Romantic Fear (RF) is a multi-element pop band formed by three Baidu staff. When established in May 2015, they released their first singleAbout Time. In less than a year, the band has released 8 singles and was named the Best New Artist of indie music in 2015 Baidu Musician. The song –Still Intact– was named the Best Song and played for more than two million times.
It was the busiest time for those Internet workers at the end of Chinese lunar year when we interviewed RF. Gao Xing, the synthesizer player first met us, “I played heavy metal in my school. When we performed, we often heard people saying, ‘Why does the singer look like a child?’” Gao Xing looked gentle and nudged his glasses. He laughed lightly and brought us to the place for the interview to meet Juan Juan (the singer).
Juan Juan wore a plain shirt, and smiled when she saw us. She squinted her eyes to the shape of crescent moon. Juan Juan is a typical cat girl.Because the guitarist Xing Nuo has work, he cannot join the interview. Juan Juan told us, “Mr. Chen (Xing Nuo) received formal music courses, and understands music theory. He was also the guitarist in many bands. With excellent playing skills, he is also our ‘little heart’ in our band, for he has a maiden’s heart.”
Work together, and play music together
“It was a sudden when we start our band. All of us have experience of band, and our complementary personalities are easy to give birth to inspiration.” Juan Juan was in a pop band when she was a college student and was responsible for creation. Gao Xing, the keyboarder, was the member of a heavy metal rock band before. And Xing Nuo started learning violin when he was a child.
After a chatting, they started the band. They work in the same company, and eat and watch performance after the work. Such chances provide them with time to talk about music and sometimes even inspire interesting demo. “Many ideas are finished in half an hour after dinner. We could record a song according to that.”
As for the interesting stories of starting the band, Xing Nuo, who missed the interview also sent us the text version of the introduction, and told us how they met, talked and made music together.
Xing Nuo: I found a cover version that re-composed by Juan Juan and Gao Xing on Wechat. I felt good after listening and had a good impression about them in my heart. Then we went to the performance of a bassist in our company. We chatted before the performance. I praised their work and they talked all kinds of gossips in and outside the circle, as well as experience and expertise in the bands. We found that we got along well.
At that time, they played music together. But they felt“complicated, mysterious and inscrutable” at the beginning. Frankly, we are lucky and have common topics. Then after we finished our first original songAbout Time, I advised to add a part of violin in it. They agreed happily. I added part of violin and string music in it (though some was deleted in the final version). This gave us good basis of cooperation. Later, I started to cooperate with them as a violinist. Then, one day, Gao Xing said suddenly that the band lacked a guitarist. Then I became the guitarist.
In fact, we are all introverted, and no one mentioned words like “let’s being together…”. We are just brought together by music. Playing the band does not give us much pressure. We get along well from personality, work to family background. This is very rare.
Juan Juan: Because we work in the same company, so except for music, we have many other topics. And all of us are suitable to democratic choice. We also argue first and then vote. Sometimes when I’m not with them, they solve the problem immediately…
Gao Xing: Actually, the most important thing for a band is that members should be suitable. I was in a band before. But we didn’t eat dinner after the performance. Though, they were good, but we didn’t have common topic except for music. Such band could not stay long.
But we work together and live close. Besides common topics on work, we communicate the ideas on music. It is also normal to have disagreements, but we would figure out a final idea that combined all our views. In this way, we are complementary.
From fresh to diversity
Romantic Fear is the name of a series of illustrations that Juan Juan saw before. There were vivid colors and fanciful scenes in the pictures. But the stark color contrast revealed loneliness, which coincided with the mood in her songs.
Later, relied on Internet spirit, from SEO perspective, they found the name was easy to be searched on the Internet. Thus, the name of the band was determined.
At the beginning, the music style of RF was fresh. But later on, three musicians add different elements in, which makes their style more diversified and solid.
Juan Juan: Because my voice is soft and synthesizer is one of our unique features, as well
as Chen is a delicate people, we defined us as Dream pop at the beginning. But we all like to try new things and the final style is diversified.
