• Screaming Savior (惊叫基督) est un des groups émergents de la scène de métal chinoise. Le groupe de black métal symphonique est originaire de Shanghai et a récemment signé avec une maison de disques américaine du nom de Metal Hell Records. Après avoir sorti leur premier album studio «Eclipse of Dark Lunar» en 2009 ainsi qu’un EP du nom d’ «永战之海 / Ocean of Asura» en 2011, le groupe a connu un premier succès dans son pays d’origine avec la sortie de l’album «宙海 / Infinity» en 2012. Ce même album sera maintenant publié en printemps 2013 sur le marché nord-américain. J’ai contacté deux membres du groupe, l’auteur-compositeur et guitariste Chen Jie Jun (陈洁君) ainsi que le parolier et chanteur Yang Chen (杨诚) pour souligner cette sortie. Les deux m’ont parlé des débuts difficiles de leur carrière, des défis de la scène de rock et de métal émergente en leur pays et de leur vision critique de la Chine ancienne et contemporaine.

    Sebastian Kluth: «Merci beaucoup de prendre le temps pour cette entrevue. D’abord, parlez-nous un peu des origines de votre groupe. Décrivez votre musique et mentionnez les inspirations derrière vos paroles.»

    Chen Jie Jun: «En 2001, j’ai fondé ce groupe avec le bassiste Tilo, le guitariste Xuan Zhu et le claviériste Shaun Tian. Au début, nous n’avions même pas un vrai batteur. Nous n’étions que quelques amis qui avons joué des reprises des grands classiques avec le soutien d’une boîte à rythmes, mais nous sommes devenus de plus en plus populaire à Shanghai et avons commencé à composer nos propres chansons. En 2005, un terrible accident est arrivé. Notre bassiste Tilo s’est sévèrement brûlé les mains lors d’un incendie. Les docteurs disaient qu’il ne pourra plus jamais jouer un instrument. Notre groupe prenait donc une pause pour un temps indéterminé. J’ai joint un autre groupe de black métal symphonique du nom de Terminal Lost (天幕落). Jusqu’aujourd’hui, j’ai enregistré deux albums avec ce groupe comme claviériste. Mais un miracle est arrivé en 2006 lorsque notre ami Tilo a réappris à jouer son instrument. Tilo, Shaun Tian et moi avons donc repris les activités avec Screaming Savior et trois nouveaux membres se sont joints à nous: le chanteur Yang, le guitariste Feng et le batteur Zhao. Nous avons décidé de tout recommencer à zéro et d’écrire de toutes nouvelles chansons. Récemment, Zhao nous a quittés et Zhi a pris sa place.»

    Yang Chen: «En ce qui concerne nos paroles, nous avons toujours tenté d’exprimer notre plus grand respect pour les esprits et saints de la Chine ancienne. Nous sommes très inspirés de l’histoire et des légendes de notre pays. Malheureusement, beaucoup de ces héritages culturels ont été détruit lors de la révolution culturelle et ce qui en restait a été abusé pour des buts purement commerciaux. Les gens ont commencé à perdre leurs croyances. Certains Chinois ne croient qu’au renmibi, à la divise nationale. Beaucoup de gens ne pratiquent même plus les plus simples règles de politesse dans notre pays. Lors de nos recherches, nous avons réalisé que nous aimerions contribuer à ce que notre peuple redécouvre son héritage et on tente de rebâtir ses croyances à l’aide de notre musique et de nos paroles.»

    Sebastian: «La scène de métal est de plus en plus émergente en Chine, mais il reste difficile pour les amateurs occidentaux de trouver des informations et de se procurer les disques ou d’autres produits. Décrivez-nous un peu cette scène.»

