The All Seeing Hand x E/N/T x Kaishandao全国巡演已经巡演结束了。难忘的一次trip。谢谢所有在北京，呼市，包头，西安，成都，重庆，武汉，上海，杭州，义乌和厦门给我们支持的朋友！❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
A journey of the mind, body, spirit and general hauora. This tour was nothing short of epic from start to finish, taking Wellington artists The All Seeing Hand, E N T and Kaishandao from Beijing, Hohhot, Baotou, Xi’an, Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Shanghai and Yiwu all the way down to the shores of Xiamen. That’s a wrap folks! For a glimpse of the madness, check out the photos below. Mashed into a long, non-chronological piece, because that’s how everything felt. Ahhhhhh!! Much love xxx
摄影：Nathan Taare, Illojgali, Linc, Havoc, 兀鱼横流, God_Itachi & 我. Thank you for being part of The All Seeing Hand.
THE ALL SEEING HAND
China Tour 2017
With Kaishandao & E/N/T
“这个音乐不是为小清新或者容易伤感的人准备的。” “This is not music for the light-hearted or easily distressed.” – Soundly Sounds
Kiwese is proud to present The All Seeing Hand x Kaishandao x E/N/T China Tour 2017. For fans of the heavy, strange and transcendental. For adventurous sonic explorers…
The first time I saw The All Seeing Hand was on a darkened high ropes course. It was the last night of Camp A Low Hum 2012 and the remaining punters were floating around in that special state of mutual derangement so often reserved for the last night of music festivals.
Whether it was the three silhouetted figures thrashing beneath an enormous eye, the breakneck, body-pummeling drum rolls, bass-heavy synth screams, or the likelihood that the entire crowd was tripping on acid, there was immediately a sense of the occult about this band.
“Oh my god, what is this?!” yelled someone in the crowd.
“This is mind control!” shouted another.
Was this mind expansion or mind control? Inspired performance art, or visions of the possessed? Whatever it was, that night in the forest, we looked into the eye of The All Seeing Hand and everything changed.
What kind of music is this?
“This isn’t head-bang metalcore, but more an inventive electro-prog which values minimalism as much as collision,” writes Elsewhere, “it’s as likely to come from the writings of Philip K. Dick as it is the music of Bauhaus,” writes Off the Tracks.
From the depths of the Wellington underground, I am ecstatic to present The All Seeing Hand to Chinese audiences for the first time in the most ambitious Kiwese tour yet, spanning over three weeks and ten cities from Inner Mongolia to Fujian.
New Zealand artist Nathan Taare will join the journey as E/N/T, while I will also play support with my new techno noise project Kaishandao. This far out journey will also be documented by none other than filmmaker Illojgali a.k.a Dan Harris!
We’ll see you there… tell your friends!!
THE ALL SEEING HAND are a 3-piece from Wellington, New Zealand. Their musical world touches many soundscapes, while being complete in its own language. It is a gateway, opening ears to the sonic environment of machine and emotion, a “menacing clash of electronics, smashing drums and throat-singing, a sound akin to Tibetan monks on speed.”
Throat singing, frenzied drumming and thundering turntable tones… a pulverizing amalgam of electronic doom, “industrial khoomei,” clash metal and mind-bending sensory sorcery.
Alphabethead is known around New Zealand from many festival and club shows. An innovative turntablist and producer who cut his teeth in the hip-hop battle scene, delving into a diversity of sounds like orchestral gamelan, Inuit folk music, post-punk and electronica. His bass heavy approach in The All Seeing Hand makes for a full body response to the music.
Ben Knight is a pulverising drummer with rhythmic dexterity steeped in relentless energy. Having emerged from the Dunedin DIY punk and hardcore scene in the late 1990s, Ben pushes himself to the verge of vomiting in his commitment to the beat.
Jonny Marks uses his voice as a vehicle to explore timbre and the parts of our brains that language does not inhabit. Having trekked to Inner Mongolia to study khoomei for years, he incorporates techniques of throat-singing with voice box stretching explorations to create an animal human other.
“各种混乱的怪事。” “Seven levels of fucked up weirdness.” – Sonic Masala
The All Seeing Hand are worshipped across Australasia for their intense, immersive ritual performances that leave observers in an ecstatic state of wonder and confusion. They are constantly collaborating with artists to create unforgettable displays of costume and projection mapping.
