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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Chinese post-punks to shake up the capital

Chinese post-punks to shake up the capital

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Rebuilding the Rights of Statues will perform tonight at the Chinese House. Photo Supplied

CAMBODIA'S music scene will get a shake-up when the  Chinese post-punk band Rebuilding the Rights of Statues (Re-TROS) perform at Chinese House tonight.

Raised by Nanjing intellectuals, the band's frontman, Hua Dong, began writing songs and playing instruments in his teens. After a few years abroad in Germany, he returned to Nanjing, meeting bassist Liu Min through the Nanjing underground music scene.

The pair was then introduced to drummer Ma Hui in Beijing, where the band's eclectic name was created; a result of a word game played by the band's members who picked a word each.  

The dynamic trio, who sing in English and write their own songs, say that they offer a darker and more complex music experience than punk.

"Whilst we are influenced by punk musicians, they tend to be more direct in their music, we are more introverted. We love to make our performance like a film or a story acted out on stage," the band said, answering emailed questions.

While an increase in post-punk bands from the US and Europe over the past five years has created something of a genre revival in the West, the band is also optimistic about the growing music scene in China.

"Post-punk music is growing in China; there are a few post-punk bands and the Chinese audience is now paying more attention to this kind of music," they said.

In the last few years, new music styles have developed in China with many world-class bands now performing in Shanghai and Beijing.

"Chinese musicians now have many more opportunities to develop their ideas and gain an insight into the wonderful world of music outside of China. Before, if we wanted to see a live show, we would have to go to Hong Kong. Now we can see the superstars here [in China]," the band said.

And the band has attained a certain level of popularity.

In 2005 they opened for Swedish band The (International) Noise Conspiracy.

After being signed by Modern Sky, one of the top independent record labels in China, they completed a tour of the US in 2007.

"We were amazed by the quality and the power and different styles of the bands [in the US]," they said.

"We took this as a challenge to create higher quality music."

The band has just completed a tour of 29 Chinese cities in 50 days, one of the biggest tours ever for a Chinese rock band.

The trip to Cambodia is part of the group's tour of Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam and Thailand.

The band believe they are the first Chinese rock band to perform in Cambodia.

"Cambodia is not so well-known to the world's rock scene - most bands in China don't know much about Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia. We love to go to new places - to new cities and we want to share our music with new audiences," they said.

Rebuilding the Rights of Statues will perform at 8pm tonight at Chinese House. Tickets cost US$6 if pre-booked (call 011 457 711) or $7 at the door.

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