Sky's the limit for indie record label Maybe Mars
Beijing-based indie label Maybe Mars is showing no signs of slowing down despite celebrating its 10th anniversary last year.
Initially known for championing Beijing bands like Carsick Cars and Snapline, the label’s reach now extends nationwide. Two of their younger acts, Chengdu post-punk quintet Hiperson and Shanghai trio Dream Can, will team up for a show at Yuyintang on June 15.
“Maybe Mars always focuses on the music itself, and their taste is outstanding. That’s easy to say but it’s hard to do especially in the current music environment,” says Hiperson frontwoman Chen Sijiang.
Formed while its members were still in university, Hiperson won wide acclaims and a Douban Alibu Music Award for Newcomer of the Year for their 2015 debut album “No Need For Another History.”
Chen credits subsequent tours of China and Europe for “making us more confident about what kind of band we are.”
That self-assurance is evident on their latest album “She Came Back From the Square.” After their initial plans to record in Italy were scuttled, the band decided to strip things down. Produced by guitarist Ji Yinan, the disc was made on an eight-track recorder presenting a rougher version of Hiperson.
“This album is a stage that we think we must pass,” Chen says. “Its sound quality is certainly not as good as that recorded in a professional recording studio but it actually gives fans an opportunity to see the band at its core.”
Dream Can drummer, Qi Yu, is a fan of Hiperson’s evolution.
“Their new album is very good,” she says. “We really like their lyrics and they’re very infectious on stage.”
Like Hiperson, Dream Can was formed while its members were attending college.
A fixture in Shanghai’s live scene since 2014, it first attracted Maybe Mars’ attention when they were invited to perform in the label’s “Sound of Young China” concert series that brought indie acts to Beijing three years ago.
“We were very surprised and excited to be invited to perform,” Qi says. “We all liked Maybe Mars a lot and when we were starting out, we hoped to join them one day.
“Although we were still immature at the time, we felt very happy and fortunate after the show. After they invited us to join the label, we accepted without hesitation. It’s a very cool label that allows musicians to play freely and do their favorite music without any restrictions. They give us great support and recognition, which is particularly important.”
While they’ll be opening for Hiperson, the upcoming show at Yuyintang will be a momentous one for Dream Can. It will be their first hometown performance following the June 12 release of their debut album “Into Sparks.”
“This album is a small summary of our early years and a lot of the songs were very early creations,” Qi says. “The album title means our lives are full of enthusiasm and fire.”
Produced by Yang Haiqi, the eight-song disc highlights Dream Can’s distinctly languid mix of feedback drenched guitars, melodic vocals and unpredictable dynamics. Songs such as “But I Am a Lonely Girl” highlight their pop instincts, while the near two-minute guitar solo on “Kill the Man” showcases the trio’s muscular musicality.
They’ve already found fans in Hiperson.
“Dream Can’s music is both sweet and has a sense of the chaotic power of rock and roll,” Chen says. “We’re really looking forward to seeing them live.”
Date: June 15, 8:30pm
Tickets: 80-100 yuan
Address: 851 Kaixuan Rd