Rock in China interviewed Hongkong hardcore band DIE IN VELVET. Azchael from Rock in China and Ian from DIV.
Azchael: Can you introduce yourself and your band?
Ian: I am Ian, im 23 yrs old. I live in HK, studying in London. Me and Rabbit started the band back in 2003, but DIV didn’t get to play gigs until like 2006 or 2007 coz there was a major line-up changing for us. It took years for us to find Alex to fill in as a bass player. I define our musical hardcore/punk even though we sound more metal among the genre, but DIV is always stick to the hardcore/punk ideology.
Azchael: Which instruments do you use in the band? Which brand?
Ian: We don’t like playing stuffs with too much melody. Therefore, we ve only got 2 guitarists and 1 bass player in the band.Rabbit use various brand of guitars but he usually use the one Fernandes. Gavin is always stick to his ESP. And Alex love using his Fender Mustang bass.
Azchael: Can you tell me a little bit about the hardcore scene in Hongkong? What is the music about? How many people like hardcore? And which are the best venues?
Ian: The hardcore scene is not very well developed in HK, but it is constantly growing. I remembered back in 2003 the scene had more hope,different magazines or organisation are always up to putting on shows and stuffs, but at some point, they are just gone and not doing it anymore which is very sad. But personally, i think there are not enough bands playing hardcore, bands are usually have other influences. But fair enough, i think it’s cool tho. I am not saying I’m the master or the authority of hardcore, but i think hardcore is consist of unity, caring and dedication. There is no any definition of what is hardcore but i don’t think hardcore is only about political. I HATE IT, when people judging any bands if they are hardcore enough only focusing on the fact that do they sing or care about the political stuff. I mean, there are many levels of hardcore, please don’t judging by focus on a level.
I have no idea about the numbers of people who love hardcore, probably a few hundreds?
There are not many proper venues in HK unless organiser are up for paying shit loads of money to hire a place, we have played in a gallery before, it has no any audio equipment, organiser has to pay extra money to hire the equipments. But to me, Hidden Agenda is always my personal favourite, they always have nice crowd there.
Azchael: Last year (2011) you recorded a song for the compilation “Knock Out” with the crew “Hea9vy”. Who else is in Hea9vy and where are they from?
Ian: We recorded the song “everyday lives everyday dies” in the compilation CD last year with HEA9VY. Basically, it is formed with bunch of my mates from ATP, Hardpack, Embryo, Faceface, Losenfound, and DIV. We are all from HK, we are like a crew. We shared a studio together, we do things together.
Azchael: Having been on two China tours already, where have you toured and what were your experiences in China?
Ian: We did a tour in 2007 with Embryo, we went to 8 cities like Guangzhou, Cheung Sa, Wuhan, Beijing. I remembere people were pretty confused with what we were doing. I guess coz there are no bands playing the similar music as we do. But when we went on the tour in 2011, things have changed a bit, the scene in China is clearly getting bigger and bigger, crowds were more active, and they always love interacting with the band, which is very different from my previous experience. i am looking forward to have another tour in China after we recorded our album (or EP) in 2012. I missed those places and the travelling.
Azchael: How many songs do you usually play at a show and which ones you do you want to include on your upcoming record?
Ian: We have played 5 songs only in the last tour in 2011, due to the fact that i have been away from the band, so we don’t get to practice a lot as a whole band. But we will definitely playing some old songs (from the last EP) in the future. One of my favourite is “Dogs biting dogs” will definitely be on the upcoming record, it is about the idea of class. Please do check it out.
Azchael: How do you see the scene in China compared to Hongkong?
Ian: As i mentioned earlier, i think the crowd in China is more active, the scenes potentially bigger if there are more bands playing in the genre. But after the 2 tour we did, i found that Northern China is a bit different from Southern China, the people from Northern China are less likely to interact whereas the audience in Southern China are more likely to interact with us. But i guess it is because we are all speaking in cantonese.
Azchael: What is underground for you? Are you underground?
Ian: For me, underground is where i belong, where i come from. Underground is where i can find myself, people wouldn’t judge you by how you look, they don’t care if you are rich, they don’t care if you are famous. All we want to do is have fun and enjoy ourselves. I am not saying that i hate everything but the underground, i do respect people from all kinds of music, but they are just not my type and thats it.
Well, i think i am pretty underground i guess. i can’t really enjoy a pop concert from the beginning till the end, i need more interact with the band. Plus i love crowd surfing.
Azchael: How do you promote your songs? Have you started overseas promotion?
Ian: We don’t promote our songs too much, i mean we are not a full-time band. We all got jobs to maintain our lives, it’s a bit hard for us to promote our songs in our personal time. Therefore, we just promote our music a bit on Facebook, Douban and Weibo that sort of things.
We have not started too much oversea promotion yet. I sing in cantonese, so may be we will, while i ve written my lyrics in English.
Azchael: What do you think of Rock in China?
Ian: I think Rock in China is a very good idea. It is the fundamental of the scene. Audience need more access to various artists and Rock in China can be one of their resources. I hope this project can keep going as long as it can. And let the world know more about hardcore in China. It is time for us to show what we can do.
Azchael: Thanks for the interview!