Branching out: An interview with Tree

Tree is one of Chengdu’s most established musicians. You may have seen him fronting the band Channel Green or playing solo under his own name. We caught up with him to get his take on the current music scene in Chengdu.

tree - 画 (painting) by chengdumusicdotcom

tree - 宽恕 (forgiveness) by chengdumusicdotcom

Chengdumusic: Why have you always been involved with music? Ever thought about finding a nine-to-five job?

Tree: I don’t feel that finding a nine-to-five job is necessarily a good thing for me. My dream has always been to make music. It’s all about the feeling playing and making music gives me. It's like the first time I ever heard music, it’s my purpose, this is what I have always wanted to do. Maybe you are asking about the barriers I face making music? I find it mostly depends on the individual; what you decide to do, what you want to do, and how you do it.

CM: So the music you first listened to inspired you to follow a musical career?

Tree: Yes, you could say that. Wu Di Zi Rong (无地自容) had a big influence on me.

CM: How about foreign bands, were there any that influenced you early on?

Tree: Of course. Early Guns and Roses, Metallica -- there are so many.

CM: When did you first start listening to music?

Tree: At a very young age, you can hear music everywhere. My earliest memory was probably in primary school when I was maybe 11 or 12 years old and my brother introduced me to the music of Qi Qin (齐秦) from Taiwan.

CM: How about nowadays? What sort of music do you play and what style do you play? Is it different to the music you listen to at home?

Tree: I’d say that the music I play is mostly different to the stuff I listen to at home. A lot of people I know will only concentrate on one particular style of music and say that other genres are bullshit. Personally, I love to search out other musical styles.

CM: Was Channel Green your first band?

Tree: No. We had a band in high school named Qi Lin which took its name from a mythical spiritual beast. Back then I was playing rhythm guitar. It wasn’t until a few years later that I started singing and playing lead.

CM: Do you prefer playing in a band or performing solo?

Tree: I like them both, to be honest, but I would say that being in a band you tend to face more difficulties.

CM: How about the contents of your lyrics nowadays? what do you tend to write about?

Tree: All sorts… life, love, memories. Chinese poems, philosophy and meditation also contribute a great deal.

CM: How about local Chinese bands? Who are your favorites and can you introduce a few to our readers?

Tree: Mr Chelonian (海龟先生). I love their music but they have changed their line up recently so their music may have changed a little but it’s still cool.

CM: Any others? How about other bands from outside of Chengdu?

Tree: In Chengdu I also like Mosaic (马赛克), they're good. Tree and Colour (树与颜色), Zi Ran Er Ran (自然而燃) to name a few.

CM: Other bands from outside of Chengdu?

Tree: Xie Tian Xiao, post rock, his music is a very good combination of both Western and Chinese influences, so cool, it flows so naturally and I can always find the high in it.

CM: How about your hopes for the future of Chengdu’s music scene?

Tree: Chengdu’s a great place to live, the weather is mild as are the people. The people are also very wise so living here will inspire many people musically and they can hear and find a lot of excellent music. I feel the music scene here is growing all the time.


shinichi's picture


Thu, 06/30/2011 - 22:01

good words! I love Xie Tan Xiao :)