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F paris red
So. We released two albums and featured them in two places. In the artists' Douban pages and at

The next stage of spreading this DIY style was to make it available to Chinese net users for free at a preferred Chinese FTP site. 

We used 115

We created two mega-packs. They are zip files that contain all the album tracks in MP3 format, a promotional video, a selection of photos and flyers and a lyrics sheet/message from the band. We then uploaded them to 115 which is super fast inside China. Finally we posted the link at the various Douban rock and indie groups.

The only drawback is that 115 doesn't have good tools for tracking the amount of DLs. Also, the link will expire after a month so you have to keep an eye on your account and renew it near the time from your dashboard.

Here are the two packs: Little Punk and Pairs
lp cover
Without further ado, we give you the digital release of our second album: Little Punk Hey guy, you are big time alright.

We used Bandcamp again for the international page. It's pretty good. The album is free. User tip: you need full quality WAV files for upload. Then the site can give format options for downloaders.

The image you see there was done by underground photographer Ren Hang during this session.

Here is the track list:

1 Cuties
2 Boy on the way to hell
3 Friend next door
4 Fine darling
5 Not be
6 744
7 I'm not in the mood for making a song

Douban updates following soon. Congrats again to everyone involved and special thanks to Adam Gaensler at Luwan Rock.
pairs cover
It's official. Our label's first album is done and released. Shanghai band Pairs' debut album Pairs.

Here's a standalone page at Bandcamp where you can get the whole release or just have a listen. Most of you will be familiar with their famous live tracks by now so why not start with F1, an instrumental that really captures the raw energy.

All the tracks are on Pairs' Douban page now too, for China based or Chinese language users. You had to be singed in to download last time I checked though.

Congrats to everyone involved.

Indie Label: DIY style 10 - mixes down

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little punk zhong
Welcome back.

We all had a break in August and have been working behind the scenes this month. In the past post we had set up a label page using and posted up our demos and videos as a taster.

Now our producer Adam is back from his stint in Myanmar and the final mixes are in. The next stages:

1) Make the tracks available online
2) Produce the physical CDs
3) Start a promotional tour.

Look out for tracks at the Qu page and the full releases at the artists' pages (link through the label page). We will make everything available for DL there.

As for the physical CDs. Pairs have opted for super DIY style. Xiao Zhong will burn off CDs on a home computer then put them in envelopes, like the normal ones, you know, letters, and hand write on them. A design for an insert sheet is already done and should pop up at the label page soon. For LP we are weighing up options and will post on it as soon as a decision is made.

The tour is just in conception at the moment. The idea is to play seven shows in seven days around Shanghai, choosing only smaller venues. Details to be thrashed out shortly then posted on.

Indie Label: DIY style 9 - Douban page

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qu logo
We have successfully launched our label page today on Douban:

We have officially reached step four!

If you are not are not a Douban member then you won't see the download arrows, but they are there. OK. First the concept and then the details of putting a page on Douban.

I guess the pre-net model of existing as a business or venture was to have an office, or an address. These days you can do it with a web site. Of course, you can run an indie label out of your bedroom and just hand out flyers and stuff at gigs - but having a web page validates your existence and is also a handy tool for promoting yourself. I'm on Douban therefor I am. 

Indie Label: DIY style 8 - video

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Read this for the story of the video shoot and some stills.

This post may well seem self-explanatory to someone with an expert knowledge of digital video, if so, please help us out in the comments, thanks.

So. We finished editing the video for Little Punk's I'm Not in the Mood for Making a Song. At the same time, our other act, Pairs, submitted their video for Yangpu Qu. The next step was to upload them to a China based streaming site for easy public consumption.

We accept that putting videos onto streaming sites like Youku results in grainy pictures and quality loss for regular users. It's painful but everyone is aware of it and knows it's not the 'real quality'. However, Yangpu Qu went up there without much change, some loss yes, but satisfactory. The Little Punk vid, on the other hand, was butchered both in picture and sound. 

Yangpu Qu was shot on a Pentax Optio S55 compact camera directly into an MP4 format and then edited on Windows Movie Maker. The format, and the amount of information in the file, was about the same as that used on Youku. I'm Not in the Mood was shot on a Canon XL2 digital movie camera and edited in Adobe Premier Pro to produce a TV quality AVI file. It then must be converted for web use - and then Youku, or any site, converts it again. The infamous double conversion. No matter how we tried it, the sound becomes peaked and the picture pixelated. 

Finally we tried Youku's suggestion of downloading their Iku desktop upload manager and sending up the entire 600MB+ AVI file. It still came out the same.

