«CW: You've become quite an interesting artist/personality in China, named one the top local "rockstars" by Time Out Beijing. It seems like your experiences abroad, mixed with your Chinese roots have given you a perspective that many other local musicians are unable to duplicate, how do you think being such an international character influences your songwriting?
HF: I really respect bands like Second Hand Roses, Zi Yue, and Wan Xiao Li because they have a very local sound to their music is not contrived and has a voice that is more direct to their audiences. Because I grew up in the U.S. I could never do what they do, so I don’t even try. I’m making music I would listen to and because I get a chance to go out and occasionally experience a lot of really amazing shows, I find myself constantly reevaluating my music or how far you can stretch any particular sound. Recently I went to a Who Made Who concert in Berlin that was brilliant. They were building these complex chord changes within what could be called a dance rock song, until they devolved it all into almost country like melody backed by a slide guitar. Seeing good shows, listening to good music, always pushes your understanding a little further. I don’t think it’s necessary the difference between foreign and local musicians, but rather the difference between how much access people have to things that inspire them and changes their perspective, on music, on life, etc. For me, my biggest influences in music are foreign bands, but my biggest influences in life are my Chinese bandmates. Their unique perspectives on life influences the tone of the music we write just as much as the things I see in Berlin, New York, or any of these music mecca’s outside of China.
CW: In addition to fronting ZIYO, you're also a member of the Pet Conspiracy, how do your roles in these bands differ? Is it ever a conflict to play with two groups when writing music or are the lines very clear?
HF: What we’re trying to do is so very different. Being in Pet has definitely pushed me to listen and understand music in a different way, and that has bled into a bit of Ziyo’s composition styles. But the truth is, we’re not trying to do the same thing with these two bands. Pet Conspiracy is doing something we think of as Electro Cabaret. It’s a very visual, very extrovert, very exaggerated show experience. For Ziyo, the music is meant to create soundscapes open to interpretation, and is at it’s roots a lot more Rock. The writing process is also very different, as Huzi does most of the programming for Pet before we sit down and work out the details for the vocals. For Ziyo, our music often starts from jam sessions and gets slowly twiddled down to a song. We’re looking more for the emotion lift of the music and the way it pushes on the audiences ears. The biggest conflict right now is time. Both bands are doing really well right now, and juggling schedules is usually the biggest problem we have.»
«CW: You've become quite an interesting artist/personality in China, named one the top local "rockstars" by Time Out Beijing. It seems like your experiences abroad, mixed with your Chinese roots have given you a perspective that many other local musicians are unable to duplicate, how do you think bei...»