Friday, December 27, 2013

On the road to god knows where 7 ISRAEL

on the road to god knows where 7 Israel from Alex Zhang Hungtai on Vimeo.

Some post tour thoughts on Israel:

While some people kept writing me and asking me why we toured there based on Israel’s political activities, for me personally, it was an eye opener to see and experience it first hand.  Theres Israeli Arabs/Jews, Morrocan Jews, Russian Jews, Ethiopian Jews, European Jews and everything in between…  The population is so diverse and varied, it is almost beyond comprehension for foreigners like us to understand the history and their business there.  The everyday people who housed us, showed and drove us around, told us their past military experiences, and all the fucked up shit they saw…I could go on forever about that trip.  An hr drive each day between the cities of Haifa, Telaviv and Jerusalem, we swam in the ocean everyday, and it was the longest I went on without eating meat.  4 days.  I wouldn’t trade the experience/memories for anything else.  It sparked my interest to travel in the middle east which I never really thought about…Israel is surrounded by mountains, oceans, and deserts.  Its got cities and small towns, speaks Hebrew, Arabic, and English, and is unlike any other place I’ve ever been to.  It reminded me traces of Asia, but also North America mixed with hints of Europe…You should go see it for yourself, understand how much tension is there, and think of the insanity of the shit going on there and how much they are hated by their surrounding neighbors.  Next time before you express opinions about a country you know not a whole lot about, you should really go there and see it for yourself.   That was my lesson there.  

For myself personally, there was a sense of connection I can relate to, this unspoken feeling of displacement with the people that were around my age (early 20's to mid 30's) Some people were of Arab descent, born there, or of mixed backgrounds, but whatever the combination of reasons why their family was there in the first place, I could sense a feeling (again, unspoken...just my intuition and observations doing the talking here...) that some people felt a sense of entitlement to be there because they were born there.  They didn't choose to be there in the middle of all this conflict, they were born into it. And then there's a feeling where that entitlement is being questioned sub/consciously almost on a weekly to monthly basis, especially when news of the Israeli government policies or behaviours get into the international headlines.  Imagine growing up in a place like that where theres people pointing fingers all around you and you have no clue whats right or wrong and have to figure it out for yourself to just have a somewhat decent objective sense of perception of whats happening in the world around you, instead of being brainwashed into hate machines, or worst, insensitive emotionless fucks that don't give a shit about anything or anyone.  This state of lost feeling... of where you belong, was something I picked up on immediately and could heavily relate to and understand based on my own weird upbringing, of constantly having to deal with people trying to pigeon hole you based on your race, or background, telling you what you are and what your not, reminding you, that you don't belong here.  And THEN, combine politics, religion, and history into the mix dude, it becomes fucking heavy man.  Its so fucking heavy I can't even begin to digest this when I first left...It took me 6 months to write this and to have some what of a objective look at what it was that I experienced there...

I wanna thank my brothers Shub and Bernardino for keeping me in company, we were always taking care of eachother like family this year.  And I wanna thank the people that hosted us, Ben, who drove and shown us and planned everything that gave us this experience, and all the people that came out to the 3 was really intense and we really appreciate all the support you've shown us.  Truly, thank you.  

One day, I hope to see the pyramids in Egypt, and play in cairo, Instanbul, go to Jordan, Lebanon, Morroco, and venture to Northern Africa, and hopefully get to see South Africa as well.  I also want to play Central and South America too... When I've toured the whole world, I think that will be the end of Dirty Beaches.  I know this will take years to accomplish, and its a dream...But so far all my teenage dreams came true.  So I know god will look upon those who work hard.  If god is not on your side, then you still have luck and the spirits of the whole fucking universe.  And most importantly, your mother fucking self.  

Here's to this fucking crazy year.  2013.  Worked my fucking ass off.  Thanks for showing me the way.  Just gotta follow through like how I've always did for the last 10 years of my life.  Work hard, play hard, write write write, record, write write write, Live Love Drive.  Repeat until you succeed.  

Yours truly,

Pacific boy.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013


dreams from Alex Zhang Hungtai on Vimeo.

Dreams do happen in real life.


We have been on tour since feb this year...its been a VERY LONG and productive year so far.  We are all incredibly tired but also excited to play a newly arranged live set of DRIFTERS and instrumental improvisations for this upcoming EU tour.  Can't wait to sit down at home and start working and recording on newer materials for 2014.  Bernardino is now on his solo Femminielli Noir tour in europe as well with Jesse Osbourne so go check them out, real dark berlin techno stuff.  Its really great.
We won't be playing live for a while after this tour, so come out to these shows if you can, you know we always appreciate it when the fans come out and show us love.

