Interview: Dahlia Rosea

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!

Listen to the band’s debut 

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.

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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! 

 

恭喜你们的新专辑,你们在泰国普吉岛录音了,请你描述录音过程怎么样?那边的平静背景影响了录音过程吗?你能告诉我一些有趣的故事吗?

谢谢!非常荣幸能够在那边录制专辑,远离城市,在这样环境下更容易集中思想,让专辑的录制过程变得轻松。

那边的音响助理Francesco是个意大利人,他非常有趣,帮我解决了很多录音上遇到的问题,并且弹的一手好琴。有一天晚上去看了他在树林的演出,非常神奇,然后我们那天还上台演了2首歌,第一次“海外演出”经历完成:)

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?

我们当时由Dahlia这个词出发,排列了很多组合,最终选取了Dahlia Rosea作为乐队名,我们觉得她很好听。

想象一下红与紫这两种颜色,再带点儿蓝色?

有的人可能说你们是非自然的,能够让人们打开你认知大门,领悟到神秘宇宙的力量,我觉得大部分人是缺少自我意识。

写歌的时候,你们想创作什么样的音乐?

我们觉得disillusioned这个词描述的挺准确,我们相信宇宙的力量,它无处不在。

更多的时候我们不希望只是带给大家一种盲目的快乐,我们更希望可以和大家的心有所连接,从我不知干什么,过渡到载歌载舞的纯诗歌,只有清除我惑,才能瞥见觉境。敞开是我们一直努力方向,是如同照在一百碗水上的月亮一般敞开,月亮不是有意如此,但每一碗水中都有一个月影,这是一种绝对的信任和自信,也是我们想创作和带给大家的音乐。因为可以接受的神秘,必须是无比明亮的

你们都多大?你们现在这么年轻就有这样的音乐领悟,有的时候你们会担心未来吗?你们相信27岁的诅咒吗?

时间其实是个错觉,表面上我们可能都是二三十岁的人,似乎正处于人生的巅峰,但是一切都和内在有关,看你停留在哪里吧。

其实大家应该好好的思考一下死亡,大多数人都把未来规划的太好了而忽略了当下,然而我们不知道下一秒会发生什么,这也是造成不快乐的原因所在。

摩登天空刚刚签约你们,恭喜!你们一开始组建乐队的时候有想过会被摩登天空这样的厂牌公司签约吗?我特别好奇签约摩登天空的过程怎么样,都发生了什么?

完全没有想过,我们当时把自己录的demo发了过去,期间也是过了很久后突然得到可以签约的回复,挺突然的,也很惊讶!

我知道你们大部分在上海出生的,你们觉得上海对年轻乐手怎么样?你们觉得自己的音乐受到多少上海的影响?

上海的年轻乐手都很棒,他们之中有一些做着实验性质的音乐,听上去非常有自己的思想!

我们觉得我们的音乐肯定是会带着上海这座都市的感觉,不过也有人惊讶道我们竟然是上海乐队!?(笑)

你们的歌都很有戏剧化,我觉得在中国不是常见的,你们受到了谁的影响?花了多长时间找到目前的声音和舞台表现?

其实也没有特意的去表现,这其中也有可能和我们平时的爱好有关吧,比如说对绘画和电影的迷恋。

我们希望每次演出的时候,能够如晶体一样,每一个小平面都是折射的镜子,和台下观众一起,把我们由此带到彼。

这是不是你们首次来北京演出?你们想象过北京的观众和上海的会有什么区别?

20147月时候来过一次,那时候我们刚组建不久,当时北京举办了一个乐队的比赛,在Mao,于是我们就作为唯一的一支上海乐队参加了,遗憾的是被淘汰了当时记得的乐队有The Twenties

体没有仔细想过,不过北京的音乐氛围可能会更好一些。

Dahlia Rosea有什么未来的计划?最近SXSW邀请了你们来参加明年的SXSW音乐节,你觉得怎么样?兴奋?紧张?有什么你们很想看的乐队?

当然很激动,紧张应该也会有,还不知道有哪些乐队会去,但我们确信那将会是一场极妙的旅程!

希望每个曾经失望过但仍满怀热望的人能够通过我们的音乐找到对待这个世界最温柔的方式。

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