Though only in its infancy, newly launched online portal NeoCha has already got its eyes on the big time. The web project purports to bring together Chinese creative clans and facilitate the discovery of original music, art, events and goods.
“Neocha was born out of the need to connect the growing communities of Chinese ‘creatives’ — artists, musicians, designers, etc. — who lack a centralized online platform,” explains Sean Leow, one of four founders. “Neocha is trying to solve this need by offering an online community complete with tools that empower creatives to meet and create.”
Two Chinese and two Americans make up the launch team, with backgrounds ranging from finance fairy to railroad tycoon to music monkey. Similar online projects with which you may be familiar include Computerlove and Humble Voice.
This Saturday, NeoCha will be presenting its first event, NeoSpring [see interview below], and the collective in also sponsoring the experimental music stage (mini midi) at Beijing’s MIDI Festival come May. What, though, are they working towards?
“In the same way that YouTube is the aggregator for videos in the US, we would like NeoCha to be the aggregator for all things creative and Chinese. Longer term goals include introducing mobile compatibility and building a creative marketplace where musicians, designers, photographers, filmmakers, writers, etc. can meet, exchange, collaborate and sell online,” says Leow. “At the same time, we eventually hope to bridge cultural gaps between young people in China and the West through music, art and movies, instead of through politics and arguments over the trade balance.”
So check them out online at NeoCha.com and this Saturday at NeoSpring Creative Festival. The afterparty will be at 4 Live. More on the event straight from the source:
Shanghaiist: What was the inspiration for NeoSpring?
Sean Leow: The inspiration was pretty basic: to organize the biggest event at the coolest venue we could find to showcase Chinese creative communities. We were fortunate enough to find Husizhan — a newly renovated, 130 year-old, 3,000 sqm warehouse along Suzhou creek — and to get a great response from creative communities. In addition, we want NeoSpring attendees to know that there is a lot of really amazing stuff going on in China’s creative communities and Neocha can be used to discover, interact and collaborate with that.”
SHist: How many groups/collectives/individuals are involved?
SL: NeoSpring will showcase 62 groups/collectives on the first and second floors, while 10 bands/musicians will be playing throughout the day on the third floor.
Groups include: NEOCAFE, BEDZOO.CDGE, eno, Ficky’s Toy Station, Polalife, Grumble, Goodie Bag, zoojoo, JMGS, BAO’s NewWebPick, FLOSO, salt, MS SNEAKER, Maid in Shanghai, DBG, Loomoo, JAM JAM, Spli-t Works, SHANGHAI, Porclab, CPPC, Motion Design, My Way, the thing.
Musicians include: Banana Monkey, Sulumi, iLoop, Monkey Power, boojii, HARD CANDY, Loudspeaker, 21g, Antidote [Note: Shanghaiist would love to hyperlink all the above collectives/artists for you, but she is late for work. Google is magical though — try it and love it.]
SHist: What’s the day going to be like? Other than exhibitors and vendors, what else can attendees expect to find?
SL: You can expect to find three small movie theaters for film showings, a comic book / video game bar, a ping pong tournament, tattooing, live music and lots of friendly people with creative talents. Beyond that, reckless speculation suggests that you might also be party to furious snapping of polaroid pictures, designers swapping colorful business cards and someone kissing someone else for the first time (footnote: JMGS).
SHist: Is NeoSpring going to become a regular event?
SL: We definitely plan on organizing NeoSpring at least once a year. We believe that supporting and sponsoring offline creative community events is extremely important and we are currently collaborating on a couple of upcoming events like the experimental music stage at MIDI music festival in Beijing and Fengjing Photography Exhibition in Guangzhou.
SHist: In terms of other events, what is your involvement in mini midi?
SL: Neocha is sponsoring mini midi—the experimental music stage at this year’s MIDI music festival in Beijing. We are working with KwanYin Records and Sub Jam to provide the mini midi stage with online support including profiles of all the artists, interviews, live recordings online, pictures of the event, as well as event day support. Keep your eyes out for an update online soon.
NeoSpring Creative Festival. At Husizhan. Wanhangdu Lu, Alley 1384 (near Huayang Lu). At Zhongshan Park metro. Saturday, from 1 to 9pm. Free entry.
Afterparty with Antidote Live at 4 Live (8 Jianguo Zhong Lu between Sinan Lu and Chongqing Lu). RMB 30. 10pm til late.