Interview: Howie Lee

Interview conducted by Michael Cupoli
Howie Lee is an important part of the DIY scene in Guangzhou. As a guitarist, Howie is a member of the amazing indie rock band called yourboyfriendsucks! and the hardcore band Die!ChiwawaDie!. yourboyfriendsucks! just released an EP entitled Episode 1 and did a small tour of China to support the release. In addition to playing in bands, Howie part of the collective Qiii Snacks Records, which acts as both a record label and a show organizer, and is also one of the writers for the indie zine 慢慢谂ManManThink.

How did you first get into music? What instruments did you learn how to play? What bands or music projects were you involved with before yourboyfriendsucks!?

When I was in primary school, my cousin needed to sing a English song in a contest, so we went to the record shop together and bought a Backstreet boys cassette. I liked the record and listened to it many times. After getting into university, I started to learn to play guitar. My first band plays old school punk and hardcore punk.

The band name yourboyfriendsucks! is great. How did you guys come up with the name? Do men come up to your girlfriend or the girlfriends of the other band members and say yourboyfriendsucks! as a pick up line?

The name is actually came from the lyric of a song called “Sometimes” by a Huizhou emo band Autopuzzle. Our girlfriends stay quite low or people don’t even know their boyfriends play in a band called yourboyfriendsucks!, we are not that famous haha.


What is the history of yourboyfriendsucks!?

At first, it’s a band that plays in university, we played some covers of the early Tokyo police club and a first version of 「Stay/stayaway」with me on guitar and vocal, my high school roomie Chaos as the drummer, his girlfriend on keyboard and a bass player, but we only played once.

Soon after that I met space, we share some interests in common, like Jesus and Mary Chain songs, anime, and games. So we decided to form a band try to play “shoegaze”, and started to write more songs under the name yourboyfriendsucks! with Travis on drum and Romeo on bass. At first we don’t have a vocal, our friend Warsaw recommended his junior girl fellow Zoey to us. We five people played many shows, with bands like Pairs, Die!Die!Die!, fanzuixiangfa, pacificUV, and some DIY shows. But Zoey went to German for 1 year in 2013, we paused. After she came back, Androw took place of Romeo, switched several drummers and we started to play live again. In 2014 we decided to record the songs, so now we could give you 「Episode 1」.

Recently, yourboyfriendsucks! put out it\’s first EP called Episode 1 which is great. What was the recording and post production process like? Are the songs new ones or are they songs that yourboyfriendsucks! have been playing for a long time? Is there anything that listeners should know about the songs that they probably won\’t get right away from listening to the EP?

All the songs from Episode 1 are old songs, we wrote them long before we recorded them. The songs are recorded in Earth Tunes Studio that formed by Chen Si, the guitarist of the legendary Guangzhou post-hardcore band DaiWah@Mui (大话@梅). We didn’t record all the songs in a short time, we went to the studio on weekends, so the whole recording process lasted about 1 year. After that, we have Pete, a producer that produce great hip hop albums like Maiden Voyage by Wootacc, Turn It Up (嘈冤巴闭) by V.N.P Crew (柠檬精), to mix and master the EP. He knows what we want and we are very happy that all the songs came out great.

There is a easter egg in the album. There is one hidden “harmony\” track of the last song 「All your secrets」, we put the link to the track into a QR code, printed on a small zine that came as a small gift to the EP pre-sale customers. But I think few people found out, a little bit disappointed about that.


yourboyfriendsucks! just completed a tour of five cities in China to support the first EP. Where did you guys go? How were the shows? Any interesting stories from being on the road?

We went to Hangzhou, Nantong, Shanghai, Xiamen and Chenghai. It’s the first time we tour and we played few shows outside of Guangdong, so there’s fraicheur in every city we played.

On this tour, we played lots of 「Werewolves Game」with different people, some of us like Zoey never played it before, but after tour Zoey become very additive to the game and talks a lot during her turn.

We wrote more stories to post on the up-coming new issue of indie-zine 「慢慢谂ManManThink」, if you’re interested please try to get one later this year.

For people that aren\’t to familiar with the scene in Guangzhou, what is the music scene in Guangzhou like? Also, what is the DIY scene like there?

The music scene in Guangzhou is little bit boring, yeah there are some bands, but not many different genres. And since there are not many large labels running actively, bands in Guangzhou almost all runs in a DIY way, but still, not active enough in my opinion. There are more things that we could do.

Before you were or maybe you still are running Full Label. What is Full Label and what does it do? What is the current state of Full Label?

Now I am not running Full Label any more. Full Label is formed by XiaoZhao and his friends in 2008, hosting DIY shows. Then more and more members come to do the stuffs together, but it’s still a loose collective. Last year, me and some active members of Full Label, along with some new friends decided to form a new group called Qiii Snacks Records. XiaoZhao still runs the weibo and other stuffs of Full Label.

Currently, Qii Snack Records is the label or collective that you are using to promote music. What is Qii Snack Records? How is it different from Full Label?

Qiii Snacks Records is a interest group after school/work, we aim to mess up the scene with shit shows and stupid releases. I don’t know how to say the difference between QSR and Full Label, cause the people that works are nearly the same, maybe more haters involved :> .

You have another band called Die!ChiwawaDie! which is very different from yourboyfriendsucks!. What is Die!ChiwawaDie! doing currently? Do you have any plans to record or tour with Die!ChiwawaDie!?

Die!ChiwawaDie! is preparing to record too! We have finished the drum tracking already. When we finished the records, we would like to do a tour. And on July 24th Die!ChiwawaDie! has a big show in HongKong, hosted by the DIY label Sweaty and Cramped.

What does Die!ChiwawaDie! mean? Is it like the German die meaning the or do you really hate chihuahuas and want them all to die?

It’s the English die, haha. But we don’t hate chihuahuas, it’s a random name that each of the members pick a word and mashed up together, though we only took two different words. Actually we like cats better.

Check out QiiSnacks\’ bandcamp, douban and taobao store – and if you\’re lucky enough to be down south in Hong Kong next week, check out this kick ass showcase.



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