Maybe Mars Acts to Hit the US in November

Five acts under the Maybe Mars label, Carsick Cars, P.K. 14, Xiao He, White and Snapline are coming to the US this November, mostly to the east coast. The full list of dates and locations are all listed here, along with descriptions of each band, and albums to legally download.

Maybe Mars is the youngest of the two leading Chinese independent music labels.  It was started by musicians who had found a home at D-22, the rock club that is credited with giving crucial exposure and support to Beijing’s exploding music scene.  In its two years of existence, it has already signed 24 folk, rock, experimental and noise musicians and bands, including most of the artists at the forefront of China’s music underground.

Seriously? Are any other labels bringing their bands to the US? That’s crazy…this one’s not for aids charity like Modern Sky, but it’s very cool all the same.

Thanks to for posting this originally. I swear, whenever it’s Chinese indie news I always end up stealing from some other site…Chinese indie gets more love than Chinese pop.

17 thoughts on “Maybe Mars Acts to Hit the US in November

  1. Well, I’m definitely partial to Western entertainment (although I don’t think the movies were that great this year)…I just don’t write or have a blog about it because most people know about western entertainment. It’s easily accessible.

    I think we’re sort of going in circles, because I’m more or less talking about how HK/TW entertainment got neglected by Kpop. You’re talking about mainland entertainment. One was always decent, whereas mainland music started shooting up in the past few years. So it’s not like Chinese people were always waiting around for good music and didn’t know any artists like the Koreans before they had SM. The Chinese had good music, liked it, liked the artists, and now their focus has gone over to Kpop.

    For mainland entertainment, I would say that people know it more now than they did before, but that’s because before people knew zilch. Anything is new to them. I’m very mad at the western world for making Chinese people so ashamed of their culture by all the anti-China articles that don’t give all the facts. There are so many Chinese people who hate part of themselves because of all of the anti-China sentiment. You see this a lot in the older Chinese Americans. I hope this doesn’t happen to the younger generation, and it’s definitely getting better because of the emergence of the mainland entertainment, which at the very least will make people think instead of just knowing all the bad stuff that western media likes to harp on, while omitting other crucial facts to paint a bleak picture.

    But yeah…I was most focusing on the lack of interest in HK/TW entertainment now, not the mainland stuff. And even though I don’t have the energy to post on all of Greater China, there’s just a natural affinity for it.

    I do agree on your last point. My opinion of people is that they’re gullible and easily persuaded if they read something often enough because they don’t look further at reasons, but at the same time, they are fickle, and if they see shiny things, their focus is easily shifted.

    Well…this is a blog, and one of the things I hate about blogging is that you get too into your own little world. These are just my opinions, and I would like people to tell me if I sound too crazy at any point in the game, or illogical. Because it happens…you get on a soapbox, you don’t get off, and…I’ve just never liked the idea of blogging very much.

  2. I definitely didn’t follow either C or K… anything, for that matter, until last year, yes, and I’m still partial to Western entertainment in certain areas, but I dunno that following one or two pop trends for a few years would give an accurate gauge of how the entertainment industry works.

    There’s no indication that this is a cyclic thing, yes, but that doesn’t mean it’s not. Cycles all do have to start somewhere, after all. If anything, K-Pop’s explosiveness reminds me of the “British Invasions” of the 60s and 80s, and those are turning out to be either cyclic or at least, not permeating; back with the first one, it had no precedent, either. The dust settles on everything eventually before another storm.

    I looked up a lot of the same things you did, so I’m not basing this off of complete blindness. The K-wave isn’t unprecedented, but it’s hard to believe that it’s going to be unlike any other wave – they rush in, then they fade out. My question was rhetorical – what did the Korean fans do before their country’s acts made it huge, during the years they were building momentum? Probably about the same things that the potential Chinese fangirls abroad do now – paid attention to some other culture’s music and whatnot. It takes time for momentum to build, and even longer for it to cross an ocean.

    As for that entire generation… I think that’s at least a bit of an exaggeration, unless you mean overseas Chinese people. And in that case, well, that’s hardly unusual for a minority group in any country. I’m not saying it’s not something to be annoyed at, but it’s also just something that’s unavoidable at times.

    Media definitely plays a very important role in shaping people’s perceptions, I agree, but when it’s in the control of the mass populace and its whims anyway, it tends to be mediated eventually, at least from what I’ve seen… People, as a collective, have pretty short attention spans.

  3. Didn’t you say you never listened to Kpop or Cpop before recently? We both have been doing it for a while, and perhaps the change is more noticeable and alarming for us. Because Cpop definitely encountered a HUGE drop in interest after Kpop.

