I’d seen the name on posters for lots of the gigs happening around Beijing. So I tracked down Zhu Tianchi, man behind www.rockbj.com a useful and very interactive portal tracking what’s happening on Beijing’s music scene. Here’s the transcript of that interview with the fashion-conscious designer who in his spare time organizes rock shows and worships Evanescence.
When was rockbj.com set up and by whom?
I started to make preparation for this website in April, 2005 and this website was completely established on October 1st in the same year.
Why was the site set up ? What was your plan?
I am fanatic about rock music, the idea of setting up this website was a sudden brainstorm. Before this website, I had a very small personal website with some rock-related staff I liked very much. As I was colleting information, I gradually understood rock music much deeper and I found there were great potentials in China’s rock music field. I thought I should do something to unite those rock Chinese rock music power in order to affect more people and draw more attention on rock music.
How many people work on the site?
Currently there are eight people in Beijing and there are also many representatives in different regions . And for sure, they all love rock music as I do. Besides, many of my friends are helping me and supporting me now and I extend my thanks to them all.
Which parts of the website are most popular with users?
I feel all parts are warmly welcomed by our users. We have more than 30 sections on the site and each boasts of its own feature. These parts include news, audio files, videos, chatting tools and more.
What can you offer musicians that other similar websites can't?
We concentrate more on the combination of on-line activities and off-line music events. For example, we often organize events at bars, in the open air and on campus to provide musicians with a broader stage and more performing opportunities.
I've seen your name regularly on posters for rock concerts. Do you run your own shows?
Yes, we often organize shows of different styles. We have organized more than 30 shows since the website established and has cooperated with other media in countless shows.
Which artists and events proved most popular recently on your site?
Artists and bands on our website are carefully chosen by us and I think they are all excellent. As for events, we organized the May 1st Metal Music Festival the other days which lasted 2 days. Each day the venue was full of people including many friends from abroad and from other cities of China for two days. We are now organizing several bands to go to the south to take part in an event called “Rock the Weekend, Cheer for the Olympics”. Also we are organizing a charity show to collect money for our compatriots who are suffering an terrible earthquake disaster. We are trying to call for all people in the rock circle to commit their love and duties to the society.
Is Cui Jian being replaced by bands like Carsick Cars as the most important name in Chinese alternative music?
Mr. Cui Jian is the godfather of Chinese rock music. I believe that nobody is able to take his place. We are just continuing on the rode he used to be on, developing things inherited from him. As true rock fans, each of us plays different roles in everyday life, but we have shouldered the same responsibility, that is, to unite together to make the rock music market better and better.
What's the reason for the recent bloom in rock music talent and venues inBeijing?
This is closely related to the development of the society, varied cultural life and the needs for rock music in the market. This is a very good phenomenon, a sign of progress. In recent years, rock music has grown very fast and of course this cannot be parted from the push power from the Internet and a deeper understand of rock among people. Another important factor that can’t be ignored is rock music itself has developed a lot. It’s no longer closed but more and more open and free to other music forms and this broadened its audiences. Now rock fans listen to Jay Chou’s songs and Jay Chou’s fans also listen to rock. There should be no boundaries among music of different styles and only in this way can rock music step onto a bigger stage in China.
What's the best rock concert you saw recently?
Nightwish, Dreamtheater’s concerts in Beijing. Both of them are fantastic! I love John Petrucci’s music very much. Though it’s been a couple of months since I went to those 2 concerts, I’m still quite impressed by the professional lights, acoustic impact and especially the music. I hope more excellent rock bands could come to Beijing for further communication.
What's the best CD you've listened to?
The Open Door by Evanescence, released in 2006. I’ve been listening to it till now and I love both the music style and the music editing. These songs are soft, beautiful and full of emotions, like epics. Also I have listened a lot good CDs of my friend’s bands in Chinese rock circle. But that’s too many to introduce one after another.