Modern Sky today is so diversified — licensing music, operating a national chain of venues and an international brand of music festivals, publishing magazines and digital content, etc — that I can’t understand what its core business is. I don’t think it’s recording and distributing albums.

 

It seems likely to me that Modern Sky’s business model today is more about attracting investors than it is about releasing music. In this they’re rather like a tech startup: get a round of investment, throw the money into large-scale projects to increase the brand’s name and market saturation, then use that brand value and market saturation to attract more investment.

 

The fact that big indie labels today look more and more like internet startups is no accident. You can’t generate a lot of revenue by selling CDs or MP3s. To stay alive, companies like Modern Sky — or Taihe, which has numerous subgroups within the company tackling separate tasks like artist management, online ticketing, digital promotion, etc — need to constantly diversify. Labels of this scale must become large enough to absorb losses in non-moneymaking areas, but remain nimble enough to respond to how people are consuming music and culture (which is mostly online, obviously, and therefore changes at an incredibly fast speed, along with technology itself).

 

This makes it hard to consider these labels “indie”. Perhaps “DIY” now means is what “indie” used to: lean, cheap, and fast-moving operations that are mostly run by passion, and rarely out of motivation for profit.

 

The good thing about having big labels like Modern Sky and Taihe — or even mid-sized, well-funded labels like Maybe Mars — is that they provide a tree under which smaller DIY labels can splinter off and grow. Some of my favorite record labels in China grew out of bigger motherships — Zoomin’ Night and Genjing Records, for example, both owe part of their pedigree to Maybe Mars.

 

The latest such splinter label is Haze Sounds, a new platform just launched by 35-year-old Beijinger Ai Jing. After spending a decade in Scandinavia, Ai moved back to China in August 2014, and has been back in his hometown since last summer. He’s currently working as a senior project manager as Showstart, a booking/ticketing subdivision of Taihe, where he focuses on managing shows for foreign bands. He launched Haze Sounds as a booking platform last year, looking to inject his own sweat and aesthetic tastes into the scene here with a DIY effort on the side of his main work.

I asked Ai a few questions about Haze Sounds ahead of the “Express” showcase, a collaboration with Shanghai label Shengjian Records that will put Xiamen shoegazers The White Tulips and Nanjing’s School Girl Bye Bye on the road for shows this weekend in Shanghai and Beijing. (Find full show info below, after the interview).

 

The White Tulips

 

Shoolgirl Bye Bye

 

What is your background in music? How did you become a fan of underground Chinese music?

 

My passion for rock’n’roll started back in the mid ’90s, when I was in secondary school, which is seen now as the “golden age” of Chinese Rock’n’roll. I can’t really tell how come I became a fan, though. Guess I’ve always been a bit rebellious? So when the majority of my friends went for Pop, I went a bit more Rockish, though for me back then Bon Jovi was so “rock n roll”…

 

 

What is your favorite type of music? Favorite bands?

 

I’ve always been an indie guy, anything like indie rock/pop, brit-pop, shoegaze, post-rock, new-wave/alternative, psychedelic, dream-pop, noise-pop. Apart from that, I’m also very into Folk and World Music, a bit of Jazz too. Basically everything in the middle, neither too pop nor too heavy.

 

 

When did you decide to form Haze Sounds? Why?

 

It was the beginning of 2016. I felt it was necessary to create a brand instead of going around as just a person. It’s also more formal, more serious, and when it comes to paperwork it also helps. Haze Sounds is not really a label, but a music promotion/booking agency. We don’t — or we rarely — do records. We focus more on live gigs, and it’s mainly on foreign acts. We want to synchronize Chinese music fans with the world, by bringing more interesting, more up-to-date, more good-quality foreign bands to China.   

 

 

The indie scene in China today is dominated by a few big record labels, like Taihe, Modern Sky, Tree Music, and Maybe Mars. Do you think it's important for more small or DIY record labels to start?

 

It’s always good to have competition, in spite of the dominance from the big labels. There’s also much more freedom if it’s a small independent label, and art needs freedom.

 

 

What is Shengjian Records? How did you decide to collaborate with them for the “Express” showcase?

 

Shengjian Records is a Shanghai-based label founded by Nick, the guitarist of the shoegaze rising stars, SOFT. It’s a very new and currently rather small label, that has Soft, Default, Keelung Bay, and Cos Of Youngs.

 

SOFT

 

Can you introduce the “Express” shows? How did you choose these bands?

 

“Express” is a showcase series that features some of the most acclaimed indie-rock bands from China. This time the Express is arriving in Beijing for the first time. HazeSounds together with Shengjian Records picked four bands from different cities: Default (Beijing), The Cheers Cheers (Shanghai), Schoolgirl Byebye (Nanjing), The White Tulips (Xiamen). Apart from Default, all the others are very active and popular in South China, but very rarely play in Beijing. That’s why I think Beijing Express is one of the must-see gigs in Beijing this year, especially for the indie/shoegaze fans. 

 

缺省 default

 

The Cheer Cheers

 

You chose several bands from outside Beijing -- what do you think are the cities in China with the most interesting music scene, outside of Beijing and Shanghai?

 

Chengdu is definitely one of them, and Wuhan is catching up as well. Guangzhou also has quite a few cool bands, but compared to the city’s position in China, there should be more. 

 

 

What are your plans for Haze Sounds in the future? Will it remain independent from Taihe?

 

Haze Sounds would like to develop steadily, meaning we do not really care about the quantity of the acts we do, but the quality. There are many awesome bands from abroad, and we’d like to bring more and more of them to China. We are trying to work on some of the “big names,” like The Royal Concept, TOY, and perhaps Chvrches and Wolf Alice next year, while continuing to work with small, independent bands. In the Folk & World music genres, we are bringing Imarhan, Tarabband, Sousou and Maher Cissoko to China this year, and we will carry on as well, seeking for more opportunities to organize events catering to this kind of music. When it comes to the Express series, we are planning on doing Chengdu and Chongqing, and then perhaps Changsha and Wuhan. 

 

And yes, it will remain independent from Taihe. That’s very clear and important, and I don’t see it changing.

 

 

 

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.

 

  • 周末夜狂热 2017-07-09 14:11:55
    怎么好像现在国内的新乐队都爱起个英文名
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