There is nothing that personifies the magic of youth more than being in a high school garage band with your classmates and exploring the power of music. Here are some of Beijing’s most notable up-and-coming school bands doing just that, and showing off some pure rock ‘n’ roll attitude in these pictures by Dave’s Studio!
Never Fade (Harrow Beijing)
Daisy L (keyboard, vocals)
Danny J (trumpet)
John W (drums)
Mark Z (rapper)
Edwin P (saxophone)
Never Fade was formed in February 2017. The band is open to all types of music, and they’ve been trying to rearrange music into different styles. They have their regular practice every Thursday and will rehearse more if there are performances coming up. The band has been playing in and out of school, and they’ve initiated a charity performance with all the benefits going to support children with autism. They also go to many music festivals and concerts. Their parents are very supportive and attend every performance they’re playing, which is a big motivation for them.
The Ambers (Beijing City International School)
Daniel (lead guitar)
The Ambers are a group of Grade 11 students at BCIS. They originally began their journey as a band out of enthusiasm for music and the desire to perform on stage. though the band is not strictly adhering to any genre of music, the top songs in their playlists are rock ’n’ roll, and punk. Some of their favorite bands include AC/DC, Metallica, Guns N Roses, Imagine Dragons, and Green Day, whose music they usually perform at shows. Due to an increasing workload, the band currently are giving priority to study over practicing, but that doesn’t mean they’re thinking of calling it quits anytime soon. They’re hoping to make it big after graduating from Grade 12.
Queen of Hearts (Western Academy of Beijing)
Milly Mahony (piano, vocals)
JJ Lim (guitar, vocals)
KH Kim (piano, tenor saxophone)
KT Liu (bass, drums)
Cameron Chen (guitar)
William Jin (drums)
Allen Wong (saxophone, guitar, piano)
The band was formed during a school music course. There have been some line-up changes over the several years since they started, but teamwork is established and bonds have been made. Most of their performances are centered around pop and R&B. They play pop because it is easy to learn and appeals to most of their audiences. Since all members are very busy with their own schedules, they tend to arrange their practice time based on what event/performance they have coming up. They used to only perform at WAB school events such as Rock in the Park, but they are thinking of expanding out of their comfort zone step by step and playing at more venues. Their parents are always the first ones in the audience at any of their shows, the last ones to leave, and the loudest clapping at the end.
The Coda Breakers (The British School of Beijing, Shunyi)
Alex Liu (bass, guitar, keyboard)
Anna Shin (drums)
Julienne Simbajon (vocals, guitar)
Karoline Woggon (guitar)
They started the band after attending Rockfest, and found out they share a common passion for music. They like to play rock, mostly, and experiment with indie rock as well. Sometimes they do arrangements of pop songs to make them suit their own style. BSB has superb music facilities so it’s easy to practice after school, as they are able to use the school’s instruments rather than carry their own. They practice twice a week for two hours after school and sometimes meet up during vacations. The band enjoys the music of Arctic Monkeys and Paramore the best, and usually perform songs by these groups. They performed at Rockfest in June 2017, which gave them exposure to a larger audience. They’re ambitious to perform at Coachella, Reading Festival or Glastonbury Festival, which have hosted some of the greatest live performances from bands like Muse, Arctic Monkeys, and many others.
Treble Makers (Beijing World Youth Academy)
Yilan Song (vocals)
Yolanda Jin (vocals)
Alice Wen (vocals)
Andy Zhao (guitar)
Daniel Kim (keyboard)
Sissi Chen (drums)
Playing pop music mostly, this group of musically-inclined ruffians usually rehearse every Monday for at least one and a half hours. Playing music for them is relaxing, and they’ve always been able to maintain a good balance between study and practice. They listen to lots of music from performers such as Patti Smith, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Beatles. They are also fans of other genres of music like jazz, classical music, R&B, and electronic. They’ve only had performing experience at BWYA, but they’re hoping to participate in more performances out of school. They also try to go to more concerts to expand their understanding of music and find inspiration. Their parents believe that playing in a band helps a lot in many aspects such as being better at communicating. They’re hoping to be good enough to play at Reading and Leeds Festival one day.
This article appeared on p54-56 of beijingkids June 2018 issue
Photography by Dave’s Studio