One of the bigger record labels in China for indie/folk/rock, Thirteenth Month, has taken one of the first steps into branching out into the stage, in “That Night, We Make Music”, a rock stage drama that is an outlet for their frustrations. On April 22nd they held a press conference where everything was set up as a funeral to express their outlook on the current music industry.
Thirteen Month’s Lu Zhong Qiang said that the funeral setup was directed at the evolving of the music industry during the past few years towards singles, SPs, music downloading, and singing competitions etc. Recently singles and EPs and the like have taken beatings from other music big shots like Zhang Yadong and Li Xin who said if the trend continues, music will rot. Lu Zhong Qiang said it’s not about the music anymore, but making money, and this is leaving the music industry in worse and worse condition.
Thus, in a bit of a bizarre twist, Thirteen Month records will be branching out to the stage, which Lu Zhong Qiang says is a medium that has over the years, gotten better in China and has a wide audience, and one that he thinks will appreciate rock.
Included in this project are most of Thirteen Month’s big stars and they do have have at least one actress, Xiao Song Jia (not to be confused with the older and imo, prettier and more talented Da Song Jia), who has a small amount of fame and a rather tiny part in Red Cliff. I never understood how a glamorous run of the mill actress/mediocre singer got into this company filled with grungy looking men, but maybe they were planning a foray into the stage when they signed her.
My favorite artist under The Thirteenth Month record label, Xie Tian Xiao (XTX, formerly of the band Cold Blooded Animal) is participating in the project as well, and attended the press conference. But he is still busy preparing for a new album, and has turned down all recent invites to join music festivals. He did however act as judge in one that was Pepsi sponsored, and recently accepted an interview with the European version of Rolling Stone, in which he also talked about how young artists needed to struggle to be heard.
While I think it’s a bit weary hearing every two months some veteran of Chinese music bashing this and that about new trends, at least for Thirteen Month records, they’re doing something interesting. I’m not sure exactly what that is, and how a rock and roll stage drama is not a rock and roll musical, but it’s still early and I’ll be curious to see what this stage drama looks like, and waiting for XTX’s new album in the meantime.
Some XTX, one of my favorite Chinese rockers: