Legendary British rock and roll photographer Mick Rock is on the road, touring his solo exhibition ROCKED at W Hotels all over the world. The show, which recently arrived at the W of Hong Kong, features not only classic portraits of rock icons like David Bowie (the subject of Life On Mars Revisited), Debbie Harry, and Iggy Pop, but also live photos of current pop artists such as Cee Lo Green, Janelle Monae, and Neon Tress performing at the the W’s Symmetry show, as well as rare candid shots of superstars like Bono and Lady Gaga.
In addition to the exhibition, the W of Hong Kong is bolstering its rock and roll agenda with the opening of WOOBAR, and our Creators from Beijing, Queen Sea Big Shark (QSBS), have been invited to perform at the opening ceremony this Friday.
We caught up with Fu Han, lead singer of QSBS, to talk about their upcoming show in Hong Kong, as well as their experience playing The Creators Project: New York last fall. Included with our conversation is a little photo documentation of her trip in New York.
The Creators Project: Tell us what it was like performing at the The Creators Project: New York 2011.
Fu Han: We had great fun! It felt like a world from the future. There were lots of interesting young people hanging out there, listening to the newest music, eating kimchi hot dogs, looking at spectacular works of art. The performance stage was under the arch of the Brooklyn Bridge with the subway trains roaring past just above our heads. The event made people become more open to interacting with each other and expressing themselves. It felt like a sort of musical Big Bang Theory. You could see Karen O’s Stop The Virgens, lie under UVA’s colossal light installation while listening to Justice. Instead of looking from far away without touching, you really used your whole body to experience art. Your imagination came true in real life. We saw many bands, like Florence + the Machine, A$AP Rocky, and CHAIRLIFT, and got to play on the same stage as they did.
Photos taken by Fu Han in New York City
Did this experience influence your bands creative direction?
We are more open towards making music and thinking outside the box. The world is big and nothing can restrict our imagination! Lately we’ve started to experiment with some hip-hop beats in jam sessions, which was inspired by our trip to New York.
What’s your latest update? What performances or collaborations are you involved in?
We organized a themed concert called NEO!Live last year. The clothing in that show was designed by Vega Wang, the photographer was Siliang Ma, and the visual design was done by Pink Elephant. We wanted to create something different with all these artists. We also worked with the multimedia group Super Nature to install a huge light projection installation in a warehouse in Shanghai where the band interacted with programmed visualiztions.
Last month, we collaborated with Nicola Formichetti for the first time. He is a visual design genius who is responsible for creating the look for Lady Gaga. We put together a performance which incorporated a stage with rotating mirrors. We hope to be as open as possible while approaching these projects, like members of an independent company that welcomes more people to join in. There are no limits to what we can learn from these artists.
Photography by Gao Peng
Anything exciting happening in the local music festival scene lately?
The Strawberry Music Festival took place at the Shanghai Expo Park, with the Huangpu River flowing just behind the stage. The whole park lit up at night and became sort of like a spaceship. Jesus and Mary Chain performed at the China Music Valley Festival, but we didn’t see them. Many friends told us the show was intense. It rained that day, so people were running around in the open field listening to music with lightning going off in the sky. We hope that the music festivals will bring more new bands to China so that we can see what young people from other places are doing. That would be cool.
Any new projects coming up in the future?
Yes. We are planning the second NEO! concert. We hope to add new elements as we continue to develop this themed performance, since there are so many people doing new things every year.
Photography by Gao Peng
What’s your take on Mick Rock’s photography?
His photography documented beautiful, crazy boys playing rock and roll in an enchanting era. Photos of Iggy Pop bending his body backwards, Syd Barrett sitting barefoot in his room, Bowie transforming into Ziggy Stardust—they embody an image in the minds of young people of the 21st century. You can feel the atmosphere and attitude of the rockers through these pictures. Rock’s photos not only showed people in the 70s, but also reflected on himself.
Photo courtesy of Fu Han
How many times have you played in Hong Kong? What are the Hong Kong audiences like? What are your expectations?
This is the seventh, maybe eighth time? I lost track. We really like Hong Kong. The clash of numerous elements in Hong Kong evokes intense and exciting feelings. Everything about Hong Kong excites and inspires you. The audience feels a little different every time. Sometimes they are loud, sometimes they are passionate, sometimes they have this shy humor. I would like to write some Cantonese songs some time.