Art, nightlife, satire and cultural collective Love Bang have been bringing their unique brand of parties to Shanghai for a respectable seven years. For their birthday party this weekend they've brought over DJ Earl, one of the hottest producers of high-flying footwork label Teklife. Ahead of the big night we spoke to the star of Love Bang, freelancing street cat and mother-of-eight Xu Dongmei.
Hey, Xu Dongmei. We really appreciate you talking to us as we know Hai Shifu usually gets all the exclusives.
'My pleasure! Yeah, you could have done an interview with Hai Shifu, but then again, he's Love Bang's Editor-in-Chief and he's pretty old so he'd probably just talk for days. You don't wanna transcribe all that – trust me. Me, I'm just a freelancer trying to earn a little extra bread for my eight babies.'
Can you briefly explain what Love Bang is?
'Well, Love Bang is an art project started by some Shanghai-based artists, DJs, and media folks. Love Bang is an outlet for their feelings about brands, media, nightlife, and cultural gaps. Their favorite mediums to work in are comics, articles, parties, mixtapes, streetwear, and collaborations with friends. Love Bang Corporation has several departments, including Love Bang Soundsystem and Love Bang Media Department, plus our WeChat platform (lovebanguniverse).'
Seven years is a long time to continuously exist in Shanghai. What's your secret?
'Actually I've only been freelancing with Love Bang for about three years now. I wasn't even born when the Expo happened! But them… well, everyone has their way of getting by in Shanghai. It's a bit harder for a street cat like me, but we have a whole community out here.
'But if you want an easy answer: travel often, eat your vegetables, get good sleep, drink lots of water, stay away from bubbles, stay hungry, and always keep it fresh. And don't get frustrated! Enjoy those times when you get stuck in the cultural gaps. There's lots of good stuff growing in those spaces.'
Were there ever times when you thought the party might be over for Love Bang?
'No, I feel like the party is really just getting started now.'
You've seen some of Shanghai's colouring skills this year. What else have you got up your sleeve for Love Bang in 2017?
'Well we just finished an 11-city tour of underground music venues in China and we're headed to Europe in May and America in the summer. I'll join them if I can get a passport. Other than that, more cartoons, more music, more articles, more clothing, and more surreal encounters. Maybe we'll open a cookie dough restaurant.'
Why did you want to bring in DJ Earl to play your seventh birthday party?
'In a lot of ways, Chicago footwork is similar to what I do when I dance in the park with my friends. Love Bang Soundsystem said footwork is their favourite dance music movement of the last decade, so they had to book someone from the world's biggest footwork crew – TEKLIFE.'
What else can we look forward to on the night?
'Me! It's all about me. Haha, I'm kidding, but Strictly Cookies did just made a cookie with my face on it. You can buy that on that night or at select spots around town from Friday, including Spread The Bagel and Record Store Day at Uptown on Saturday. We've also got a special edition Love Bang Anniversary T-shirt printed by our friend Nico. This shirt is all about ting bu dong and getting lost between cultures – the essence of Love Bang.
'I know Love Bang just gave Jack Ma a lot of money for party decorations, so I doubt you'll even recognize DADA on Saturday. I think you're gonna love the music too. We've got sets from some of Shanghai's freshest producers: Swimful, HYPH111E, and Zean, plus DJ Caution, and even Archie Hamilton. Did you know he was a DJ for like twenty years? My advice – get down early because it might sell out.'
See full details of the party below.