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 Gu Lou No.6 Rehearsal Studios: The Music Pulse Of Beijing

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Join date : 2010-03-10

PostSubject: Gu Lou No.6 Rehearsal Studios: The Music Pulse Of Beijing   Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:54 pm


I am a serious music-head, so I'm always looking to quench my thirst for new and fresh music. I have been living here in Beijing for a while and have heard many rumors about Beijing having a thriving underground music scene. With this in mind, I took it upon myself to see what this scene had to offer. So armed with my digital recorder and notebook, I decided to seek out these new musicians and artists and find out what makes them tick.

So where does one go to observe the behavior of such musically inclined creatures...? To a rehearsal studio of course!

Gu Lou number 6 Rehearsal Studios are located in a narrow hutong, a stone's throw away from the mighty Mao Livehouse in Beijing's Chaoyang district. Owners Li Xiang and his girlfriend Xiao Yu decided to convert half of their traditional Chinese hutong into a 2 room rehearsal facility in 2008, proving to us all that there really is no place like home.

Li Xiang (or Da Xiang as he is known to his friends) is a keen drummer. He, like most of us, dreamed of fame, stardom and playing sold-out tours to thousands of screaming fans, but gave it all up to help his friends pursue their quest for the lime light.

"I don't have my own band however I am very familiar with the music that the bands play here," he told me as we sat outside in the waiting area of No.6, with the sound of distorted guitars and overdriven bass wailing away in the background. "I really wanted to start my own band not so long ago. However these days, I spend all my time here looking after the rehearsal rooms and the bands that come through."

Snipersounds - What do you think about the music scene in Beijing at the moment?

Li Xiang - "Beijing's music scene is not so good at the moment. There are so many new young bands, but not many good bands. Many bands in Beijing are into music from abroad. They listen to that stuff so much that it's easy to hear which bands they like when you listen to their compositions. They are not very creative at the moment and often just copy what they hear, but things are getting better in my opinion.

"I feel that in Europe and America, rock music is a part of daily life. In China however, this is still a fresh culture. We need more time to get used to it and develop our own sound."

Snipersounds - How long do you think that will take?

Li Xiang - "I think Beijing needs 3-4 generations to develop its own sound."

Snipersounds - What are your usual work hours here at No. 6?

Li Xiang - "Usually from 10am till 12am every day."

Snipersounds - 12am!?!?

Li Xiang - "Yeah, because I live here which makes running this place very convenient - also, the people that come here are all my friends. Joyside, Carsick Cars, Tou Ku amongst others all are my friends. They often come here to practice. We are very familiar with each other so they treat this place as their home and don't abuse our equipment"

Snipersounds - Which live music venue do you like the best in Beijing?

Li Xiang - "I live very close to Mao Live, so I guess I like that place a lot. But I don't really have a favorite."

Snipersounds - Do you often go there to see live bands play?

Li Xiang - "Mao is good, but I don't go there very often because I listen to these bands practicing every day from morning 'til night. These are the same bands that go to Mao Live to perform, so it's nothing new for me."

The two-room layout of No. 6 will no doubt meet the needs of any aspiring artist that may come through the trademark black iron door. Each room comes with a drum kit, PA system, guitar and bass amps. Extra equipment and snacks are always available on request.

No doubt it's the place to be if you are looking to discover the next Hedgehog or if you want to be the new PK-14. The environment here is very clean, friendly and relaxed. Bands of all abilities foreign and local come and go all day long and everyone seems to be one big happy family. It's not by any means the most sophisticated rehearsal facility that I have seen in Beijing, however the atmosphere and the customer service is really what makes this place something to write home about.

No.6 is the number 1 place to stay in tune with the Beijing music scene.

Article By Snipersounds
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