Shub has a solo album in the works, almost finished and we can't wait to share them tracks with y'all.  I'll be working on some solo meditation music for 2014, mostly ambient instrumentals and more film score projects, and then regroup with Shub to work on more DB material later in 2014.  Can't wait for the changes the new year brings.


Our EU tour dates are below:

Sat 16-Nov-13 Frankfurt Am Main Germany Staedel Museum 
Fri 22-Nov-13 London UK Oval Space 
Thu 28-Nov-13 Utrecht Netherlands Le Guess Who Festival 
Sat 30-Nov-13 Rye UK ATP
Sun 01-Dec-13 Kortrijk Belgium De Kreun
Mon 02-Dec-13 Roubaix France La Cave Aux Poetes
Tue 03-Dec-13 Paris France La Fleche DOr
Wed 04-Dec-13 Bordeaux France Iboat
Thu 05-Dec-13 Joué-lès-Tours France Le Temps Machine
Sat 07-Dec-13 Metz France Les Trinitaires
Sun 08-Dec-13 St Gallen Switzerland The Palace
Mon 09-Dec-13 Zürich Switzerland El Lokal
Wed 11-Dec-13 Budapest Hungary A38 Ship
Thu 12-Dec-13 Graz Austria Orpheum EXTRA 
Fri 13-Dec-13 Bologna Italy Locomotiv 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

On the road to god knows where 4 EASTERN EUROPE 2012

on the road to god knows where 4 Eastern Europe 2012 from Alex Zhang Hungtai on Vimeo.

This was the tour that made us fall in love with Europe.  We met so many incredible people and cumulated so many different experiences that will be forever framed in my mind.  Filmed mostly in september 2012, now looking back these footages I can already see those feelings which later became Drifters / Love is the devil...

Tumultuous times.  But tomorrow is always a new day.  Start over.  LEARN.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

DB Men's style icon: Walasse Ting

Walasse Ting's paintings were a big influence on DB, but also the way he lived his life.  Drifting from Shanghai to Hong Kong, paris, New York, Amsterdam, etc.

I especially loved the tropical birds and women paintings that were a popular motif in his work.  Hyper neon romantic.  One of the inspirations behind Drifters/LITD.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


I finally found out that all my favorite Madonna songs were written with and produced by the same person: Stephen Bray.  Below are some examples of his productions, and some early Madonna demos. ACE

its crazy to read about how many lifetimes Madonna lived through before she became the Madonna we all know in the 80's...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Post tour afterthoughts 2013 North America

First thing and foremost, right off the bat, Thanks to all the true USA/CANADA DB fans that came out to support us.  We will keep growing, experiment with new sounds/ ideas and keep living life with engagement, and evolve and progress. Thank you Austin, SF, SD and LA for your amazing mexican food and all 4 sold out shows in a row.  I got my fill of lengua and am a happy man now, was a pleasure to play for y'all.  Thank you NYC for coming out to support us when Ariel Pink and Suicide were playing on the same night.  Those were two names that I was compared to before, and I'm happy we have our own following to be able to pack in Bowery ballroom with such a crazy competition and that people think of us as a group thats evolving into our own terms, with our own identity.

Sometimes touring makes you feel like your doing the same shit over and over again and some people just shit on all your hard work, but its precisely times like this when a real genuine fan comes out and tells you how much they appreciate your work and evolution, and that they too, are evolving as individuals and listeners.  Our work then becomes the soundtrack of their lives, at least, for this part of their lives, until they move on.  But this particular period in time now, will be remembered forever.  As it did with my life in my early twenties with the music that soundtracked those years.  Those days will forever be embalmed in my memory.  To even think or know that we can be capable of achieving this for other people, is an honor.

Turning 33 was weird, but I'm ready to go back home to Berlin to digest this crazy year.  We are gonna take some time off this winter and record and realize some new ideas we have been DYING to work on, and to slow down and be human again, to buy groceries, cook for family and friends, to pay rent and taxes, and to not participate in the rat race in terms of music industry standards.  We are gonna go at our own pace, and slowly build brick by brick our own identity.  I don't want to hear Suicide comparisons anymore when I'm dropping piano instrumental EPs and Waterpark OST.  Need time to distance myself from BADLANDS and retrieve all the music and identity I had prior to that one album and bring the last 10 years of music I wrote full circle and grow.  I got lucky with writing an album(badlands) thats essentially an homage to my dad and all things I loved, conceptually, and musically, and copy and pasted a conceptual character study of songs that stole and borrowed heavily from the past and injected stories of my own personal struggle on the DIY scene and tour circuit.  All that dead end, doomsday mentality went into that Rockabilly character.  At most, to me personally it was a triumph, conceptually.  Musically, not so much... Nothing frustrates the creator more, when they will be forever typecast for ONE THING they did in their entire career.  Which is why the destruction of this character and image is very essential and vital to me and it took me past two years to figure my shit out and to build courage to come out and play as myself instead of hiding behind a character with a pompadour.    Theres a lot of new music coming for 2014, and I can't wait to release them and share them all with everyone.

