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Pairs, the Shanghai noise rock duo who utilize a 'thumbs up, vomit down' approach to writing music.

General information about Pairs

Pairs one.jpg

Pairs, live at concert, Photo (c) JASON

English Name Pairs
Genre Rock, Punk, Indie
Origin / Present city Shanghai / Shanghai
This is an artist which could be a band, musical project, solo musician or any other kind of music collective. For a more precise definition, see Category:Artists.

Band members

Rhys - Drummer / Singer

F - Guitarist

Former band members



Asked about how Pairs came together, the band responded in an August 2010 interview with Beijing Noice:

I went to last years X games to get my dose of motorbikes doing stuff to 28 Days – Rip it up and a F tapped me on the shoulder and said she liked my shirt. She was by herself but claims she was with a friend who was in the VIP section but F found that area boring and so we hung out the entire day. I never saw this friend, so I assume she was Ms. Scott No Friends, but she still denies it. I was meeting a bunch of different suckers at places and trying to make tunes, but nothing stuck. People were generally idiots or too smart for my idiocy, so I messaged F and she was done for stooping to my level. We met up and went to a studio next to an underground KTV and wrote some solid gold hits.[1]

Their first show was on April 10th 2010 in Shanghai's Yuyintang. They performed in Livebar on April 16th. April 17th, they rocked the 696. April 23rd , 2010, they performed at the 696 as support act to US band Alpine Decline. According to Andy Best: They feature drummer/singer Rhys and local guitarist 'F'. They were cool playing a mix of fast punk, dreamy indie chops and Shou Wang-esque strumming. Good job.[2] May 13th, they performed an accoustic show in the Fanfare. May 22nd, they rocked the 696. May 28th, they performed at the Salabim (close to Fudan university). May 29th, they performed in the Yuyintang. June 4th, they rocked the Logo bar. June 11th, they performed in Beijing's D-22. June 12th, they performed in the Old What? Bar in Beijing. June 13th, they performed in Tianjin's 13 Club. June 18th, they performed in the Yuyintang. June 25th, they rocked the Logo bar. July 2nd, they performed in the Mao. July 3rd, they rocked the Yuyintang. July 9th they performed in the Yuyintang. July 14th, they rocked the Yuyintang. July 16th, they performed in the Vox Bar in Wuhan. July 24th, they performed in the Yuyintang. On July 26th, they are being interviewed by We Live In Beijing. Asked whether this is their first band to be in, Rhys responds:

This is F's first band, but I'm a little bit of a whore. I played in a lot of bands back home and made some noise with people around China. Our music just comes from our lack of talent, our inability to play up strokes on the guitar and from our personalities. We tried to write some slower songs, but I think we just got too excited and they sped up overtime. Maybe if we had a metronome we would be a totally different band.[3]

Further in July they have an interview with Beijing Noise, which is being published on August 1st. On August 2nd, Smart Shanghai features Pairs in their MP3 Monday issue offering their song Yangpu Qu for download. On August 6th, they performed as supporting act to Handsome Furs at the Yuyintang. According to Jake Newby: Last night they played as Trios, with Xiao Zhong's sister's boyfriend smashing the shit out of some stuff on stage while they played. They're nothing if not inclusive. Good for them, I'm all about widening participation. They were great.[4]

8.7.2010 - Not Me

8.13.2010 - Old What (Beijing)

8.14.2010 - Raying Temple (Beijing)

8.20.2010 - Yuyintang

8.28.2010 - Logo

In September, their self-titled record Pairs was released on Bandcamp.

9.11.2010 - Yuyintang

10.16.2010 - Vox Bar (Wuhan)

December 27th, they won the title of Best New Band awarded at the 2010 Shanghai Grammys by the Cityweekend Shanghai.[5]


Pairs in Summer 2011, photo (c) Pangbianr

At the end of July 2011, it was confirmed that Pairs was recording and releasing a record in DIY style together with Yang Haisong. As per Xiao Zhong the story went like this:

We played a show at Raying Temple in Beijing and Yang Haisong came along and saw us, then he said he produces records for Modern Sky and Maybe Mars and if we wanted to go that route, we could work it out. We said we'd rather do it with you freelance stlyle. So that's how it came about. We booked two days in the studio, but did everything in 4.5 hours. Everything from setting up mics, testing levels, doing 14 songs an taking some breaks to creep around. F and I are doing it all ourselves. Each CD has been hand folded, hand numbered, hand stickered, hand stamped and there is a DVD. No labels. Maybe Noise offered but we didn't think it would work out for a few different reasons.[6]

