Lonely Leary formed in 2012 in a suburb of Jinan, where band members Qiu Chi, Song Ang, and Li Baoning met in college. The closest thing to a music scene that their corner of Shandong province had at the time was an overpopulation of cover bands obsessed with ‘80s Cantopop sensations Beyond (Qiu remembers there being more than 100 such bands). Drawing their influence from rougher, tougher stock, Lonely Leary created an early arsenal of covers from Beijing punk pioneers Underbaby and Joyside, before landing on Joy Division and artful Beijing post-punk unit PK14 as their cultural lodestones.
In 2014 the band moved to Beijing, the de facto capital of burnt out Chinese downer rock, and there they started in earnest. “Beijing is a high-speed city with [a] bad environment, and people here are restless,” guitarist Song Ang told an interviewer a few years back. “The violent sound of our music has a close connection with the situation.”
Nevertheless, after a few years spent working out the kinks on-stage at now defunct Beijing club XP, Lonely Leary has singularly channeled Beijing’s bad vibes into a trademark dynamic, blending fast drums, muddy bass and rough guitar noise into a tense, menacing pummel. These days they can be found in the shadows of their idols, working with PK14 vocalist Yang Haisong, who produced their forthcoming debut LP, and Joyside bassist Liu Hao, who presides over the live music venue School Bar, where they’re currently most at home in Beijing. Dressed in black, faces slack, Lonely Leary is now a greased machine, and hold the stage with a nervous, mechanical intensity that none of their current peers can quite match.
Qiu Chi - Vocal / Bass
Song Ang - Guitar
Li Baoning - Drums