Take a deep dive into Chui Wan (吹万), a psychedelic band from Beijing, with delicious twinkles of Krautrock and Shoegaze, there is no stopping them.
After releasing their homonymous 吹万 in 2015, they are already preparing a demo and our ears couldn’t possibly be more excited. There is a luminous quality to their music, piercing lights that reverb about a dense space, provoking you, shedding their light into and out of you; there is a cosmic color to their sound, a sense of wanderlust gets triggered by it.
They’re fresh, they’re fun and adventurous, and once you’ve been taken by their spell, there is not much you can do but surrender to the dance.
You can tell how they put their heart into their music, Sound of Wilderness marches along with beautiful figures that won’t remain still, appearing and disappearing in an impossible dance, such motives develop and transform over the record, each song, a wild treat; their trajectory consists in two studio albums so far, 吹万 (Chui Wan) and 白夜(White Night), if you get a little carried away by their mysterious sound, you’ll start to float, there can be no gravity in this dense space.
• You’ve said your name comes “from Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi's Qi Wu Lun (齐物论), a mystical work on inner sageliness and outer kingliness.” How did you find your name?
Yes, the name is from Zhuangzi’s <Qi Wu Lun>："When the wind blows, every sound may be heard therein."
Bassist Wu Qiong found the name while she was reading this book. Then, she asked us: ”What do you think about this name ‘吹万’?”
We all thought it’s a really good and special name.
So ‘till now, the name still inspires us in many aspects. Especially in the music spirit.
• How would you describe Beijing’s soundscape, and how do you think it translates into your music?
Chui Wan started in a new-music series called “Zooming Night” in 2009. It was a weekly show in D-22. “Zooming Night” is more about experimental music, and is always trying new different styles, including Experimental Rock, Free Improvisation, Jazz, Harsh Noise, Avant-garde composition......
But It’s too hard to describe Beijing’s soundscape, the city is always changing, and growing bigger and bigger. Big city’s soundscape.
• How has your sound evolved from “White Night” to “Chui Wan”? Has it gone to new places after touring across the globe?
We have a wide range of interests and we’d like to keep changing and developing. In “White Night” we were a very young band, we wanted to try something in the studio, to make something different with our live show; with “Chui Wan” we wanted to keep it more direct and simple.
Touring brings us many different cultural experiences, it’s very important.
• Can you tell me more about the song that names your debut: “White Night”?
I think “White Night” was our first shaping song. We tried many different ways, and improv with it for a very long time. While we wrote the song, we learned lots of the Arabic scale.
• Can you tell us some of the highlights of touring from your homeland to Europe and the States? Any anecdotes you’d like to share?
Europe is beautiful. We have toured in Europe 3 times, they are rich and colorful.
In the first time we played mainly in Northern Europe, and it was also our first time to play out of China. In the second time, we played at the “NIUBI Festival” in Helsinki, it was also the first time that we played in a European Festival. The third time happened this year: ”Lisbon Psych Fest” was really cool, and we really enjoyed the food of Lisbon. Then we resided in Caen for few days. the organizer made a rehearsal room and we could practice everyday—— because of this，we were able to have an idea to make a very special work: It’s a 40 minutes track of composition, with improv... When we went back to China, we played it at Beijing’s Mingsheng Art Museum and did a live recording, it will be released in 3-4 months. So, we have to say, we got many inspirations from Europe.
For us, touring in the States was a very different experience from Europe. Long driving. In some aspects, Jean Baudrillard’s <America> is a great book. Our first show in the US was at the “Austin Psych Fest”. It was great. Then, we played many shows in many cities, West and East. In our day-off, we stayed in Montana, it was beautiful.
All the good memories: a lot of fun, playing with many cool bands, kind audiences, great staff and nice people. We really enjoyed it.
• How has the alternative music scene changed in China over the years?
There are more interesting musicians and bands springing up in some other cities (out of Beijing and Shanghai) than before, and the experimental music scene is growing well in Beijing, and electronic music is growing quickly in Shanghai.
• Would you share with us your main influences, from music itself to art, even landscapes? What inspires you?
So many things: what we are listening or seeing, walking, taking, thinking… Everyone has a very similar yet very different music taste, and so many different styles and times of music and art.
• Tell me more about “On the other ocean”.
The name is from David Berhman’s work. Same title.
• You’ve said that when it comes to your approach to composition, improvisation is key. Is your sound a result of such improvisation? Is there a concept behind your latest album?
Yes, most of the songs. When we have some ideas and motives, we will do a lot of improvisations in the rehearsal room. Then we arrange it. It’s always a long process.
In our latest album, we wanted to make the sounds more original, without any modifications.
• Can you tell me more about “Silence”? That is probably one of my favorite pieces of the album. Delirious and endearing at the same time.
Thanks. Silence is also the special one for us. The motive was the bassline, and most of the lyrics and the singing melody were written by Wu Qiong. We tried to mix a little bit of minimal stuff such as La Monte Young, Tony Conrad or John Cale, with European folk songs and other things.
• What does the future hold for Chui Wan? Where do you see yourselves in a couple of years? Are there any sounds you would like to explore? Places you’d like to visit?
We are planning 3rd album，and looking forward on touring in more places with our new album next year.
• If you could compare Chui Wan’s sound to any landscape, which landscape would you choose and why?
We prefer to keep more rooms for audiences’ imaginations.
Photos from the Chui Wan Facebook.