The All Seeing Hand have toured extensively around NZ & Australia, and been described by Flying Nun as “a highly vaunted live act.” They have inspired, conquered and pulverized audiences at festivals including Camp A Low Hum (Wellington), Lines of Flight (Dunedin), Newtown Festival, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival (Auckland) and Now Fest.
They have released the albums《The All Seeing Hand》(2011)，《Mechatronics》(2013)，《Fog and Debris》(2014) and《Sand to Glass》 (2016)。The All Seeing Hand are signed to UK-based label Muzai Records.
The All Seeing Hand recognises progress
The All Seeing Hand facilitates progress.
The All Seeing Hand is progress.
Extraction is progress.
Conversion is progress.
The All Seeing Hand converts.
You are already part of The All Seeing Hand.
Transplanted from New Zealand, Chengdu-based Kaishandao has been slashing the divide between the club and live music scenes in Chengdu, playing everywhere from darkened dancefloors to pool parties and dive bars. Coming from a background of garage rock and bedroom cassette recordings, Kaishandao uses an electric guitar, effects, synthesizers and radio noise to create a kind of “dystopian techno drone,” influenced by krautrock, experimental music, Beyoncé and the Poly Centre (R.I.P.)
Disorientating lo-hifi dance music for the lonely hearts and high-wired souls.
E/N/T (Otolaryngology) is the musical pseudonym of New Zealand born artist Nathan Taare. E/N/T is sonic art that takes ideas and motivations from noise-rock, post-punk and sound installation to create an intriguing and wonderful collage of moods and movements.
Genjing Records and Maybe Mars are bringing New Zealand noise punks Die! Die! Die! for their second ever tour of China! This year we are very happy to welcome them to the south-west, including shows in Guiyang, Chengdu and Chongqing.
Kiwese had a chat with frontman Andrew Wilson over the phone a couple of weeks ago in Auckland, where he’d just finished class and was preparing to head to London…
Guitarist and vocalist Andrew Wilson and drummer Michael Prain started playing together in bands in high school, forming Die! Die! Die! in 2003 and immediately shaking things up with their fast-paced, abrasive sound in the New Zealand underground. Once they released their first EP Die! Die! Die! recorded by the legendary Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, Shellac, Big Black) in 2005, the band found themselves touring the world for several years, and have basically been touring, releasing music and creating seas of aggressive mosh pits ever since.
London-born Rory Attwell brings a healthy dose of British badassery to the line-up on bass guitar. Having been active in bands and recording studios for over ten years, Attwell has worked with bands such as Yuck, Palma Violets, Veronica Falls and The Vaccines and also recorded Die! Die! Die!’s latest EP aboard his boat recording studio moored off a wharf in East London.
I’m studying a degree in sustainable business. Basically learning about making business ethical and sustainable, how we can achieve long-term economic, environmental and ethnical benefits. Its something I’ve gotten quite interested in, I’m concerned society has gotten pretty wasteful, pay gaps and gender inequality…
It is quite funny though, going to university now, I didn’t finish high school. I just wasn’t into school at the time, but was into playing in a band.
What kind of environment did you have as a teen playing music?
It was amazing really. At first we practiced in my mum’s basement, and the neighbours would never complain. Dunedin was quite empty at the time and we managed to get our own studio at this record label called Arclife, which was a giant open warehouse above a café. These things we took for granted at the time. The places to practice were ample, which is quite different to Auckland, though we are really lucky here too.
Me and Michael live here in Auckland. Rory who plays bass lives in London. Me and Michael get together and write music every week.
How did Rory end up joining the band?
In 2012 we were booked to do a European tour, we had Michael Logie playing bass, who was in Opossum with Kody Nielson and couldn’t do both at the same time. I’d been good mates with Rory for a couple years and he joined on bass so we could still go on tour, it was really fun!
Quite a small world actually – Rory works on this boat with the studio in the hull. Huge – same as the Tug Boat in Wellington. My cousin used to live on this boat in the UK and the guy who owns it is my cousin’s kid’s godfather! We will record in London before coming to China.
