Interview with the Dyne’s Si Yunge

Meet the Dyne, the Beijing duo known for invigorating capital city crowds with their laconic brand of minimal surf rock cool. Much like the crashing waves that the pair recalls though their unique tremolo-heavy riffs, the duo excel at duality, offering bold sonic statements unique in their ability to be forceful yet restrained, brimming with tension and smooth as a stealth hot rod cruise on a starless night.

Their debut release on Genjing Records, the seven-inch Swim. Fly Roots, hits shops on Sat, Apr 20 as part of our Record Store Day bozanza. Get to know guitarist Si Yunge after the jump.

Tell us about the Dyne.

We got together in Beijing in Spring 2012. It’s me on guitar and bass and another guy, Bai Tianke, on drums and percussion. I was in the original lineup of Beijing indie folk outfit Fragmentary Portrait from 2003-05 and a member of Rubber Phonographic Needle until 2010. Bai Tianke was the original drummer for Careless.

There are only two of you…

It’s easier to operate that way.

How would you describe your style?

I’d say lo-fi, minimalist rock.

How about your gigs?

Imagine performing in a boat, like paddling a large ship.

Ah. You guys played at our label showcase at XP on Thurs, Mar 21. Was that like paddling in a boat, too?

Sure! We really enjoyed that one. It reminded us of D-22—we really miss those days.

So do we. Who are some of your creative influences?

We’ve been influenced heavily by the root players in rock, people like Fela Kuti, Morphine, Suicide, the Cramps, Rowland S. Howard, Brian Eno, Faust, Silver Apples and, hold on a sec, lots of surf bands.

Tell us about the new record.

We’d just finished a great show last year at XP on a very, very cold winter night when label head Nevin Domer approached us and we discussed putting out a seven-inch. We were really happy about that. In December, we went into the studio with Yang Haisong and recorded two of our favorite new songs.

The names of those two songs are “Swim” and “Fly Roots.” What do they mean?

We prefer that the listener take a look within their own inner self to interpret the meanings. But to us, on a musical level, “Swim” recalls zooplankton, you know, the organisms that drift in seas and oceans and how they interact within the environment—a confrontation with confrontation. “Fly Roots” symbolizes a departure of roots—flying like lightning or maybe like the erotic emotion associated the body’s heart and blood vessels… feelings that aren’t entirely within our control.

Interesting. Did you learn anything from Yang Haisong in the studio?

The recording process was very smooth. Haisong was extremely professional and gave us lots of advice when it came to how to record and how to use some of the equipment. He also contributed a lot to the post-production process, like the percussion in “Swim”, for example. We’re very satisfied and he really brought a new feeling to the band.

What does DIY mean to you?

A natural ecosystem that involves everyone.

We’re releasing the record as part of Record Store Day on Sat, Apr 20. Where is your favorite place to buy music?

Ah, you know, I feel ashamed to say that people in China rarely pay to listen to music. I try to download everything legally and go to shops in Beijing like Rockland and Indie Music. And whenever friends go abroad, I ask them to bring stuff back.

What was the first recording that you owned?

Cui Jian’s Balls Under the Red Flag.

That’s a good one. You’re playing a pair of gigs in Shanghai for the release: the first at Uptown Records on Sat, Apr 20 and another the following day at 390. Have you played in Shanghai before?

We haven’t played there yet and we’re really excited to check out some of the record stores that we’ve read about online. It’s going to be a bloodbath, we’re going to clean them out [laughs]. We’ve also heard that some Shanghai schools of thought are more radical, more able to fuse together experimental elements. And the people are warmer, more witty, more caring—especially in those smaller, alleyway-type streets. And of course, there’s the food: wonton, fried dragon dumplings and yellow crabs. 好吃!

Okay, now you’re making us hungry. What are your future goals and aspirations? Eating lots of Shanghai food doesn’t count.

[Laughs] We’re going to do more multimedia art and video installation stuff this year with our friends in Beijing—including Nine (九口) a young photographer; Dee, an ambient artist and the painter Hen Mengyuan (韩梦云) with whom we will work very closely. Plans for a multimedia performance are in the pipeline, among other activities. We hope that more and more people will pay attention to China’s musicians and artists—we’re currently in the era of a new enlightenment.

The Dyne will release Swim. Fly Roots with a pair of shows in Shanghai: Sat, Apr 20 at Uptown Records and Sun, Apr 21 at 390. Beijing crowds will get their fix on Fri, Apr 26 at XP. Stay dialed in to the Dyne via Douban, Last, Weibo and of course, Genjing Records’ social media accounts.