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February 26, 2010

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Butterfly magic flutters back

THE four-piece rock band Crystal Butterfly has built its reputation on live gigs throughout China but after a performing break is heading back into the studio for a second album and a promise of new sounds, Nie Xin reports.

The Shanghai rock band Crystal Butterfly (Shui Jing Die) is regarded as one of the best local rock bands. The four-piece group was founded in June 1998 and will celebrate its 12th anniversary this year.

Vocalist Li Pang met the guitarist Wen Wei at university and they took a shared enthusiasm for music to playing gigs together on campus. Wen also played guitar in another local band Yue Shi (literally means "lunar eclipses") at the same time.

But Yue Shi was disbanded in 1998 and Li and Wen teamed up with drummer Chen Song to form a new band. When bassist Qi Qi joined the trio in 2001 the band coalesced to become today's Crystal Butterfly.

"The name of a band is a symbol that should match its characteristics, feelings and music. And we hope that ours represents elegance and beauty," says vocalist Li.

"Crystal Butterfly is a name that denotes super realism - elegance and glamour," says guitarist Wen.

Drummer Chen says that although there is no such thing as a crystal butterfly in the real world, "its mysterious beauty can be found or created through music."

The group won some heavyweight local band competitions in its early days. They recorded their songs on "demos" and started to be booked for more performances in Shanghai, Beijing, Hangzhou (Zhejiang Province), Nanjing (Jiangsu Province) and other important cities in China.

"We started to be the representative band of Shanghai rock and got a contract with the Beijing indie music company NewBees Music Production in 2000," says Li.

The contract spurred the development of their music career in Beijing and they subsequently won more jobs at performance venues and music festivals in Shanghai and Beijing.

Crystal Butterfly was also invited to do the lead guest performance at the opening of Shanghai International Tourism Festival.

The band's musical style is influenced by their idols, such as U2, Cure, Verve and Depeche Mode.

Their single songs "Magical Mystery Tour" and "Float Down" achieved great success and were also re-recorded in English.

The group was nominated as Best Band in the 2004 East Music Awards.

The band amassed a big repertoire and released its first album, "Magical Mystery Tour," in 2005 after many years' preparation.

"The music performed by the band is highly professional and is very popular as a result of long-term playing together," says Zhang Li, renowned Chinese musical producer.

After several years' break since their first album was released, the band will get together again this year and is actively working on a second album, "Fantastic Forest."

"After the 'Magical Mystery Tour' was issued, we spent more time on other things individually," says Li. "But our friends and fans will be reacquainted with our style on the second album 'Fantastic Forest'."

The songs featured on the album have been around for almost 10 years but the band will record them, keeping the original musical style and feeling of when they were first performed.

After satisfying fans with release of the new album, the band will start to prepare a set of new songs with new musical concepts.

"We have grown up a lot over the years, and we hope we can offer a new musical style on the new works," says Li.

New themes the group hopes to bring through its work include elements of electronic rock and a new live show style.

The band performed last September at Mao Live House, and their next performance this month will probably be there as well.

"The venues are very important to give us good facilities and good music atmosphere," says Li.

"We also prefer music festivals where we can perform outdoors." What critic says about Crystal Butterfly

The Shanghai rock band Crystal Butterfly (Shui Jing Die) is regarded as one of the best local rock bands. They are the pride of Shanghai band culture, also the pride of Chinese indie music. Their restarting this year is full of expectation.


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