My cousin’s band is gonna open for us in London on this tour. He runs a record store in England called Hot Salvation – DIY punk stuff.
The first time I saw Die! Die! Die! play was at CALH 2010, it left a huge impression on me. What are some particularly memorable gigs that come to mind for you?
Definitely the first HDU show in Dunedin. Around the same time I saw The Dead C when I was really young, about 14 or 15. Then I guess seeing shows in Wellington like The Coolies and The Mint Chicks when they first came down from Auckland when I was like 17 or 18. Blonde Redhead, we had the same manager. I remember seeing The Boredoms in New York. Seeing Mogwai for the first time was a really amazing experience, because I’ve been listening to them for years and have heard about how great they are live. To have a band live up to expectation was very validating and cool.
I remember when Shihad mentioned Die! Die! Die! as an exciting new band in Rip It Up like ten years ago. That comment gained a lot of traction and switched a lot of people onto your band. How do you think the internet has changed the way people discover music?
Music has changed dramatically and people are making really diverse music everywhere, touring network and the internet. There are so many bands and so much music, people share their own music a lot now too. I personally get into music if trusted friends recommend it to me. Rory got me into a lot of cool bands that he’s recorded such as Evans the Death and Veronica Falls.
You are pictured wearing a The Future is Female t-shirt in a recent band photo. How do you think the music industry could do more to get behind feminism and LGBT issues?
Diversify your audience and your line up bills. I think that’s a massive part of it. That was quite an important thing with Die! Die! Die! when we started. We got so busy and kind of forgot about our core values. When you choose what bands you play with you diversify outside your scene. Some people are really anti multi-genre shows. But coming from a punk background, I used to go see hardcore shows which were just five hardcore dude bands. That’s what got me into seeing other kinds of bands, because I was feeling quite disassociated with that kind of thing.
You guys came to China in 2011, what were your impressions?
That was probably my favourite tour ever, which is why I’ve been so excited to come back. The food was amazing, it was culturally different to where we’d been touring, like the US, NZ, Australia and Europe. In China it was cool to play to a whole new audience who had never seen a band from where we were from. It felt like we were doing something quite new. My favourite thing I’ve ever done, musically.
It seems many fans have accessed your music through live shows. What draws you to touring?
We definitely were a touring band for a lot of the past ten years. I think touring and playing live is a really good way to communicate. I think it’s what we always thought a band was supposed to do, obviously we were really inspired by Fugazi. We didn’t really have much else to do really when we started out. It is fun playing to new people in new places.
Anything to say to the fans in China?
Please come! I think we’ll have a really good time!
Die! Die! Die! have toured internationally many times and graced the stages of festivals around the world, including Incubate (Netherlands), SXSW (USA), CMJ Festival (USA), Generic Festival (France), Soy Festival (France), Tour De Chauffe Festival (France), Phono Pop Festival (Germany), Immergut Festival (Germany), Maifeld Derby Festival (Germany), XYEAHX SOMMERFEST (Germany), Deaf Row Fest (Germany), Great Escape (UK), Homebake (Australia), Meredith Music Festival (Australia) Offset Festival (USA), Off The Radar Festival (NZ), Camp A Low Hum (NZ), Homegrown (NZ), Big Day Out (NZ), Rhythm & Vines (NZ), Southern Amp (NZ), L’incourt Festival (Belgium), Hefei Music Festival (China) and soon to be Concrete and Grass in Shanghai.
Die! Die! Die! 已经在新西兰，澳大利亚，法国，西班牙，意大利，克罗地亚，德国，斯洛文尼亚，斯洛伐克，荷兰，英国，爱尔兰，中国，日本，美国，奥地利，捷克，瑞士，比利时，卢森堡，丹麦，希腊，挪威举办过巡演，把他们很强烈的声音带到过很多国际著名的音乐节包括包括Incubate(荷兰), SXSW (美国), CMJ Festival (美国), Generic Festival (法国), Soy Festival (法国), Tour De Chauffe Festival (法国), Phono Pop Festival (德国), Immergut Festival (德国), Maifeld Derby Festival (德国), XYEAHX SOMMERFEST (德国), Deaf Row Fest (德国), Great Escape (英国), Homebake (澳大利亚), Meredith Music Festival (澳大利亚) Offset Festival (美国), Off The Radar Festival (新西兰), Camp A Low Hum (新西兰), Homegrown (新西兰), Big Day Out (新西兰), Rhythm & Vines (新西兰), Southern Amp (新西兰), L’incourt Festival (比利时), Hefei Music Festival (中国) 和将来的上海混泥土音乐节。
They have released the albums Die! Die! Die! EP (2005), Die! Die! Die! (2006), 7” split with High Dependency Unit (2007), Promises, Promises (2008), Form (2010), Harmony (2012), S W I M (2014) and What Did You Expect EP (2015).
