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November 15, 2009

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Swiss band lives for live shows

THE Swiss rock band Dada Ante Portas has just finished its first tour of China.

Starting last month in Beijing, the tour covered 13 cities including Tianjin, Qingdao, Nanjing, Wuhan, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

The band formed 12 years ago in Lucerne and spent three years developing a fan base and playing local gigs.

Dada Ante Portas won the Best Swiss Newcomer award in 1999, beating about 400 bands in the process. The following year, they beat more than 600 bands to reclaim the award.

The current members are Pee Wirz (vocals), Lukas Schaller (guitars), Thommy Lauper (drums) and Luc Le Bo (guitars and vocals). Original member and bass player Mitch Prest left the band in 2006.

Their debut album was titled "Playin' Hooky" and was released in 2001. They have recorded five albums, including the latest, last year's "The Theory of Everything."

The single "Taking Your Love" from this album was Dada Ante Portas' most successful single in their history and received massive airplay.

The tune was nominated for best Swiss Rock Song on Swiss National TV.

During its two-night stay in Shanghai, the band was impressed by Shanghai and they look forward to their next visit.

The four band members agreed to speak to Shanghai Daily before they performed at Yuyintang Live House on November 7 for their debut concert in the city.

Q: Is it your first time to China? And what's your impression on Shanghai?

A: Yes. It's our first time to China, and we are lucky that we can visit so many Chinese cities in this tour.

We had read about Shanghai before and knew that it's a big city, but we were still surprised by its hugeness.

It's an amazing city with beautiful architectures. We went to Nanjing Road and felt that there were so many Time Squares on one road.

Q: Have you been to any bars here?

A: Yes. We went to a bar on Hengshan Road last night. It's good to see different bar cultures.

Q: How do you deal with the pressure of success?

A: Most of the time the pressure doesn't come from outside like the management company or the feedback of fans, but ourselves - the higher and higher requirements we put on our music.

But the pressure is still a power to make us achieve more with our music. As we have three members who write songs, we don't have that much pressure writing material and releasing new songs.

Q: What do you like to emphasize with your music?

A: We are a typical live rock band and the live show is the most important thing to us. We met many fans who told us that they loved our songs, but were more excited when they saw us perform live.

Q: Your bass player Mitch Prest left the band in 2006. Was this a difficult time for the group?

A: Yes, it was, especially for our drummer Thommy. Thommy's playing is tightly connected to the bass player. We found that a piece of us was lost at that time.

But it's also a good opportunity for us to rethink what we really wanted in our band life, and we got a new direction.

Now we cooperate with many talented musicians (bass players) in the live shows. We often do our shows with Geza Burghardt (Crank, Stern, Rookic).

Q: What are you busy with this year and what's your plan for 2010?

A: We finished recording our new album this year and it will be released in January.

After the China tour we will go back to Switzerland to promote this new album.

And then we will start our world tour in Switzerland and Canada, and hopefully to China again.

Q: Do you know any Chinese musicians?

A: We know Cui Jian, who has been dubbed the father of rock music in China. We met him once 10 years ago in Zurich, where he had performed.

We hope that there will come a day when we can perform with him at some music festivals.

Q: What do you usually do in your leisure time?

A: Listen to music and play cards and sports. Reading and traveling are also fun.


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