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Interview: Hanggai

As we’d just found they were recording their new album and were very curious as to when Hanggai would be playing in The Netherlands again we reached out and got to speak to Ilchi for a little bit and ask him some questions, We know much more about the album now of course and if you’re curious about it go read the post we made, both about Hanggai and their new album Hanggai – Big Band Brass.

Q1. We’ve written about Hanggai before but could you tell us in your words who Hanggai is and what do you stand for?
Hanggai is the most representative and the most internationally known band of Mongolian music and culture. We started the band because of our sincere love for music. We have grown to the spiritual strength among the younger generation of Mongolian groups in china. And we feel the huge responsibility to them and to Mongolian culture.

Q2. How did you get into music? and together as a band?
I lived in Inner Mongolian when I was a little boy. And I had a lot of opportunities to listen to music back then. My elder Sister was the bass player of one of China’s first girls’ punk rock bands. She always played rock n’ roll music at home when I was in middle school and high school. So I fell in love with rock music. Later I started to hang out with some bands and I tried to sing. I met guitarist Xu Jingchen and we started our first band.

Q3. Who inspires you/your music?
My inspirations come from both traditional folk songs and the bands(mostly from foreign countries) .

Q4. You’re recording a new album right now, can you tell us something about it?
The New Year Concert at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing at the end of 2015 was a remarkable crossover in the history of Chinese music. The musical feast was jointly presented by world-renowned composer and conductor Tan Dun and Hanggai. Inspiring from the cooperation with Tan Dun and the symphony orchestras, we have made this album “Hanggai Big Band Brass” . A 13-men jazz brass band has brought more powerful impact to Hanggai’s music, and has largely expanded the imaginations of our music. Composer Bi Jianbo has blended classical, jazz and new age into his score for the brass band. Hanggai is trying to establish a new form of dialogue between the eastern and western musics.

Q5. When will it come out?
“Hanggai Big Band Brass” has been releases online across China and international since March 7.

Q6.You’re really big in China, What is it like playing there?
The booming of live music venues and outdoor music festivals in recent years have nurtured a huge fan base in China. Especially those post-90s, they have great aesthetics of music and art. So we are getting to feel that there is no difference playing at home and overseas. However, Hanggai is still a relatively niche music genre.

Q7. How is it different from playing a show in Europe?
To us, the technical teams are more professional and mature and efficient in Europe.

Q8. Whats your craziest memory from touring anywhere?
I remember we used to perform at a time-honored castle in Spain years ago. The castle was marvelous and the concert was packed with people, and some audience members even stood on the windows. That was crazy and unforgettable.

Q9. What do you aspire for in the future/What are your dreams for Hanggai?
Our current China tour (March-April 2019) is very successful, and many of the concerts were sold out days before we arrive. We will keep making our China fan base growing. It’s been a couple of years that Hanggai haven’t toured in live music venues across China, and we want to return to venues and communicate with our fans closely. Then we will do concerts in gymnasiums.

From this fall, we will also tour around Europe to meet our fans there.

Q10. Is there anything you want people to pay extra attention to in your music?
“Hanggai Big Band Brass” is very special. Please take a listen and hope you enjoy it!

Q11 Will you come back to europe soon?
We will return to Europe in October/November.


Thank you to Ilchi (Hanggai) and Earthbeat for the opportunity for the interview, see you in October/November

Credits: photos and videos from google.

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