    Jie Jun: «Il y a beaucoup de groupes intéressants en Chine, mais il y a très peu d’amateurs de ce genre, si on prend en considération la taille énorme de notre pays. Les groupes qui donnent des concerts perdent souvent beaucoup d’argent. En raison de la censure de l’internet par notre gouvernement, il est difficile pour les groupes chinois de se faire connaître en dehors de leur pays. Nous ne pouvons même pas nous connecter sur Facebook, Twitter ou Youtube sans le logiciel GoAgent. Mais la situation s’améliore de plus en plus. Certains groupes comme le groupe de thrash métal pékinois Suffocated (窒息) ont récemment joué dans des émissions de la télévision nationale. Ce groupe-là ainsi que les groupes de métalcore pékinois Yaksa (夜叉) et The Falling (堕天) ont joué à la dernière édition du fameux festival Wacken Open Air en Allemagne.»

    Sebastian: «Votre dernier album «Infinity» sera publié avec deux chansons bonus en Amérique du Nord cette année. Comment est-ce arrivé?»

    Jie Jun: «C’est la maison de disques Metal Hell Records qui nous a approché pour remixer et ressortir notre dernier album. Cette nouvelle version sonne beaucoup mieux, surtout au niveau des guitares et de la batterie.»

    Sebastian: «Pensez-vous que d’autres groupes chinois pourraient accéder d’une façon semblable à la votre aux marchés nord-américain et européen?»

    Jie Jun: «Oui, d’autres groupes ont déjà signé avec Metal Hell Records, par exemple les groupes de métal folklorique pékinois The Nine Treasures (九大圣器) ainsi que Tengger Cavalry (长生天铁骑) qui sont beaucoup inspirés de la culture et langue mongole. Je pense que le métal chinois aura beaucoup plus d’attention dans les années à venir.»

    Sebastian: «Je suis un grand admirateur de la culture chinoise et du mandarin, mais ne croyez-vous pas que la langue pourrait justement être un obstacle pour avoir un succès international? Seriez-vous prêts à chanter en anglais pour être plus accessibles?»

    Jie Jun: «Je ne pense pas. Certains groupes chinois chantent en anglais et ne sont pas plus connus. La langue ne sera jamais un obstacle pour répandre notre musique à moins que nos textes soient vraiment plus importants que la musique, mais en ce moment, il s’agirait plutôt d’une récitation poétique sur un fond de musique et non d’une vraie chanson. Nous continuons à écrire nos chansons en mandarin car nous les apprécions comme tel.»

    Sebastian: «En terminant, quels sont vos plans pour le futur?»

    Jie Jun: «Nous avons écrits et terminés quelques pièces pour un troisième album. Je te remercie pour cette entrevue. Nous sommes peut-être de deux endroits différents, avons des manières différentes de penser et des cultures distinctes, mais je crois sincèrement que la musique est un des meilleurs outils pour se connaître davantage. J’espère qu’un jour, nous pourrions jouer dans votre pays et célébrer notre musique avec vous.»

    Pour plus de renseignements, le groupe vous recommande les sites suivants:
     

    http://www.facebook.com/ScreamingSavior
    http://screamingsavior.bandcamp.com/

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  • Screaming Savior in 2012

    SCREAMING SAVIOR is one of the most popular Symphonic Extreme Metal bands from the People’s Republic of China. After their first record “Eclipse of the Dark Lunar” (2009) and an EP entitled “Ocean of Asura” (2011), they released a second full length album called “Infinity” (2012). This last record will soon be released to the North American market by Metal Hell Records in a remastered form with two bonus tracks. In order to promote this re-release, I decided to contact the band via e-mail and talk with guitar player and song writer Chen Jie Jun as well as with singer and lyricist Yang Cheng. In this interview, we discuss about the band’s first difficult steps on their career ladder, the emerging metal scene in the People’s Republic and China and its diverse challenges and their homage to ancient Chinese culture and history.

