It’s almost 1am on a Tuesday night. Ming Ming and I are sitting at Gebi Youjiu （隔壁有酒 lit. booze next door）, a small discount beer bar within walking distance of our two apartments, which since Morning Bar got demolished has become our local spot. Juggling bass duties in two of Chengdu’s most prominent indie bands The Hormones and Hiperson, catching her for a beer on a night off from rehearsal is a rare treat.
Late into the night, she takes a call about The Hormones’ upcoming tour with her bandmates and their manager Helen Feng, Fake Music Media label boss and frontwoman of Nova Heart. This is China, 2018 — a five-way WeChat video call over 4G with no lag. The gang laugh away in Chengduhua as drummer Juan Juan jiggles her boobs in front of the camera before Helen picks up and the conversation quickly turns to Putonghua, serious business.
“Helen is amazing,” she says after the call, pouring the rest of her beer into a glass, “I swear she never sleeps.”
Situated on a quiet street of plastic retailers, hairdressers and mahjong rooms, Gebi Youjiu is a hole in the wall stacked with imported beers, sparsely decorated with a mosaic of beer caps and gig posters. You literally pick up the toilet door with two hands to yank it closed. Despite just opening last year, it already feels like a long time fixture.
Ming Ming dials in the new album on a bluetooth speaker. Much like Gebi Youjiu, the spareness is part of its charm. Back to basics, the album is self-titled The Hormones.
The album marks a new beginning for the group. Guitarist Wang Xiaoxue （王小雪） left the band last year to join fellow founding member Xiao Lijing （小李静）, who left in 2015 following the band’s appearance on “The Voice of China.” Having formed Fake Swing （假斯文） with Xiao Lijing, Xiaoxue’s departure from The Hormones was inevitable. The two of them have purchased a pair of Elektron synthesisers and are pursuing a new direction with electronic and acoustic sounds.
Young blood Wang Xiaojiu （王小九） replaced Xiaoxue on guitar in November last year, diligently learning the parts to songs from Elephant and finding her feet in a band who have firmly established themselves as a dance rock outfit over the past five years.
We can expect a more stripped back sound on the new album. While Xiao Lijing was never replaced, her parts were sampled and triggered live on a laptop by Juan Juan. The new material sheds them away for good, cast away like an old shell. The new album was co-produced with Ji Yinan （季一楠）, Ming Ming’s bandmate from Hiperson who has just recorded the new lo-fi Hiperson EP on 8-track in their rundown practice room above the chuanchuan dens of Jiuyanqiao. Along with Bordeaux musician Pierre”老P” Guignard, guitarist of dance-punk band Sweat Like An Ape! , the new Hormones record pulls the plug on their old electro sound, paring back towards spoken word, guitar noise and even brass. Beloved darlings of the Chengdu scene, how will their loyal fans respond to this new style and new guitarist?
There’s a Chinese phrase that says if the old doesn’t go, the new will not come （ “旧的不去，新的不来”）, no progress can be made by clinging to old notions.
The Hormones are no different. As they gear up to take the new record on tour across China, there’s nothing but excitement in the air. They are looking forward not back, ready to continue smashing expected notions of who they are and what they should be.
🎸Bass: 明明 Ming Ming
🎙️Vocals: 朱朱 （朱梦蝶）Zhu Mengdie
🥁Drums: 娟娟 Juan Juan
🎸Guitar: 小九（王骄）Xiao Jiu
what starsign are you
if you could only choose one song at ktv what would it be
🎙️朱朱：《I’m With You》Avril Lavigne
one track that defines your teenage years
name a musician you admire
🎸明明：Red Hot Chili Peppers的Flea
🎸小九：Chon的吉他手Mario、东京事变吉他手浮云桑。Guitarist Mario Camerena from Chon and Fu Yunshang from Tokyo Incidents.
favourite hot pot ingredient
🎸明明：毛肚，鸭肠，猪黄喉，飞机 这个真的不能只选一个啊。哈哈哈 cow stomach, duck intestines, pig throats, duck tongues – don’t make me choose!
favourite place in chengdu
🎸明明：有她们在的地方都喜欢。wherever they are, I like it
🥁娟娟：欢乐谷 happy valley (amusement park)
🎸小九：家 my house
something that makes you happy
🎙️朱朱：演一场好的演出 having a good show
🎸明明：做音乐和朋友一起玩很开心 making music and having fun with friends
🎸小九：在家吹空调看电影玩游戏 playing games and watching movies with the air-con on at home
something that makes you sad
🎙️朱朱：演一场烂演出 having a bad show
🎸明明：娟娟偷偷喝了我的可乐让我不开心 juanjuan sneakily stealing my drinks
🥁娟娟：生病 being sick
🎸小九：睡不好会让我很生气！ not getting enough sleep makes me angry
livehouse or festival
sunrise or sunset
chuanchuan or maocai
🎸小九：都很喜欢硬要选一个的话串儿吧 love them both, but chuanchuan
what’s the best thing about touring?
🎙️朱朱：好玩 it’s fun
🎸明明：巡演最期待的就是可以跟不同城市的朋友一起见面，一起分享最近的经历和喜欢的音乐，一起喝酒和跳舞。look forward to catching up with friends around the country, sharing what we’ve been listening to lately, getting drunk and dancing.
🥁娟娟：可以见到很多朋友 getting to see heaps of friends
🎸小九：可以和大家一起在不同的城市遇见更多更有趣的朋友，优秀的音乐人 will get to meet interesting friends in different cities with the band
what colour would you describe the new album?
🎙️朱朱：深蓝色 dark blue
🎸明明：紫色，最近好像大家很一致的喜欢上了紫色。 purple, it seems we’ve all been loving purple lately.
words for the fans?
🎙️朱朱：巡演见！see you on tour!
🎸明明：朋友们，耍起哇！！friends, let’s go!
🥁娟娟：希望大家能够喜欢这张专辑 反正我们很喜欢！hope everyone likes the new album, well we do!
🎸小九：请多指教 advice welcome
Be sure to catch The Hormones on tour with their brand new album, kicking off at NU SPACE Chengdu on 9 March 2018. Tickets and info here.
3月9日 成都 NU SPACE
3月10日 重庆 坚果LIVE HOUSE
3月11日 贵阳 劲 Livehouse
3月14日 曲靖 HUANG·Live寇舍
3月15日 昆明 MondernskyLab
3月16日 广州 TU凸空间
3月17日 深圳 红糖罐蛇口店
3月18日 厦门 REAL LIVE
3月28日 义乌 MAO Livehouse
3月29日 宁波 CMK Livehouse
3月30日 杭州 LOOPY
3月31日 上海 育音堂
4月1日 苏州 WAVE Livehouse
4月4日 合肥 ON THE WAY大摩店
4月5日 武汉 Vox Livehouse
4月6日 长沙 46 Livehouse
4月7日 西安 光音16
4月12日 郑州 7 Livehouse
4月13日 天津 卓扬艺术空间
4月14日 北京 愚公移山