Had a chance to check out RENMINBI in Bushwick. I’d randomly connected with Lisa on Twitter and told her I’d be there. So, there I was. RENMINBI’s album release party is tonight at Piano’s so look up their site for details. Surface, the album, will be available for free July 7th. The band is headed for a packed tour out of NY from 4th thru 18th. A short Q&A wth Lisa follows the pictures. [Full photo set on Flickr]
RENMINBI: Site + MySpace + Twitter + Surface EP link + Tour
Q& A with Lisa Liu
G: Do you come from a musical family? Who were your early musical influences?
L: Not really. My folks didn’t play music, but they made me take classical piano lessons like every other Chinese-American kid! My early musical influences were Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, Pavement, Stereolab, Nirvana, old U2, Debussy, Thelonious Monk, and Sonny Rollins.
G: Do you remember the album that had the biggest impact on you?
L: When I was a kid first learning guitar it was “The Joshua Tree” by U2. That was the first CD I ever bought and it blew me away. The Edge was brilliant.
G: What is your primary guitar now? What effects/pedals do you use?
L: Live, I mostly use a Fender Jaguar ’62 reissue. Here’s my usual pedal chain: Boss tuner, Buddha Bud Wah, Ibanez TS-9, Frantone Brooklyn Overdrive, Line 6 DL4, Boss RV-3
G: How would you describe your band’s sound? Can you talk a little bit about your band’s history and its motto?
L: It’s not all that easy to categorize, but I think “experimental indie rock” is probably the closest you can come. It’s got elements of punk, post-punk, no-wave, noise rock, a touch here or there of electronica, and even a touch of pop. Someone recently called it “noise with a melody.”
Our name comes from the name of the money in China and literally translates as “The People’s Currency.” I went to China for the first time in the fall of 2002 and it was a really emotional trip for me. When I got back, I decided my next band would be named in honor of my time there. Renminbi formed in early 2003. We put out two EP’s in our first two years, then took a long break after our first drummer left the band. We started rehearsing again in fall 2006 and recorded our first LP in May ’07, which came out a year later. Our new EP “Surface,” which comes out July 7, is the follow-up to that album .
G: What one tip, each, would you give to beginners on
a) practice: Practice every day to build muscle memory. Listen to records you love and try to recreate what they’re doing.
b) songwriting: Demo and record yourself so you know what you sound like. Keep editing until it’s perfect!
c) recording: Make sure you and your band are well rehearsed. Don’t think when you’re in the studio — you’ve got to FEEL when you’re tracking
d) performing live: Playing live is all about being in the moment. Charlie Parker puts it best: Master your music and then “forget all that shit and just play.”
G: Recommend 3 essential albums all guitar players should listen to.
L: 1) Sonic Youth “Daydream Nation”
2) John Fahey “The Legend of Blind Joe Death”
3) Wes Montgomery “Smokin’ at the Half Note”