他们发行首张专辑《Die! Die! Die! EP》 (2005), 《Die! Die! Die!》 (2006), 《7” split with High Dependency Unit》 (2007), 《Promises, Promises》 (2008), 《Form》 (2010), 《Harmony》 (2012), 《S W I M》 (2014) 和 《What Did You Expect EP》 (2015).
Die! Die! Die! play NU SPACE Chengdu tomorrow night!
Die! Die! Die! 来！来！来！Hold the press, New Zealand noise-rock / post-punk trio Die! Die! Die! are returning to China for the first time in five years for a ten date tour!
It’s a sweltering Thursday afternoon here in Chengdu and I am still nursing a strained neck induced by overly aggressive head banging at the first annual Punkfest CDC 成都朋克音乐节 at Morning House 早上好 last weekend. Speaking of overly aggressive head banging and sweatiness…
Die! Die! Die! are such a great band. Their live show is an almost cathartic experience, the relentless thrashing and collision of flying bodies, the unpredictability of vocalist/guitarist Andrew Wilson as to when he will careen off stage. Just thinking about Michael Prain’s drum intro to A.T.T.I.T.U.D. makes me feel like sporadically pogoing into people.
The band first toured China back in 2011 with Tom from This Town Touring, paving the way into the unknown for other NZ acts to follow. This time, with London-import Rory Attwell (Test Icicles) on bass duties, the band will be brought over by Beijing-based punk tour overlord Nevin Domer from Genjing Records and Maybe Mars for ten dates across Taipei, Hong Kong and the Mainland.
With the new high speed rail from Guiyang to Chengdu making things possible, the Die! Die! Die! train is storming west to play Guiyang, Chengdu and Chongqing, plus the main southern and eastern centres! YEAH!!
DIE! DIE! DIE! CHINA TOUR 2016
Revolver, Taipei Support: Slack Tide, Wayne’s So Sad NT500 (presale and student price) / NT600 (at door)
Focal Fair, Hong Kong
Support: SECTS, The Bollands
“A dream of a shopping cart left in the street in a desolate wasteland is stuck on repeat,” sings Jonathan Zeitlin on Alpine Decline’s latest album Life’s a Gasp, a record that echoes the dystopian smog world of Beijing.
Alpine Decline is Beijing-via-Los Angeles husband and wife rockers Jonathan Zeitlin and Pauline Mu. Self-described as “psych, shoegaze, noise rock and ’90s indie, without sounding too much like any of those,” Alpine Decline are currently touring their seventh album Life’s a Gasp across China with long time confidante, producer and bassist Yang Haisong.
Kiwese caught up with Jonathan ahead of their gig in Chengdu to talk about touring and synthesisers in a WeChat conversation littered with baby smoking Hitler emojis.
KIWESE: Hey Alpine Decline! Where are you guys?
JONATHAN: We’re driving up from Nanning to Guiyang right now and it is fucking gorgeous. Pauline and I are essentially nature-oriented people living in a city that is the antithesis of natural, so this lush landscape really moves us.
Rad, how was the show in Nanning?
Nanning was great. I think in places that don’t get as many touring acts coming through, the thrills are a little bit more palpable. A strange room and a strange feeling, like someone might bar the doors and some shootout might happen, or evil spirits descend… this is the perfect vibe for us to play.
“Playing for ten people ready to freak the fuck out is often more fun than 200 people who are only listening with one ear.“
Can you tell us about your tour bus and crew? Sounds huge!
