The indie band with multiple identities
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
Ke's quest to produce one-of-a-kind selfies has taken her to many different places in the world.
More than 70 musicians have been a part of Mushroom Bunnies since it was formed in 2013.