Where: Yu Yin Tang 1731 Yan’an Xi Lu (entrance on Kaixuan Lu), 延安西路1731号
Starts: Friday, May 15, 9PM
Life Journey, a Modern Sky band hailing from Liuzhou, Guangxi, will play at the Yuyintang bar on Friday night. The band released their first self-titled CD last year, followed by a new four-song EP, “Waiting For You For Dinner.” We interviewed the band’s singer Yann (KongYang) by telephone on Sunday.
By Jeremy Breningstall (Translation assistance provided by Lisa Wu.)
Tell me about your new 4-song EP, “Waiting For You For Dinner.”
Yann: The song ‘Waiting For You For Dinner,’ was written in 2008-at the time when we had the earthquake in China and we had the snowstorm and the economic downturn and other disasters and people’s lives were affected by those things and a lot of people suffered. Due to economic difficulties, sometimes people suffer more pressure from making a living, working overtime or earning less. What we want to say is no matter how bad life is there’s always someone waiting for you. The title is a concept, it does not specifically mean dinner. The EP is all about love and warmness and friendship and some positive feelings.
You’ve been together with Banana (keyboardist Wei Wei) in junior high school. What were things like in the early days?
Yann: It was crazy. We enjoyed it a lot because we were doing something we loved to do. At the very beginning, we rehearsed in my parents’ home. The equipment in my place was very poor and we eventually broke the stereo. When we moved to Beijing [several years ago], we didn’t expect we would sign with a record company. We just wanted more people to know about us. But we were lucky and got signed.
You were at the Strawberry Music Festival in Beijing for the May holiday last week. What was the festival like?
Yann: We played at 5 pm on the second day of the festival. Because it was twilight, the setting was very romantic. When I sang the lines, “the golden light on the high hills,” the setting was just like in the song.
[A video from Life Journey’s performance can be seen here]
I understand at the festival you also branched into the luosi fen business with a noodle soup booth. How did you come upon that idea?
Yann: We wanted to promote the style. We think it’s good stuff and other people should like it. Local food is sold from other cities. We want luosi fen (rice noodles in winkle soup) to be famous. We prepared everything carefully the same way we do with our albums. We wanted to bring out the most authentic flavor for this kind of snack. A lot of raw materials came directly from Liuzhou, the rice noodles, the pickled bamboo shoots. We even had a cooking staff brought from Liuzhou.
What bands have been the most influential for you?
Yann: The Beatles, Blur. Alfie, Tahiti 80, Wilco.
If you met (Wilco singer) Jeff Tweedy, what would you say to him?
Yann: Hey, I love your music, I’m a big fan of yours. Then I will show him my CD and let him listen to it.
Tell me about your songwriting process?
Yann: Usually I will find a quiet place. I stare into space and think. I record the things I see and hear in the form of music and words. Most of the songs are formed the first time I have the feeling. I don’t want to change the first impression I have of the songs. The first impression is usually the most original and authentic.
When you and the other band members go to KTV together, who is the maiba (microphone hog)?
Yann: Everyone will sing, but me and Mali (guitarist Huang Zi Jun) and Paul (bassist Xiao Yi) sing the most. We love to poke fun at different songs. We often sing Wu Bai and Mayday and many other people’s songs.
What can people expect from your show on Friday night at Yuyintang?
Yann: We played some of the songs from the new EP in Shanghai before, but this time we hope we can play them better. We’ve improved on the details a lot.
Will you be biting the heads off of any chickens on-stage?
Yann: I can’t do that.
Life Journey’s music can be previewed at Neocha