A PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY OF METOO
No good band is created in a single day – well, some are; very, very few, but anyway…each group experiences the ups and downs of development. MeToo is no different. Founded in 2007, the band has been at it for eight sordid years; countless shifts in practice spaces as well as personnel and the general, problematic whatnots of being a band on the rise in China. For a bit more perspective on all of the aforementioned development and strife that goes into being a seasoned artisanal unit, let’s take a photographic look back at the history of this incredibly resilient band, who borderline improbably, considering their lineage within the scope of the scene, just released their first piece of proper physical material, like, full stop.
These were shot in November 2007 in Songzhuang. An unknown photographer, who has an actual name that literally escapes everyone (it seems), took them near his studio, most likely as a study of still life on the move. The band had never done a proper photoshoot, but as it turns out, they were complete and total naturals! At the end of the year, said band of musicians began performing semi-regularly at D22 and was invited to play the now historic venue’s annual New Year’s eve party, which was quite a coveted slot for a Beijing band at the time. Unfortunately, before the show, due to internal differences, the band dissolved into the ether until 2009, which confused and saddened many a Beijing museo, but would eventually lead to bigger and better things to come for MeToo.
Keyboardist Zhou Youai and bassist Dandan joined in the band in 2009 – their initial performances, naturally, took place at D22. The band’s music at the time was extremely rich in instrumentation, a relatively abrupt change from their previous incarnation, which was a bit on the noisier side. The framework of MeToo’s distinctive brand of post-punk was to be broken and reconstructed, sometimes in a live setting, audience present – mostly alone in various practice spaces about the nation’s capital. New elements were tried and explored for a number of years. The band were essentially going through a semi-public metamorphosis. Their desire was not necessarily for people remember their songs, but to feel them. Then you can forget and feel again – rinse and repeat. For a more direct interpretation of the band’s experimental side, MeToo produced a strikingly interesting piece of instrumental music – from start to finish the whole song used just one, singular chord. With such extreme restrictions in place, yet still able to convey the ups and downs of their sound, the tune is still used as an opener at gigs, to this day. MeToo is no longer a band confined to singular ideas. With today’s musical technology, the band feel as though they have no boundaries whatsoever.
In 2009, the band not only played D22, they also played pretty much any and every Beijing musical venue in existence. Photographs of these shows tremendously are rare. One of the previous photos was shot at Dos Kolegas, a phenomenal livehouse that was unfortunately shuttered not long back – truly a loss for the Beijing music community, at large.
This collection of photos was taken in Songzhuang right after keyboard player Zhou Youai officially joined the band. MeToo quickly found bassist Dandan around this period, as well. The band simply nailed blankets around the walls of a nondescript space and made it into a rehearsal room, which created the very unique, remote look you’re currently experiencing. Though drummer Panda lived next door to the studio, Lu Zi and Zhou Youai took ages wading through Beijing traffic to make it to practice. It was almost as if they were on tour, making their way to the next show, rather than shaping their sound in their makeshift practice space.
During 2010-2012, the band went through substitution after substitution. People came and left. These are some photos from that period. There aren’t photos of everyone who’s ever been a part of MeToo, every one of them is great musician, but for one reason or another, it didn’t work out.
Those photos were shot in 2014, in an art village called Dagao. Some of them were taken by the drummer of band, Da Huaidan. Some were taken by Liu Min from Re-TROS. MeToo used this weirdass “light ball” which was a more direct, communicative medium in the mind of the band. It can be mounted on the inside of your mind, become figuratively transparent, thereby reducing unnecessary ambiguity and injury.
In 2014, the band went on it’s first tour of China. An eye opening experience for all…
Later in 2014, MeToo also went on to perform in many other, distinctive Chinese cities.
2015: Midwest China Tour, shot in a city in Gansu province called Pingliang, where the band had a rare opportunity to stay in a hotel! Strangely, there only seemed to be three employees at this particular inn. So empty it was, quite literally, confusing. The atmosphere was very “strange” to say the least – made us feel if we were in a Kubrick flick!
Now the band writes another line of their musical history with the release of their new 7” single on Genjing Records. Grab yourself a copy of Frankenstein and make yourself a part of MeToo’s storied history, as well.