Re-TROS | Rebuilding the Rights of Statues
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Re-TROS | Rebuilding the Rights of Statues

Beijing, China | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | MAJOR

Beijing, China | MAJOR
Established on Jan, 2003
Band Alternative Post-punk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Chinese post-punk under protection of Brian Eno"

Re-TROS aka Rebuilding the Rights of Statues is a post-punk band hailing from Beijing. The band was formed in 2003 and consists of singer-guitarist Dong Hua, singer-bassist Min Liu and drummer Hui Ma.

Due to the Club Niubi interview Re-TROS became a target for Chinese censorship. And this was not the first time. The manager of the band, Jackie Zhang had difficulties at sending the answers via email ”due to the hard political environment in China”. Luckily the questions and the answers got finally connected.

Re-TROS plays some kind of post-punk. How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard of you?

Dong Hua: ”For me it’s like a band, which is based on the 1970’s and 1980’s post-punk era while we are also trying to express ourselves. We hope we can give the audience these kinds of feelings: glam, dramatic and crazy.”

How did (post-)punk come to China?

”It came to China in a sort of illegal way: by doing a small hole on CD’s so that they could be imported as trash. Those CD’s could not only escape from censorship but also be bought at a very low price. Yeah, that was hard, but I was happy since I could listen to the music I like. Nowadays of course through the Internet people can listen to all kinds of music.”

What are the biggest musical influences on Re-TROS?

”Post-punk and new wave bands such as Joy Division, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and The Banshees, Gang of Four, Talking Heads, Devo, The Birthday Party and so on. I enjoy the way they express their music and their qualities.”
Does the contemporary rock/pop inspire you at all? If so, what artists or bands have caught your attention lately?

”Yeah, for sure! We like to listen to young bands who are as talented as Battles, PVT, Blonde Redhead, TV on the Radio and those kinds of experimental and indie bands. The reason they attract me is that they are doing a lot of new and interesting things based on traditional rock music, which is fantastic.”
What do you think about the word ”Niubi”? Does it somehow describe you guys?

”The word is slang and in Beijing dialect it means awesome or fantastic. I think we can suit that word in some way. However, the word itself also contains some bad meanings such as arrogant which I don’t like it that much, so we prefer awesome.”

Brian Eno worked with you on your debut EP Cut Off! (2005). How did that happen?

”We were recording our first EP in New York and happened to meet him the studio. He was very interested in our music so he played the keyboard part for three songs. That was an amazing experience for us to work with such a great producer and musician.

Your debut album Watch Out! Climate Has Changed, Fat Mum Rises… came out in 2009 and it contains songs like Up Next: Bela Lugosi’s Back and By Your Both Sides, Left and Right. Why the cryptic titles?

”Up Next: Bela Lugosi’s Back is a tribute song to our idol Bauhaus since they have a song called Bela Lugosi’s Dead. With By your both sides, left and right we want to express the dark and mysterious feelings. I think the name fits the song and there are lyrics like ‘Hush hush baby I’ll always stand by your side…’”

You’ve toured all over the globe. How does Europe take you in?

”Thanks to the Finnish government and Olavi Paananen (Club Niubi’s promoter) we could make this trip come true and it will be amazing. I do believe that.”

China is not known for its democratic values. You apparently have to for example translate you songs and send them to the government for approval. Have you had any troubles concerning your music or gigs in your own country?

”Yeah, we’ve had such experiences and it was really annoying. But I think in China, every single artist has to face the same problems we did. This is the reality and we can do nothing about that.”

Re-TROS on Club Niubi tour in Europe. - Heini Strand

"Interview: Hua Dong of Re-TROS"

You played at this year's Strawberry Shanghai Festival, but it feels like it’s been a long time since you headlined a show here. How do you feel about playing in Shanghai?
Shanghai is such a charming city for us, it has a totally different feeling from Beijing where we usually play. It’s more tender and refined. What’s more, I think Shanghai is so important to Chinese rock 'n' roll music that there’s no band in China who would refuse invitations from venues or music festivals in Shanghai. Also we can play in front of a professional audience and also in professional venues which means Shanghai is one of our favourite places to play our music.
The band have been together nearly ten years now; how do you think you’ve changed in that time?
Well, time has told us how to be a band, including writing songs, communications and co-operations. We’re trying our best to keep this band going as long as possible and trying different ways of expression and performance.

