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Inner spaces

into shanghai’s underground music scene

INNER SPACES Into shanghai’s underground music scene A PHOTO DOCUMENTARY BY BENOIT FLORENÇON www.bureau36.com photography@bureau36.com bureau36.tumblr.com facebook.com/bureau36

CHACHA PRODUCER & SINGER

CEEZY PRODUCER

HAMACIDE PRODUCER

MHP PRODUCER

DIDJELIRIUM PRODUCER & STORYTELLER

SIG PRODUCER

ACID PONY CLUB PRODUCERS

UNDER THE THICK LAYERS OF CONCRETE, BUSINESS AND POLLUTION THAT COAT SHANGHAI, THERE ARE A GROUP OF TALENTED PRODUCERS AND MCS SHAPING THE MUSICAL LANDSCAPE OF THIS EVER-GROWING CITY.

SUNBIZ PRODUCER

JAY.SOUL PRODUCER

MIA PRODUCER

EMPFAB PRODUCER

MIXING QUOTES AND IMAGERY, INNER SPACES IS A PHOTO DOCUMENTARY INTRODUCING THESE TALENTS AND VOICING THEIR OPINIONS ON DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF THE CITY’S MUSIC SCENE. INNER SPACES IS AN HYMN FOR THE LOCAL UNDERGROUND MOVEMENT.

TZU SING PRODUCER

STEVEN LORENZ PRODUCER

*LLND PRODUCER & VJ

CHACHA “I WOULD LIKE TO SEE MUSICIANS BE MORE INDEPENDENT IN THE FUTURE, GET MORE ORIGINAL IDEAS AND LEARN ABOUT QUALITY CONTROL. QUANTITY DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING, COPY WON’T TAKE ANYONE ANYWHERE, RESPECT YOURSELF AND KEEP THE MUSIC REAL, AND LEARN HOW TO COLLABORATE, THAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.”

CHACHA PRODUCER & SINGER Guizhou native ChaCha started her musical career fronting for a rock band in 1998. In 2011, she became the first Chinese national to ever be invited to the Red Bull Music Academy. ChaCha has been MCing with Shanghai reggae crew Uprooted Sunshine since 2007 and is currently part of the duo AM444 with beatmaker Jay.Soul. soundcloud.com/chachachina www.am444.com

HAMACIDE “I BELIEVE IT’S WIDELY ACCEPTABLE HERE TO USE HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES THAT WOULD NORMALLY COMPROMISE AN ARTIST’S INTEGRITY. THINGS THAT WOULD NORMALLY BE FROWNED UPON OR JOKED ABOUT ARE ABLE TO GET BY, AND IN SOME INSTANCES, PRAISED. I DON’T THINK THAT IS GOOD FOR ANY TYPE OF ARTISTIC ENVIRONMENT.”

HAMACIDE PRODUCER Born and raised in Atlanta, USA, Hamacide relocated from New York to Shanghai in 2010. His first album under the name LEYODE was released on Prefuse 73’s label Eastern Development in 2007. www.hamacide.com

CEEZY “MY PARENTS ARE COOL. THEY ARE PROUD OF MY MUSIC. THEY DO CARE ABOUT THE MONEY, AND KEEP ASKING ME “ANY BEAT SALES THESE DAYS?”. BUT IT’S EASY TO MAKE THEM HAPPY.”

CEEZY PRODUCER 23-year-old Shanghai-native Ceezy started producing music 4 years ago. He currently lives with his parents and produces from his bedroom. site.douban.com/classizy

DIDJELIRIUM “There Is a real craving for noveltY and originality rampaging through Shanghai and China. It’s not necessarily a big wave, but it’s here, blooming in many unexpected places, growing strong through talented artists who realize the essential bottom-line: an artist’s only home is art, not an abstract identity belonging to passport and language.”

