A couple of weeks ago I met the band during one of their rehearsals at Juju Studio to chat about their projects and how’s been all going with them until now.
I feel we’ve shared a lot of memorable moments around music and life with Dan, with Miguel, and specially with Fabian, who’s been a traveling companion throughout Layabozi. I believe I share with them a romantic attachment to rock. I think once I said to Dan that writing about them, going to their shows, and being there to support promoting their work was actually the reason why initially started Layabozi, well, not because of them exactly, but because I’m a groupie, a fanatic of music, now I guess, a professional groupie. I feel close to Dan’s passion for music, to Fabi’s love for the diversity of music, and to Miguel’s understanding of rock.
During the interview I brought up a bit of The Rogue Transmission, Dan and Fabi’s previous band, I believe that that band was a great deal for Shanghai during the recent years, it was for me at least, and to skip mentioning it here would be like forgetting about the dinosaur leg in your fridge. There are bands that connect to each other, like Jane’s Addicion, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Porno for Pyros, but they somehow co-exist in the same period of time. But the story here is different, The Rogue Transmission is in the past, and now, in the present, and in the future of this present is The Fever Machine. So influences and references are implied here, but what bring us together today (and specially tomorrow!) is The Fever Machine.
LAYABOZI: What are you working on now?
DAN: We are working on an album since last December it will be out in June. In addition to that, we’re playing regular live shows in Shanghai, and we have a couple of festivals dates is Suzhou and Beijing and Midi Shanghai too. And we are also planning to tour throughout the summer once we finish the album. This is something we’ve been talking about for some months now. We’re going to Ecuador, Quito, and probably some more cities around if possible.
FABI: It’s not really a tour.. It’s more like a combination of holidays and concerts.
LYBZ: How’s been working the chemistry among you three?
FABI: We got along well, have an easy approach to music in general, and how dedicated we are to music, we trust in each other, we know each other enough, and we can talk straight. We are close.
DAN: Musically, even since we started, we came in with a certain a sound. The Fever Machine has an ambitious approach, music is bigger, sound is bigger, more focused in psychedelia, and darker sounds.
MIGUEL: When I came to Shanghai I was so immerse in the music that I was making for ten years with my other band (Los Amigos de lo Ajeno), I was playing punk for all this time, and I needed a break to go to something more spacy and rock, and I jammed a couple of times with friends, but we always ended playing punk. So I was ready to take a step from punk, and go to rock. Then we started jamming in mid summer time with Dan, it took around 6 months to connect musically, jamming whatever came out once a week, and then this sound started to come out, we created the chemistry to understand each other basically, and then Fab came in, they had a connection already, and he took the bass, pretty good.
FABI: I still play drums though, and guitar too! (laughs)
LYBZ: What about the lyrics of your songs now?
DAN: Everything is personal in some way, but I think that personal experiences can relate to everyone in different ways. We have some fictional approach too, a little bit heavy metal. For me as a song writer, I used to be not very comfortable, but at this point I’m pretty comfortable with them.
LYBZ: Where is The Fever Machine from?
FABI: we are a bastard band.
DAN: We are not a Chinese band. We live here, but we’re not from here. Before it used to be more complex, we got good shows, but we were sort of outsiders, it was difficult for us to take in steps that we wanted to get done.
FABI: Yeah, we even got some shows refused because we were not Chinese
DAN: …or because we didn’t have a Chinese member. That was on a certain time. But I think we are getting us opportunities now, and people comes to our shows, and it is being rewarding. We’ll never be one of those bands in the same stratosphere as Chinese bands, it’s not equal playing field, but we live here.
LYBZ: like there’s Latin rock, do you think there’s a Chinese rock?
FABI: no, I don’t think so, because Latin rock is an style, there are French bands that played Latin rock. But then there’s no such thing here, probably you can get some mix of rock with Chinese instruments, but rock in China is not that, but rock made by Chinese people
DAN: maybe bands like Cold Fairyland, Hanggai, Shanren, Second Hand Roses, maybe those are bands that are producing Chinese rock, because they blend indigenous sounds with rock instrumentation, but I don’t know…
FABI: if one day a get a pipa you can ask us that question again (laughs)
LYBZ: Is there a hidden four member?
DAN: yeah, Adam Gaensler. He’s a dear friend, really excellent player, he’s at all our shows doing the live sound, and also recording,mixing, and contributing with our album. He’s part of our family for sure.
LYBZ: What do you think is the faith of rock stars in Shanghai, or China?
MIGUEL: I think we are all normal people that work and have a passion and we want to express it and show this spirit and talent, even thought we have to do different things day to day. It’s not a place where you could actually think about being a musician in general, you have to find a way
FABI: or you could definitely hit ICS! (laughs)
LYBZ: How do you work out ends of the songs?
FABI: We don’t care much about the end of the songs we can change the end or the intro of the songs, but it’s more about the position of the song in a set, or album, what’s coming next, that’s how we handle it.
LYBZ: What’s you motivation/objective to play music?
DAN: Well I don’t see an end to this, this is something I’ve been doing for a long time, and I’ll continue as long as I can, you know, there are always new adventure and challenges, I don’t see myself doing anything else honestly, everything else I do in life is really so I can make music and it’s been like that for a long time.
MIGUEL: yeah, to keep going, for sure. I’ve also been playing for long time music, in a country that has no resources or any music industry at all. I’ve kept doing it for long, getting all the resources to keep on going, recording, playing. And now here, I think it just make sense to follow our passion, and yes everything else just helps this to happen, and keep on going, and try to make it happen for sure.
FABI: After playing here for a while all I wanted to do was to play in a festival, because I was going to them even before we started The Rogue Transmission, I remember going to Midi five or six years ago, and I thought wow! it’s there, and it doesn’t seem so hard to reach, but actually it was harder than I thought. Finally we did it last year, we played on Nanjing, and it was really good. Now, we have the chance to do it again next month. It’s something I really like!
LYBZ: How was that festival in Nanjing? How big was it?
DAN: I think around three thousand people. It was a great time, a great experience.
LYBZ: What’s the story with the show The Fever Machine and friends? (this Saturday at YuyinTang)
DAN: We’ve been doing this non stop since last October, we did one, and it seemed to go well. And it started just as a local thing, but luckily enough Fabian knows a lot of bands from outside of Shanghai, so we decided to start this and invite them and our friends here to play with us. Now we are doing this with Duck Fight Goose, because they are awesome
LYBZ: Why are they awesome?
DAN: I think Han Han is a really special guy, he’s on the next chapter before anyone is on there yet. What they are doing is … ! … It took me first some time to grow into them, at first I didn’t get it, but then you look at the care that they take, and all of them, it’s not only Han Han. It’s an interesting sound. I think we are always impressed by what they do, they are creating something special.