    Before you start reading the entire interview, the band and me highly suggest you to check out the band’s music first under the following addresses:

    http://www.facebook.com/ScreamingSavior
    http://screamingsavior.bandcamp.com/

     

     

    SEBASTIAN KLUTH: Hello and thank you a lot for taking your precious time for an interview. First of all, may you introduce yourselves? Tell us a little bit about your band history. What does your music sounds like? Tell us about your inspirations for the lyrics. What are you doing for a life time apart of being musicians?

    CHEN JIEJUN: Hi, this is Jiejun Chen, guitarist of SCREAMING SAVIOR. We play Symphonic Black Metal in Shanghai of China. SCREAMING SAVIOR were formed in 2001 by Tilo (bass), Xuan Zhu (guitar), Shaun Tian (keyboard) and me. At the beginning, we couldn’t even find a drummer. We were just some friends who covered metal songs with the help of a drum machine. Several years later, we started to write some own songs and became more and more famous in Shanghai. But in 2005, our bassist Tilo, burned his hands in a fire accident. The doctor said he could never play any instrument. So we had to dismiss the band at that time, and I entered TERMINAL LOST as keyboarder. Fortunately, more than one year later, Tilo recovered his hands. So we (Tilo, me and Tian) formed the band again and found three other young members: Yang (vocals), Feng (lead guitar) and Zhao (drums). This time, the members became much more stable, so we could grow stronger and then released two albums and one EP smoothly. Recently, Zhao left us because of his life. We found Shi as our new drummer. That’s what we are now. About life time, I’m an algorithm engineer of electronic music instruments.

    YANG CHENG: This is Cheng Yang, vocalist of SCREAMING SAVIOR. About inspirations for the lyrics, we are always trying to express our respect for the spirits of ancient saints in Chinese history, or legends maybe, the true, native, local Chinese style things, but the saddest thing we found was that most of the culture heritage was destroyed during the so called “Culture Revolution” and the rest was abused with commercial orientation. People started to lose their faiths, or maybe have some faiths only in RMB (Renminbi, the official currency of the People’s Republic of China), and even do not know how to be respectful. On the other hand, we also find that such a blank of ancient traditions gives us the chance and space to discover the heritage and re-build people’s faith and belief with our music and lyrics.

    SEBASTIAN: Your band name is quite intriguing. Where did you get the inspiration for the name? Does your band name mean exactly the same thing in English as in Mandarin? What’s the meaning behind it?

    CHEN: In fact, it’s just a name. Our first guitarist Xuan Zhu created the name 12 years ago and then left the band. So I can’t tell anything about that.

    SEBASTIAN: Many critics and fans compare your band to the Taiwanese Extreme Metal formation Chthonic. Are they an inspiration for you or would you point out other bands?

    CHEN: No, I don’t think we are similar to them. We are both Symphonic Black Metal bands from China, so the comparison is unavoidable. Though I like their music too, the temperaments of our music are totally different. I think our main inspiration is from EMPEROR.

    SEBASTIAN: You are also involved as keyboarder in the melodic black metal band TERMINAL LOST which I also like quite a lot. On the other side, SCREAMING SAVIOR have a different own keyboarder with Tian Shen. Do you take any influences from your involvement in the other band?

    CHEN: Yeah, as I said before. I entered TERMINAL LOST when SCREAMING SAVIOR was dismissed in 2005. But I’ve already left TERMINAL LOST in 2009 because things within SCREAMING SAVIOR were getting always busier. But I still took part in some keyboard compositions of the second album of TERMINAL LOST “Phoenix Mountain”. I think the experience in TERMINAL LOST is quite valuable for me. It also affects my music composition in Screaming Savior.

    SEBASTIAN: According to several sources, your band has been founded back in 2001 but it took you eight years to release your first record “Eclipse of the Dark Lunar”. Why did it take so long and how would you analyze your first record today? Are there any plans to rerelease the record or parts of it in the near future and make it available to a larger crowd?

