Raging Hormones will rock your socks off

Andrew Chin
The indie band is known for a style inspired by Foals, LCD Soundsystem and Le Tigre. Singer Zhu Mengdie promises this show will be a different experience.
Andrew Chin

Since placing second in the 2013 Midi National Campus Band competition, The Hormones has toured China as a buzz indie act and appeared on the popular TV reality show “Sing My Songs.”

Halfway through a 20-city national tour for their upcoming album “Beckon,” the band will perform at Yuyintang on March 31 in Shanghai.

“The new songs have been well received by everyone. Compared with our past shows, I saw more people wanting to enjoy and concentrate on our music with their eyes closed,” says singer Zhu Mengdie, who promises this show will be a different experience.

Formed in 2011 by Sichuan Conservatory of Music students ─ guitarist Xiao Xue and keyboardist Xiao Lijing ─ to perform Mandarin pop covers, the group developed a hometown following after adding Zhu, bassist Ming Ming and drummer Juan Juan.

“The music environment in Chengdu is very inclusive. Everyone is highly accepting, which means we are able break through the boundaries of music styles easier. The young bands in Chengdu will support each other by sometimes playing together,” Zhu says.

Known for a dance rock style inspired by Foals, LCD Soundsystem and Le Tigre, the band’s buzz spread from its hometown across the nation after they self-released debut EP “Elephant” and toured the country for the first time in 2014.

However, while other Chengdu buzz bands like the post-punk quintet Hiperson and the electronic indie group Stolen signed with respected indie labels Maybe Mars and the Douban-affiliated D Force records, The Hormones chose a different path by appearing on the 2016 season of “Sing My Song.”

“It was a show we were all paying close attention to at the time, so I was very happy to receive the invitation,” Zhu says. “During the recording of the show, we felt the respect they had for original music and musicians.”

Raging Hormones will rock your socks off
Ti Gong

While Zhu admits the group faced a backlash from some fans, “we chose to take those bad remarks lightly,” she says.

More difficult for the group was figuring out what to do next. Founding member Xiao Lijing left the band last year, and Zhu admits this period had a profound influence on “Beckon.”

“The changes in band members made us sad, but it also brought some new inspiration,” she says.

“Now the music has reduced some synthesizer parts and integrated more guitar sounds. The lyrics come from those experiences: disagreements with friends, disillusionment and longing for a mysterious land.”

Recorded in Chengdu at Photosynthesis, “Beckon” was co-produced by Hiperson guitarist Ji Yinan and Pierre Guignard, a guitarist of French dance rock band Sweat Like An Ape. Tim DeWit and Esben of acclaimed experimental rock groups Gang Gang Dance and Reptile Youth spent time with the group in the studio serving as mentors.

Lead single “Bian Yuan” was released on NetEase last week and is in its Top 10 original music chart. The album is being released by Fake Music, an indie label started by Helen Feng, singer of the Beijing-based electro group Nova Heart.

Originally an events company that brought dance rock acts like Hot Chip to China, Fake Music has evolved into a label. They’ve released Nova Heart’s debut album in Europe three years ago where they became the first band from the China’s mainland to perform at the Glastonbury Festival. 

Previously signed to Sony and Modern Sky through her previous bands Ziyo and Pet Conspiracy, Feng is now blazing her own path with her independent label. She sees a kindred spirit in The Hormones who she now manages, praising “their energy, their independence and their potential.”

“I saw the beginnings of something that with the right support system going forward could change the rules of the game,” Feng says.

Performace details

Date: March 31, 9pm
Tickets: 80-100 yuan
Venue: Yuyintang
Address: 851 Kaixuan Rd

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