Interview: Han Han

Shanghai based Duck Fight Goose is one of the most exciting and innovative bands to come out of China in recent years. With their refreshing brand of experimental pop and metronomic math-rock, they have been gaining fans and rave reviews all over the globe since the release of their debut EP Flow. With a new record due out in the next month or two, we talk to frontman Han Han about the evolution of their sound, Shanghai’s music scene and sports!

Can you tell us about your background. How did you end up working in the music industry and making music?
I studied chemistry and mass communications during my college time. And I’m now working as a graphic designer in a local company focusing on event management. Guess I’m not exactly “end up” in music industry. It’s currently still a side project. I’m enjoying making music but I can’t live on that.

Your sound has taken a new direction since Flow, what can we expect from the new album and can you tell us about what led to this evolution? When will the record be released?
All sounds in the new album will be more complex but vocals will have a little “set back”, it’ll be more original and without too many decorations. This evolution is just kind of a choice, our songs changed after Flow and the atmosphere of songs requires the vocal to change. Normal and natural for me. If everything goes well the new LP will be out around Nov/Dec.

You said in a previous interview that your music is an expression about what you feel about the city and the country that you live in. How important is that to you and what effect do you think Shanghai and China have on your music?
The city and country we are living in is our environment. That’s the so called outside world. I personally think no matter what we are making, I mean, entertainment, art, etc, they are expressions or languages of a group of individuals. If these expressions are not related to the artist’s environment, both political, economical and educational, then the artist is lying or hiding something somewhere. And hiding is not we can currently appreciate. So yes, it affect us in so many ways that I can’t even answer the question thoroughly. We are the environments and vice versa.

Do you see Shanghai as a fostering environment for upcoming artists and bands? Have you noticed a change in the music scene here over the past 10 years?
I personally think Shanghai is a good place for upcoming artists. For a city that’s lacking innovation of rock music for so many years, everyday is a day full of opportunities for anyone to create. Now the hardware is ready for any bands who wanna grow here, I mean we have plenty of decent livehouses, practice rooms and online instruments shops. The venue owners love music but they are not musical fools, they are at the same time serious business man and that’s good for some serious thing to happen. The most appreciable change is that now most of the bands don’t give a shit to the so-called conflicts between “ROCK” and “COMMERCIAL MUSIC”. It breaks some old-fashioned guys’ rotten motto and these mottos come from some childish magazines or media who never know what rock music is. There are so many pretentious underground-rock bands and there are some commercial bands under big label really making their own music. New bands are always more relaxing.

Do you see a difference between the music scene in Shanghai vs. Beijing and other Chinese cities?
Yes. Every city has its own music scene. In Shanghai we don’t have that many bands comparing to Beijing. Bad thing is that we can’t see so many new faces every time. Good thing is that the scene is not that rigid. In Beijing, bands have to actually fight their right to play at the best time. But this will also help bands to treat their music more seriously. That’s a different story.

Many music festivals have evolved over the last few years in China. What’s your opinion on them? Are there some in particular that you like?
They are pretty much the same and I only care about the lineups. Sadly, most of the lineups are not very attractive to me.

You also run a record label Miniless, what does the work for that involve?
I’m more like a volunteer of Miniless. I have to do everything related to it. It’s fun and require a lot of time to handle. Because my new band and day-job, this label is not as active as 2 years ago. Let’s see what will happen next.

Which artists, musicians, writers, etc influence you and your work?
I’ve been thinking that for a while because most of the interviewers will ask me about that. For now I think a movie lies in the core of what we done, which is Blade Runner. It explains and illustrates everything in our fantasy.

Your upcoming album is to be titled Sports, where does this name come from and what particular sports are you interested in?
I’m not quite a fan of any sports…anyway, you see every sports has its darkside but also it’s cheerful or let’s say, exciting. That’s the fun part of the word. It’s competitive, encouraging, seemingly healthy but in the end modern sprots are ENTERTAINMENT. And many athletes became stars and millionaires after they reached the peak of their career. It’s the same with anything else in the real world but people tend to think it’s healthier. And that’s where I see darkness, conflicts, inspirations.

Shanghai Questions:
Your favourite neighbourhood in Shanghai and why?

Yuyintang livehouse. That’s our home.

Favourite Shanghai restaurant/cafe/bar/store?
Boona in Huai Hai Rd. Mu Cun restaurant in Jia Shan Rd.

Local creatives people should know about?
Nini Sum and her idlebeats studio. Xiao Long Hua. The designer Qiu Hao.

Describe your perfect day in Shanghai.
3pm. 20degreesC
Sitting in home with all my instruments, free to plug them into my amps
and turn the level all the way up.
Sunshine outside, tea on table.
Little Britain or IT crowd on tv.
No need to work the next day.

Duck Fight Goose