Who are the bands in China that excite you at the moment?
Duck Fight Goose and Pairs, who’re going to play with us at MAO Livehouse are the bands that I would like to recommend, they are interesting enough that it is really easy to separate them from any other Chinese band and I am really interested in their imaginations when it comes to music.
At the end of your set at Strawberry, the last song was a lot more electronic than your previous material and was almost like a dance number. Is that the direction you want to take your new music in?
It’s only a new song that we played at the music festival. I don’t think it can represent the style of our coming new album. But our new album will definitely be different from the post-punk that we used to play - we haven’t finished the whole album yet, however I enjoyed the uncertain feelings I got while I was writing these new songs. I feel pretty excited about it.
After this show, you’re set to fly to New York to record your new album. What can you tell us about the new record?
I cannot give out a certain answer about our new album before we totally finish it, but it will be different from our last two albums. What I can tell you is that we are going to work with a very famous sound engineer in New York, who has helped musicians such as David Bowie, Björk, Lou Reed and Philip Glass. We worked together once before and it was fantastic.

You worked with Brian Eno on Cut Off! How did that happen? Any plans to work with him again?
Brian Eno is one of our favourite musicians ever. His musical ideas have a great influence on us. We were really lucky to work with him several years ago, but if it’s possible, I hope we can work together again.
You’re also going to be touring the US again this autumn. How do you feel about playing there?
We enjoy playing shows in the US so much. Every single time that we've been abroad for shows we've felt excited because we can see a different audience, different scenery, and different cultures. It's fascinating.

A lot of Chinese bands seem to get accused of ‘copying’ Western acts that have gone before. Do you think this is fair?
I think copying the Western bands is kind of normal. Rock 'n' roll music was created, developed, and continued in the Western world, it is right for Chinese bands to try and imitate Western bands and try to create their own music. That doesn’t only happen in China, it happens all over the developing world, especially in the music field, just like children will copy what adults do unconsciously, it’s just a way of expression for Chinese bands. - Jake Newby

"Im Interview: Re-Tros"

Am 11. April findet in Berlin unter dem Namen „CHINA DRIFTING“ das erste Festival für junge Independent Music aus China statt. Die besten Bands der sich momentan rasant entwickelnden chinesischen Independent Szene werden in Berlin, Zürich und Kopenhagen dem europäischen Publikum vorgestellt. Musikalisch reicht die Bandbreite der präsentierten Bands von Elektro über Indie bis Rock - und viel Crossover. In Berlin findet die Veranstaltung auch im Kontext des 20jährigen Jubiläums der Städtepartnerschaft Berlin – Peking statt.

Urbanite hat mit Huan Dong, dem Sänger der chinesischen Band Re-Tros gesprochen, um euch einen kleinen Vorgeschmack auf das China Drifting Festival zu geben.

Warum nennt ihr euch Re-Tros?
Wow, das ist aber eine lange Geschichte… Also eigentlich haben wir (jedes Bandmitglied) einen Satz geschrieben und dann ein Wort aus jedem Satz ausgewählt. Danach habe ich die Wörter zusammengesetzt und so ist der Name "Rebuilding the Rights of Statues" geboren. Es gibt auch zwei unterschiedliche Bedeutungen von diesem Namen, wenn die Leute ihn auf Chinesisch lesen: "Rebuilding 'the Rights of Statues'" oder "The Rights of 'Rebuilding Statues'". Das ist ein kleines Wortspiel, was mir wirklich gefällt.

Wie viele Bandmitglieder hat Re-Tros?
Wir sind zu dritt.

Seit wann gibt es eure Band?
Die Band wurde im Jahr 2003 gegründet, und im Jahr 2004 haben wir angefangen, Konzerte zu geben. Ein Jahr später haben wir dann schon einen Plattenvertrag bei dem chinesischen Recordslabel Modernsky unterzeichnet.

Wie würdet ihr eure Musik beschreiben?
Fein, ernsthaft, melancholisch, aber auch powervoll.

Habt ihr schon eine CD veröffentlicht? Wenn ja, können wir sie in Deutschland kaufen?
Ja, wir haben schon zwei CDs veröffentlicht.
Aber es tut mir leid, ich glaube nicht, dass die CDs in Deutschland gekauft werden können. Aber man kann die Songs bei iTunes kaufen.

