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Coachella Music Preview: A Q&A With Peng Lei Of New Pants

A product of Beijing’s “postwave” movement, Peng Lei and his band New Pants fuse punk, electro, disco, and new wave to create a unique sound that is fueling Beijing’s burgeoning indie scene. The band is known by music fans in China and beyond for their over-the-top stage presence and cheeky choreographed music videos. As part of our creative partnership with Coachella, we’re bringing in some of our favorite international acts, and the lineup wouldn’t be complete without New Pants. We sat down and talked to lead singer Peng Lei about his Coachella expectations, and how he’s preparing New Pants for their first US show at Coachella in April.

The Creators Project: How did you react when you were invited to Coachella? How much do you know about the festival?
Peng Lei:
We were very excited. It felt unexpected. We’ve had a few chances to play in the States before, but we never made it, so Coachella will be our first show there. We’re very lucky because we know that Coachella is one of the most popular music festivals in the world. All the bands we love have played there.

Are you still going to sing in Chinese? Do you worry about the audience’s reactions?
Most of our songs are in Chinese, as we wrote them for Chinese audiences, so we’re still going to sing that way. We’re not worried about the audience. They’ve never listened to us before, anyway. It’s going to be fun.

Do you have any special song created for this show? Are you going to bring something new?
We did write something new for Coachella. For example, we have a new song called “I’m Not A Gay.” And the song we played at The Creators Project event in Beijing, “Sex Drugs Internet.” We want to bring something fun and strong for the audience.

Have you seen the line-up of the festival? Which bands are you excited about?
We really want to see Cold Cave, Duran Duran, and the Chemical Brothers.

Do you have any other shows planned in the US?
After Coachella, we are going to play a small gig in New York. It’s not settled yet, so we can’t tell the date and the venue now, but it’s going to be the weekend around April 22.

As this is your first time going to the US, do you have other plans that you really want to do?
I’m going to Hollywood to expand my show business.

Other than preparing for the festival, what else have you been up to?
I’m working on a new film about rock music and pop culture in China, and our band is preparing our new album. We’re about to go into the recording studio.

Can you tell us more about the film? What can we expect from it?
It’s about a girl’s life. You’ll see bands of different styles from Beijing’s underground music scene—they all have their idols from Western music culture to imitate, but you’ll find out that rock music has nothing to do with Chinese people. We are only copying others. It’s going to be a feature film. You will see some famous Beijing bands in it, like Re-Tros and Mi Sandao [a Beijing skinhead band]. This is going to be the first Chinese film about youth pop culture here, but it won’t be cliché. It’s going to be a modern rock culture film.

It’s been more than a year since your last album. Is there anything you can share with us about the new one?
It’s going to be violent.

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