Lastly, a salute to DB Co-captain Shub Roy, homies Carlo Dellamotta, Michael Farsky, Pierre Guerineau, Sherry Leblanc and Kevin for housing us in their lovely home in Austin, ELL V GORE, Chasms, Sisu for being true homies /tour buds.  Thank you Sandy, Nat, Cups, Javi, Brent (the best fucking driver I know) and Jules for letting us crash at their sweet home in LA, my lil sis Jess Labs in SF, so proud of you, Dean Hurley for helping me record a track over at David Lynch's studio, Uncle Mike Watt for taking me to Bukowski's grave in San Pedro, and everyone else that helped us overcome the hardships of this past year.  Truly, Thank you.   Viva La Familia.  Nothing else matters other than your family and friends.

"Keep your powder dry!" - Uncle Mike

Yours truly,

Pacific boy.
Montreal, Oct 2013

Saturday, August 31, 2013

DB Back in USA Tour 2013

Hey guys, glad to be back in the new world, and our favorite continent.  Its strange to be back and to be able to understand what pedestrians are saying, and to be able to have small talks at corner stores, and cafes with strangers.  Theres been some changes in the DB camp lately that I'd like to update y'all.  First, our dear brother and friend Femminielli won't be joining us this tour, Bernardino will be focusing on his solo project FEMMINIELLI, he will be on tour with NOIR in Europe in November, so go check em out when they play your city.  

Second, I've recently suffered a hip injury from jumping out of a 2nd floor window.  It was 5am, I was late to catch my flight in Berlin, the building was one of those old german apartments and the hinterhaus door was locked from the inside.  I had just returned the sublet apt key, so I was fucked and locked inside.  Calling a locksmith would've taken 45min, knocked on neighbors door but no answer, I did a fast scan in my brain and the only conclusion I came up with was to jump out from the 2nd floor window.  I threw my suitcase down, then looked at the time and I was really late for my flight, I took 2 minutes examining the height, clutched my laptop in my arms and then leapt.  I fell fucking hard.  

I then limped my way out to the Taxi I had called 10 min prior and headed out to Tegel airport.  I was wheelchaired through Heathrow and JFK by lovely staff of British Airways (amazing service) for this 18 hr journey... Then proceeded to wait 7hrs at the Jewish Gerneral Hospital ER in Montreal.  Bienvenue a QUEBEC.  (special thanks to Mike Farsky and Carlo Dellamotta for picking me up at Trudeau you boys) I'm ok now, but had a serious problem walking for a few days.  I'm currently walking with a cane.  Might be performing on stage sitting down or with a cane.  Shub and I are working on the new set and its coming together really well.  Expect lots of drone and instrumentals, along with songs from Drifters/LITD.  No songs from badlands.  Over it.  Done.  

Lots more new songs and new material on the horizon.  Can't wait for 2014.  

Oh yeah, turning 33 next week.  Instead of a rager, I'm just gonna treat it like another night on tour.  Post show night caps, enter sandman.  See y'all in your town soon.  

August 31, 2013.  Ottawa.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Hotel EP


Brief Info on HOTEL:

During the past 4 European tours (between 2011-2012) there would be occasionally a piano in the lobby or somewhere close to the dining area in the hotels we've stayed. Sometimes at night around 3 or 4am when I can't sleep, I would sneak downstairs and play the piano and record bits and pieces of ideas onto my cellphone. Of course, there were many times I was caught and was asked to leave and stop disturbing the other guests that were sleeping, and it was quite embarassing...

But that was the birth of the idea of HOTEL. Later on during the writing and recording of Drifters in Montreal, I taught myself note by note how to translate these ideas into actual piano pieces. I don't know how to play the piano, as you can probably tell from this recording, haha. But there are a lot of emotions and ideas that I find very expressive and intimate in this instrument. It gave me a voice to communicate these very intimate thoughts that I tried to relay back to the one person that meant the world to me.

