Free The Birds
From Music-China Wiki
|Songs by this artist|
|These songs are taken from Category:Songs and if a video is available, then v is shown after the song title (in parenthesis), if lyrics are available, l is shown and if a download is available, d is shown.|
ZIYO started sometime in January 2004, when Helen walked into a guitar shop and was conned into guitar lessons by lead guitarist Da Ming. Two lessons in, they both came to the conclusion that 1 Helen had no real talent as a guitarist, and 2 Da Ming had no great patience for teaching. But they manage to salvage the relationship by forming a band, later recruiting Mao Mao whom Da Ming had met in a subway underpass only months before with similar dreams of rock stardom. Mao Mao recruited Zhang Jie an ex-bandmate in a very briefly formed death metal band, and Ziyo was born.
In 3 short months, the band wrote 10 songs, 3 of which are still performed to this day. Because all the band members had such varied musical tastes, the result was 10 very very different songs. They ran from rough reggae, to sloppy jazz, to folk songs, to punk rock, to Emo, and even some nu metal. But everything despite the huge jumps in genres was packed full of funk beats, infectious guitar hooks, and strong melodies belted out by Helen who lived half her life in the American South.
The result was a resident gig at two of Beijing's more well known underground livehouses, the New Get Lucky Bar, and Nameless Highland. The band continued to play these 10 songs, with a new song every few months added to set for a year and a half before they realized they were getting bored as the Tuesday night house band and the filler band for gigs with bigger named bands that actually had their own "sound".
So the band went on hiatus. Canceled most of the gigs for the next few months, went into the rehearsal studio to find a sound, and record some demos. Not long after the first few self-funded demo songs were sent out, Ziyo got attention from some of China's biggest record companies. In October of 2005, Ziyo signed Warner Music China as a developing band (before they found their "sound").
Wang Hui, ex-guitarist from the punk band Gum, joined the band to add another layer of punky guitars, and in one short year, Ziyo wrote another 30 songs, and produced 20 more self-funded demos. They were all sent to Warner whom still shook their head at the young band. The genre's were still too broad, and they wanted the sound "poppier". But just before this still directionless band was re-packaged into a sugar-coated unoriginal faux-rock band made for pre-teens, a miracle happened. Helen fell off a wall shattered her jaw, and was hospitalized for 3 months.
During those three months, she had her i-pod on shuffle listening to everything from Bloc Party to Basement Jaxx, from Libertines to Peaches. Now with a strong sense of personal identity, still bandaged and newly rebuilt, she went to her first rehearsal post surgery with a "sound". Within days, all the various genres they had experimented with was roughly cut and mixed together. The result was 50's doo-woop melodies combined with dance and funk beats, space guitars efx, mixed with some very punk rock guitars. Don't know what it is, but it certainly was a sound. When asked what they wanted, the band simply answered "to see bodies moving underneath the stage, dancing not just pounding the sh** out of each other".
ZIYO released their first EP with Warner music in January of 2008. October 24th, they performed in Qingdao and got subsequently interviewed by Qingdao magazine REDSTAR. Asked about the development of independent music in China and here it can it go, they responded:
Well, Beijing is definitely the best place to be. There are plenty of places to play and an audience to play to. There are also so many little record companies and a few music festivals. I wish the Dama Llamas could come to Beijing for a performance.
In May 2009, Helen Feng is voted the no. 11 coolest rock star in Beijing by Timeout Beijing Magazine. We love her rapport with feisty guitarist and back-up singer Huzi in Pet Conspiracy, which has been known to involve on-stage kisses. She’s also an impressive commentator and champion of the local scene, DJing for Hit FM and now seeking to bring more electro-pop acts to Beijing. August 9th 2009, they performed during the InMusic Festival 2009 on the Zhangbei Grasslands on the Stage 2. At the end of October, Helen Feng (both of Ziyo and Pet Conspiracy) won the award Best Female Rock Vocal Performance at the Midi Awards 2009.
