Shanghaiist has had many opportunities to speak to great musicians over the past year: whether they were simply passing through town, or working hard to enrich our lives with a local music scene, these artists have enlightened us with their spirit, passion, and overall love of music. Without further ado, we present our favorite music interviews of 2009:
1. Dennis Lyxzén on life in Sweden’s grooviest, socialist rock band: The (International) Noise Conspiracy
You always do crazy stage moves, do you ever test them out in advance?
No, they come by themselves. And then, we´ve had a lot of time to train cause we´ve been playing so much. But sure, sometimes you see other bands doing cool stuff, and you´re like “hm, that´s maybe something i should try..?”
Do you hurt yourself?
No. Sometimes. Well, of course you’re not 20 anymore. (Read Interview)
2. Interview: Kid Koala climbs to Shelter
Musical talent usually only demands performance, but you’ve demonstrated all kinds of creative experimentation that engages all the senses. What’s it all about? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Sometimes I just feel like trying something different. The world would be such a boring place if every musician or dj had to make the same kind of album or do the same kind of tour. I just like having fun with flipping up the formats of things… it’s keeps me from getting bored.
Tell us about your new graphic novel. Also, why mosquitoes and not any other variety of insect?
It’s a story about a mosquito that’s trying to play jazz clarinet. It’s mostly inspired by New Orleans. I’m a big fan of that city and the musical heritage there. As for Mosquitoes, I kind of have a phobia of them. They find me everywhere! (Read Interview)
3. Interview: Dee Dee Bridgewater
How have you seen the Jazz landscape change over the course of your career?
In the beginning, there was such camaraderie. Musicians would help each other, concerts would always have a surprise someone backstage who would come on and perform, older musicians would be happy to help younger ones. Now, it’s a closed environment. Since the 90’s, with the Young Lions, people realized that marketing Jazz would make money, making their music into jazz pop, which was more disposable. When the 20th century rolled in, record companies became more corporate, and weren’t interested in developing new artists, just making as much money off famous ones as possible. As a result, all the 90’s artists fell by the wayside. So now, in 21st century, we have Jazz pop, so we have female singers topping the billboard charts like Diana Krall, or Norah Jones getting famous because she’s on Blue Note. Then you have all the B-labels trying to find their version of, well, the next Diana Krall and Norah Jones. Now, younger Jazz singers have to play instruments and write their own music instead of doing their own renditions of standards. (Read Interview)
4. Interview: Mopichet storms Shanghai
We’ve been following your music output for years now. We first heard your “breakcore” music (digital hardcore) and saw your campaign “Girls Love Breakcore”… Are you sick of breakcore now? What style would you call your music now?
I am definitely not sick of Breakcore!! I love all kinds of music. To me there are only 2 kinds, GOOD & BAD. I don’t know what you call my music now. I guess people call it Glitch-Hop, Dubstep, LazerBass, Future Bass, Blog Bass?? Who knows, it seems there are more genres coming out then actual music now a days. People love catch phrases and buzz words. But in the end it’s all just music. I made “Girls Love Breakcore” because of this.
There were people on both sides of the fence yelling at me. Your Breakcore is not Breakcore!! You’re Breakcore not IDM!! Now I’m getting the same thing with “Master P on Atari” and “Bunnies & Muffins.” This is not Dubstep! This is Lazerbass! I have no idea. I’m always changing and exploring new music so that’s just what
it is I guess. (Read Interview)
5. Interview: Handsome Furs
So what’s it like coming to a place like China, which is pretty much run on face control?
Alexei: We’re very lucky to be able to play in China where we know many things are rather censored. In the past few days of being here, however, I find that amongst the emerging arts and music scene pioneers people are able to gain access to most everything. There is an incredible energy here because these possibilities are so new to so many people.
Dan: China is currently blowing my mind. I’m really fascinated with the concept of guanxi, which seems like a highly developed system of social control. (Read Interview)