We’ve been on the US get-in-the-van trip quite a few times and will be doing it again in October with Carsick Cars and Chui Wan, but this is the first time we’ve had a van to tour in china, instead of riding the rails. It completely changes the nature of the expedition – in a way we are temperamentally well suited for.
We brought our baby and a babysitter, so that adds two bodies. There’s the three of us in the band, Xiao Bao running sound, our old friend (and veteran of the earliest P.K.14 van tours) 黄师傅 minding the details, and our very trusted driver. For awhile Nevin from Genjing Records/Maybe Mars came along. Little Monster rolled with us from Shanghai to Nantong and that was max capacity.
Logistics aside, I love ripping down the road. I like stepping out of the car in the middle of nowhere. I like the whole ‘Peter Pan leading a pack of gypsy children out into the wilderness’ vibe.
This is not the first tour Alpine Decline for little Roland, right? He must be almost ready to join the band as the fourth member haha
This is his fourth tour. He did Australia when he was six months old, then the China tour for our last album GO BIG SHADOW CITY and the subsequent US/Canada tour. He’s pretty natural at it. He gets on really well with everyone and can tolerate the dirty language and rough living pretty well.
With kids, I find you create reality for them… they don’t come into the world with a set of expectations of how things are gonna be. So taking him on tour at first was about us being brave, not about him understanding what’s up. We just felt like it was a bad narrative in the long term to say “we used to tour and make albums and then you were born so it all stopped.” We felt like he could have warmth and support and a reasonable measure of stability and safety while still coming into Pauline and my world, joining our lives and our family.
What’s the best thing about being on tour?
There is a lot of wildness on tour; wild thoughts, the crazy feeling of being cut loose, the daily encounter with my fight-or-flight instincts. You meet crazy people and seem to be endlessly celebrating something, I don’t know what. For us, we are very focused on the shows, because getting in a room with people and playing music every night, there is a possibility we will get somewhere interesting, and that’s really the only reason to tour.
Of course we get tired, nerves frayed and maybe lose perspective of reality a little bit. But I’m going to reach a place every night where the moment opens up and freezes and we are all intensely present for some fleeting interval. so 辛苦? 辛苦我可以收。(hardship, hardship I can take.)
Welcome to Chengdu, what’s your impression of this place?
Chengdu and these western parts always leave a very deep impression on us. Of course in Chengdu as everywhere you witness the crush of development, but there is a kind of frontier vibe that comes on this far from the eastern seaboard that strikes me as romantic.
Would be great to have an Alpine Decline synth set in Chengdu!
Aw, I would have loved to do a synth set in Chengdu! When we were planning the tour and figuring out where we could do the synth stuff, I just didn’t know if there was a community interested in that kinda thing…
I wouldn’t say there’s a ‘community’ but certainly individuals who have an interest.
Yeah, I find on tour there is pretty intense interest in the modular synths and people just trying to contextualize asymmetrical music in general, so that after the synth sets we are basically spending about a half an hour talking to the crowd, showing them the synths and explaining stuff.
We use the synths during the rock set too, so we also have gotten people who come out even though they aren’t interested in guitars or rock, but read somewhere about the synths.
If it’s not too mafan, are you able to tell us about your synths for all the synth nerds out there?
Ah, so basically we built two boxes and filled then with different modular synth components from a variety of sources. Eurorack is basically a format, a set of standards, so people can build synth components that will be compatible with other peoples modules. so we have basically a collection of oscillators, filters, VCAs, envelope generators, utilities, etc that we can patch together to create any sound we imagine.
We don’t have any presets or memory banks, it is nearly impossible to perfectly recreate a sound, so every night on tour the synths are slightly different, their ambience a little slippery and sorta every variable. plus they are a lot lighter than lugging around big vintage synths like the last tour haha.
I read in an interview that you recorded Life’s a Gasp in a makeshift studio in the mountains?
I think the place was originally going to be like a western style residential neighbourhood in the mountains past Badaling, northwest of Beijing, but the government moved some factories out to the adjacent valley and the place was more or less abandoned by the ten or twelve people that built houses there. Surreal, kind of ghostly, maybe some abandoned dogs, but with the ruins of unrestored Great Wall snaking along the ridgeline. We kinda had a sound design in mind and wanted to find a very big room where we could record drums, guitar and bass live together, and one of these houses became available to us. So we moved there for a week and were able to create a really different, closed-circuit kind of habitat for this part of the recording process.