On January 16th, 2010, they performed at the Mao Livehouse. On January 22nd, they rocked Shanghai's Yuyintang. On March 8th, they performed at the Yugong Yishan during the Women's Day Celebrations. According to Beijing Daze: Helen’s vocals were a bit off when she started but it didn’t take long to get her back on top. I’m sure that playing 3 shows in 7 days must take a bit of a toll of her throat as she is a screamer in some ways. They went through their usual English catalog and then played a song called Free The Birds that i do not remember hearing before. On May 4th, they performed at the Midi Music Festival 2010. On August 27th, they performed at the Yugong Yishan, Beijing, during the Zippo Hit List event numero 4. According to Beijing Daze: Let me tell you folks, it was all freaking good! it was goddamn amazing and the band delivered! They came out covered in blueish paint and proceeded to to just tear things apart! Guitars were on the spot, drums on the spot, bass thundering… not to mention the voice and stage presence of one Helen Feng! At this particular moment in Beijing, I am ready to crown her “The Queen of Live”! On September 2nd, Helen Feng was interviewed by Beijing Daze. Asked about What’s going on in your world? she revealed:
Working on a Free the Birds album coming hopefully early next year. It’s ambitious and we want it to be more mature than our work in the past and explore some new sonic territories. I also have a company called Fake Music Media. The idea is that we do what management, promotions, and record labels do for their artists, a long term development strategy in one market (mainly China for now) and we do it as a service where the artists signs us, not the other way around. It’s kind of a new concept. We’re also hoping to do more projects to educate music professional on what the international standards and techniques are. A lot of things in China are fucked, especially for the artists, and I think for the first time, the underground music scene finally figuring out how to get organized, how to take control of their own destinies. It’s a really good sign and we want to do something to help.
Taken from their Myspace Page:
Reborn 2011, broken bones, broken ligaments. My god! This band from a strange perspective has been through a lot. Signed with Warner Music in 2006, ZIYO always found their development somewhat crippled literally by accidents. A fall from the wall, resulted in a fractured jaw for the lead singer, and then her brief stint with another band delayed their the recording of their 2nd album, until one more leap of faith from a festival stage resulted in a severed knee ligament which meant 6 months of recuperation, and luckily 6 months of writing.
Back now, with a new single in the works, music video prepared for debute in January 2011 on MTV China, ZIYO is poised for something slightly remarkable. The point is not just survival, but rebirth. . . and free it the project Free the Birds arose. The music is an exploration of the urbanization of 1.5 billion people,the chaotic energy or relentless change, the two sides of greed versus spirituality, the irony of living in the fastest changing society on earth. The long delayed first full length album will be a dairy of ZIYO's journey in the PRC.
Midi Music Awards 2010, Dec. 2010
Midi Music Festival 2010, May 1st-4th 2010
InMusic Festival 2009 - 2009, August
Midi_2008_Back_to_Utopia_Stage, May 2008
Modern Sky Festival 2007 - 2007, October
Appearances in Press/Books
- Mentioned as "Other Notable Act" in the Insider's Guide to Beijing 2008.
- MySpace page
- Chinese MySpace page
- Douban Page Ziyo
- Douban Page of Free The Bird
- Profile on Xiami.com
- 8 Questions with ZIYO's Helen Feng by Dan Shapiro on City Weekend Shanghai (July 24, 2009)
- Helen Feng of Pet Conspiracy and Free the Birds, Interview with Layabozi, April 2010
- ↑ Redstar (2008-10-09). "Ziyo and SKO , LIVE". Retrieved on 2010-07-23.
- ↑ Timeout Beijing Magazine (May 2009). "Class of '09". Retrieved on 2009-05-07.
- ↑ Beijing Daze (2010-03-11). "review: Girl Power brings down Yugong Yishan". Retrieved on 2010-04-25.
- ↑ Beijing Daze (2010-08-30). "Hot List #4: Chasing Stars shakes, Bigger Bang booms, Free the Birds shines and The Face screams". Retrieved on 2010-09-02.
- ↑ Beijing Daze (2010-09-02). "The Free Bird: Helen Feng on Music, Leaving Pet Conspiracy and Chaneling a Voodoo priestess". Retrieved on 2010-09-01.