Since moving to Beijing in 2012, Fuzhou-born experimental musician Hong Qile has made a name for himself in the capital’s multimedia art scene. Through his label Bwave, which he launched in 2006, and his Pixel Echo performance series, Hong has created an impressive oeuvre of complex, polyrhythmic soundscapes and generative video installations that have dazzled audiences across the city. We sit down with Hong to discuss Beijing's creative underground ahead of the release of his latest creation, the multimedia visual and music album Pixel³.
Can you give a brief history of your label, Bwave?
I started it in Fuzhou in 2006. To date I've released a dozen or so albums and organised a few dozen
live performances at different cities across China. Beginning with the launch of my performance series Pixel Echo last year, the direction of Bwave has shifted from experimental music to other media like visual, interactive and installation art.
How have you seen Beijing's experimental music and art scenes change since moving here in 2012?
Honestly, for the last few years I've gone to very few live music performances or art exhibits, really only if I'm participating as an artist myself. In general I'd say, maybe incorrectly, that most artists are just repeating work they've done before.
How would you describe the sound on your forthcoming album, Pixel³?
It's hard to say – the sounds you hear on it are pretty random. Overall, I've been doing similar stuff over the last few years, mainly glitch and noise. Pixel³ is an album of improvised electronic music that's limited by a
certain rhythmic structure. It includes a lot of different rhythms and tempos that are all randomly generated through software programming.
Your visual work has developed significantly over the last five years. How do you create visuals for your performances?
I mainly use computer software called VVVV. The content depends on what I want to express, it's different for any given piece.
Some of your most stunning visual work takes inspiration from Chinese elements like taichi and ink landscape painting. Are you consciously trying to update old forms of Chinese art with contemporary media?
I think that's a coincidence. A lot of my work has nothing to do with this. Maybe as a Chinese person, I have a deeper ability to understand the symbols of my own culture and so maybe I'm more skilled at using these symbols in my work.
Have you prepared a specific visual concept for the live performance of Pixel³?
Yes, the visual aspect of Pixel³ is very important, every song has a thematic visual accompaniment. I've invited a few really outstanding artists to collaborate on the visual side of the album, including people who do creative, programming-based computer visuals as well as animators. It will definitely be worth the wait!