Artist and co-founder of the Idlebeats screen print studio unveils her latest solo show at the Identity Art Gallery
Li Sisi leads Shanghai's alternative music club scene
March 30, 2011
The city's scene starters pushing forward local movements as well as first time international acts
- Text by Karchun Leung
If there's one promoter you have to remember in Shanghai, it's S.T.D. (Sonically Transmitted Disease). Over the past few years, they've brought a lot of independent bands to China for the first time, as well as creating a platform for the best local acts and DJs to party. They've created a Shanghai scene. Satellite Voices spoke with one of the founders, Li Sisi about the Shanghai sound.
Satellite Voices: What is S.T.D.?
Li Sisi: S.T.D. (Sonically Transmitted Disease) is a party that was created in 2007 to push an alternative scene in a very non-alternative Shanghai. There really wasn’t really much to be excited about in terms of a “scene” in Shanghai at the time so we decided to take our ideals forward and give it a shot. It started as a fortnightly party in a dive bar with live bands earlier in the night then DJs playing until the early hours of the morning. You could tell the whole city was waiting for something like this.
Since then, we’ve managed to help support and nurture local Chinese bands and help the Chinese youth become a little closer to dozens of international artists. We’ve done our part in trying to create a new generation of music lovers and party goers here. It’s been well worth it and the change is there for everyone to see.
SV: Is that difficult to invite international musicians to tour in China?
Li Sisi: Well, if you rewind the clock to five or six years ago, it was a very different ball game. Local bands rarely left their city to tour let alone the rare sight of a touring foreign act. The government gave very little support to the music industry and I think a lot of foreign countries had no idea what was happening in China. Now, Chinese music fans are definitely coming out to support shows, there are more venues popping up and music festivals are the latest trends in China. It’s on the up.
SV: What type of music you are focusing on?
Li Sisi: In the beginning we really wanted to focus on live music. Live music was really dead in the water here and there wasn’t much support so we just wanted to do our part. But we support music we like and that’s very important. It’s always about the music, we really wanted to make a name on bringing intelligent and eclectic music. We’ve done stuff from post rock (Mono), hardcore (Fucked Up), electro (Boys Noize), hip hop (Buck 65), punk (Sham 69) and then everything in between…Ratatat, Danger, Teengirl Fantasy, Yacht... and heaps more.
SV: Any great Chinese bands you would recommend for us?
Li Sisi: Yes, please check out some of very talented friends. Google these: Rebuilding The Rights of Statues, Queen Sea Big Shark, Carsick Cars, AV Okubo, Guaili, P.K 14, New Pants, Subs, Gar, Boys Climbing Ropes and Duck Fight Goose.
SV: Where is the best place for music in Shanghai?
Li Sisi: There used to be this place called LOgO. It was by far the heart of alternative music in Shanghai and also the original venue we started S.T.D. Due to unfortunate circumstances and ques of angry neighbours, they were forced to shut. There are still some excellent choices though with the likes of Mao Livehouse, Yuyintang and The Shelter. Although with the amount of bars and venues opening and closing here, it’s best to ask when you get here.
SV: What are you listening right now?
Li Sisi: Shinichi Osawa, Wild Nothing, Wavves, Jackson and His Computer Band, Delorean, James Blake, Burial, Fever Ray, Odd Future, Tame Impala, Rebecca Black.
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