So you guys are rolling in Guangxi right now, a far stretch from L.A. You’ve been in Beijing for a decent few years now, do you still align yourselves and your style with the L.A. scene at all?
No, we don’t align ourselves with the L.A. scene at all. Actually, I don’t have a clue what’s been going on in L.A. the last five years at all. Even before we moved here, we were feeling very disassociated with the music scene, pretty aware of the distance between what we were looking to do and the territory around us.
It might be a little different on a personal level for Pauline, because she grew up there, but especially for me just kinda drifting through from more remote parts, L.A. just seems like a fantasy to me, even when I lived there.
I’m originally from a small town in north-eastern Ohio, a sort of farmland about an hour outside of a big collapsing steel town.
There are brilliant musicians in L.A… I’m in disbelief I had the opportunity to call them my friends and whip up some music together… but we had a different plan when we started Alpine Decline and after about a year knew it wasn’t right in L.A.
L.A is known around the world as the mecca of music and film production, so no doubt full of people trying to make it big. Do you find any parallels between that and Beijing?
The scale is really different. People seeking to make art come to Beijing, but the leading industry in Beijing is politics, not art. In L.A., its almost exclusively entertainment, like a coal town with screening rooms instead of mineshafts. Truthfully, L.A. is really just film and TV, so playing music there is still a little outside… unlike New York or Berlin, perhaps.
I don’t know what “making it big” would look like in China. We didn’t think that was an option here, which was part of the appeal.
Alpine Decline play NU SPACE Chengdu this Saturday with support from the almighty Hiperson!
购票请长按下方二维码:Press & extract the QR code below for tickets on Zaomengshe:
It’s the second day of the national October holiday break, and we’ve just taken a 19hr overnight train from Beijing to Chengdu.
After arriving at the Chengdu Music Hotel, we chucked back some egg pancakes 煎饼 and a hot sour noodle 酸辣粉 round the corner on Minzhu Lu (R.I.P.). Back in my neighbourhood, I ran back to my house for a quick shower and change of clothes – having been in Beijing for the past three weeks, it was so good to be home and see all my friends, along with this amazing band from Wellington that I had been raving about for the past year!!
The Spheres were playing the headline slot on Day 3 of the second NUART Festival, a three day music, art and tech extravaganza that takes places over two streets and stages, featuring both local and international acts and artists. They played on a street stage built of bamboo to an enormous and adoring crowd of people young and old. Quite simply, Chengdu has never seen anything like it.
The quiet old street of Minzhu Lu, next to where the gang were staying, will be demolished to make way for a music hall complex.
That includes Morning Bar 早上好, our local watering hole and the venue for the Chengdu after party. Following the festival, Lady Lazer Light set up her projector and eyeballs and Riki presented his techno/juke project Cave Circles for the second time on tour, ultimately pushing his soundcard to the state of kaput. My beautiful friend Su from the electronic label atmen had just come back from Germany and brought her minimal techno vibes to the party.
As usual, Morning Bar was bustling with all sorts of friends. I found Riki eating spicy chicken wings with a reggae band from Guizhou at 3am in the morning.
Morning Bar has since been walled off and left to decay, the glass windows and wooden fixtures have been extracted and recycled by local workers, the eateries and stores have ended their decades long business to move elsewhere. When I walk past the old place on Minzhu Lu my heart sinks, now an empty shell of what was such a joyful hub of drunkenness, music and good times.
But when I glimpse over the blue retaining wall and see the Orchestra of Spheres poster still stuck to the alcove outside, I know that is a memory that can never be demolished.
In the first instalment of our five-part China tour series, Orchestra of Spheres reunite with Lady Lazer Light in Beijing and wreak havoc at School Bar, Temple Bar and Brother’s BBQ Tribe in Feijiacun.
Erica Sklenars a.k.a. Lady Lazer Light is in the capital this week for two talks about her art residency in Beijing and touring with Orchestra of Spheres around China.
Kiwese caught up with her ahead of tonight’s first talk!
