Interview: Far Infinity of "Post-Techno" Label Prajnasonic

Source: Fun Guide - J Sun

9:23 AM / February 22, 2017

One of the most interesting new collectives to form on the Beijing underground electronic music scene over the past year has been Prajnasonic, a techno-focused label started in 2016 by producers Far Infinity, iimmune, VU and punx. All four had previously been active in different corners of the Beijing music scene — iimmune also plays guitar in Modern Sky-signed post-rock band Glow Curve, for instance — but they decided to join forces and make a concerted effort to pull more music fans away from the god-awful mainstream EDM sounds favored by the Gongti set and towards a more experimental, intellectual, and progressive sound.

Thus Prajnasonic was born, and this Thursday (February 24) it celebrates its first anniversary with a party at Dada and the official release of their first four EPs: one for each founder. Ahead of that, we spoke with Far Infinity, aka multi-media artist Liu Yiwei, about the label's origin and its plans going forward.
Far Infinity aka Liu Yiwei performing at a warehouse party in 751 D-Park

When did you first get the idea to start Prajnasonic?
Prajnasonic was founded at the beginning of 2016, but we started playing together before then. One night after a performance at Dada, we were having a chat and talked about the music scene in Berlin, where there are dozens of labels. We thought, "Why don’t we start a label and push forward the development of electronic music in China?"

What is the focus of Prajnasonic? What all does the label do?
From the beginning we knew that we would do more avant-garde, serious, contemporary electronic music rather than mainstream dance music, hoping to break through to people in the electronic music scene who are still sticking to stereotypes. We come from different musical backgrounds, and like a wide range of music. After reaching a basic consensus, we started making some performance and distribution plans. Everyone has a different division of labor, including the website, social media, event planning, design, publicity, mastering, contacting venues and cooperating musicians, ticketing, and so on.

What are some of the challenges you've faced so far?
In China, when you do this kind of electronic music brand you face a lot of very real difficulties. The ability to arrange a suitable venue is very limited, for example. Beijing and Shanghai have a truly underground musical temperament, but because of the high rent and other issues, several previously suitable venues have closed. With the music itself there are also issues with physical publishing, and financial constraints in the era of free online streaming. But I think to really do some things right, it takes a long-term effort, and requires a deep faith in music. I hope we can keep going on this road.

How is Prajnasonic different from other underground electronic music labels in China?
We see Prajnasonic as entering the vacuum between mainstream electronic music and pure experimental music. We put our focus on breaking stereotypes and maintaining musicality. We see our label as "Post-Techno" or "Contemporary Electronic Music".

What other fields, besides music, are you interested in? For example, multimedia art, programming, etc.
I’ve always had a lot of interest in other art forms. My previous multi-media works include some sound and video installations. But for a label, what matters most is the music. The multi-media content is simply supplementary.

What are your plans for 2017?
We plan to release new albums for our label artists, including physical releases on vinyl, and more. We’ll also have more events, and even perform at music festivals. We hope we can bring China’s independent electronic music to the world and let more people know about this type of electronic music’s emergence in China.

Prajnasonic at Dada

Prajnasonic 1-Year Anniversary + EP Release
Admission: TBC
Thursday, February 23
9pm start
206 Gulou Dong Dajie