    CHEN: Concerning the band history, when we reformed at the end of 2006, we decided to discard all the songs written before and to begin a new start. So it took us three years to write and record the first album “Eclipse of the Dark Lunar”. Today, I still like some songs on the album, but the record and mix seem awful to me now. Now, we are writing our next album. And once we have completed this, I’d really want to record and mix the first album again. Or it will always be a pity to us.

    SEBASTIAN: On your EP and second output “Ocean of Asura”, you did an amazing cover version of the song “A Dream Return to Tang Dynasty” from one of the People’s Republic of China’s first metal bands ever which is TANG DYNASTY. Thanks to this cover, I got to know this band and listened to all of their records by now which I find truly amazing. What’s your opinion about them and why did you chose to cover this song? Would you cover other tracks in the future and which bands would you chose?

    CHEN: TANG DYNASTY was my favorite metal band for very a long time. This song was also my favorite one of them. It’s TANG DYNASTY who made me begin to love metal music. So cover this song as a tribute to them is our pleasure. We haven’t any plans for another cover in the future.

    SEBASTIAN: The Metal scene is emerging more and more in the People’s Republic of China but it’s still rather hard for many fans from the Western world to purchase merchandise or see bands live. Might you describe us the contemporary metal scene in China and especially in your home town Shanghai? Are there any bands one should absolutely check out?

    CHEN: There are many cool Metal bands in China. But in comparison to the giant population of China, there aren’t that many Metal fans. Most of the Chinese Metal bands can’t earn money from albums and concerts. In fact, most of us are losing money when we play live as Metal bands. And due to the GFW (the Great Firewall of China, a well-known part of the Chinese government’s censorship of the Internet), it's difficult for Chinese bands to spread their music outside of China. We even can’t connect to Facebook, Youtube or Twitter without GoAgent. So in China, there are good Metal bands, but making Metal music is difficult here. But it’s getting better and better now. Some Metal bands start to appear in important TV shows such as SUFFOCATED. And more and more bands start to have performances out of China, such as SUFFOCATED, YAKSA and THE FALLING that took part at the Wacken Open Air in 2012.

    SEBASTIAN: Your latest record “Infinity” gets a US release in early 2013. How did you come to this opportunity? Are there any differences between the original version and the new one? Is there any chance for some international tour dates?

    CHEN: It’s Metal Hell Records who invited us to remix and re-release the album out of China. The remixed version will sound better than the Mort Productions version, especially the guitar and drum parts. I wish one day we can have an international tour but maybe that day is still far away.

    SEBASTIAN: Do you think other Chinese metal bands could soon get a similar access to the American and European market?

    CHEN: Yeah, now three Chinese bands have already signed MHR. Besides us, there are TENGGER CAVALRY and NINE TREASURES. I’m sure Chinese Metal will get more and more attention in the future.

    SEBASTIAN: I really adore Mandarin as it’s a very rich and poetic language but most metal bands that perform in their mother's tongue and not in English fail to get international attention or a commercial breakthrough. What's your opinion about that phenomenon? Would you one day perform your songs in English to get more attention or do you want to stay faithful to your language and culture at all costs?

    CHEN: I don’t think Chinese bands fail to get international attention just because of the language problem. There are some Chinese bands that perform in English and they also haven’t much more attention than those bands singing in Chinese. I think language will never become an obstacle for spreading music unless your lyrics are more important than the music, then that is poetry recitation with music background rather than a song. So we will continue to write lyrics in Chinese because we love to.

    SEBASTIAN: What are your plans for the future? Do you have already written material for a third full length release?

    CHEN: Yes, we are writing songs for the third album and already have finished some.

    SEBASTIAN: Thank you for the interview. Do you have any last words for the metal fans around the world?

    Chen: Thanks Sebastian for the interview. Definitely we are from different places, have different minds, cultures & so on. But I believe music will be one of the best tools to let us know each other much better. I hope one day we can play and celebrate our gigs with you guys.

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