Beijing’s Birdstriking are pioneers of the current Chinese independent music scene being one of the first bands to make their way out of their hometown scene and capture the attention of the West with a sound that fuses the energy of punk with a uniquely Chinese melodic sensibility. (Check out Magpie from their debut album to see what we mean) http://birdstriking-official.bandcamp.com/track/magpie
Their first album caught the ear of Anton Newcombe who released it on his label A Recordings and then took the band on a tour of the UK with his band, the Brian Jonestown Massacre.
Birdstriking first toured Australia in 2017 where they won the hearts and ears of Australian audiences. In the last couple of years since then, the band has released a second album, Holey Brain produced by BJM guitarist Ricky Maymi. Birdstriking also completed their first headline tour of the UK and graduated to the festival circuit in their native China. On the eve of their second Australian tour What’s My Scene caught up with the members of Birdstriking, He Fan (Vocal/Guitar), Zhou Nairen (Bass) Wen Yuzhen (guitar) and Sun Heting (Drums) (Sadly founding member guitarist Wang Xinjiu will be unable to join and participate on this tour due to work commitments)
Tell us about Holey Brain and how you think you’ve developed from your first album:
Zhou Nairen: Birdstriking went through some big changes after the first album came out. Now we have three guitarists to make a bigger and louder sound, and also Monkey, (Sun Heting), came into the band in the role of drummer with his special technique of hitting drum kits which gave us a lot of new passion.
He Fan: “Holey Brain” sings to the charm of this era.
If the language of punk rock is just criticism, then this bird hit breaks through this definition and creates our own language. we motivated enthusiastic entrepreneurs, sang the builders of the aerospace industry, praised the science fiction book “The Three-Body Problem” [by Liu Cixin] in the brain to donate the brain into the universe, through the darkness, and finally save the human race. We praise the struggles and courage of Chinese people and praise their motherly love and blue sky. We sing these bright and upright positive energy stories to our audience, interpret[ing] the true and good beauty that is lacking in the Chinese rock music context misunderstood by the public, a red song aesthetic that has been forgotten by the young people of the era, shouting the deafening voice of the Chinese youth.
I don’t like to always be one kind of expression that hasn’t changed. From the eruption of youth hormones in the first album, simple and violent anger, to the second album which calls to all young people, change themselves with creativity, and then go to the present single “One”, express to the universe, the world, people , and the understanding of the relationship between feelings. I am recording times and my own growth path. From this perspective, Birdstriking has not changed, and the expression state[s] that has to say something has not changed.
Now I feel that really good art should still discover the good things, and the good side of human nature. This may be something that I am not quite the same as five years ago. But I still scream, you can understand it as an incentive rather than a confrontation. In the first album, I felt that all evil is caused by ideology. Now I feel that this is very wrong. Because there is a bad side in human nature, putting it in any country is the same, but the packaging is different. I have thought a lot over the past few years. I said that I don’t want to sing about the evil things of human nature, because I don’t want everyone to listen to our songs (and fill them) anger. Anger can make people lose energy. I want everyone to find more people around me, think about people who are full of fighting spirit for social development, think about the people who pay for you, your family and friends. I think these are valuable.
What’s your favorite work at this point in time?
Wen Yuzhen: 蓝(Blue) is my favourite.
Sun Heting: 咒 (Spell)
He Fan: I like writing lyrics and singing always I guess…
Zhou Nairen: bass playing always I guess…
Do you have any fond memories from the last tour of Australia?
Zhou Nairen: So many good memories recall in my head…
I remember that we had a party for Wang Xinjiu’s birthday, he was drunk and extremely happy with a birthday cake creamy face.
He Fan : We barbecued in his hometown style and after dinner all the people play[ed] jams and singing at Julian’s house [Tour manager and promoter]. And we [went] singing in a Korean karaoke [bar] with the singer of Die!Die!Die! [Andrew Wilson]
Sun Heting: I saw big bats at Melbourne
Wen Yuzhen: [On the] last UK tour, Wang Xinjiu didn’t make it, so I brought [a big photo of his head] and posted it on the stage every time [we played].
What, or who, inspires you?
Wen Yuzhen: Wang Xinjiu is my muse
Sun Heting: Ricky Maymi from The Brian Jonestown Massacre
He Fan : Western Musicians: The Beatles, Velvet Underground, David Bowie, Spacemen 3, B.J.M.
Eastern Musicians: Cui Jian, Pu Shu, Number girl, P.K.14, Carsick Cars, Ourself Beside Me, The Gar.
Zhou Nairen: Nirvana, Joy Divison, Spacemen3…
Which song do you wish you wrote?
He Fan: Tomorrow Never Knows – the Beatles
Zhou Nairen: our songs? In fact we wrote songs together mostly, so i can say everyone own[s ]a part of it… but some of them are my favorites like Colored Hearts, 25, and TV at 7pm.
Wen Yuzhen: Darklands by JAMC
Sun Heting: The next one.
How would you describe your sound in food form and why?
Zhou Nairen: Good question…maybe like Sichuan food style.
He Fan: Mapo Tofu plus Beijing Roast Duck Sandwich.
Wen Yuzhen: i think it’s Guizhou style, spicy and colourful.
What’s next for you?
Wen Yuzhen: [A] new 7″ in [the] next year, and keep on writing new songs.
He Fan: Deadly Cradle Death, my other band, [It’s] sort of noise experiment hip-hop, the first album is coming out soon.
Sun Heting: Trying to make a China tour for [my other band] Baihu next year. Trying to release a new album for Gate to Otherside and bring back this band alive.
Zhou Nairen: I joined a band called Sleeping Dogs a couple of months ago as guitarist and keyboard player, new challenges always make me excited.
Wen Yuzhen: I joined Run Run Run on keyboards, and [also] play guitar in Blonde Eskimos. and same time Isuddenly got motorbike fever, speed can make me forget my sorrows.