Forming a Band in China - My Experience

Forming a Band in China - My Experience
OwainLW Jul 19, 2013 16:07


So as someone who likes to consider himself marginally musical to a degree, I decided to recently branch out from my sordid routine of editing a very messily-written first novel and jump into the fires of forming a rock band. I’ve been playing guitar for over 13 years, and despite developing a sweetly-soft finger picking technique, I’ve never really employed my apparent skills practically enough into something that could be considered a performance. Sure, I love the odd sing-a-long, the occasional jam with friends, but it’s never really metamorphosed into something that serious.


Yet who’d of thought it would in China of all places? After making friends with a musically-enthusiastic drumming Manc and sharing a mutual love of The Smiths and The Mars Volta, we decided to get together and see what kind of music we could make (no, not that kind). After locating a dingy yet well-equipped set of practice rooms located almost poetically underneath an old air-raid shelter (people live there now), we got together and started bashing out a few tunes. Before long, we had five or six songs pretty much done, though lyrics needed to be worked on. There was one key element that was missing though, one which everyone except The Yeah Yeah Yeahs will tell you is paramount in any musical venture. That’s right, a bassist.


But where dost thou dwell oh bass players of Beijing? Well, in practice rooms too, apparently. That’s right, we met our groovin’ guy just as he was exiting a room with another group who, despite doing worryingly accurate Taylor Swift covers, didn’t actually sound too bad. A few weeks later and several beer-ridden, banter-infused practice sessions and we were ready to go.


It’s really amazing how easy the process has been so far. There’s such a strong music vibe in Beijing that everyone wants to play, and it’s cheap to rent a practice room and get involved on the local scene. As of late, we are looking to debut at one of Beijing’s open mic nights and put our songs to use, and see how they’re received. The style? Well if I told you that we strike true with my aforementioned mention of a combination between The Smiths and The Mars Volta, then you’d rightly deem me mad, as we’re really not. Imagine abstract offbeat drumming, slap-pop bass lines and finger picking guitar all done over some sweeping (ahem) lyrics.  

Anyway enough about my band – I just can’t wait to get on stage and make a fool of myself, at least in front of a friendly crowd with a beer or six in me. Rock on.

Tags:Arts & Entertainment Expat Tales


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graet idea, i love it so much. i have been thinking about jionning a band for long,but dont know if i need some kind of professional knowledge. still finding a way to let something out from deep within,full of passion for arts. lately i have been trying to improve on my songs, hope there is someone to sing them. hahaah

Jul 31, 2013 09:13 Report Abuse



Named ourselves "Empty Echoes". A bit pretentious sounding I admit! Otherwise we did think of "Stand Firm, Hold the Handrail" - a-la Beijing subway safety announcements, though decided it was a bit long.

Jul 22, 2013 15:00 Report Abuse



There's a band in Beijing called 重塑雕像的权利 (found them thanks to this site) so I don't think long names are totally unprecedented!

Jul 29, 2013 07:14 Report Abuse



Nice article. Exciting to do that in of all places, as you said, China. So what's the name of the band just in case you make headlines and I can say; "Hey I know them!?"

Jul 22, 2013 13:14 Report Abuse