American Football

How a randomly named Chinese group has caught the attention of American rock legends – It's Shanghai

Release of Chinese football in 2017, Here is a new competitor, could very well be interpreted in different ways. The first and most obvious is that it's a game about video game culture, with the album cover looking like caricature drawings that could be found at a game room. The name could also draw on their unusual nickname, which in turn draws the influence of the seminal emo rock group of the American Midwest, American Football. It may be a nod to the fact that the group received its name from these former university students and ran with it, establishing its own form of underground secret in the same way as the Urbana trio did. did until the late 90s.

Chinese football was founded in Wuhan, central China. Also known as "China's Thoroughfare", the region is quite similar to the American Midwest, where a narrow emo scene has established the stereotypes we find associated with this music, emo rock, today. According to Chinese football singer Xu Bo, in 2011, the Chinese group had little information about the possibility that football will meet one day.

"I chose the name just to entertain," says Xu. "I did not think that they would meet and I did not think we would stay together as a group until now. At that time, my group mates did not even know who American football was. "

In 2015, four years after its formation, the Wuhan Group released its first record, also called Chinese Football, and their soft and subtle mathematical math mark have attracted attention with titles like "Shang Diqiu Zuihou Yige EMO Nanhai" or "The Last Emo Boy of the World".

Image reproduced with the kind permission of Chinese Football

At the other end of the world, American football was reformed in 2014, with the addition of singer Mike Kinsella's cousin Nate for two dates in Champaign, Illinois and New York. Fifteen years have passed since the release of their eponymous album, consisting of nine tracks, which has gained a cult reputation for underground. Taking advantage of this unexpected and slow success, their Polyvinyl label decided to publish a deluxe edition of the album, which reached 68th place in the US Billboard 200. Not bad for a trio of college students.

Drummer Steve Lamos, now living in Colorado and working as a university professor, was curiously informed about the cult success of his former band through conversations with his students. "I had a student, probably seven or eight years ago, show me his phone and ask me" Hey, it's you? Lamos said, "And he showed me that 'Never Meant' had had 3 million plays or anything else."

Two years later, American football announced its second album, 17 years after the first, in a movement that enthused the long-time fans of the first album.

"When we got together and tried to play the first album, I thought, 'Oh, we're going to ruin it,'" said Lamos, referring to the group's early attempts to play the songs of Football. "It's a challenge for us. I mean, it's pretty fun to be a real band. It's a lot more real than it was the first time. "

American Football (LP2) could be one of the most anticipated emo-rock albums of all time, since this so-called genre has experienced a kind of rebirth in the '00s and' 10s. "I love LP2 a lot. This is the record that had to be done. We had to write these songs. There is a song out there called 'Born to Lose' and I think it's probably the best preview of what I think about this album. "

Image reproduced with the kind permission of American football

Back in China, the Chinese football released Here is a new competitor in 2017. In the years leading up to the press release, online reviews were published accusing the Wuhan group of stealing American football. The new album, a beautiful four-track math math EP, was radically different from the dreamy soundscapes that the American band had created at that time on their albums. This has earned the group a plethora of new fans and new listeners. Yet critics have persisted.

"I think our music is totally different," says Xu. "The only thing in common is that we all use a telecaster (guitar)." Lamos shares Xu's opinion and says, "They do very different and very interesting things. musically. "

In 2019, by a funny stroke of luck, both groups released new records, American Football with American Football (LP3) and Chinese football with Carry on?, both see the bands leap forward. LP3 American football is moving away more and more from the legacy of its beginnings, with the highly publicized removal of the famous "House at Urbana", which appeared on the covers of his first two albums albums. .

The reasoning behind this is quite simple: the sound of the band opens up a lot, it uses a lot more space and atmosphere and creates what the group members have called "an outer disk".

Meanwhile, Chinese football continued its "Game Trilogy" series on Carry on?, but have again changed their musical style on this disc. "We've added more lyrics to this record, so it's more like" Chinese rock "than" emo rock, "Xu tells us.

Image reproduced with the kind permission of Chinese Football

The continued success of American football has allowed them to seize the opportunity to play for the first time in China. By various means, the group had become familiar with the music and the presence of Chinese football in previous years.

Xu remembers a brief meeting with the group during a previous world tour. "I already saw a football show in Japan, and I gave Mike a CD and told him I had a group called Chinese Football. He said that he had already heard of us, "Xu said.

Lamos does not remember this meeting, but he knows very well who is Chinese football. "You know that a lot of people falsify the group, tease it or whatever, and I thought," It's probably one of those things. "No, it's a legitimate thing for legitimate players, so it was really pleasant surprise."

The fanfare that this combination has provoked among independent fanatics of music in China and Asia has been a joy to behold; not only is the highly popular American football going to the Middle Kingdom, but it has chosen its namesake, Chinese football, as support.

"Steve Holmes, our guitarist immediately said," Oh, we should see if we can get Chinese football on the tour, "because he follows their music and he also follows it on Instagram," said Lamos about the proposal of the Chinese group.

"So we thought," Oh, you know, you take a picture in the dark and it's just kind of a fun thing if they agree to do it … and of course we're there. "

Beijing: Tuesday, July 30 at 21h; Omni Space. See the list of events.
Shanghai: Wed, July 31 21h; Presale RMB220. Mao Livehouse. See the list of the event.
Hong Kong: Thu, August 1, presale HKD390. Tickets.

(Cover image courtesy of American Football)

. (tagsToTranslate) Chinese Rock (t) Live Music (t) interview (t) Shanghai

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