DIDJELIRIUM PRODUCER & STORYTELLER Tahiti native Didjelirium has been living in Shanghai for more than 5 years. Affiliated with the Shanghai reggae crew Uprooted Sunshine, he’s signed on Doshy’s label, Robox-Neotech, appears on Aquasky latest album and is part of Original Fools. he’s also a novelist and a motiongraphics designer. soundcloud.com/didjelirium

MHP “I BELIEVE FAME AND MONEY DAMAGE CREATIVITY. LOCAL MUSICIANS MUST BE PURE, STUDIOUS. THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE THE MUSIC SCENE EVOLVE IS MUSIC ITSELF. MORE LOCAL PRODUCERS WITH DIVERSE STYLES, MORE DJS MORE RELEASES, MORE AMAZING LIVE PERFORMANCES... DON’T MIX ANY FASHION AND FANCY STUFF WITH MUSIC TO DEVELOP. THAT WILL KILL MUSIC.”

MHP PRODUCER Shanghai native MHP, also known as “Shanghai’s son of Techno” has been producing music since 2000. Part of the Shanghai-based VOID crew, he has also composed soundtracks for movies, animation films and commercials.

soundcloud.com/mhp

ACID PONY CLUB “IN SHANGHAI, I THINK THERE IS STILL A BIG GAP BETWEEN THE CHINESE AND THE FOREIGNERS: THERE ARE LAOWAI CLUBS AND CHINESE CLUBS. ONLY FEW PLACES LIKE YUYINTANG ARE REALLY MIXED.”

ACID PONY CLUB PRODUCERS French natives Clement Pony and Laura Ingalls, aka Acid Pony Club, met in sound engineering school almost 10 years ago, before meeting again in Shanghai from where they run their studio and label Disques Poney. www.disquesponey.com

SIG “MY FATHER IS VERY SUPPORTIVE OF MY MUSICAL CAREER, BUT BECAUSE OF MY CREATIVE MODE AND PERSONALITY, IT IS DIFFICULT FOR ME TO BE IN CONTACT WITH BUSINESS, THAT’S WHY MY FAMILY STILL HOPES THAT I CAN HAVE OTHER SOURCES OF INCOME TO SUPPORT MY MUSIC.”

SIG PRODUCER Qingdao native SIG relocated to Shanghai a few years ago where he’s been producing beats from his bedroom studio. His first album Sad Mirror was released on Shanghai label Pause:Music in 2011. site.douban.com/sig

JAY.SOUL “THERE’S A LOT OF COOL AND VERY TALENTED MUSIC CATS OUT HERE, BOTH CHINESE AND FOREIGN AND SINCE IT’S A PRETTY SMALL SCENE, EVERYONE IS KIND OF CONNECTED AND SEEMS WILLING TO HELP THE WHOLE SCENE EVOLVE.”

JAY.SOUL PRODUCER Amsterdam native Jay.Soul started sampling music 15 years ago. He currently resides in Shanghai where he’s part of the AM444 project with local vocalist ChaCha. Their first EP Eye Wonder was released on Shanghai label Pause:Music in 2011. www.jaysoul.net www.am444.com

SUNBIZ “HAVING MORE SUPPORT FROM THE COMMERCIAL SIDE OF THE INDUSTRY WOULD BE IDEAL, THERE ARE DOPE MUSICIANS AND PRODUCERS IN CHINA, WITHOUT A DOUBT, BUT THESE YET TO BE DISCOVERED INDIVIDUALS NEED A VIABLE, RELIABLE, AND HONEST PLATFORM IN ORDER TO BE HEARD. NOTHING COMES FROM TAKING A SHORT-CUT IN LIFE. YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE IN WHAT YOU’RE DOING.”

SUNBIZ PRODUCER Born in Vancouver, SunBiz moved to Shanghai in 2007. He released his debut album Love before Everything in 2011. He’s currently fully employed at Massive Music studios where he produces tracks for commercials, movies and video games. www.sunbizonline.com

EMPFAB “IT FEELS LIKE IT’S GROWING STEADILY IN THE NON COMMERCIAL BACKGROUND WHICH IS A GOOD FEELING TO HAVE. THE STUFF I HAVE SEEN AND LISTENED TO OVER THE TIME HERE WAS MOST LIKELY INFLUENCED BY 8-BIT ARCADE GAME MUSIC AND HIPHOP/TRIPHOP-ISH BEATS.”