For example, the song Afternoon Daydream. When I first wrote it out, it was very fresh. But after the AB part, other people in the band felt the whole atmosphere could be better, and added a long interlude with electronic guitar, synthesizer, trombone, piano and violin. It rocked then, and even had a sense of post rock. This made the song special and we had fun.
Gao Xing: As well as our third song Diving Bell and the Three thousand Milli seconds, which have strange melody. At first, we all felt it was not good, but later we found out that such gloomy chords created a kind of magic feeling.
Then, I saw the Tongue Band made one sentence into different volume and rate in a performance. We tried it and added lots of harmonies and vocals in it. The overall effect is very good.
But each singer and artist should give the public a fixed brand image. Also, indie music is different from pop music. Pop musicians can add all kinds of style, because their appearances give audience the impression. But indie musicians have to offer audience a fixed cognition, which is easy to recognize.
Just like there is certain kind of color pops in your mind when you think about Tongue and Miserable Faith. Therefore, we are now exploring a certain area and grow our roots, thus to make the whole style unified.
CMBN: What’s your new vision for 2016?
RF: In 2016, we will continue to release new singles and then launch our album after we have a
certain number of singles.
Additionally, we have live house perform plans. Because our guitarist often performs in live house, the venue is not a problem. However, we don’t have a drummer, so we are looking for a new member to join us. Neither do we have much music equipment or rehearsal, so we have to wait until the suitable time for the show.
In fact, we only want to have a try when we first play music. But then we think why don’t make
it more exquisite. And the comments on the Internet give us motivation to keep forward.
Now, our music style is more complex, so we think about returning to the original simplicity. We also plan to do electronic psychedelic female voice style, so we will have some experimental works.We also modify and arrange our earlier works or primary demo, then have them remixed.
CMBN: How will your album be launched? Recently, many musicians are trying crowd funding. Will you consider it?
RF: As for the album, we consider signing a company, using professional audio resources provided by the company. After all, it is very hard to do it on your own. But we haven’t thought about crowdfunding, because crowdfunding is like having others paying for your dream. It’s kind of friendship kidnapping.
For example, if we send the album link to a friend, he have to buy it due to our relationship. But we want to stand on our own feet. If we make crowdfunding, we will set low standards and have all fans joining in. And we can gain more popularity.
CMBN: Have you ever considered quitting your current job and to be professional musicians?
RF: It may not be possible and we dare not to think about it. Now, we release a new song each month. Our work is not delayed and we develop the band accordingly. Even the speed of a full-time band is same to this. Also, part-time does not mean that you cannot sign a company. You only have to act according to the contract during the recording.
CMBN: Does your life change after becoming musicians?
RF: The most significant change is that all our spare time is spending on the band. Except for
rehearsing, we watch performance together. And if there are new colleagues in the company, they will come and ask whether we are a band. People think that it is interesting to be a band.
CMBN: Now, what’s your major method of promotion? Do you have any profit in the process of promotion?
RF: Because we are all Internet people who are familiar with the use of online platform, so
our music are mainly released online and promoted by music platforms. Now, you don’t need to contact the official party. You can upload your work after registration. If the editor feels that your work is good, he would put it to the recommendation. Therefore, some platforms offer us good chance to be exposed. The effects are good.
As for the profits, by now, except for one paid event, profits from other channels are few. We have about two million hits on Baidu Music, but we only earned 47 yuan from download.
There was a funny story about acquiring copyrights. Once there was someone named “Shenqu …”
on Weibo. He contacted us for cooperation, and specifically asked whether we had anyone born in the village, inviting us to join a village show. Of course, we refused.
CMBN: What’s your opinion on the development and change of domestic indie music?
RF: Obviously, indie musicians are paid more attention to. Non-mainstream music has a larger
market and musicians have more opportunities. I remember when you download some less known songs, you have to go to Diwang Forum to download the package which is very complex. So if we put our music online at that time, few people would notice.
But now, there are more services and platforms for musicians. After the market becoming larger, indie music – as part of the market – is noticed by more people.
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