It can be hard to pinpoint the next big band in China. A lot of varying factors – age, ambition, confidence, support, accessibility, and of course, talent. I first picked up on Dahlia Rosea – the Shanghai alt rock quartet a year back when the China-wide promotion platform Super Street Fighter included their single ‘Dr. Rosea’ on their first compilation. There was something there – a sound, a mood that’s been missing here in China. One part Billy Corgan musing, one part The Cure melancholic nurturing – a slow burn of poetic temperament and tender alternative rock – I was hooked. And clearly I wasn’t the only – as the band caught SXSW director James Minor’s eye at this summer’s Strawberry Festival in Shanghai and the result – a slot at next year’s South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas. Not too shabby. And with their just released debut album, Clean, already generating positive buzz, and the band preparing to hit the road on a 14 city tour, the band is having a hell of a coming out party. I chatted with the band about recording in Phuket, disillusionment, and their quick rise. Catch them this Saturday, November 4th where they’ll be performing at the latest DDC seasonal showcase alongside other up and coming bands.
Congrats on the new album! You recorded the album in Phuket, Thailand. Can you describe the recording process there? Did the tranquil setting have any sort of effect on the process? Any anecdotes you could share?
Thanks！It was a great honor to record in Phuket，away from the city. It really made it a lot easier to concentrate and focus on your thoughts, creating a much more relaxed recording experience.
There was this acoustics assistant in the studio named Francesco – an Italian, very funny. He helped us solve many problems in the recording process, and was an exceptional guitar player.
One evening we went out to watch his show in the jungle! It was amazing! Unexpectedly, we were invited on stage toward the end and played two songs – our first ‘overseas performance’ experience!
Is there any meaning behind the name Dahlia Rosea?
We started from the word “Dahlia” first, and afterward rearranging some phrases we settled on “Dahlia Rosea” – it had a nice ring to it! When asked what our sound is like we will often tell people to imagine ‘red and purple, plus a bit of blue’. It fits nicely.
Though some might be quick to call your sound disillusioned, but I think they’re missing the underlying wistful self-awareness that’s needed to guide us through this world intact. What kind of glasses do you try to see through when you’re writing new material?
Yes, disillusioned. That’s very accurate. We believe in the power of universe. It’s everywhere. Most of the time we want to deliver something more than happiness. We want to create a connection. Start from ignorance, followed by pure poetry. What we’ve been seeking is openness – it’s like the moon shining on a hundred of bowls of water. There is a moon in every bowl. Absolute trust and confidence, that’s what we try to deliver – a mystery that shines.
How old are you guys? Is there a fear of burning out whilst so young? Do you believe in the curse of 27?
Time is an illusion. We look like 20 or 30, at the peak of our lives but what really matters is what’s happening inside of us.
We should all think about death. Most of us try so hard to plan the future and ignore the present. We don’t know what’s going to happen. That’s why we are unhappy.
You guys were recently signed to Modern Sky. That’s a pretty big deal. Did you ever imagine when you started you would have a record deal with one of China’s largest indie labels? I’m super curious as to how it happened – was there any kind of venting process? A courting session?
Never. We just sent our demo and after a long time we got the response. It was quite the surprise.
It’s my understanding that most of you were born in Shanghai. How would you sum up Shanghai to inspiring musicians? How much has the city shaped your musical output?
There are a lot of great musicians in Shanghai, some are working on experimental music creating some truly original sounds.
We think our music definitely converges a sense of this city but then again, we’ve heard plenty of people who don’t believe we could come from Shanghai. Figures.
There’s a theatricality to your music and aura that you don’t get a lot of in China. Who were some of your biggest influences coming up? How long did it take to shape your sound and stage presence into what it is now?
We didn’t plan it. Maybe it has something to do with our interests like paintings and movies. We take in everything from poetry, film or other forms of art and fuse them in ways that fit our needs. We hope our show can be like a crystal that has many sides. Each side is like a mirror, a connection between the audience and us.
What’s the future for Dahlia Rosea? You were recently invited to play at SXSW next year – that’s quite the break. Are you excited?
Yes! We so excited! Nervous probably… We don’t know many bands playing yet, but we’re sure that will be a fantastic journey!
We hope everyone who has been disappointed but remain passionate about life can find their way to live in this world. And hope our music can give them courage and strength.
Catch Dahlia Rosea perfrom at DDC on November 4th alongside New Generation, The Playcat, and Underdog — presale tickets here
QUESTIONS/INTRO TRANSLATED BY MICHAEL CUPOLI
特别难以的是知道在中国哪一支乐队会成为大牌，有好多不同的因素，比如年龄，野心，自信，支持，以及才华。我去年发现了这支来自上海的另类摇滚乐队Dahlia Rosea，当时Super Street Fighter平台的第一张合集
包含了他们的《Dr. Rosea》单曲，那首歌很特别的，一部分Billy Corgan的沉思，一部分The Cure抑郁的培育。从那个时候开始，我成为了他们的粉丝，特别明显的是我不是他们唯一的粉丝，SXSW策划人James Minor今年夏天在上海草莓音乐节看过他们的演出，然后邀请他们来参加明年的SXSW音乐节在美国德州奥斯汀。Dahlia Rosea上个星期发行了他们的第一张专辑《Clean》，好乐评已经挺多的，他们即将开始十四座城市巡演。我跟他们聊聊在普吉岛录音，幻灭，还有他们的升得很快，11月4日本周六来DDC看Dahlia Rosea参加LBM的秋褪活动！
Dahlia Rosea这个名字有什么意义吗？和没听过Dahlia Rosea的人怎么描述你们的音乐？