punk/rock disco - Beijing, China
It was Beijing in the mid-90s. A band of students created a punk group whose name is as obscure as it is emphatic, The Structural Metal Workshop Master. China had already committed to a progressive opening up of its economy twenty years previously, leaving wide open a window to an entire Western mass culture... and to scabby figures with anti-establishment views. Like many others, Peng Lei and his mates were wearing Ramones T-shirts and making their guitars screech according to the new rules of cool. Quickly recognized, they signed in 1997 under the new label Modern Sky Records and right from the start intended to cut up with the musical hegemony en vogue in the underground scene, renaming the group the eminent and visionary "New Pants": more modern, more eye-catching, more sexy. At the origins ersatz of the Anglo-Saxon punk scene of the 70s, our rebel Chinese released a number of albums mixing many diverse and unexpected influences - punk, new-wave, rock, pop, electro, dance, disco..., what underachievers! - and rapidly became a colossus of indies music, constantly headlining posters for large rock festivals. Today influential masters of a new generation of promising and dedicated bands, New Pants proves the phrase "Made in China" is not necessarily a synonym for pirated foreign products.