Beijing Beat blog with Mark Godfrey

Beijing Beat

How to: China As a Foreign Musician

Oct 2

Written by:
10/2/2008 7:22 AM  RssIcon

Here’s a possible recipe for success as a rock band in China

Known all over the cool southwesterly province of Yunnan, the Kunming-based Tribal Moons is a fine example of how to be successful on China’s music scene. It’s a long haul but ultimately better for China and for the musicians than those prohibitively expensive tours by foreign artists like Air, which charge a revolting RMB700 for their club show in Beijing lately.
Live here: A very cosmopolitan group of blues rockers bases itself in Kunming - several members teach at the local university, the Triball Moons, having polished their act and made their name here (and in Yunnan backpacking havens like Lijiang and Dali), stretched itself with mini-tours of easy-to-get-to cities like Chengdu, Wuhan, Changsha, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
Be sustainable: After a few years gigging in Kunming “we're pretty wired into the scene” says Lundemo.
Be local: Tribal Moons drummer Ma Tu, a local, knows everyone in the music business here including all the bands, clubs and agents. Another band member studied Chinese in Kunming so knows the large population of foreign students studying in the city. A computer-savvy guitarist meanwhile does all the band’s graphics and posters.
Hand Out A CD: There are decent local studios to do the job and it gives fans and possible future club owners something to remember you by. Tribal Moons hope to have a CD in the bag by mid October. “It’s gotta get done,” says band man John Lundemo.
Don’t get ahead of yourself: the Tribal Moons picks off a bunch of cities at a time, plays them and then goes back a few months later, having made their name, and contacts. While the band has gotten acquainted with agents around China it’s doing it for itself for now.

Tribal Moons is revving up for a Psychedelic Carnival set for October 17th at the Uprock Club in Kunming at the Uprock club. It’ll be the first rockgig in what’s nominally a DJ and dance club, so we'll be the first live band to play there and it opens up a new venue here. Lundemo and co are also lucky in that Kunming has a well-updated English language bible, www.GoKunming.com, which gives the low-down on the local news.

 

 

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