In hindsight, perhaps this is some sort of prelude to the story that later became Drifters/Love Is The Devil. Hotels are very powerful symbols I find as it could be some sort of purgatory, a stopping point between A and B, but never yet as defining as the destination. Just a pit stop between before and after. Of heartbreaks, romance, and isolation, it could be everything and anything in your mind. A place where the morning light sets upon that person's face that you adore laying next to you, or an empty room full of dark shadows on a wall full of blood and shit stains. Or perhaps, just a waiting room of some sort before you escape this limbo, a place where time doesn't exist.

I wish you all in good health, and in good spirits.

God speed,

Alex Zhang Hungtai

March 25th, 2013. Berlin.

(Originally released on "Drifters/Love Is The Devil" JAPAN EDITON Via Big Love Records, as a BONUS DISC)


released 26 May 2013

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kowloon pop

Heres a song Josh and I threw together recently in NYC for our show last night at mercury lounge.  iphone demo recordings are pretty rad.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Info on the upcoming DB collab sets in NYC (JUNE 2013)

Hi everyone, due to the expensive flights from Berlin to NY I was unable to fly my band here, and as a result unable to perform the new album on the upcoming mercury lounge and glasslands shows.

But instead of turning down the shows, I wanted to use this opportunity to collaborate with some of my friends and artists that I admire in NY, and we will be working on figuring out how to collab and present some new ideas to translate DB in a live setting.  (Its been a repeating theme anyways in DB)

A big part of Drifters/love is the devil's core value as a record musically, was to also abandon as much reliance on surface aesthetics, and to focus on presenting the material in its core form. As the material world we all live in is just fucking neck breaking and cut throat, theres not a lot of time to breathe or digest and let ideas bloom naturally in its pure form.  Instead we all rely heavily on coating it with sugar, to make it easier to ingest.  Very much like how cooking works, especially when its been presented to a "wider audience" (more on that in future posts. The parallel universe between cuisine and music....) The attempt to abandon aesthetics was not fully successful on my end, but I did try my best and went as far as I could and bled out what became love is the devil.  I think the primary focus of these 2 shows in NYC will be a continuation in that direction, to present work not in its record "form" or "skin" but to strip it down to its essence and core, and in hopes of still achieving the same potency in story telling with its content.  Or from another perspective, perhaps aesthetics are really all disposable, as we can freely change the exterior (like the act of shedding skin, or changing jackets) it is about what you are trying to present with engagement, at the core.

Mercury Lounge collaborator:

Parallel Pyres - Joshua Frank

Josh has been a long time friend, a Canadian currently living in NYC, like me he had a very weird childhood having been raised in India and China predominantly in his early years.  The opposite of me, pretty much.  haha

For the Mercury lounge show we will try and explore the songs on the "Drifters" side.  The core of this album really, is just the blues.  Far from home blues, ain't got nobody blues, I walk alone blues, etc.  Like John Lee Hooker once said, "Its all about the drift, the boogie, and the blues"

Glasslands Collaborators:

Heathered Pearls - Jakub Alexander

I first came across Jakub's music recently while on tour in Tokyo, my friend Maru played it in the morning while we drank coffee looking over the tokyo skyline.  I became a fan since, and am very stoked to have him on this collab set.

EOLA - Edwin White

You guys might know Ed from 1/2 of the band TONSTARTSSBANDHT, and Ed and I have known each other since the Montreal years, but I've always loved Ed's music and wholeheartedly like a brother as well after our Russia Tour together.

So in essence, Glasslands show will be focusing on translating the music from LOVE IS THE DEVIL to a live audience.  You might not recognize any of the songs for this night, because we will be tearing apart the songs completely into sections, reassemble them, and present this music in hopes of achieving the same potency of the emotions I caught on recording, alone at night, in Berlin, completely isolated.

The first time I performed any of these songs from LOVE IS THE DEVIL, was when I was in Tokyo during an in store performance at Big Love records.  During "alone at the danube river" I bursted out in tears in public.  Uncontrollably.  I don't wish to ever repeat that ever again.  Its unprofessional, and I apologize for the audience in Tokyo who witnessed it.

It will be a challenge to bring Love is the devil to a live setting, but perhaps, this is the only recording I've made, where I'm still confused about where and how it turned into what it is, in record form.  And as its creator, I'm still looking at it, bemused, and sometimes, painful, to see what this record represents for me at this time in my life.  Perhaps over time I will understand wholeheartedly what the hell I have created over that cold, long winter in Berlin.   

Monday, June 17, 2013