Hardcore Raver in Tears
Hardcore Raver in Tears
Andy Gill was fascinated by China and Gang of Four played their first ever shows in Beijing and Shanghai in 2013. The shows caused a real stir locally – Gang of Four in China ? – and artist and activist Ai Weiwei attended their Beijing show and Wuhan based band AV Okubo supported, who create music that is “post-punk dragged through a pop culture paper shredder of Hong Kong kung-fu flicks, performance art, and syrupy Taiwanese pop.”
A year later, Andy returned to Beijing to produce AV Okubo’s second album. Di Lu from AV Okubo would go on to become the lead singer of Hardcore Raver In Tears. Gang of Four returned to China for more live shows in 2019.
“Last Mile” is a version of Broken Talk from Gang of Four’s 2015 album “What Happens Next”. It features completely new lyrics written by Hardcore Raver in Tears and sung in Mandarin which, when translated back into English, changed the song’s title to “Last Mile”.
“It was at an Irish pub in Beijing where I first met Andy and his engineer Santi. The only things I remember from that day were Andy’s big frank laughs and countless ‘cunts’ he unintentionally spoke. I was super drunk and I blacked out in that cold winter night in Beijing. Andy liked Chinese cuisine very much. There was a Wushan grilled fish place he was quite fond of near our studio while he was working on our album. Our bass guy at that time, Zuo Yi – big guy who ate a lot, was making a scene gobbling up. Andy looked a bit concerned and said to Zuo Yi, ‘Slow down. Don’t choke on it!’ Zuo responded, didn’t even stop swallowing more food, ‘You know when you eat that fast so your digestive system doesn’t catch up, you end up thinner.’ Andy pounded the table with his hand as he loudly argued with Zuo, ‘300 million Americans can prove you wrong!’
Andy was a very responsible producer as he always gave lots of attention to details. He would ask carefully about the Chinese lyrics, the context and the social background. When we were recording a track named ‘Uncle’, I explained this Chinese proverb ‘Nephews are like uncles’ to him as: If the youngest kid in a big Chinese family in the 50s is a boy, he would usually be spoiled by his parents. Uncles are all spoiled boys by their parents and siblings but they tend to be mingling with their nephews during festive seasons when the whole family gather together. After hearing this, Andy turned to Santi and said, ‘I’m the youngest son in my family. How about you?’ Santi nodded as well.
When Andy was about to leave for the UK, I saw him off at the airport. I said to him, ‘Andy, there’s this question I wanted to ask you from a long time ago but I don’t know if I should ask.’ Andy looked at me and asked me to go ahead. ‘Do you think Rapture had copied your guitar?’ He laughed out loud and then replied with a serious face, ‘Of course!’
The first time I listened to Broken Talk, I felt that it was in a scene of Blade Runner, somewhere run-down and shady. In which an abandoned robot with nothing to do is looking for lost memories in an empty supermarket holding a discount coupon. The structure and characterisation of this song are very attractive to me, very current, so I ask myself what if I put the whole scene in China, what will happen in decades in the future then? So I speeded up the whole song, put the scene in future China, and told the story of a delivery guy who changed his body to a machine in pursuit of the best interests and finally broke down. In short, ‘Last Mile’ is the amphetamine version of ‘Broken Talk’.” – Di Lu from Hardcore Raver in Tears