EMPFAB PRODUCER Empfab, short for Emperor Fabulous, started creating music when he was 16, both producing electronic music and fronting for a punk band back in his native Germany. After moving to Shanghai he went fully into heavy bass beat production. His first self-released EP Toddler came out earlier this year. soundcloud.com/empfab

MIA “YOUNG PEOPLE HERE HAVE A LOT OF PRESSURE DURING CHILDHOOD, THEY DON’T HAVE FREE TIME TO CARE ABOUT OR EXPLORE ART AND MUSIC. BESIDES, THERE ARE TOO MANY RESTRICTIONS IN CHINA TO HAVE PROPER UNDERGROUND PARTIES. NOISE COMPLAINTS, OUTDOOR EVENTS RESTRICTED TO END BY 10PM, NO CLUBS ALLOWING YOU TO PASS FLYERS OUTSIDE; THIS MAKES IT VERY HARD... BUT WE ARE TRYING.”

MIA PRODUCER Born in Chengdu, Sichuan province and partly raised in Vancouver, Canada, MIA moved back to Shanghai in 2008 and started her own label, Moox Records. soundcloud.com/mia-li

STEVEN LORENZ “WHEN I STARTED DJING I WAS PLAYING THE EASIEST STUFF (COMMERCIAL ELECTRO HOUSE), AND PEOPLE WERE SUPPORTING ME A LOT MORE THAN NOW. BUT THIS GENRE SOON GOT ME BORED, AND I STARTED PLAYING MORE DARK ELECTRO (AS IN MY PRODUCTIONS). THIS IS WHEN PEOPLE BEGAN TO NOT UNDERSTAND MY MUSIC, AND SO THERE HAS BEEN LESS SUPPORT.”

STEVEN LORENZ PRODUCER Producing music since the young age of 14, Frenchborn Steven Lorenz grew up in Shanghai. Now 21 and fully part of the Intransik Beats crew, he’s been releasing music on different International labels and played all over China. www.intransikbeats.com

TZU SING “I WANT PEOPLE TO PUT WORK OUT THAT REALLY REFLECTS WHO THEY ARE, AND THAT THEY PUT BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS INTO. I FEEL MANY YOUNG ARTISTS ARE MORE CONCERNED WITH HAVING A RELEASE OUT THAN A TRULY PERSONAL RELEASE. IT FEELS MORE LIKE CRAFTSMANSHIP THAN ARTISTRY.”

TZU SING PRODUCER Malaysia-born Tzu Sing bought his first mc505 when he was a teenager. He moved to Shanghai 4 years ago after finishing his education in the US. He’s currently part of the techno/house crew VOID and has been producing the Stockholm Syndrome parties along with VJ OlivePixel and DJ Drunk Monk. soundcloud.com/tzusing

*LLND “CONTEMPORARY CHINESE BEAT SCENE IS OF A VERY HIGH STANDARD AND QUALITY IN GENERAL, BUT THIS OFTEN APPLIES ONLY TO SPECIFIC STYLES AND GENRES; YOU HARDLY EVER HEAR SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN’T ALREADY PUT IN A BOX. I WOULD LIKE MORE SUBGENRES TO EMERGE”

*LLND PRODUCER & VJ French natives Laurent LettrÊe and Nathalie Delpech both started experimenting with music and visuals in the 90’s. Respectively music producer and analog VJ, *LL and *ND have been working together under the name *LLND since 2003. www.llnd.org soundcloud.com/nodj-sessions

INNER SPACES INTO SHanghai’s underground music scene CREDITS PHOTOGRAPHY: Benoit florençon layout: shane hurt Copyright © Benoit Florençon / Bureau36.com 2012 All rights reserved a big thank you to all of the featured arists for their time and everyone involved at one point or another in this project.


Inner Spaces