Time To Wonder

Chances are, if you're up to date on the good things coming out of Shanghai's underground electronic music scene, you’ve already heard the name AM444. But, just in case you haven't, hit the play button on the video below.


AM444 is the Shanghai based project of singer ChaCha and producer Jay.Soul. Last year we were lucky enough to interview Cha Cha prior to the release of their debut lp "Eye Wonder" and her collaboration on Kode 9's album Black Sun for the Uk's formidable Hyperdub records.

神经末梢 (Shen Jing Mo Shao) by AM444

Good news is that their 2012 tour kicks off this weekend in lil old Sichuan! AM444 will be previewing their new live show, including some brand new, unheard material at Chengdu’s Xiong Mao club on Saturday the 3rd March. Alongside Cha Cha & Jay we have Shanghai's Dj Drunk Monk to ensure the true party vibes. We caught up with Jay and Cha Cha to find out what to expect this coming Saturday night.



CM: So, how did you meet and start making music together?

CHA: We met each other about 3 years ago, when Jay first came to Shanghai. We loved each others music and we believed that we could do something great together.

JAY: It's been 4 years already?? (time goes fast Cha! haha). We met in The Shelter but it took us a long time to really get started as we were both busy with a lot of other projects.

CM: There was quite a big demand for your debut album Eye Wonder. Were you expecting it to be so popular?

CHA: We will be very happy if our music is popular but that’s not the whole point of making music. Lots of shit Hong Kong pop music is very popular but when you listen to it you can't feel the connection. Music has to come with soul, from deep inside of your heart.

JAY: Eye Wonder was well received but it's not like we sold truckloads of albums or topped the Billboard charts :)

CM: We hear there's a new AM444 album on the way. When will it be released and will we be able to hear some new material in Chengdu?

JAY: No release date yet but we’re working hard on writing new songs now.

CHA: We are both very happy with the new tracks so far. We'll mix some of our new tracks in our live show so you will hear them in Chengdu for sure.

CM: Is there any stand out gig/moment that you've had together so far?

JAY: The release party last year at The Shelter was pretty memorable!

CHA: To date we’ve only had one live show when we launched our Eye Wonder EP. We’ve both had a very busy year so we couldn't find time to tour or do more gigs which was a shame. This year we will tour the whole world, it will be something very exciting and amazing for us, can't wait!

CM: Can you tell us more about the tour?

CHA: AM444 2012 tour will start at the beginning of March and include many Chinese and Asian cities, we even got booked for a festival on a island close to Africa. We’ve got a European tour in the summer too. This year we'll concentrate on our new album and do lots of gigs. Its time to bring our music out of Shanghai to attack the world!

CM: Has Cha Cha's participation in the Red Bull Music Academy increased exposure/interest in am444?

JAY: It definitely helps. ChaCha has been so prolific over the last few years, more and more people know about her and the Red Bull was another push.

CHA: Maybe, but its hard to say. Jay was already a very popular producer before we made music together, actually we got lots fans from his presence. The RBMA thing also makes more people into our music.

CM: In our last interview with Cha Cha she spoke about some of her influences and musical background. Do both of you come from the same place musically, or are there differences?

JAY: We're influenced by slightly different types of music maybe but still like a lot of the same things and, more importantly, we like each other's styles. They just seem to blend real well and the result is not easy to categorize. Some songs trip-hop, some more electronic and groove based, some more soulful. And the jazzy dub of Shen Jing Mo Shao.

CHA: For musicians to make music together they don't need to have the same influences or come from the same musical background, we’ve just got the connection between us. Different musical backgrounds can make our music even more interesting. We learn new things from each other and try things that we've never tried before. That’s actually more fun.

CM: What are your thoughts on the future of the scene, both in Shanghai and other cities across China?

CHA: The Chinese scene is growing for sure. More and more cities have their own live house or underground music clubs. Young people are more into some cool music but we also need to be patient and care more about the music quality. I hope it won't get lost on the way to development.

CM: Looking forward to seeing you in Chengdu soon, can you give our readers an idea of what to expect?

CHA: The new AM444 show will be much better and more interesting. Jay will control the desk and play guitar, bass, and keyboard. Apart from our songs from last EP, we will mix some of our new songs into the live show, so people will get some ideas about our new album.

JAY: Expect a great night with ChaCha's amazing vocals, lyrics and stage presence, combined with my heavy beats and live instruments! We're both really looking forward to playing in Chengdu!!!!

AM444 play Chengdu's Xiong Mao Club this coming Saturday March 3rd. Tickets are 120 rmb which includes entrance and a free bar until 3am.

Time To Wonder | ChengduMusic.com


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