The last Lady Lazer Light show I saw before moving back to China was in collaboration with long time pals Orchestra of Spheres.
It was a cheap $10 gig at Valhalla – a grungy, hole in the wall on Vivian Street downtown Wellington, which having survived several different eras of management had remained popular among the metal, bogan and experimental community for it’s diverse billing, excellent beer selection and outdoor area provisioned with old car tyres and miscellaneous lounge furniture.
It was mid-2014, a rough time for Wellington music punters with the closures of popular inner city venues Mighty Mighty and Puppies. San Francisco Bath House had been renovated into ‘San Fran’ – a yuppie, tapas-catering ghost of it’s former self that had halved it’s capacity due to safety concerns – the packed out balcony and wall-to-wall mosh pit had become a thing of the past. The city was thirsty for a good show.
The Valhalla line-up included some of Wellington’s favourite acts, who were not greatly affected by the venue closures as they were accustomed to playing in unconventional spaces around town. Throat-ripping turntable noise trio the All Seeing Hand had arrived home from their national tour and were supported by their good mates Orchestra of Spheres, experimental folk yodeller Seth Frightening, andvisually enhanced by the Queen of Psychedelic Projections Herself, Lady Lazer Light. The stage was a whirlpool of colour and sound and the bar was packed with familiar faces, with Valhalla regulars happily drinking alongside the refugees of less fortunate venues.
In the second set of the night, the Spheres took the stage in inimitable style – festooned with the finest eyewear The $2 Shop can buy, armed with one-of-a-kind wooden and tin instruments and oozing with the bizarre stage presence that has earned them a cult following throughout the country. The crowd surged forward, ready for the cosmic rhythms.
As Lady Lazer Light sprayed forth her kaleidoscopic beams and the Spheres chanted a mantra about iPhone chargers, the sensorily satiated crowd swayed shoulder to shoulder as one, united by a brilliant display of colour and sound. If the desired effect was group hypnosis – they certainly succeeded.
The show was a spiritual experience for the city – the buzz around Valhalla, the friendliness and happiness of all the people who had come to celebrate and support, it was a truly magical night. Orchestra of Spheres and Lady Lazer Light were the gems in Wellington’s creative crown, and we all bowed down in ecstasy.
Around the middle of last year, things really started to fall into place. I was emailing Dan from the Spheres on an almost daily basis and we were gradually putting together the pieces for a national China tour. The dream was coming to life, everyone was excited.
KIWESE: “Are you guys bringing Lady Lazer Light?”
DAN: “Erica Sklenars is going to be in Beijing for three months on an artist residency!! So we’ll bring her along for the trip.”
The morning after the second Orchestra of Spheres show in Beijing, I awoke with a heavy hangover to find Erica passed out on the couch at my friend’s tiny flat in Beixinqiao, wrapped in her screen as a blanket and surrounded by noodles of projector cables and chargers. A Lady Lazer Light bomb had exploded in the lounge and ground zero was beautifully chaotic. This chick is crack up.
Despite being a fan of her work for years, I’d actually never met Erica Sklenars before she arrived in Beijing last September.
During my time with her in China, through all the madness, set-ups, pack downs, instant noodles, Jingjiu, overnight train rides, WeChat frenzies, gaffer tape, raves, laughs, cries and hangovers, she became a very dear friend, one who I have enormous respect and admiration for as an artist, improvisor, communicator and genuinely wonderful human being.
I am so pleased to finally feature her here on this humble blog.
KIWESE: Sup Sklen, how’s it going?
As Lady Lazer Light, you’ve been a staple visual collaborator in Wellington for many years. Can you tell us a bit about your current set up in Dunedin?
I’ve been living between Dunedin and Wellington a bit this year with various projects, but I’m technically based in beautiful Port Chalmers, Dunedin, living and making work in Chick’s Hotel.
What’s the deal with Chick’s Hotel at the mo?
They closed a couple of weeks ago, went out with a bang with a number of awesome farewell gigs, including Shifting Sands and The Clean sending us off on the final night.
I’ve been away since then, but word on the street says there is a killer recording studio developing downstairs…
You were based in Wellington for many years, how have you found the transition to Dunedin life? My only experience with the music scene on my trip there was a seedy late night karaoke bar, where I realised Seven Days by Craig David is actually really hard to sing.
