The Womb and Strange Stains China Tour kicks off next week! We caught up with Beijing art rock duo 鬼鬼祟祟 GUIGUISUISUI to find out more about the Beijing scene.
Guiguisuisui is a two piece art-rock performance band. Curated by Chinese artist Nan Guazi and her British husband, Guiguisuisui blends electronic and live sounds to create the backdrop for interactive theatre performances which feature a cast of characters from an imagined future and past. Over the top of this Nan Guazi’s live animations are projected onto the stage; animated steampunk fairytales that add to the ethereal quality of the performance.
The show has toured relentlessly since it’s beginnings in 2012, with gigs in China, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe (UK, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Poland). In 2016 they were presented with the ‘Band of the Year’ award at City Weekend Beijing’s annual awards show as well as being featured on the cover of 通俗歌曲 (‘tong su ge qu’) magazine, China’s longest running rock and roll magazine. The Shining Soundscape concept is the latest manifestation of the bands’ experiences to date.
Nan Guazi: Cancer
Nan Guazi: -_-
Favourite KTV song
Gui: Judas Priest ‘Breaking The Law’
Nan Guazi: 《纤夫的爱》
Gui: Delay, Cathedral Reverb, Shimverb
Gui: David Bowie
Nan Guazi: Michael Jackson
Nan Guazi: Eating spicy egg pancakes when I’m drunk.
You scan me or I scan you?
Nan Guazi: I scan you.
Do you smoke?
Nan Guazi: Party smoker
What would you like to drink?
Nan Guazi: Negroni
Please introduce yourselves.
Nan Guazi: Hello, everyone. We’re GUIGUISUISUI, an art group that tours around the world playing experimental atmospheric rock. We have two cats, but want to raise a football team.
What do you do for work and play?
Nan Guazi: Gui is a university teacher. He likes to play with cats, skateboard and listen to dark heavy metal. Nan Guazi is a freelance painter. She likes to play with cats and listen to meditation and chanting. When we are together, we like to make vegetarian food and go to shows together.
Can you talk about your creative process? Does the sound or vision come first?
Gui: There’s really no set way. Sometimes you a have a lyric, a riff, a beat, but sometimes a particular part of the performance such as a character or an illustration can give rise to an idea. It’s very fluid.
You have a lot of touring experience, can you share some stories?
Gui: Meeting old friends and making new friends, people being appalled at the size of our suitcases, especially check in staff at airports. Sometimes you just have to laugh: one our last tour we both got food poisoning in Thailand so we didn’t really enjoy it as much as we should.
What plans does Guiguisuisui have this year?
Gui: Right now we’re curating a weekly event series called Shining Dimensions which combines art, music, dance, and audience interaction with a different theme each week. That wraps on July 19 and the next day we fly to Germany for our summer Europe tour that will festivals and club shows in Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Portugal, and the UK. We’ll be doing that in support of our Charon EP we released earlier this year which will be on streaming sites and a very limited vinyl run with some amazing remixes. When we get back to China in September the plan is to take Shining Dimensions on tour around China and we’ll do that until the end of the year and then go on tour in India.
What is the Beijing scene like at the moment? What are some of the recent challenges?
Gui: It’s always shifting, and you know with changing rules and regulations things don’t operate like they did five years ago; I know Chengdu has this too and Shanghai is quite tough at the moment. So the challenge is to adapt and not become extinct. Given that we’re not a straight out rock band and we’re branched away from playing only in live houses it’s possible for us to adapt, but you can’t be lazy.
If you only had one day to travel in Beijing, what would you do?
Gui: Hit up Wangjing skate park, have a beer when the sun goes down, eat jiaozi, hit up a show around Gulou and be thankful as you walk home through the hutongs under the stars.
Nan Guazi: If it’s summer, get up in the morning and go to the Forbidden City and Yonghe Palace. Then walk along the hutongs to find delicious food. In the afternoon, take headphones to bask in the gardens. In the evening, go to a bar with a rooftop for a drink then go eat pancakes outside DADA.
Header photo by Aurelian Foucault