Whether it's a casual “See ya!” to a colleague, a grunt at the cigarette man or a falafel-fuelled “FUUUU-” in memory of your favourite local hunger stopper; it's a sad thing to say goodbye. It's a sad thing, yet we do it everyday.
Alongside the goodbyes to people we know we'll see the next day, and the stories we've already started to tell of buildings that once were, are the genuine goodbyes to friends and family we've made over the years.
If you're actually reading these words, then it's probably a truth that included amongst those friends and families are those that make the bands.*
Cited as many now-prominent-Gulou-super-stars' first and favourite live band experience in Beijing, Disaster Chat have reigned supreme over the expat indie scene for the last few years. As the introduction suggests, unfortunately this dominion had to come to an end at some point.
In an incredibly alcohol fuelled chat after their final performance, two members of Disaster Chat reminisce over the past four years, with some cameo appearances from other voices you may recognize, and some sentences that might not make a lot of sense.
Disaster Chat as a four piece at favourite venue DDC - Joe Bruce, Jesse Emanuel, Justin Emanuel, Joe Harvey
Joe Bruce - Guitar and bass
Jesse Emanuel - Bass and a little bit of guitar
Justin Emanuel - Drums and muscles
Joe Harvey - Horrible guitar
Joe: Tonight was the last ever incarnation of Disaster Chat in Beijing on a stage, and it was beautiful. Fantastic.
Jesse: Yeah, it was the last show in the place that we found our origin. We were developed here, we grew here, we've been together four years in Beijing city, and we are super sad that it's our last night.
Joe: It was a weird feeling, but once we got playing it was the same old, same old excitement, same old energy and it was really good fun.
Jesse: Yeah, it was a super bittersweet experience, it was one of those things where we...you know... we love playing live, and as soon as we start playing live we feel electrocuted, but it was also extremely sad just knowing it was our last time here.
Joe: I think from the very first day, we kind of wanted to play as many shows as we physically could. A lot of bands kind of take a step back and say “A way to grow our brand, or our name... The best way to do that would be to stay back and play occasional shows and drum a lot of support for those shows...”. We did the complete polar opposite of that, we jumped in and played every single show we possibly could. Be that a Tuesday, be that a Wednesday, a Sunday whatever that was. Playing live, to us, was the thing that defined us really.
Jesse: Whenever you're a four year old band, you have a lot of connections, and you've played a lot of shows. One of the main problems is that now we're quitting, we're going to move on to other things and you have to start from not so well connected if that makes sense.
Joe: A funny story about the beginnings of disaster chat actually is, we were all kind of good friends before we decided to be a band together. We have two brothers in the band, Joe and I were good friends, and we were all good friends back in the Wudaokou days, and we decided to make a band together. A lot of people make or join bands together because they have musical interests that are alike, but we were like “well, we're four mates, let's just make a band together”. Joe not being here for the last few weeks has been kinda, I don't know how to describe it... upsetting.
Jesse: It's really awkward. He's kind of the life of the party, he's definitely the worst when it comes to musical talent. He is balls to the walls horrible. But, he is definitely the best when it comes to the life of everything. He is the guy, who, if it's just, without him, the rest of us sitting around a table, we don't know what to talk about. We're sitting there with our thumbs up our ass, wishing that we had a conversation to go on. And then Joe Harvey comes in and says something nice.
Joe: I would like to clarify that the thumb in the butt thing is not necessarily true all of the time, however Joe does steal the show I feel. I think of all of us, Jesse has the most charisma I would say, on stage certainly, but Joe is the one who backs that up I feel. That's been missed.
Jesse: My hope is that after I leave DC, the rest of the guys continue and flourish in music. That they will not stop, they will continue, keep going, and some day they will become super super famous, and then they will someday hopefully acknowledge my existence. But. One of the main things is the fact that we have two of us from England, two from US, we have very very different musical influences, and I think that the sound that comes out of Disaster Chat is a huge mesh, a mix and mash of people who influenced us.
Joe: In the formative stages of Disaster Chat when we were trying to make it, and moving down from Wudaokou to “The Scene” and we didn't know anybody, DDC were the first venue who really gave us a try. The jump in quality in equipment, general music vibe was huge for us. From there we've gone off to all the other great venues around the way, but DDC really gave us our start there I would feel.
Jesse: I'd agree. Hot Cat Club was probably our very first, and VA we got a start at… and School Bar?
Joe: School bar have been great, here's no disrespect meant, but DDC have been the most supportive venue for us, when we kind of started to get grooving within this populated scene of greatness that we've barely scratched the surface of. Incredible bands such as every band that Daniel Rothwell is in. It's awesome.
Jesse: We've had a great time in Beijing, we're super excited for what the future holds, and we're excited to see all of these amazing Beijing musicians in the future playing Madison Square Gardens.
*(Déjà vu – “The illusion of having already experienced something actually being experienced for the first time.”)