As we dip into fall, let’s take a trip to the second-tier coastal city of Shaoxing and check in on Little Wizard, in my opinion one of the best young rock bands in China today. Here’s an impressive music video for the debut single off their latest album, Little Wizard Ⅱ:
While most bands hoping to catch a break in China move to Beijing or Shanghai, where there are more venues, labels, and chances to hit it big (or big-ish), that situation is changing as second-tier cities develop more resources and a more diverse cultural ground for bands like Little Wizard in Shaoxing — or The Pumpkins in Xinxiang, or ST.OL.EN in Chengdu — to develop their craft at home. This is in part due to a growing digital network with which to spread new music, and an expanding offline infrastructure of venues and high-speed rail routes that allow bands to build their fanbase with an occasional tour, like the ten-city jaunt Little Wizard did to release their new album earlier in the year.
Shaoxing is still no powerhouse incubator of next-level indie rock — Little Wizard pretty much do their thing in isolation. But they have teamed up with Space Circle, a sort of label/manager/producer in nearby Hangzhou that leveraged an early partnership with Dalian post-rock giants Wang Wen into a platform to give younger, less established bands like Little Wizard, who prefer to stay outside the Beijing-Shanghai metropole binary, a needed boost. Based on the production quality of this video, looks like they’re doing an excellent job so far.
Check out more of Little Wizard’s music via Bandcamp