Seriously, only five years? It seems like an age since we first heard of Maybe Mars
and, to be honest, we’re a little surprised (and reasonably impressed) by how the young upstart has grown into the heavyweight label that it is today.
In just half a decade, since the influential duo of PK14
’s Yang Haisong and Wall Street veteran Michael Pettis came together to set up the label, Maybe Mars has helped usher in a new era in Chinese rock with its distinctively gritty, punky, noisy, hip aesthetic, catapulting long-cocooned Chinese indie bands beyond the Middle Kingdom and onto the international scene.
A huge slab of that success has no doubt been down to the status of its founders – but perhaps even more influential have been the outfits that they’ve astutely brought to the spotlight.
Take, for example, Carsick Cars
, China’s belated answer to Sonic Youth, who released three albums that formed Maybe Mars’s triumvirate back in 2007. Or the likes of Shanghai experimental rockers Duck Fight Goose
, garage-types The Gar
, psychedelic newcomers Chui Wan
, and freak-folkster extraordinaire Xiao He
… just some of the 30-plus artists in the Maybe Mars stable.
The company’s a venerable Who’s Who
of PRC indie – and many of them have marked the milestone with a country-wide tour, which is capped off on Saturday 1 by a Beijing shindig. Carsick Cars and AV Okubo
will head up the show, along with Xiao He, Liu Kun
, Mr Graceless
, Chui Wan, and a one-off duo featuring Yang Fan (of Ourself Beside Me
) and Zhan Pan (of The Gar), as well as Yang Haison rolling out his vinyl collection for a DJ set.
Yeah, it’s just a small sample of the MM machine, but enough to give you a taste of what all the fuss is about. The question is: can the next five years be anywhere near as fruitful?The Maybe Mars 5th Anniversary party is Sat 1