Here they are:

Ren hang night
First and last pics by Damen

As I have been blogging here, we have had Beijing based photographer Ren Hang down for this indie event

Here's a review of it over at Layabozi. More here about that soon.

While he was down, Ren Hang was in photo overdrive and I also had him shoot the two artists on our indie label project. You can read about the shoot with Pairs right ... here. And by the way, hot tip, two of the finished tracks we did with them are up early at that link.

On Monday night we wanted to shoot both Little Punk and Boojii, who had played our show on Saturday. 

We wanted a surreal decaying location for a night shoot. Whenever I come through Zhongshan Park on the light rail (line 3) southbound, I always see a large abandoned lot that is completely overgrown. It also contains an old French school house and some other partially demolished buildings. Art scene friends had told me that they had previously hopped the wall and used the inside of the perimeter for graffiti. 

Firstly, I made an advance trip and dummy run on an earlier day. There is a regular gate and a couple of guards in a box at the top entrance, exactly next to Changning Road and Kaixuan Road where the train passes overhead. The place to climb the wall, where it is lowest, is where the lane passes the old school house. I could get over it but dropping down the other side is not for everyone, so I planned to get a ladder (see below pic). 

We used the inside of the school house for most of the shoot, we had nine of us over the wall without major incident. The inside was dark and we needed flashlights, a couple of fancy phones sorted that out as it happened. The room at the top of the tower was amazing and full of ruined vintage furniture. The four storey stairwell had no inner walls or banisters though so consenting adults only. 

The shoot was amazing and getting out was the funniest part. I hopped back over with the ladder and then the others walked up to the far end and told the guards they had wandered in at the other end and had no idea where they were. The guards let them out through the gate. 

wall ladder

Image from

I've mentioned No Media Kings before. A blog I've followed for years that started as a small guide to self-publishing books by an ex-employee of a major publishing house. Finally, the author, Jim Munroe, embraced the DIY spirit fully and turned the blog into a journal of everything he was doing. Sound familiar?

He's even had crossover success with his IF game Everyone Dies and his graphic novel Sword of my Mouth.

The geek in me just had to link the latest post. A guide to making your own classic arcade game unit. This time using a PC set up instead of hardwiring a board.

airport websize
I feel any bare bones guide to doing stuff DIY - especially putting on an event which requires bring an artist/act in from out of town - must talk about the following aspect:

running around like a rabid chicken all day long

Two clarifications. This is if you are taking the matter seriously and it's not a bad thing. I love every minute of being involved in music and the arts.

I know that certain promoters in town who read this point will be actually feeling pain in sympathy as they read this.

So. We've been having a great time getting busy for both this event and this project. We met Ren Hang at the airport as this was his first time in Shanghai. The event is on Saturday but he is also doing some shooting while here. That's where the crossover with the label project comes in. 

Last night we met with Pairs at Yuyintang and shot photos up in their room for rent, which is done out like a dance studio. We hired it for a modest hourly rate and then had complete private use. People came directly from work to do this and it went on a couple of hours - so the other point was to go out and get decent hot food for everyone while they worked. 

Half way through, Ren Hang's camera had a problem. The lithium battery (available only at camera stores) ran out. This was not a big problem as I'd already identified the camera shops in our neighborhood. Because we were spending all week chaperoning a photographer. We were also there to play through Ren Hang's slide show and check everything worked. It didn't, but we got it all sorted because we were there days before.

So, all these things required having money ready too. Not everyone gets this point. I have a friend who was very recently approached by some film makers. They petitioned hard to film this person and they agreed. They then started going, on the spur of the moment, to high profile ticketed locations - then making themselves scarce and leaving the artist to pay for their tickets, food and transport (and the artist had no idea it was coming). 

Also, check out my swish sign in the photo. The plane was a bit delayed too. We got the night bus from Pudong airport (just 20 RMB each) and got into town again at 2 a.m. and then someone called him to do a night shoot in a park. I could go on and on but the basic idea is that some groups have staff for this but if you do it yourself, indie style, you have to be prepared to actually do it all yourself.

Indie Label: DIY style 6 - more t-shirts

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lp teeSo a quick post following on from this one on the t-shirts.

We got the samples and found them to be excellent. The t-shirts, while certainly cheap, were decent enough and the printing great too. 

This is the store: right here

We ordered one of each of their sizes: s, m, l, xl, xxl, xxxl
The xl is a medium fit on me and I'm 178 cm and slim. We also chose the Y8.50 shirts, not the Y8.00. There's a massive quality difference. The cheaper ones are complete ass and the more expensive ones are not bad at all.

Finally, our design uses grayscale with many shades so we went for the heat transfer printing method. Unlike the previous post's quote, this way charged per shirt and we ended paying Y12.50 per shirt for a small run. 

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