    Why did Kpop only explode a few years ago? Simple…because it’s only been around for a decade, and interest has been building up since, so there is no indication this is a cyclic thing.

    Kpop is not Jpop. It’s very young. South Korea was a military dictatorship until recently, and until H.O.T. the singers were older types. So there was nothing to be going on about for the fangirl-type abroad…they were like mainland Chinese almost, unsure of what their culture consisted of. I’ve had Korean friends and they were just so…blah about their culture back in the late 90s. It was around 2000 that Kpop began to pick up momentum and in their drama scene as well, with the soapy-soap fest Autumn in my Heart that gave all the girls in Asia something to cry over like they never cried before. That was the first Korean drama people took notice of…the same time TW came out with Meteor Garden.

    So around early 2000, after SM (yes, he basically started the Kpop scene single-handledly) pumped H.O.T, SES, etc into the music scene and generated a bunch of imitating rival groups, like FinKl (my fav), that’s when the Kpop population abroad began to take pride in their pop culture. Soompi was started. This all happened around early 2000s…then as newer groups that were even better looking (although less creative) replaced the older groups attention began to build up. The Chinese abroad saw all the groups boybands and they started to help.

    I’m not old enough to remember all of this…but once I found a particular someone I liked in Kpop, I looked this stuff up because I am interested in trends and because wanted a guage for when mainland China would pick up its entertainment…and my predicted time was around now.

    So it’s been something building and building since the start of Kpop. And I don’t have an answer to where the momentum will end up…there’s numerous possibilities though, and I’m predicting one, but I don’t want to say it here. I am happy for Koreans abroad, who have reemerged interested in their own culture. I think understanding one’s background and culture is a very beautiful thing. I’m happy for my friends, who years ago looked down on their background. But really, Kpop has started to wrangle interest from Chinese in Cpop, and that is what is a bit frustrating for me. An entire generation of Chinese know Kpop better than Cpop. That is not beautiful to me. Maybe I’m being harsh…after all Korea’s market is so small that I should not begrudge it this.

    And we (or rather I) probably are taking this too seriously, obviously by the full-scale essays I wrote. It’s entertainment after all, but if I didn’t think entertainment/media was the most important in shaping people’s perceptions, I would not be writing about it.

  4. You guys are taking this very seriously based on trends noticed through a relatively short span of time, and I’m not sure that that’s necessarily going to give you an accurate gauge of things. I mean really, K-Pop exploded a few years ago. What were the Korean fans doing before then? These things all go in cycles; if they didn’t, we’d still be listening to boy bands in the US.

    I dunno, I think that China just needs some time to build momentum. Avalanches are made possible by single snowflakes, after all…

    @ Suzy – The Life Journey in the US = very very very happy Neph. Very, very, very happy. I love Kong Yang’s lyrics (and Benjamin Button complex, LOL), and bossa nova/fusion influence is win… if they come to the US, you’ll find me at one of the concerts, haha.

    Listening to SuperVC more often led me to the conclusion that they’re too love-focused of a rock band for my tastes, and their sound often seems like a direct rip of Brit-pop. I don’t know that I’d juxtapose them with The Life Journey in a photoshoot… SuperVC’s style is more classy while The Life Journey is just a very good-looking sort of casual.

  5. I would say the drop in interest in C-pop by Chinese is proportional to the drop in quality of Kpop in the last few years. I’m not baffled by it, and that’s what scares me. It’s pretty logical if you think about, but not something that can be fixed by better Cpop.

    1) The Chinese population is only slightly greater than the Korean one. While the HK an TW and Singaporeans were fighting each other, and mainlanders thought they had no entertainment because “China bad” mentality that gets pounded into them, the Korean group homogeneously promoted their own stuff. Which is natural. They should love their culture.

    2) Kpop itself is inherently meant to gain the biggest audience that it can due to its small market. That means, catchy tunes to get the average Joe’s attention.

    3) Kpop is basically very Americanized popular music, but with Asian faces. This naturally appeals to Chinese Americans, or really any Asian Americans. Our environment has told us what is “cool” and it’s the hip-hop, the more “Americanized” sounds. This is why I really don’t like the fact that the American market is so big and directs the world’s viewpoint on what is popular, etc. The world needs a bit more bipolarity. In China, plenty of 20+ couldn’t give a crap about it, and go on listening to their more Chinese stuff. Like I said before…the Asians abroad want American culture with an Asian face, not actually Asian culture.

    4) Lots of people who didn’t want to try Kpop because it was in a different language were lured over by SJM. SJM has really done a lot less to spread Cpop than to spread Kpop to Chinese.

