After drawing record crowds to their high-octane romp at last year’s Shanghai World Expo closing ceremony, Paperdoll is back to break up the tranquility in the Middle Kingdom once again. New York’s premier indie dance-pop band will stop off at Yuyintang this Wedneday on their new NY2CN: Can’t Stop It!!! tour.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Paperdoll, get out from under that rock. The gang’s scintillating sounds have been featured on The Today Show, MTV, Blender, in the publications Maxim, Gotham, and Blender, and the critically-acclaimed film, The People I’ve Slept With. Their single, “If Nothing Happened,” even has a plug in a Vick’s Dayquil Commercial and the band’s beats can most famously be heard in the New Nike ad campaign currently circulating China’s airwaves!
This tour, the fab foursome of Teresa Lee (vocals/keyboard), Patrick Moloney (guitar), Steve Paelet (bass) and Haywood Smith (drums) will be playing Shanghai at Yuyintang on Wednesday October 12. They just finished up playing an insane schedule at the World Leisure Expo in Hangzhou, and will play in other surrounding cities as well.
We asked Paperdoll vocalist and keyboarder, Teresa Lee, to provide us with some insight on the tour, the band, and the indie music scene in China.
Could you briefly describe NY2CN: Can’t Stop It!!! tour. What inspired it?
The tour will bring a bit of New York to our friends in China. New York City is about being passionate and uninhibited. So we’re hoping to share that energy on stage. We loved touring China last year and were lucky enough to go twice – in August and October – so we cannot wait to be back! Shanghai in particular was one of our favorite cities. The people of Shanghai are so full of life and are so friendly! We really felt at home here.
How did PaperDoll form?
We all met playing music on the lower east side.
Your musical style has been described as indie dance-pop. How would you characterize it?
What’s the inspiration for your music? Were there bands or artists growing up that influenced your style?
We’re fans of Metric, The Black Keys, Blondie, Muse. Last year, the fast-paced pulse and energy of Shanghai was definitely inspiring. You can really hear it in our new single “Can’t Concentrate” which we recorded after we got back from China. By the way, you can get it for free on our douban page!
You guys have done great so far in China. Your show at the Shanghai World Expo closing ceremony last year drew record-breaking crowds.
It was freakin amazing. At one point, the crowd broke through the security line and some kids got into our dressing room. Our tour manager was like “are you okay?” I was like “I’ve been ready for this my whole life”. Some of us had a few scratches and bruises from people pulling at us, but it was cool. I called them love bruises! Touring China is very personal to me – it feels like I’m coming home. I’m an ABC and it means so much to me to perform in front of Chinese people. My people!
Why do you feel you generate such a positive response here?
One fan – a college student from Beijing named Aaron-张俊 came up to me and said “There are so many imitations, but PaperDoll is original!” Such a compliment and I think it sums up why we were well-received in China.
Do you abridge or tailor your China shows at all, or do you keep them the same as you would perform them in the West?
If anything, we do longer shows in China because we can do songs in English and Chinese. So in some respects our shows in China are better. I enjoy them a lot.
Have you developed a strong fan base in other parts of Asia? Do you think this tour could possibly be the catalyst for a stronger indie dance-pop presence in Asia?
We have a lot of support online in Taiwan and Thailand, but we’ve only been able to tour Mainland so far. I think we might be setting something up for Taiwan next Spring.
I think people everywhere (Asia, Europe, North America) love solid live music – whether that’s indie dance-pop or anything else. They can tell if you’ve rehearsed and work hard – which PaperDoll does in spades. Our #1 concern is giving our fans everything we have on stage. If I’m not about to pass out after a show, I haven’t done my job.
Do you have any other tours in the works? What country would you most like to play in that you’ve never been to?
We’re doing a few University shows on the East Coast and a few shows in LA this winter. I would LOVE to go to Taiwan and Thailand. We have some amazing fans there that reach out to us online. I’d love to connect with them in person.
Aside from the tour, what are you most looking forward to about being back in China? Have any experiences, during your first visit or this one, stood out in particular?
I love the food in Shanghai! I will eat my body weight in soup dumplings, I’m sure. I love the shops of huai hai lu too!
What: Paperdoll plays Shanghai on their NY2CN: Can’t Stop It!!! tour this Wednesday
Where: Yuyintang // 851号 Kaixuan Road, Changning (凯旋路851号, 近延安西路口)
You can follow Paperdoll on the Chinese webz on Weibo and Douban.
By Benjamin Cost