Snapline has, almost overnight, become one of Beijing’s fastest rising bands. The group originally consisted of Li Qing on guitar/keyboards and Li Weisi on bass. The two met while students at the Beijing Institute of Technology.
Their music was an attempt to align the sounds and ideas of the noise and minimalist musicians of the 1970s and 1980s with the realities of contemporary Beijing.
Wanting also to explore the dark, industrial music coming out of England during that period, especially from bands like Joy Division and the Cure, the two created a side project which performed strange, drum-machine-driven music over dark, minor chords.Chen Xi soon joined them on vocals and drum machine, bringing a softer, more fluid sound to the band with his delicate and otherworldly singing.
When producer and ex-PIL drummer Martin Atkins came to Beijing in late 2006 to check on the local scene, he was awestruck by Snapline’s unique, weird melodies and immediately insisted on producing their first CD.Within weeks they had laid down the tracks in Beijing, and over the next few months began the mixing process in Chicago, at one point flying Chen Xi to Chicago to add additional tracks.
A series of concerts at D-22 established them as one of the titular bands of Beijing, much loved by critics and musicians.They are not the easiest band to love, but their followers are passionately loyal and their music keeps growing in strange and unexpected ways.
In October, 2007, Snapline performed a stunning set at the Modern Sky festival, driving away half of the audience in bewilderment and keeping the other half rooted to the ground, mouths agape, as Chen Xi danced and stumbled frantically across the stage while Li Qing’s strange and ugly noises dueled with Li Weisi’s relentless bass lines. After that show it was clear to many that Snapline was one of the key bands driving the musical explosion emanating from Beijing.
The subject of many articles in the Chinese press, the group was listed in the September 2007 edition of That’s Beijing as one of the ten best bands in China and, in an article in Rolling Stone that same year, Li Qing was listed as one of China’s four major guitar innovators. The band has continued to play and tour domestically, and in 2009 Li Qing was named one of TimeOut Beijing’s top 20 coolest rock stars in the capital.
The new record Phenomena, performed by Chinese band Snapline, is one of those new views. Snapline reproduced 6 tracks form the Future Eyes (produced by Martin Atkins (Public Image Ltd.) in the United States) by themselves with the lable Maybe Mars’ full support. In addition, they put 4 more b-side & new songs into the new album Phenomena. Besides the CD format, the new album is also released in vinyl.
Chen Xi - Vocals / Drum Machine
Li Qing - Guitar / Synth
Li Weisi - Bass
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February 3, 2017
This week on KEXP’s Music that Matters, Wo’ Pop host Darek Mazzone interviews Snapline singer Chenxi and plays a whole slew of Maybe Mars tunes. […]