This week’s photo essay is by Kristen Ng, a Chengdu-based promoter and musician who runs the offbeat touring label Kiwese, facilitates live music programming at NU SPACE Chengdu and performs electronic music as Kaishandao. She’s selected seven snaps from her recent nationwide tour with New Zealand’s The All Seeing Hand: hardcore slow train tour life.

Though the tour journeyed through a range of territories across the country from Hohhot in Inner Mongolia to Xiamen on the southern coast, perhaps the greatest exploration happened within the digital landscape of WeChat. For those three and a bit weeks, the All Seeing Hand Tour Group chat was the 24/7 base for all important group communications, such as cat gifs and poo stickers. But really, with drop pins, maps, translation features, videos, links and pay gateways, WeChat was like a member of the team. How did people function before WeChat?

A lot of our engagement with people on tour was just on WeChat, face to face dialogue often limited to the initial “can we add a WeChat?” An American friend who returned to the States after five years in China put it bluntly: “I don’t know how to make friends without WeChat.” Too true.

So for the last image in this mini photo diary, I leave you with this WeChat edit of Jonny. A Russian girl at the Chengdu show sent through a photo captioned Космос, (quickly butchered into Kiwi English “oi, what’s cock mock?”) This led to an offshoot of Космос edits in the group, with each trying to out Космос the other. Watching the team’s WeChat game improve throughout the tour gave me proud mum vibes. The shows were great, but the Космос were stunning.

TOUR TIP #7: Get WeChat. It’s that simple.