Among the handful of foreign bands coming to Chengdu next weekend for the second Zebra Music Festival is British rock band Exile Parade, who has established a large underground following in China and has been favorably compared to the likes of Oasis and Radiohead. Exile Parade lead singer Lomax answered 10 for 2010.
1. How did you manage your way into the Zebra Festival?
We were very fortunate to make a friend over in China—Tony Zhu, who runs Handshake Music Blog, came across us on the internet and has been supporting, promoting, and fighting our corner ever since. With his help and the fact that our songs have begun to make an impact on sites such as Douban, we have been graced with this opportunity.
2. Three things you know about Chengdu:
We hear a lot about Chengdu being the party capital of China! So we hope to sample a bit of the night life. We love good food, and Chengdu is known as having a laid-back attitude and a love for spicy food! If we are lucky, we might even have chance to see a giant panda, but we'll have to see how our schedule works out.
3. Three things you plan to do in Chengdu:
First and foremost we plan to have the time of our lives. We plan to take in the sights and sounds of the city enough to carry a piece home, and, most importantly, we plan to blow the roof off and make a thousand friends.
4. It seems you blew up on Douban out of nowhere. Do you know how that happened?
It happened because our songs are good and because there are people all over the world, particularly China and Europe, who think the same. More importantly, a lot of people who get what we're about want to spread the word. Young people need good news at the moment, so I guess the time is right. Sometimes the inexplicable is the most appealing.
5. Will your album be available in China once it's released? Where will fans be able to find it?
We will do everything possible to ensure the album is available in China. We have three more songs to record, and then it will be mixed, mastered, and ready to go. We are very keen to get this out to the whole world and we will keep you informed of the release via our Douban site. You can also download our EP "Brothel Ballet" on Wa Wa Wa Music Shop, and the album will be available there as well.
6. Who are your favorite Chinese bands?
I was listening to Tookoo a couple of days ago at home. They've got a good vibe. Chinese bands are a new thing to us. I think the trip will open our eyes and our minds to a lot more.
7. Music media have compared you to a number of your compatriot predecessors, including Robert Plant, Oasis, Radiohead ... do you find such comparisons offensive? Trite?
No, being compared to the greatest song writers and musicians on the planet is not shameful, is it? It's going to happen [seeing that] we are from the Northwest of England, a tiny place with a huge voice. We grew up when Oasis were taking on the world. From hearing them, we were introduced to a history of amazing rock 'n' roll, and we want to be part of it!
8. What are your thoughts on file-sharing and how does it affect your band?
I don't blame people for file-sharing. It's easy, it's free, and there doesn't seem to be any incentive for people to pay for the music. In the cold light of day it's pretty tragic when bands or artists put everything into what they are doing for someone to come along and take it like it's worth nothing, but in the long run, as long as the music is heard, and it is good enough, then the good will win out in my opinion. Bottom line is, the world's changing, so it's more important to beat it rather than sit on your arse and complain about what you can't change.
9. What were your last jobs before going all in with the band?
Everybody in the band still works to make a living. Most of us have had many jobs. I work as a farm laborer, Boon (first guitarist) works for an electronics firm, Dave Hennessey (bass) works on the British Waterways, Phillip Hennessey (2nd guitarist/synth/back vox) is a sub-editor for a local entertainments magazine, and Mutchy (drums) works in retail. In reference to file-sharing, this is one of the pitfalls: Less money in the music industry means less money for the musicians. Record labels don't know what to do with themselves; they missed this when they should have seen it coming a mile off. It just means we have to make our own way and our own money. If we have to work, so be it.
10. Do your parents approve of your lifestyle?
Well, I don't think we go into the gory details of what a rock 'n' roll band gets up to. I'm sure they could guess! They are very proud of what we have achieved and support us every step of the way.
Exile Parade is scheduled to appear on the main stage at 9 p.m. on May 3, Day 3 of the Zebra Music Festival.