INTERVIEW: GETTING TO KNOW METOO
If you’ve been hanging out here in our little corner of the interwebs, you’ve most likely noticed that Genjing is gearing up to drop Beijing alt rockers MeToo’s first ever physical release in the form of 7” vinyl. It’s called Frankenstein and it most certainly lives up to it’s name. As the band have a lot going on at the moment, including an upcoming, not to miss, record release party on September 20th at School Bar – we figured it best we check in with their vocalist, Lu Zi, who was gracious enough to take on our barrage of MeToo-centric quandaries. We’ll leave it to Lu Zi to explain everything after the jump.
Tell us a bit about the origins of MeToo? From what I recall, you guys were functioning under a different moniker for a spell, back in the day, right? When did MeToo become MeToo and what prompted the name change?
First of all, our Chinese name is “迷涂”, not “迷途”. There’s a huge difference between these two, in Chinese. We started off as “Mars Plan”, a name decided by our drummer. But then the drummer went to Yunnan, and we were worried about violating the copyright, so our keyboardist, Zhou Youai, named the band “迷涂”. This new name also allows interesting things to happen when it comes to name recognition. So far, over a half of people who’ve heard of us would mistake our name as “迷途”. I assume that as we gain more fame in the future, more people would get our name right.
So, I take it you’ve had a few lineup changes in the band since your initial formation?
This is one of the most intriguing phenomenon in China’s rock scene. Occasional lineup change is understandable, but most bands here might change personal a little too frequently. The rock scene in China is more like a funhouse mirror that distorts reality – funny and annoying at the same time. If I go too deep into this question, it might piss off a certain group of people, actually.
You are originally from Xinjiang (but currently live in Beijing), right? Are there any notable things you’d like to mention about the musical happenings in that (quite exotic) part of the country/world, in general?
I was born in Xinjiang and my parents went there during the 50s and 60s. When I was young, I didn’t really have any access to music, except for those revolutionary songs. Despite their themes, I did find their melodies quite decent. When I got into middle school, I began to listen to pop music from Hong Kong and Taiwan, but only after I arrived in Beijing did I get into electric guitar based rock n’ roll and all that it entails. As for music in Xinjiang, you have to relax yourself and learn to appreciate beauty of all kinds. Without love, music is just a kind of weapon.
We’re very excited to work with you here at Genjing. Were you actively shopping for labels when we came a knocking?
We are honored to work with Genjing Records to release our first EP on vinyl. We’ve known Nevin for a really long time, since we were still active in D22. We were excited when he contacted us as we’ve always been attracted to vinyl. However, reality and financial problems kept us waiting for as long as two years to finish up the new material. We came really close to losing hope altogether and postpone our plan indefinitely. But thanks to you guys at Genjing, we are now able to get our stuff out there in a physical format.
What’s your typical gear set-up in MeToo? Feel free to get geeky…
We are never truly satisfied when it comes to our gear. Instruments are always improving and we are always attracted to new, sometimes expensive gear. Music and gear go hand in hand. Maybe someday, we will create a new instrument ourselves.
Does MeToo have any near-future live engagements folks should be aware of?
Our 7” release party is on Sept. 20th at School Bar. This first 7” contains two songs. We have also invited our friends Lonely Leary and Death Narcissist to play with us that night. It’s going to be seriously fun.
What is the current status of the band, creatively? I mean, are you guys actively working on new material or jamming or anything, at present?
We already have enough songs for our next album, but we haven’t started to record yet. We plan to finish preparation by the end of next year. As for now, we are focusing on promoting our new, eponymous release, for the most part. Though we really love it, we have to admit we are not totally satisfied with it.
What does the typical MeToo writing process look like?
First, we start with vocal melodies to create a sort of general outline, then all of us add layers of sound and perfect it bit by bit, together.
What are you currently listening to in terms of contemporary music, of any genre? Any particular releases you look forward too in 2015?
Recently I’ve been listening to some post-rock bands, whose names I cannot remember. I prefer live gigs to studio recordings.
Best gig you’ve seen in the past 13 months?
It’s one on the net: VEVO Presents: Nine Inch Nails.
How do you feel about U2?
U2 have a lot of money and they can use it to help people and purchase tons of good gear.
If the world were your oyster, what would the ultimate MeToo merch item be?
Let our manager worry about that. I’m all over unfinished music right now.
How do you typically consume music: Digital? CD? Vinyl? All three?
Mostly digital, but we do play CDs on our car. Now that we have released an actual record, we are thinking about buying a turntable.
Favorite place to play live?
I’d love to tour and various music festivals. But to answer your question, what about Madison Square Garden? Haha.
What’s the most memorable gig you’ve ever done and why?
It’s the one at YYT, Shanghai, during our 2014 tour. We got drunk and the last song was a new song that we hadn’t really rehearsed, so we blew it, completely. No one knew what was going at the time and we could not bear this situation. So, our bassist Fengbo jumped off the stage and began to run in the crowd. The rest of us started to improvise. It was the worst music I’ve ever listened to, but the crowd seemed to like it messy. That was our worst experience. Though things don’t always turn out exactly the way we might like them in a live setting, we always aim to create something interesting or at least, have fun!