Interview with Wang Wen’s Xie Yugang
For fans of Chinese post-rock, Wang Wen needs no introduction—the long-running Dalian quartet has spent the past decade plugging away to refine their gorgeous cinematic soundscapes while remaining true to their unique creative vision.
On the eve of their latest release, a self-titled split 12” with Swedish post-rock outfit pg.lost, Wang Wen co-founder and guitarist Xie Yugang discusses the band’s recent European tour, the band’s songwriting process and the state of DIY in the People’s Republic of China.
Genjing Records: Thanks for joining us! Tell us briefly about Wang Wen’s unique style.
Xie Yugang: Wang Wen, in general, is purely an instrumental rock band with occasional vocals.
Genjing: You have a very atmospheric, cinematic sound that conjures up vivid imagery and emotions. Does your environment influence the music that you guys create?
Yugang: Our living environment, Dalian, is certainly influential on our music. Our lives are spent on the coast, so our music must sound like the sea.
Genjing: What’s the composition process like—do you start with a particular emotion in mind, or is the songwriting process based more on specific musical ideas?
Yugang: It’s pure improvisation without any preparation, with everyone unleashing their emotions until we collide and sparks fly and burst into flames.
Genjing: Amazing. Can you tell us about your three songs on the upcoming split with pg.lost?
Yugang: Sorry, but I find it difficult to describe music with words—you’ll have to listen for yourself!
Genjing: It’s a wonderful record. You just toured Europe, playing gigs with both pg.lost and MONO. How was that?
Yugang: Thanks! Everywhere we played—from Gothenburg to Copenhagen—was very beautiful, just like the music. Everyone was good-looking, friendly and all of the venues were very professional.
Genjing: Why did you want to release your next recording on vinyl?
Yugang: I like vinyl records and small vinyl record stores… the look and feel of vinyl. I like the aspect of building a collection of records, which is something that I recently started doing again. And when I hear vinyl recordings, I feel very warm and comfortable.
Genjing: Us too. Do you think that other bands feel the same? And what’s the current state of the DIY scene and vinyl community in China?
Yugang: You know, with the downturn of the record industry, many bands feel as if DIY and vinyl is the way to go, which is not a bad thing. Of course, if you want a bigger market, you still have to find a way to get involved with a strong team.
Genjing: Do you think that the government in China needs to do more work to support the work of creative people?
Yugang: The government has recently been very busy [Ed note: 2012 saw the once-in-a-decade central leadership transition] and they don’t have the time to manage these other kind of things. We have to rely on our own two hands.
Genjing: Exactly, as unfortunate as that sounds. Anything else that you’d like to share with our readers?
Yugang: Sure! Come watch our band!
Wang Wen will release their latest effort, a self-titled split 12” with self-described Swedish experimental instrumentalists pg.lost, on Mon, Dec 31. Tune into their Douban, Facebook or Weibo pages for the latest news and tour dates.