Haha! I have only encountered YouTube karaoke down there… but may have heard something about such bars.
I’m finding it quite different, a bit more chill, a good place to reflect on my practice and on my high-energy, chaotic last few months of travel.
There are some really cool things happening there in the music scene, some awesome new and old bands, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to collaborate and perform. There is actually some REALLY great music happening there at the moment.
You’ve mentioned Élan vital before. Could you name some other acts you’re digging in Dunedin?
I collaborated with Repulsive Woman recently, she played alone outside an old Free Mason Lodge and the audience watched/peeped on her from inside through a camera obscura I constructed. She plays One Direction covers.
You were in Beijing for three months and really thrived in it. Do you have any favourite spots for music and art in the city?
Liquid Light Show at Temple Bar Beijing, which Erica participated in. Sept 2015.
Shocking Pinks DJ Set at Dada with visuals by Lady Lazer Light. Sept 2015.
Mos Iocos of Orchestra of Spheres with Lady Lazer Light. School Bar, Beijing, Sept 2015. Image / Live Beijing Music
What do you miss about China now that you are back in NZ?
I miss the food of course! I loved it all. I miss being able to order a bunch of different dishes – I’m terrible at making decisions on menus.
I miss always having an exciting new place to go! There’s one particular dish I would get that was kind of an omelette thing with sprouts and noodles, it was soo good for late breakfasts. And the shredded potato!! So good.
I miss the friendly faces around where I was living, going on adventures through different villages to find art supplies, taking several forms of public transport to go somewhere, the amazing friendly people I would meet that would extend so much help and kindness despite us not speaking the same language.
The Spheres tour was so bloody fab. Do you have a particularly standout gig?
Too hard to choose! I loved the BBQ party in Feijiacun because that was in the community I was living in.
I loved the NUART Festival in Chengdu and the after party at Zaoshanghao, so much fun! I loved every city and show for different reasons, I can’t pick a single fav. I really want to come back and I’m working on some plans, watch this space!
When can we expect to see the South Acid MiMi x Lady Lazer Light music video?
What would you say to other artists wanting to visit China?
Do it, it’s an awesome place to tour as a band and to make art.
Chur girl, you Sklegend!
Erica will be speaking in Wellington tonight and tomorrow:
P-LAB: LADY LAZER LIGHT
Time: 7:00pm | Wed 13 April 2016
Location: Pyramid Club
272 Taranaki Street, Wellington, New Zealand
For her P-LAB session, Erica will be delving into her world of projected visuals and speaking about her recent 3 month residency in Beijing on the Wellington Asia Residency Exchange.
The Pyramid Club is run by the Sound and Exploration Society.
International Connections: An artist residency forum
Time: 5.30pm – 7.30pm | Thu 14 April 2016
Location: Adam Auditorium, City Gallery
101 Wakefield St, Wellington, New Zealand
Hear internationally acclaimed visual artists speak about their practice and residency experiences in a panel discussion chaired by Courtney Johnston, director of The Dowse Art Museum. The artists – Marc Brandenburg, Etienne de France, Erica Sklenars and Sian Torrington – will share their work and their thoughts about the world versus Wellington.
Berlin-based Brandenburg is the current Goethe-Institut Artist in Resident at the Bolton Street Cottage; Etienne de France, from Paris, is the Massey University Artist in Resident staying at Te Whare Hera; and Erica Sklenars and Sian Torrington are both Wellington-based artists recently back from Asia.
Behold! Beijing’s bogan paradise – where no one’s body is a temple and nobody ever leaves sober. Coated with a delightful lustre of Jager, coffee shots and projectile vomit, Temple Bar is discreetly tucked away in an upstairs building off Beijing’s Gulou Dong Dajie.
Following a packed out show at School Bar the night before, Beijing’s WeChat feeds were wagging about the unconventional stylingsthat had landed in town.
For night two of their China tour,Orchestra of Spheres and Lady Lazer Light returned with a different set of tunes and even more floating eyeballs, intoxicating the warped minds of Temple even more than usual.
Check out the video of ‘Rotate’ below!
Cheers to Pink at Temple, Georgia Hind and Anton Burian.