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Interview: Beijing Metal Band Scare the Children

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Scare the Children, a Metal band from Beijing is coming to Kunming and will be playing at Xianke Bar on April 18, 2021. They will be joined by local stoner band King of Lazy and Beijing stoner band Never Before.

Interview

So who are Scare the Children?

We are a 5-piece metal band from Beijing, China, formed in 2014. Our performances lean towards the theatrical, with costumes and stage decor borrowing from horror themes. We try as best as we can to set a certain mood not only through the music, but also through visuals and ambiance.

Have you dressed as monsters at all of your concerts? What is the meaning of each monster if there is one?

The costumes are different characters coming from our imaginations, all with gloomy and dark backgrounds. We each chose the individual concepts, but they all drew inspiration from either urban legends or horror films.

Why did you want to start such a band dressed as monsters?

The idea of dressing up came very naturally once we agreed on what the themes of the songs would be. It was decided early on that the song lyrics would revolve around horror stories, and we figured haunted dolls could be an interesting concept for the first album. However, the idea of five grown men singing about dolls and trying to be scary seemed a little silly, but if we went all the way and really pushed the concept on multiple levels, it could work. Hence the costumes and decor. Now for the second album we tried to explore another type of horror with a brand new set of characters.

You are touring China this year but you also have toured Japan with Defiled a few years back, a known death metal bands from Japan, how did it feel to play there? How was the audience?

Japan and China are two opposites in many ways. In regard to gigs, well, Japan runs at 150% efficiency at all times. For example, sound checks are done quickly and the sound is always being perfected so every show starts and ends on time. In China things are usually a little messier and less organized. However, being less organized is not always a bad thing, especially when it comes to crowds. In Japan people are very respectful and seem to enjoy the show in a more reserved way, while here crowds tend to be more animated and wilder, which helps us gauge our performance and react accordingly during the show.

Another thing we noticed very quickly over there was that we would have our work cut-out for us, since Japanese bands are just as professional as the sound engineers – they take their craft very seriously and everything they do, from their sound to their visuals, is always on point...these guys don't mess around and the level of talent is through the roof.

All that being said, the tour was great and people responded very positively to what we were doing. We also made some good friends, with whom we hope to, perhaps, co-operate on future projects down the road.

What are your thoughts on Chinese metal bands and do you think there is a place for more foreign metal bands in China?

As with all music genres in China (and elsewhere, for that matter), you have to dig a bit before you find that one band that really stands out, but they are certainly there. There's a lot of talent and creativity in the scene, and more and more bands are starting to think outside the box, blending different styles to try to come up with something new.

As for foreign metal bands, it's hard to tell. Being a foreigner in a band in China can open some doors, but also close others. Some promoters may want to book you just because your band has foreign members, but when it comes down to true recognition, the local scene tends to prioritize local musicians, which is understandable and even commendable, but can be frustrating for some of us who've worked just as hard as our local counterparts. Anyway, making music (especially in the field of Rock) was never supposed to be easy. What it boils down to, is that if you work hard and do your homework there is room to make your desires come true, regardless of where you come from.

What was the best show you did and why was it the best show in your opinion?

That's a pretty impossible question to answer. In all honesty, it would be easier to talk about the "worst" show, since there are so few gigs that we would qualify as a bad experience. On the other hand, a show can be great for so many different reasons, and there's always something awesome to draw from each and every one of them. We've enjoyed playing big festival stages in front of tens of thousands – there's something incredibly thrilling about having a huge amount of people go completely mental and respond in unison to every move you make on stage. But we also love playing smaller venues where we are face-to-face with the crowd. The intensity of the close interaction with the audience on smaller stages can make a show so much fun and pretty wild. Other factors that affect how we feel about shows include whether or not there were technical difficulties, if we managed to play through the whole gig without anyone f*cking up once (which probably has yet to happen...), and even just the overall vibe between all people involved.

Basically, there are so many separate factors that can make a show great, that is really hard to pick ONE best show. I'm not sure there's ever been a gig we played where everything was flawless, but that's what makes this whole thing so exciting, that's what makes every show different and unique. Rock 'n' Roll has always been about the danger in not knowing what you're gonna get each night.

Having said all that, we can probably tell you about some of our favorite venues and festivals we've played. Temple Livehouse in Beijing was always home for us and every show we've played there was excellent. As for festivals, we've played Midi several times and those were amazing – awesome organization, great team, huge crowds; and we've also played Rootfest, which is run by Modern Sky and has some of China's biggest names in metal as its line-up, and that's always a big honor for us. Also worth mentioning is Vigor, as a stellar promoter of straight-up killer Rock shows throughout Beijing. We've definitely had some unforgettable gigs organized by these guys.

Is there any music you want to share? (not necessarily yours).

Sure. We got some local bands we all really enjoy, not only in the metal scene. We go way back with Never Before, which is a Stoner Metal band who's been around for a while and got a real gritty, bad-ass sound with some awesome grooves and hell of catchy riffs. Good thing we're gonna share many stages with them this year.

For this coming tour we're also excited to play with King of Lazy, who our bass player has shared a stage with already and said many good things about. We're looking forward to playing with them in Kunming on April 18 at Xianke Bar.

We're big fans of Anyu Lushi, some mean and dirty grindcore form Tianjin, who've been growing more and more successful over the years but have never forgotten their brutal musical roots and the spirit of good friendship and rock and roll.

We're very grateful to Yaksa who often invites us to share stages with them and has been a tremendous support on top of being top notch human beings and musicians.

We also dig 4+5's style and how they keep on not taking themselves seriously while being increasingly awesome.

And then there are the more obvious ones, those bands that have been in the scene forever, but are still on top of their game, such as WHAI (alternative/experimental rock), Nine Treasures (Metal) and so on. They are real pros and always put on one helluva show wherever they play.

Poster for the April 18 performance in Xianke Bar, Kunming
Poster for the April 18 performance in Xianke Bar, Kunming

South China Tour 2021

Scare the Children kick start their tour with 3 shows in a row in south China. On their first stop in Guiyang they will be joined by the stoner dudes from Never Before and Bewitched.

In Nanning, their second performance on this tour, Scare the Children is very excited to share the stage with a lot of old friends as they are joining the Desperate Fight Festival. Invited by none other than the Old Cat in person and his new Band Unyielding, along with a lot of other great acts. A day to remember for sure.

The last stop is in Kunming and will take place on April 18. Joined by Never Before, this time they are also accompanied by the band King Of Lazy. Three bands and three different styles with something to offer for hopefully everyone.

You can listen to Scare the Children on Chinese streaming service NetEase Music.

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