Graham Reid | | 3 min read
Very few New Zealand bands can claim to be banned in China, but Auckland's Wukong the Monkey King – who recorded a previous album in Beijing and have songs in Mandarin and English – wear that badge.
The band's bassist Kyle Ranudo tells Elsewhere they initially wanted to publish their songs in China but “they didn’t pass the reviewing process, many songs were removed after submission”.
On the popular social network site Douban, the band weren't allowed to add their album and their account is banned.
So what has upset the Chinese?
Music which bridges jazz, rock, psychedelic hip-hop . . . and sometimes contains a political message.
Ahh, the last point is the problem.
With their new album 21st Century Time Travelling just released it is timely then to throw a questionnaire at the band's singer/trumpeter Wade Wu.
The first piece of music which really affected you was . . .
My dad used to buy heaps compilations of music. There were also many cut-outCDs dumped from western countries. The first song really affected me was Flower by Moby that I found in a CD compilation. I was ten years old.
Your first role models in music were . . .
Douwei, see a clip here
Lennon or Jagger, Ramones or Nirvana, Madonna or Gaga, Jacko or Jay-Z?
If music was denied you, your other career choice would be . . .
The three songs (yours, or by others) you would love everyone to hear are . . .
Between the Sky & Prairie here
OSHUN - Blessings on Blessings here
Self promotion here!
Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home…
I have quite a few interesting ones but I reckon Suona is the one. (here)
The best book on music or musicians you have read is . . .
I partially read the book Playing Across a Divide - Israeli-Palestinian musical encounters by Benjamin Brinner.
If you could get on stage with anyone it would be?
The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .
地道战Tunnel War (here)
大腕儿Big Shot's Funeral (here)
十七岁的单车Beijing Bicycle (here)
The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include…).
The Best of Ella Fitzgerald
Propaganda -The Murder of Love
Drk Blade x Triple Six - Sorry (Prod. TREX x Poe)
Jay Rock / Lance Skiiiwalker - Monkey Trees Deuce
One song, royalties for life, never have to work again. The song by anyone, yourself included, which wouldn't embarrass you in that case would be . .
Himekami - Hitori Shizuka
The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .
Drawings of my characters, the Communist Chicken.
You are allowed just one tattoo, and it is of . . .
I only have one tattoo and I won’t regret if this is the case… It’s a Manchurian script that I found on the dictionary. And it says believe in your eyes.
David Bowie sang, “Five years, that's all we've got . . .” You would spend them where and doing what?
Travel across all six continents, keep dancing and be creative.
And finally, in the nature of press conferences in Japan, “Can you tell me please why this is your best album ever?”
It is my best album for so many reasons as I think Wukong got the right timing. The production process we had with our producer Morgan was fun and creative.
Lyrically speaking, I explored lyrics writing in many perspectives for this album. Including travelling back to my birthplace around Inner-Mongolia or North Eastern China (Inner-Manchuria) for inspirations. One of the song was written on a movie set, and I was fighting as a solider on both sides for a whole month. The funny thing was, I think the battlefield where I was experiencing in Aotearoa New Zealand was historically happening around where I was born. The authenticity of my feeling was crucial to me in a way how I have to respect what I see in relation to how I feel. I think my philosophy in this manner is nicely preserved in the album. At the same time, me and the band improved a lot in terms of our musical skills and our abilities to jam with each other.
And I believed it contributes.