Nova Heart wants to push things forward. Do something different. Avoid what has become the norm for Chinese popular music. Being validated through association of a major brand and western culture. Instead they want to make it by doing their own thing and pushing things forward.
They have toured five continents before publishing their debut album. A feat very few bands can brag about.
Helen Feng Nova Heart, vocals] told me, as we were standing outside in the rain at Woodford Folk Festival, that this has been made possible thanks to their Fake Music Media manager Philipp Grefer’s hard work.
Fake Music Media’s name is a play on the assumption that everything that originates from China is fake.
When it comes to music, regarding both China and South Korea, the music industry often focuses on who an artist has played for or is associated with. This is used as a way to validate their popularity.
If an artist plays at a store for a certain brand, then the band is popular — not because the artist has something interesting or revolutionary to say.
“The music industry stopped being relevant when it became an industry.”
She explains to me that this is because of hipsterism. Certain bands are cool because they are sold as cool, and if you listen to that band you are cool. Also, you have to wear a certain type of clothing, because you need to show you are cool and hip.
Hipsterism is nothing more than post-materialism.
“Everybody is reading the same stupid Pitchfork reviews and doing the same stupid hipster shit.”
To avoid this Nova Heart has had to make it big outside of China first — while also trying to push things forward. Something that can either be extremely successful or a complete failure.
“I am scared.”
She tells me that as a musician you often spend 90% of your time on the road. This makes it hard to have an interesting life. Therefore musicians are not really that interesting people — which results in most music being not very interesting.
“Am I a complete a**hole saying that?”
If your life is different from everyone else, only then it is easy to be interesting.
To start a revolution with music, you must have something interesting to say, she explains. Music is just sound, not a revolution on its own — something people need to get over and understand. Have a reason for what you are doing.
“That is bigger than being famous.”
As we part our way I am left questioning not only the music industry, but also what we easily label as popular music. Is it really interesting, does it have any reason and why is a certain band popular?
She did touch upon that during our conversation, when she said that we have become too focused on being happy and that everything is fine. If your are negative or critical of something, then you are the problem.
Let us just pretend that everything is great and ignore what can and should be changed, right?
Interestingly enough, I am also left with the notion that there is hope for music. As long as we have more artists like Helen Feng that are daring enough to criticise the industry and willing to risk everything for the sake of changing it.
On their Australia Tour Nova Heart will be in playing at two venues in Brisbane. Check them out if you are looking for something different and a band that wants to make a difference.
Nova Heart Australian Tour 2014
Thursday 2nd January 2014 @ Ric’s Bar – Brisbane (QLD)
Friday 3rd January 2014 @ Old Museum – Brisbane (QLD
Saturday 4th January 2014 @ Great Northern – Byron Bay (NSW)
Thursday 9th January 2014 @ The Brass Monkey – Cronulla (NSW)
Friday 10th January 2014 @ Spectrum – Sydney (NSW)
Saturday 11th January 2014 @ The Standard – Sydney (NSW)
Wednesday 15th January 2014 @ Beach Road Hotel – Bondi (NSW)
Thursday 16th January 2014 @ Ding Dong Lounge – Melbourne (VIC)