    5) Because of all of this, there are not only Koreans working on subbing and translating, but the huge Chinese segment as well. The more that Kpop gets spread, the more that people get attached to the stars, their little quirks, their personalities. Meanwhile, cpop gets neglected. The cycle just keeps going on and on.

    None of this says to me that Chinese entertainment will get more fans if it gets better. It says to me that Chinese entertainment needs to be less-Chinese, commercialized for Chinese Americans to appreciate it. And to hell with that.

  6. I’ve been quite baffled by the online shift over the last four years from hk/tw pop to kpop…I don’t know when it happened, or how. It seems like as I moved from kpop to mainland music, everyone else moved from hk/tw/jp to kpop.

    Which is really sad because Korean movies and dramas as a whole, of tw/ml/jp, puts the least emphasis on the quality of music and dramas produced and most on the star power and glamor.

    I think first coming into cpop, I was really excited by its potential. As time went on, I begun to be disappointed. Not in the music themselves, but in the institutions that control it and in the audience who refuses to accept it. I wish people would just put aside their prejudices and just listen to the beauty they’ll hear.

  7. I agree that it’s appealing, the dance, the variety shows, the personalities, the camaraderie.

    But at the same time, it’s a bit frightening to see just how many people stopped caring about Chinese entertainment from a few years ago because it’s less flashy. Cpop hasn’t gotten worse…not at all. And I think Kpop, from when I first got into it (when they had soloists), has in fact taken a pretty big nose dive. So the interest shift is not due to quality, but something less substantive. It’s sad to see how Chinese people have left Cpop, stopped promoting it, because they went for flashiness. They don’t even know what Cpop sounds like anymore…cpop gets uploaded less and less, because the energy is just not being spent there. It’s a really big difference actually from a few years ago…a noticeable difference, and it bothers me. Even if Cpop gets better and better, which I think it is, both in mainland China and other places in Greater China, it won’t matter. Because people are not looking for that.

    I don’t know…I’m sort of disappointed by the Chinese population abroad in general right now. Even the ones that do know about Chinese entertainment, or think it’s better, still spend more time promoting, uploading kpop. And frankly, it’s sort of turning me off a lot of music in general. I couldn’t listen to Yu Haoming’s new songs without thinking mediocrity, mediocrity, mediocrity. I like you YHM, but I can’t if you’re just a vessel to pump out mediocre music into the market…I think idarklight’s right. Even if eeMedia wins more public opinion points by going in the pretty faces, average talent direction, they shouldn’t. Finding a good voice like Jing Boran for example is fairly easy, but finding that amazing voice like Laure Shang, or Han Hong, is something to be treasured.

    And really, American music has none of the variety shows, none of the music shows, and it’s the biggest music industry in the world. The variety shows are fun, but they also put too much emphasis on the personality of the entertainers, rather than their music quality or skill, and I think it’s the same variety shows that have made Kpop so idol focused these days.

    That was long, and written with time I don’t particularly have to write, but eh, this feeling of disappointment at Chinese abroad has been escalating. Very much so, and I don’t know if I care anymore. The amount of movies I watched before I started the site has dropped a lot, I spend less time dancing, and read less news articles, etc…before I was enthused by the eagerness at getting into cpop. Now I feel like Chinese people are just going to think no matter what, even if the music’s really good, it’s less flashy or gilded than kpop, so it’s lamer and they are just going to put it down, while still spending their time spreading or translating or subbing kpop.

    Enjoying the kpop is not the problem, I still listen to it, dance to it, and one of my favorite actresses is Korean, and I’m waiting eagerly for her next movie…it’s the time, the huge time they spend on the uploading, everything, while neglecting really great cpop that they used to upload. They could at least use more cpop icons or something… on LJ, etc and keep it visible.

    I still love Chinese entertainment, and it’s why I’m still posting, but with a sort of different attitude than before. Something morealong the original intent of the blog, which was simply a place for me to put things I liked in C-entertainment for fun, to hell with what others like.

    Anyone reading this, thanks for letting me rant. It was cathartic. Not if I get glaucoma for using the computer way too much though.

  8. I have to admit, I am one of those kpop fangirls. It is hard to not get sucked into it since kpop does not only have pretty, well choreographed dances in MVs to watch but also many subbed, extremely hilarious variety shows. I also like Chinese music (mostly mainland with a few Taiwan singers like Jam Hsiao), but there aren’t enough variety shows to keep audiences informed and entertained.

  9. I’m very sad I can’t go.

    Life Journey and SuperVC together would make for such a pretty poster ad…the two best dressed/photographed indie groups.

