Yan Jun, music commentator, writer, poet and audio artist. Born in Lanzhou and now reside in Beijing. Founder of Sub Jam, presider of WaterLand Kwanyin, planner of Mini Midi, operator of Kwanyin Records, imaginative founder of Beijing Sound Planning Committee, and one of the major promoters of underground Rock & Roll in Beijing’s 1990s.

CCQ: Besides composing, what are the music you prefer?

Yan Jun: All sorts of stuff. As for recently, Liu Shaochun, Yao Bingyan, Sun O, Yao Dayun’s ForeTaste TwitteRadio, Incapacipants, V.A. CD Album from Japanese Jam Music magazines, Jason Khan,ONJO,Jaap Blonk, Gagaku,Christian Marclay, Chen Yi, Xu Cheng, The Specials, and some gift discs from my friends.

CCQ: Your listeners are having such an impression: your works mainly use noises, drones, human voices and field recording. What is your consideration when using these alien stuff in your works?

Yan: They’re not alien at all. They are collected from my own surroundings, they’re always with me like the air I breath.

I didn’t actually CONSIDER to use these sound. I take them from the sampling, which is a borrowing from the others; and from field recording, which is a borrowing from the nature. I’m not a composer, that’s why I always borrow the existing, and follow it to observe its evolutions. If possible, I would trigger the move at certain point. I do what I am able to do, not what I wish to do.

CCQ: Is it requisite to setup a designed background for experimental music live show? I have different feelings between enjoying stream and live music. Live actions have interactive between listeners and the author!

Yan: The rapid flow of information erases our perspective of time and space. However we still need close contact, we need touches, smells, temperature and feelings of moisty, we need expressions and privities, to share the atmosphere from our interactive.

Earphone itself creates an isolated world. If you’re using earphone on the street, the environment combines with the earphone environment and they form parallel worlds. Yet the live show is an open world with integrated persecutions of comprehensiveness, it’s a mixture of perspective of integration, remix and fuzzy.

One can experiment in single or multiple worlds.

Wormhole-Trip Souvenir sound sample, The Shop, 2008 ~ 2009, YAN Jun

CCQ: What is the current situation of Chinese experimental music? What are the international communication platforms in this field?

Yan: From a global view, China is becoming a hotspot, to which everyone is showing some concern in economy, politics and the rumored culture, and – maybe especially the strange values, thinking mode and attitudes towards life.

As per the French guy, a nationality unable to export its value will be “sorry”. Now the western world  are expecting to import certain Chinese value from a cultural exchange. And China is ready to express or export something to proof that she’s not an arriviste. Apparently, apart from talking ancient, we are realizing that the contemporary life, culture and music are important, although they’re something new-born.

Basically every week there’re visiting experimental musicians coming to Beijing, while seldom any Chinese musicians going abroad. Therefore the internet is very important. Face-to-face communications are high in cost and involve less people. Sub Jam and myself have cooperated with some foreign sectors to organize communication events in Europe, and next year there will be such activities. We may expect “a single spark start a prairie fire”.

CCQ: Sub Jam was found in 1998 and set its motto as “infectant thought, incessant movement”. What is the consideration of establishing such a studio with nearly no boundaries? What kind of musicians you wanted to attract?

Yan: Just drift with the tide. Those who believes he is born to be success, who cares for everything except for uninterested stuff, those who take integration as honor and professional as a shame. Before we actually started we don’t have an expectation or plan. Whoever attracted is accepted. Of course all the participants have something in common, they are mostly open-minded, emotional, unreliable, fantastic, unplanned, countrified, and are chaffy dish lovers.

CCQ: Also please introduce your projects, like Waterland Kwanyin and Sound Planning Committee?

Yan: WaterLand Kwanyin was founded in 2005. It’s a project for experimental music and Jam. In the first 3 years it’s a weekly event free of charge, and after that we charge and it’s no longer weekly. But it remained to be hold on Tuesdays and in 2kolegas Pub. This year we invited some special planner guests, including Xiao He and Feng Hao. This project belongs to everyone.Beijing Sound Planning Committee is a project organized by Ran Qianrui and myself. We made some pasters and T-shirts, and designed free tickets for listening sounds out on the streets. They’re all about public sounds or public life. Here we emphasize visual language, its rather a street culture than a form art.

CCQ: Since year 2005, Mini Midi Musical Festival has been held for four times. What is your original intention of this festival, and what you have planed for next?

Yan: In 2005, the president of Midi Music School, Mr. Zhang Fan was with me in Oslo to see the music festival there. He suggested that we shall add a small stage for Midi Festival after we go back to China. That year I started the stage and announced it as Mini Midi Musical Festival to the public.

My original intention was to release the experimental music and indie music to the public. However only after publicized I was shocked by the fantastic feelings of being public.

As for the next step, we don’t have a plan. We will rest for this year and we will continue in the following years.

CCQ: From where you learned about CC? What may be the compact of introducing CC to music authoring?

Yan: Around ten years ago from some European discs and the internet afterwards. Many indie sectors and independent artists use copyleft and embrace free copy, announce to give up copyright or release their works without declaring copyright.. I’m very interested. As for exact time I don’t really remember.

Wormhole-Trip Souvenir sound sample, The Shop, 2008 ~ 2009, YAN Jun

CCQ: Since the release of CC-licensed Noise is Free in 2008, is there any response in the music circle?

Yan: It seems that there are not much impact. I believe it’s because all these experimental musicians and indie musicians have never expected to make money out of music, and have never faced copyright infringement. They are pretty indifferent for copyright.

CCQ: How do you view the concept of Creative Commons in art field? Or how will it take effect in the distribution of contemporary experimental music, especially grass-root music and underground bands?

Yan: Knowledge is being managed and operated by the western world, from producing and consuming. And this trend is coming to China. I guess, in the future, the Chinese artists and this industry will be operated by an advanced instrument.. This will lead to rationalized behavior in artists and the artistic ecology.

Indeed, CC is having different impact on different kind of music. This took place at the big C system of a highly developed capitalist society. In China, I think the future is unpredictable. We can only say that the linear history is broken, as the big C and smaller C are embraced at the same time. So are the monopoly capitalism and post-capitalism, and authoritarian politics, anarchism tradition and fuzzy personal philosophy.

CCQ: What is your suggestion to CC’s promotion in experimental music circle? We hope that with your support, there will be more experimental music works be shared by the public under CC licenses!

Yan: First it’s a prerequisite to make Chinese experimental music profitable, then there will be a great future of CC. Therefore I anticipate that the CC project team could have some more effective cooperation, or become part of the existing system. To sum up, I expect more involvement.