Layabozi

We Are Shanghai Vol. 4 Is Out

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The fourth edition of We Are Shanghai was just released this week, it features forty two (yes 42!) tracks and bands from Shanghai. The show to celebrate the album will be on January 31st on YuyinTang. The compilation is available to download for free or better for some sweet gold on Bandcamp.

We Are Shanghai was created four years ago by Ivan Belcic, drummer and front man of several bands that have existed in Shanghai’s scene like Death To Giants, Moon Tyrant, or The Machinery Of Other Skeletons, to mention some. Last year Mike Heard joined Belcic in the production of the project, Mike is also an active force of Shanghai’s music scene, he has been in several bands too XXYY and Girls Like Mystery are his active ones these days. Also he is constantly promoting music through his blog and the concerts he is producing.

Ivan Belcic tells us the story about this project “I started We Are Shanghai four years ago as a response to what I saw as a disproportionate amount of attention going to Beijing’s musical output. With the help of a few friends, we got the word out, and from the outset, people have been super supportive of the project. The 2014 release is the fourth in the series, and it’s our largest release yet with over 40 songs.”

About the criteria for inclusion of tracks Belcic explains “artists must be based in Shanghai, and their song must be a piece of original music released in the past year — in this case, 2014. We Are Shanghai is all about inclusivity, and so anyone who submits a track that fits the criteria is automatically included. It’s an open-call submission process.We’re not trying to judge or “curate” anything here. It’s more about presenting an honest image of all the people who are active and motivated enough to put their music out into the world and send it to me. There are plenty more bands and individuals who for whatever reason don’t send me music, but with forty two tracks this year, we’re definitely not starving for contributions.”

About the challenges of the project, Ivan tells us “even after four years, I still find that the most challenging aspect of the entire thing is getting coverage for it outside of Shanghai – which was the whole point from the beginning. I appreciate the support the project receives from local fans and media, and I like the idea that someone in Shanghai can discover a new musician or band they like, and also have the option to go see them perform live. But I’d definitely like to get the project covered more widely in the outside world.”
The surprising thing about the compilation of this year is its extention, after all I heard last year, and what I personally felt too, that Shanghai was in a low point with music, well, illusions illusions, sometimes they are heavier than water, but they are illusions. So forget all that, blow the gray cloud away, there is a lot of music happening. I even know so many more bands and artists that could have joined this compilation but were not in it, so let me say wow! I’m surprised, impressed, jumping on my bed, and cheering with bubbles before sunset. Shanghai is sounding very awake after hearing this album.
The compilation can be understood as a long weekend of live music around Shanghai. There is rock, metal, punk, electronic, hip hop, pop, experimental, and etcetera. Not everything is in it, there’s no jazz, there are important artists of the scene that aren’t in it, however the sound landscape shaped with this edition of We Are Shanghai is pretty sweet. You will hear a lot of raw recordings, and some that are very amateur too, to say it nicely, but such is also the situation of music in Shanghai, and in China too, we are yet “in development,” then when you go out to hear music around Shanghai’s venues you will get a wide range of quality and styles. There are a lot of bands in the compilation that are not yet consolidated in the scene, new names that I never heard of, and some bands that split during 2014 like Friend Or Foe, or Death To Giants, and some strange aparitions like The Illumin8tors, who I thought were over long ago but then not. And there are also many of the great bands and artists we have in Shanghai like Chaos Mind, The Arcbane, Nahash, Round Eye, Goushen, Hu Jia Hu Wei, Damacha, Galvanism, and many more. We Are Shanghai is a a good ride around the city, almost three hours of music that will give you a sound tour of what’s happening here, the good, the bad, and the rockstars.
One last thing about We Are Shanghai, let me through a ball and say hey, if you are not in Shanghai and you love the music in your city, contact Ivan Belcic and work a way out for a We Are *fill in the name of your city*, I bet this will help to instigate the musical chaos and fun wherever you are.
Go get the album, and go to its concert. See you there!

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Mache is a hippie witch that was born under Beltane's full moon. She enjoys talking to ghosts and interdimensional beings, and cooking for her friends and beasts. She has Chilean wine in her veins instead of blood,and at the moment she belongs to China.

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