Recently I contacted them to get to know them better, and not only I learnt more of their motivations but also I confirmed that they are as nice and simple as the idea they are producing, which is pretty lovely.
Before jumping to the interview we had via email, let me encourage you to take the time to go to their site, if you haven’t yet, and take break from the speed of your life, and feed yourself with friendly art.
Layabozi: Who are the people behind DaBaoGe?
Andy Miller: DaBaoGe was founded by Charles Lanceplaine and I. But we’re collaborating with local artists and sound engineers. Nini Sum @ Idlebeats hand draws a piece of cover art inspired by each DaBaoGe film. I’d met Nini a few times around Shanghai and really loved what she and Gregor were doing at idlebeats.com. We also worked with French street artist, Keflouis XIV (now living in Shanghai) for our titles and blog design.
LYBZ: Where are you guys from? Where are you in China? And what do you do here in China?
AM: I’m from Sydney, Australia and Charles is from Brittany, France. We met in Shanghai while working on a youth research video for Nike and bonded over a similar taste in music. But we’re now split between Beijing and Shanghai. I work fulltime as an account director at a large advertising agency and Charles is a freelance film director.
LYBZ: How did you come with the idea of DaBaoGe? I read you inspired on that french blog, but did you first see that blog and decided to do the same here? What’s the story of the idea basically?
AM: Charles and I spoke on a few occasions about out mutual love for the takeaway shows on La Blogotheque. We’d both been thinking about it for a long time and when I heard Dutch act The Black Atlantic were coming to China I thought it was the perfect opportunity to launch the idea here. Within a day we came up with the name, and proposed the idea to the band’s manager. We thought starting with an international act would help kick-start the project and build a following. But the real motivation is to document indie music across China and the neighbouring regions like Taiwan and Hong Kong. Our focus is young Chinese bands, but the broader concept includes occasionally capturing really great international acts in the Chinese environment.
LYBZ: Since when are you doing this?
AM: We’ve only started in March 2011. So it hasn’t been very long, especially since we’re both really busy with other projects. Until recently we funded everything ourselves. Now we’re really lucky to receive support from Converse, which helps us pay people like the sound engineers and collaborators like Nini @ Idlebeats. We still don’t pay ourselves though. We’re just in this for the love of film, Chinese music and the chance to contribute something that people will be able to look back on as an archive of an exciting time for independent music in China.
LYBZ: What is you selection method for the musicians you work with? And how is your work process? Do you publish videos every week, every month?
AM: We record the music that we like. We both have a really wide taste in different genres. But we also listen to recommendations of friends and other bands that we meet. We try to be objective about it and our goal is to include a range of different genres. So far, the genres we’ve recorded have been quite limited, which comes down to the fact that the concept suits some genres more than others. But we’re really looking to evolve the concept and push new ideas. There are some exciting films in the works right now, involving genres and collaborations that have never been done before.
LYBZ: Until now any memorable anecdote to share with us that has happened during the videos you’ve done until now?
AM: In Taiwan, we filmed a really great young band called Fetish People. We met up for a drink one night to discuss the concept and one of the band members suggested filming in a school. It wasn’t until we got there the following day that we realised his Dad was actually the principle. The poor guy not only had to perform in front of his Dad, but in front of a classroom full of kids, which is pretty nerve-wracking. It made for a really authentic vibe in the film though, since kids show their true feelings so openly. Mid-way through the song, the school bell rings and they’re sitting there with their backpacks on, waiting patiently, and their faces are saying “can we go yet?”
LYBZ: What’s your personal favorite video of the ones you’ve done until now?
AM: That’s a tough one. I think I speak for both Charles and I when I say that our first film with The Black Atlantic is still one of our favourites. It was just such a memorable moment for us and we felt a real high afterwards. But one of our most popular ones in terms of feedback, has been the one we shot with Little Punk one morning in an old Shanghai laneway. It’s a little bit quiet at the start, but stick with it.
LYBZ: What coming videos are your working on now?
AM: We’ve recorded films with Beijing acts Skip Skip Benben and Mr Graceless, and French act Fortune (who performed at Strawberry Festival earlier this year), which will all be released in the next month or so. This month we also recording Pet Conspiracy, Duck Fight Goose, and will probably go out on the road to a connect with bands in other Chinese cities like Wuhan and Chengdu. If there’s someone you think we absolutely have to record, please write to us on the email or on weibo.