Around the net: Morgan of BCR on 'the scene'

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boys climbing ropes shoot
When I'm writing up magazine articles and linking their online versions, there's one name always absent. 

Smart Shanghai is a major webportal for the ex-pat crowd and since Morgan Short is the editor (and also in one of the regular bands on the scene) he posts up a lot of stuff about music. I was previously loathe to mention that site because of it's infamous forum, a magnet for bigoted trash. Well, the forum is closed these days so there you go.

Morgan's band, by the way, is the excellent Boys Climbing Ropes. Go immediately to their Myspace page before reading on. They are an indie/folk/punk combo with great songs and one of the few bands doing something outside of the usual genres.

So, for whatever reason, Morgan has prefaced his write up of the in progress Jue Festival with an essay on why he thinks the scene here is good. 

It's inspired by people back home asking him why he's in China. He asked them what it was like in the music/arts back home and found that it sucked. Here's a quote:

This year, living in China was easier to justify than previous years, because this year I made a point to ask all my friends in bands, friends working in recording and producing, friends in media, and friends doing DJ parties, about how their life was going in terms of the public and critical reception of their work, and if they still enjoyed what they were doing -- if it was still "worth it" in the 2-double-0-9. 

From the varied group of people I talked to the common thread was dejection -- dejection with having anything to do with the "music industry." Really good bands I knew from way-back-when has stopped touring, DJs were sitting around not doing anything or presiding over the death of their styles, people working in recording were forced into commercial work, and just a general feeling of drained malaise was shared by all. 

And here's another:

And thus the defense of living in Shanghai: 

Because there is no real possibility of people making real money on music, because there are only a few places to do it in, and because there just isn't really a dominating audience for one genre of "underground music" over another, everybody is sharing audiences, everybody is sharing venues, and the people who are involved in making the 'soundz from the underground', such as they are, find middle grounds to collaborate with one another. 

I agree wholeheartedly about music back home. The lower reaches of the scene do suck for all the reasons he quotes. I've not been going to many techno shows myself mind you. There's still a few people i'd like to ban from shows. Yeah, watch more diverse stuff but have some standards. 

When STD put on a show with Hedgehog then played dance club music between bands it just reminded me of the opening to Irreversible where the guy got his head stoved in with a fire extinguisher. Also, after a merciful break, the big-flash photographers with no respect were back again for DOA. Pointing their huge powerful blinding machines back into the crowd during moshes ... continuously ... through every song. Unfortunately for me, I was stuck directly behind P***z, a serial offender of the worst kind that thinks shows exist as a kind of personal studio.

Err, so yeah, read Morgans stuff.

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Oh man, I got all chocked up reading Morgan's essay. Good stuff.

> There's still a few people i'd like to ban from shows.

Monopod Guy!

Argh, choked.


People who suck: Monopod Guy

People who rock: Morgan

Incidently I have an interview with this dude before the Demerit show (yes I am the DJ that whore myself out to everybody)

alright I just finished reading his article, respectfully I have to say I disagree a little, being from the same country I think the music scene in Canada is pretty good right now. His first reason was " There are just too many bands, and people couldn't care less anymore. And really, why should they. It's just rock and roll anyways"

I think having too many bands too choose from is a good thing, it forces the bands to be creative, to stand out. There are simply too many bands and they all sound the same, it's true, that's why I couldn't care less about "the next big thing", they are all "standard hipster rock&roll", listen to it long, they all sound like the strokes, but then after 30 bands that sound the same you come across the one that sounds truely unique and you love it. Bad for the band (I think, and sorry for being bitchy, boohoo, play better, be more creative) but good (and fair) to the music listeners. It's like, after 40 bands that you don't like, you come across the one pearl that you do like.

His second reason is "..ands and their small followings have circled the wagons, and to combat the constant barrage of the 'next-big-thing', everything is fragmented into small, insular little scenes that have closed themselves off to anything else -- the crusty punks hang with the crusty punks, the hardcore kids hang with the hardcore kids, the goths with the goths, the headz with the headz.."

I don't understand this because I think he is agree with my first point that "the next big thing", ie standard hipster rock&roll all sound the same, so people does pick out their fav from a sea of bands that sound the same. That's good right....

I agree that everything is fragmented into little scenes it's true, but I don't think they are closed off. in my radio station every DJ are into different types of music and yes, they are in their little "scenes" but
everyone's opened with everyone else, and we have a mutual appriciation of each other's taste. If anything the hardcore DJ, Troy, is best friend with the twee pop DJ, Andrea, and they put on and promote shows together. I'm not into hardcore and to be honest I can't listen to Troy's stuff for too long, but I respect Troy's music taste and I think he has great taste. I really don't think the little scenes are closed off. I would say, everyone's into their style it's true, but they all have mutual appriciation of each other. He's making everyone in the little scene sounds a little snobby and I don't think it's true

I would refrain from commenting on the Chinese music scene cause I know little about it.

Hey Louis

Good to see you endearing yourself to Morgan before you interview him ;)

I think Morgan's comments on there being too many bands, well, Morgan's quote of someone else, is talking about audiences more than bands. The final effect is on the bands.

The kind of economic competition thing you are using as a counter point is not really so simple (they have to be more innovative etc). I was talking to Brad yesterday and he was recalling how the music scene in Austin (flagship indie scene)is so saturated and commercially oriented that bands have to pay to play without exception.

Shanghai is not exactly perfect or utopian, and there's a lot of dodgy characters around ... but ... look at 0093 and Yuyintang by comparison. Now they have an established crowd and a reputation as a cool place, they could be booking a house band or taking all kinds of measures to preserve profits. Instead they are happy to collaborate and let 0093 showcase brand new bands every month on major weekend nights. There's a conscious effort to make sure new artists have a shot at getting through.

That's community, not competition.

These are not counter points to you Louis, but an example of some differences.

well I was sticking with scenes I know a little (Canadian) and not really using it to compare with the scene in Shanghai, so the comment is in no way reflect on how I feel about the Shanghai scene. I'm a baby when it comes to knowledge about the Shanghai scene, but I agree being a big giant community, and the "scene" is a diverse community is pretty cool. Thanks Andy

Morgan is ace on SmartShanghai- he makes me lol a lot.

Had no idea he was in Boys Climbing Ropes.

Yeah, Morgan plays bass for them. He's a cool guy.

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This page contains a single entry by Andy Best published on January 12, 2009 8:33 PM.

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