Chui Wan formed in 2010 with core members Yan Yulong (vocals, guitar, violin, keyboards), Liu Xinyu (guitar, effects), Wu Qiong (bass), and John Vincent Marrett (drums). Marrett departed the band in 2011, replaced by Josh Feola, who recorded percussion on the band’s first album, White Night (2012). Feola departed the band in early 2013, replaced by current drummer Li Zichao, who recorded on the band’s sophomore album, Chui Wan (2015), and the band’s third album, The Landscape the Tropics Never Had (2017).
Chui Wan’s debut, White Night, was an instant critical success, and gained the band recognition and a strong following throughout China. Lauded as an “impressive, strikingly original debut” by Time Out Beijing and a “sterling effort” by China’s Global Times, White Night was released on a tour with New York kindred spirits Psychic Ills (Sacred Bones Records), which launched Chui Wan into the national spotlight.
Soon after its release, MTV Iggy touted Chui Wan’s debut as a “psychedelic masterpiece” and declared that “the world needs to hear this noise now.” Indeed, foreign interest in the the band started grow. In March 2013, they were invited to perform at Helsinki’s NiuBi Festival, accompanied by shows across Scandinavia and France.
Chui Wan’s core members have always been central members of Beijing’s dynamic experimental music scene, leading the band to be named by Time Out Beijing as “the hardest working band in psychedelia.” In 2014, that same publication dubbed frontman Yan Yulong among the “ten Beijingers making a mark in the city” and called him “one of the leading lights of Beijing’s experimental music scene.”
In October 2014, Chui Wan returned to Scandinavia for a second appearance at Helsinki’s NiuBi Festival — where they played to excited crowds from the previous year — and added new fans to their base with additional stops in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Talin. Upon returning to Beijing, they recorded their sophomore, self-titled release with respected Beijing producer Yang Fan. SmartBeijing.com, after an early listening, called Chui Wan “a more lush, dense, musical offering than their 2012 debut.”
Chui Wan was released in May 2015 to a round of international fanfare. The stunning video for its debut single, “The Sound of Wilderness,” premiered on American radio station NPR during the band’s Spring 2015 US tour, during which Chui Wan opened for psych legends The 13th Floor Elevators at the Austin Psych Festival.
Chui Wan continued to build on their international buzz in 2016, returning to Europe in April of that year and achieving another milestone by performing as one of the headliners of the Lisbon Psych Festival. The band followed that with a show in Amsterdam and a string of dates in Germany and France. In the midst of the tour, Chui Wan was invited to participate in La demeurée, an artistic residency near Caen, France, at which they composed new material. This was formally unveiled in August 2016 back in Beijing at the esteemed Minsheng Art Museum, at a performance entitled At the Museum. Shortly after this performance, the publication Sixth Tone praised Chui Wan as one of Beijing’s most distinctive bands, describing their music as “infused with traces of China’s capital” and “a part of the sound of the megacity.”
In October 2016, Chui Wan revisited the United States with fellow Beijing band Carsick Cars — one of the best-known indie rock acts from China — for a tour of the West Coast and a few select dates in New York City. Upon returning to Beijing, Chui Wan returned to the studio to record their third album, which was recorded by American producer Rusty Santos, who has worked with major indie acts including Animal Collective, Gang Gang Dance, and TV on the Radio.
2017 has been another big year for the band. In February they were featured prominently in a video about “Rock and roll behind the Communist curtain” published by Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In April, they gave a high-profile performance at the Beijing International Film Festival — the largest annual film festival in China, and one of the largest in Asia — and in May they headlined the groundbreaking Wetware Music Festival in Beijing. Their third studio album, The Landscape the Tropics Never Had, was released on September 1, 2017, and features cover artwork by the internationally renowned Dali artist Li Gang. Chui Wan will spread the new album far and wide with another international tour that sees them revisiting their fans in New York, Paris, Berlin and beyond.
Yan Yulong - Guitar / Keyboard / Vocals
Liu Xinyu - Guitar
Wu Qiong - Bass
Li Zichao - Drums
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February 11, 2017
In anticipation of separate upcoming Australia shows by Chui Wan and the often cited godfather of Chinese Rock Cui Jian, the artists were featured on […]