The in­die band with mul­ti­ple iden­ti­ties

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI -

Since its in­cep­tion, Xu has col­lab­o­rated with 77 mu­si­cians from all over the world. Most of them are col­lege stu­dents or grad­u­ates that share the same pas­sion for mu­sic. Some are also mu­sic acad­emy stu­dents or mem­bers of other bands. Xu said that he en­joys work­ing with mu­si­cians from New York and Ja­pan the most, claim­ing that they con­sis­tently sur­prise him with their ded­i­ca­tion and orig­i­nal­ity.

“Mush­room Bun­nies uses car­toon im­ages to rep­re­sent it­self, be­cause it keeps chang­ing mem­bers all the time,” said Xu, who ex­plained that the con­stant flux in mem­bers helps the band ex­plore as many gen­res as pos­si­ble.

“Within a tra­di­tional band, it’s easy to fall into the trap of for­mu­laic mu­sic cre­ation. That just doesn’t hap­pen with Mush­room Bun­nies. There seems to be an in­fi­nite amount of in­spi­ra­tion flow­ing around be­cause we keep invit­ing new mem­bers who bring in new ideas,” added Xu.

Born into a mu­sic-lov­ing fam­ily in Shang­hai, Xu’s mu­sic in­cli­na­tions started

Xu Qifei, with the pi­ano when he was just four years old. He has since gone on to ex­per­i­ment with mu­sic con­duct­ing as well as dif­fer­ent gen­res such as pop, rock and jazz. The first band he was in­volved in was called Nev­er­land. The Shang­hai-based out­fit, which made it a point to de­liver their per­for­mances with­out any fancy, ex­pen­sive gear, be­came quite a hit among the high school crowd and even man­aged to hold mu­sic fes­ti­vals un­der the name Shang­hai High School Mu­sic Coali­tion.

“We con­sis­tently at­tracted hun­dreds, some­times more than a thou­sand high school stu­dents to our fes­ti­vals, fill­ing al­most ev­ery venue we per­formed at,” Xu said.

Xu launched a new al­bum ti­tled ShipofTh­e­seus in Seat­tle in Oc­to­ber. All the 13 songs in the al­bum were com­posed by him and recorded in the hum­ble $2,000 stu­dio at his home in Seat­tle. It’s not that he lacks ac­cess to pro­fes­sional stu­dios, but Xu said that he wants to show oth­ers that they too can pro­duce good qual­ity work with af­ford­able tools.

“It’s very sim­ple. All you need is a com­puter, a sound card and a mi­cro­phone. The home stu­dio can be as small as 6 square me­ters,” he said. “The post-pro­duc­tion is also done in the stu­dio with free soft­ware down­loaded from the In­ter­net.”

Xu has not made up his mind about his fu­ture ca­reer choice. He said that the sub­jects he is ma­jor­ing in — po­lit­i­cal science and en­vi­ron­ment stud­ies — have been sources of in­spi­ra­tion for his mu­sic.

“Seat­tle never runs out of ec­cen­tric and in­spi­ra­tional char­ac­ters. I meet truly unique and cre­ative mu­si­cians here al­most on a weekly ba­sis,” he said, adding that peo­ple there have a “I-am­too­men­tal­ity, which makes gain­ing the au­di­ence’s recog­ni­tion +more chal­leng­ing and ex­cit­ing for him.

He also notes that young mu­si­cians in the US of­ten ap­pear over­con­fi­dent be­cause of the celebrity cul­ture there.

“It seems that the me­dia por­trayal of the road to star­dom al­ways ig­nores the hard work that goes on be­hind the scenes. Many young mu­si­cians in the US are self-en­ti­tled and flip­pant. They don’t have solid tech­niques and a down-toearth at­ti­tude,” he said.

With re­gard to the mu­sic scene back home in Shang­hai, Xu said that the big­gest hur­dles are still fam­ily and peer pres­sure.

“Some­times it sad­dens me to still see the stereo­typ­i­cally sleazy, drug-fu­elled mu­si­cian in China. How­ever, I must say that things have been mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion in the past few years.”

It seems that the me­dia por­trayal of the road to star­dom al­ways ig­nores the hard work that goes on be­hind the scenes. ”

one of the six found­ing mem­bers of Mush­room Bun­nies

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Ke's quest to pro­duce one-of-a-kind self­ies has taken her to many dif­fer­ent places in the world.

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

More than 70 mu­si­cians have been a part of Mush­room Bun­nies since it was formed in 2013.

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