In September 2011, they were interviewed by Pangbianr, and asked about The (Shanghai) scene in general also seems more expat-oriented than Beijing’s, with many of the bigger bands coming out of Shanghai including one or more laowai. Do you also have this impression? Do you think this is attributable to some core difference between the two cities? they stated:

Pairs: I see Beijing as pretty DIY, well a much more proactive DIY scene with Pangbianr, Michael/Luke starting zines and constantly putting on shows, Zoomin’ Nights, BeijingDaze and Beijing Gig Guide doing consistent blogs and throwing their own parties. But you’re right in saying there is a very heavy expat scene in Shanghai. Not sure what the go is there. There are locals playing in bands here, no shit yeah, but it’s hard to get them involved and/or organised in some shows here. Whether it is an issue of communication, them struggling with some work life balance thing, a fiscal thing, public transport drying up before the show starts or motivation. I’m not really sure. We’ve offered Chinese bands to join us on stage to play with us, get in touch for booker details/contacts etc. but the only people that take that offer up are foreigners.[7]

At the end of September, guitarist F was interviewed by Pangbianr on Pairs 4th or 5th time to Beijing. Asked on what they expect in the capital, F replied:

I like Beijing and it’s cool to meet up with friends or play a show together but soon you will get bored by playing with same the bands at the same venues. We have thought about doing some afternoon shows, so that together people can drink beers/eat barbeque/watch the bands/talk whatever they want/come on stage and play together/rest and have fun. Should be a lovely afternoon. But anyway, I will never know what would surprise me.[8]

On 30th of September, Pairs held their Summer Sweat record release party in the Yuyintang. According to Andy Best:

Pairs played in the middle of the pit and a lot of the audience went up on the stage. It was cool and worked well, although it ultimately cut out a bunch of people who couldn't see and went back out into the park. There were enough people to fill the floor using the normal set up. So in the end it felt like a private party for friends, with good feelings and extended thank yous between the final tracks. [9]

On November 30th, Pairs got interviewed by Rock in China and talked about their New Zealand tour in Jan 2012. Asked on how many gigs they wanna do Xiao Zhong stated:

I would like to play as much as possible. 2 shows a day would be cool, but it’s up to MUZAI Records and God Bows To Math who are helping us book everything. Got the North Island done, still waiting to hear on the South Island , but we’re only going for 2 weeks or so, not that much time. Just got an email saying we’re playing a house party though, so that’s cool. Haven’t done one of those for years. Think the last one I did was in New Zealand actually, and some guy pissed his pants as an act of defiance when he was asked to leave the party. Fuck, hope he isn’t there this time. Apparently he used to sleep on a mattress full of cockroaches.[10]


In September 2012, Pairs got interviewed by Rock in China again and asked about what their plans for later 2012 were, Xiao Zhong responded:

(...) we have two releases scheduled. One in October and one in November. The October one is an 8-track record called Grandparent, and in November we have a double vinyl coming out on Metal Postcard Records calls If This Cockroach Doesn’t Die, I will. Thereafter we are heading for a tour in December in Singapore and Malaysia and then, well, we are dead.[11]


Major releases


Further information

Official pages

Articles & Interviews



  1. Beijing Noise (2010-08-01). "An Interview With Pairs". Retrieved on 2010-08-01.
  2. Andy Best (2010-04-25). "Alpine Decline live @ 696". Retrieved on 2010-08-01.
  3. Pete DeMola (WLIB) (2010-07-26). "Strange Case of Xiao Zhong and F". Retrieved on 2010-08-06.
  4. Jake Newby (2010-08-07). "Pairs and Duck Fight Goose support Handsome Furs". Retrieved on 2010-08-07.
  5. Dan Shapiro (The Beat) (2010-12-27). "2010 Shanghai Grammys: The Results Are In". Retrieved on 2011-01-09.
  6. Andy Best (2011-07-31). "Shanghai's Pairs sign with Beijing label make album". Retrieved on 2011-09-09.
  7. Josh (Pangbianr) (2011-09-06). "Interview with Xiao Zhong of Pairs". Retrieved on 2011-09-09.
  8. Josh (Pangbianr) (2011-09-29). "采访:Pairs和Next Year’s Love的吉他手“F” Interview with F of Pairs/Next Year’s Love". Retrieved on 2011-09-29.
  9. Andy Best (2011-10-02). "Pairs Summer Sweat album launch". Retrieved on 2011-10-04.
  10. Azchael (Rock in China) (2011-11-30). "Interview with Pairs". Retrieved on 2011-11-30.
  11. Rock in China (2012-09-24). "Interview with Pairs (2012)". Retrieved on 2012-09-29.
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