Seid ihr schon berühmt in China? Und wie sieht das in anderen Ländern aus?
(lacht) Ja, ich glaube schon, dass Re-Tros ziemlich berühmt und beliebt in China ist. Und in den USA gibt es auch Fans von uns. Aber ich glaube, darauf kann ich nicht so gut antworten. Am 11. April werden wir sehen, ob wir gut ankommen.

Seid ihr aufgeregt, am 11. April auf dem China Drifting Festival in Berlin zu spielen?
Es gibt so viele ausgezeichnete Bands aus Deutschland, die wir wirklich lieben, z.B. Einstürzende Neubauten, Kraftwerk, Brandt Brauer Frick, Alva Noto, Xmal Deutschland usw., deshalb sind wir sehr sehr gespannt, in Berlin aufzutreten!

Ist es das erste Mal für euch, in Deutschland zu sein?
Ja, es ist das erste Mal, dass Re-Tros in Deutschland auftreten. Aber ich persönlich habe für zwei Jahre die Universität in Halle besucht und Germanistik studiert, von 1997 bis 1999. Und ich war auch schon einmal in Berlin für eine Woche.

Wie lang werdet ihr beim China Drifting Festival auftreten?
Wir werden beim China Drifting Festival gute 45 Minuten auftreten. Darauf freue ich mich schon sehr!

Wie seht ihr eure Zukunft? Wollt ihr mit eurer Musik um die Welt reisen?
Also ich glaube, Zukunft ist Zukunft, niemand kann sie vorhersehen, deshalb möchte ich nicht so oft an sie denken. Bis jetzt hat Re-Tros schon in Europa, in den USA, in Australien, Japan, und Südost Asien Konzerte gegeben.
Eigentlich sind wir eher unterwegs wie Touristen. Wir fahren in verschiedene Länder, genießen verschiedene Landschaften, berühren verschiedene Kulturen… Solche Erlebnisse gefallen uns sehr und machen uns immer Spaß. Und das wichtigste Gepäck, das wir immer mit uns haben, ist unsere Musik. - Lilian Lins

"Rebuilding the Rights of Statues [Where the Hell is the Press?]"

Interview with chinese band Re-Tros, talking about rock music and censorship in China. Recorded on the 24th of May 2013 @ Bad Bonn, Düdingen. - Kilbi

"Converse Rubber Tracks - Track of the Week: Re-TROS record "My Dying Atmosphere""

The "Track of the Week" features the single "My Dying Atmosphere" by Re-TROS and follows the band as they overcome pre-studio jitters and work together with Converse Rubber Tracks engineers to perfect their new sound. - Converse

"Re-TROS back from SXSW Austin TX with Converse Rubber Tracks & Fader"

In SXSW - Converse



Re-TROS is short for Rebuilding the Rights of Statues. But it's not only the rights of statues the three Chinese musicians would like to rebuild, but especially the lost authenticity of music. The band mixes a rather minimalistic play with catchy melodies. The result could be best described as a renovation of Post-Punk combined with Synthesizers. And whoever works with Brian Eno on his debut EP knows how to surprise the audience over and over.

Formed in 2003 by singer/guitarist Hua Dong and, singer/bassist Liu Min, Re-TROS soon became a sizzling band in Beijing. Re-TROS, see themselves as a return to a lost authenticity, want to embrace the basic values from the bygone post-punk era. Once you take the first sip of Re-TROS music, you will find it easily they are inspired by the 70s post-punk ancestors like Bauhaus, Joy Division and Gang of Four. Their music is a renewal of post-punk which incorporated with synthesizers and evocative melodies.

Raised in a family of Nanjing intellectuals, charismatic, sinister Re-TROS frontman Hua Dong was immediately attracted to music in a way that was both unfocused and insistent. He spent a few inconclusive years writing songs, studying in Germany and drumming for the Chinese rockers PK14. After meeting bassist Liu Min, who had been playing in bands in the Nanjing punk underground, the pair drifted to Beijing where they were introduced to drummer Ma Hui.

The trio went into the studio in 2005 to record their debut EP Cut Off! and attracted the attention of legendary composer/producer and all-round nice guy Brian Eno, who was using the studio to record some of his Afternoon Ambient Works. Eno sat down with the band and contributed guest keyboards on several tracks. As Hua Dong puts it, “he wanted something exiting, and there we were.”

Hua Dong credits bands like Bauhaus, Joy Division, Television, Pere Ubu, Blond Redhead, Modest Mouse, and the Futureheads among his greatest influences, and acknowledges the incongruities of developing their music in a Chinese environment.

Band Members