Interview with Fly Fast Records

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Interview with Fly Fast Records

Conducted on December 17th 2008 by Azchael (for Rock in China) and George of Fly Fast Records



Azchael: Fly Fast Records is a Germany-based record label distributing not only the Beijing Bubbles documentary, but also several Chinese artists. Today's interview is with the founders of the record label, George Lindt and Susanne Messmer, and we are talking about their record label, the Chinese music scene, Fly Fast's plans for the future and which bands George and Susanne would like to see more often in Europe. George, Susanne, could you maybe shortly introduce yourself and how Fly Fast Records came into being?

Fly Fast Records: We have both been working as music journalists since many years. George has also been running record labels since he was seventeen years old. We have both moved to Berlin in the beginning of the nineties – a rather exciting period for this city. East and west had not totally been reunified at that time, there were lots of illegal clubs in buildings where the owners still had to be found and the music underground was very vital and manifold, too. There was an atmosphere of “anything goes” just everywhere. This seemed to disappear more and more ten years later. we missed this time a lot. When we first came to Beijing in 2004, we had not planned to explore the music underground at all. We came as tourists. But what we found inspired us immediately.

Azchael: Talking about the Beijing Bubbles documentary movie and its follow DVD including additional footage (also of Cui Jian), I first would like to congratulate you for giving us the opportunity to dive into Beijing's rock scene during the last 4 years. Could you please give us a short introduction for our readers, why and how Beijing Bubbles was created?

Fly Fast Records: thanks a lot! It all happened quite accidentally. A German friend – she studied Chinese, traveled with us and had been to Beijing once already – introduced us to Hang on the Box – and we knew at once that we have to take something out of this encounter. As the underground music scene in Beijing was and still is quite small, it was very easy to get to know all the interesting bands there. We were really blown away how nice they all were and still are to us and how quickly we became “part of the family”.

Azchael: In addition to Mongolia (together with HangGai) and Beijing, which other Chinese cities have you seen?

Fly Fast Records: we’ve seen a few, e.g. Tianjin, Xiamen, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hongkong, Kunming.

Azchael: And which rock clubs have you visited in these cities?

Fly Fast Records: As we’ve seen most of these cities a few years ago we couldn’t find many rock clubs at that time. We have been told that things changed a lot recently and many clubs have opened everywhere in China – but I think Beijing is still the capital of rock music in China.

Azchael: What is your impression on the Chinese music scene, 2004 and today?

Fly Fast Records: It has changed a lot! Back then it was really a statement to be a rock musician or even to be punk. We really felt relieved to find that kind of people in a country in which everybody seems to be fixated on accumulating wealth at the moment. Only very few people were brave and privileged enough to do so. In the meanwhile rock has become a fashion, especially in Beijing. Just have a look at gulou dongdajie on a very average afternoon: you’ll find at least ten guys who look like the Chinese version of Pete Doherty or Julian Casablancas and even cooler than them.

Azchael: Which Chinese bands did you like most?

Fly Fast Records: Hard to say. Joyside, shazi, HangGai, PK14, New Pants, Carsick Cars, Queen Sea Big Shark and many more.

Azchael: And which suggestion would you give them to improve their show?

Fly Fast Records: No suggestions. Their shows are just perfect. Many European or American bands could learn from them.

Azchael: Fly Fast Records is currently distributing records of Sand, Hanggai and Joyside as well as several other rock bands. With which label in China are you cooperating or is everything with the bands?

Fly Fast Records: It’s everything with the bands so far, but we’d love to cooperate with good labels like Modern Sky or Maybe Mars in the future.

Azchael: Which bands would you like to add in the future and are talks already in the making?

Fly Fast Records: No plans yet, sorry. Its very hard to find promote Chinese bands in Europe and recoup the money. We invest our complete deposit and our accounts in overdraft now. But we're still working and we established a platform at

Azchael: How do you see the European and German market for Chinese music and where do you want to go?

Fly Fast Records: It is very difficult. Most Europeans still want exotic stuff from China and find it strange to discover that there’s bands who are as good as theirs and even better…

Azchael: One of your projects has been the Poptastic Japan and China compilations on which Wir sind Helden and even Die Ärzte are performing. How did you manage to get such big German talents on board for your project?

Fly Fast Records: George has been in the music industry for many, many years. if there’s one thing that he had to learn it is how to convince others from his ideas. They all found this idea very funny and interesting.

Azchael: What is the next Poptastic in mind?

Fly Fast Records: We’d love to do a poptastic conversation vietnam very soon.

Azchael: Do you have any plans to invite a Chinese band to Europe for touring?

Fly Fast Records: We have been on tour with joyside, hanggai and shazi so far. The next big thing we’re working on is a festival on tour – with at least two bands from China, maybe more. But we need strong sponsorship for this!

Azchael: Final words for the interview: What do you think of and when are you going to enjoy the next live show in Beijing?

Fly Fast Records: I think platforms like rock in China are very, very important for the music scene in China – as it is very fresh and very vital it is even more important to get good information and quick update about it. Great work!

Azchael: Thanks for the interview.

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