    Heh…you know what I just realized? SuperVC is like, the second Asian face of Gucci after Huang Xiaoming. They even have a picture with Frida Giannini uploaded on their Douban page. What can I say? They have style.

  10. Ya know, if Carsick Cars & Hedgehog can come to America why not Life Journey?! *crossing my fingers with you*

  11. ^ Life Journey? YES PLZ. *crosses fingers* Nigh infatuated with them right now, haha. I’d ditch class to go see them in concert. Throw in Hedgehog and Milk and Coffee, then I’d ditch a test to go…

    Some people have all the luck. If I don’t have anything going on, I’ll try to go to the Maybe Mars concert in DC, but it looks like it may not have Carsick Cars or Snapline, and I’m not that fond of PK 14 or Xiao He, so…

  12. yes. i can go watch it. i live near D.C
    oh wow. i just realized i dont live 30 mins away from DC any more. i live on college campus which is 3 hours away from DC.

  13. WAHAHAHAHAHA! When I saw Hedgehog in DC I thought that would have to last me a lifetime! Now I’m going to see CARSICK CARS!!! and
    I can’t believe it…. And this isn’t even on their douban pages yet.

    Thanks for the GREAT news! Now if we could just get Perdel, Life Journey, Convenience Store & Super VC to do an American tour :D

  14. Really? The only thing I’ve really heard is that the PSB shut down all foreign bands for some reason or another…

    Your fifth paragraph confused me a little, haha… I know a lot of Chinese girls are all up in the K-Pop fandom, but with the J-Pop part, did you mean that a lot of J-pop’s non-Japanese fans overseas are the Chinese population abroad?

    I don’t think it’s homogeneity that’s the biggest problem. Sure, there’s a lot of diversity in the abroad population, but that really hasn’t stopped most of the people I know from liking C-Pop/C-Indie from all regions of China… once they are exposed to it. Thing is, I think a lot of us have no inclination to learn more about China on our own. There’s a myriad of reasons why – from growing up in the US from a younger age to parents that often don’t encourage watching Chinese entertainment in any way; it’s a pretty complex issue, really…

    And Japanese entertainment is popular because it filled a niche that the US didn’t have itself – and was adopted by a niche of people who aren’t into mainstream, which is why I was comparing it to C-Indie coverage. VK and other mostly non-mainstream stuff is quite a lot more well known overseas than is mainstream J-anything…

    I think part of that slow down is because T- and HK-entertainment have both slowed somewhat as the mainland rises. The Chinese population abroad just hasn’t made the jump yet. Once Chinese entertainment reaches a threshold of fame, I think we’ll be seeing plenty of Chinese people abroad hop on, just as they did when K-Pop hit that threshold.

  15. Yeah, I heard but I’ve heard too many different things to really understand it.

    The thing is… pop requires really people of that pop’s ethnicity to spread it around more. With Korea, there’s a homogeneity abroad that makes promoting their culture easier…so the pop gets spread far and wide.

    Chinese abroad is comprised of HK, TW, mainlanders …it’s very fragmented and the three groups put each other down so stuff doesn’t get out there as much. For Japan…there are hardly any Japanese Americans. It’s known because it’s really good and has been established for such a long time.
    …in the end, all that gets through in full force btw the Jpop loving non-Japanese, the fragmented Chinese population abroad, and the entire homogeneous Korean population, is the kpop…

    I’ve actually seen a change since three years ago. Three years ago, the Chinese population seemed to actually know more about Chinese (TW and HK) celebs, and now most of that energy talking about Chinese entertainment has been completely dominated by Kpop fangirling. Which is fine, …but when most of the already fragmented Chinese population puts their energy into that…Chinese culture abroad amongst Chinese Americans, Canadians, etc is doomed.

  16. Ah, this is so unfair… It’s always DC and Pennsylvania. I missed the Modern Sky concert in DC because of a Chinese test (how ironic), and there’s almost no chance of making the DC concert this time (also because of a Chinese test, jeebus).

    But I’m really glad to see these labels bringing their acts stateside – here’s to hoping for a Modern Sky Festival in the US.

    BTW, did you hear about the catastrophe that happened with this year’s Modern Sky Festival? Chaoyang Park PSB must be paranoid or something…

    And as for the love for Chinese indie… it’s the same with Japanese stuff, really. Most of the Japanese music that is really popular overseas isn’t mainstream in Japan. Generally speaking, fans of international music tend not to be fans of mainstream stuff to begin with, so they tend towards indie and rock more than mainstream pop. Even so… mainland indie is under-covered, much to my chagrin. Most of the news is focused on Taiwanese rock and pop.

  17. Thank you so much for this news! i can’t believe I will get to see two tours in 2 month! this is great!

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