Pyroglyphix Remedy Tour 2015
Pyroglyphix are a rock rap band whose music combines elements of electronic and hip hop. In March 2014 the band were named ‘Suzhou’s Best Band’ at the City Weekend Suzhou Reader’s Choice Awards.
The band released its first EP, Remedy, last year. This spring has seen them take in a number of dates around eastern China including Changzhou, Wuhan and Shanghai. This weekend they will play in Nanjing.
Hailing from Suzhou the band comprise six members from around the world: Tom Batchelor, Blyane Duffy, Liu Xiao, Mark Woo, Danny Abbasi and Samantha Lyall.
I first saw the band live in 2013 when I went to visit a friend in Suzhou. She took me to a bar and there were some bands playing, but the standout band for me were Pyroglyphix. Of course, at the time I didn’t know their band name.
There was a real energy about the band and this short white dude was belting out this outrageous rap. Accompanied by another black MC, the hip hop was tight and I must admit I was surprised.
What also caught my attention was the fact that they were singing their own original music. I say this because the whole time I’ve lived in China I’ve seen lots of live music. There are bands everywhere, which is cool. They all do covers, which is no bad thing if the band is good, but when you hear fresh music it’s noticeable.
I first met Tom after the gig. We got talking and were both from the UK. I remember him being very friendly and positive and I guess this is what has kept the band going.
If I remember correctly the Pyroglyphix I saw then included some covered tracks and also an acoustic set too, if memory serves me correct. There were no woman’s vocals, which now I think adds to the depth of the sound a lot.
In the meantime I met Tom on a few occasions. He told me that they had a new CD and were touring in the spring but said there’d been some changes to the band. The introduction of Sam Lyall has added variation to the hip hop. It gives the band some scope to cover more ground musically in the studio that is authentic when live.
I recently saw the band in its modern guise in Shanghai. It was the first gig of the Remedy Tour at Inferno, a well-known heavy metal venue. I wondered how the band would go down in this setting, especially when I saw the two bands before them, the second a modern version of The Darkness wearing 70s rock get up in white vests and leather trousers. In fact by the end of the set the lead singer was shirtless.
I asked the guy next to me if this was the typical music at this venue and he confirmed my thoughts. The last band playing after Pyroglphix set were the main act and people were waiting to see them. I told him I thought the next band may play a slightly different style. He looked at me knowingly.
30 minutes later the band were in full swing, their frenzied style and flowing hip hip accompanied by Sam’s strong, deep voice holding the sound together. The drums, bass and guitar held a rocking beat.
My head was bobbing along as I supped my beer and took in the show. The guy I’d been talking to previously turned to me and told me he was into heavy metal but was enjoying the show anyhow. He commented that the band were obviously ‘a band’ as he put it. I knew what he meant.
They’d obviously been playing together a while and had been making rehearsal. I guess the fact that they’ve recorded some music together makes things more definite. You’ve got something real to show people and something that is your art. But if music is only art and isn’t entertaining then it falls flat in my opinion.
The stand out tune from their new EP, for me, is the title track Remedy. The song snaps into the chorus and drives you through with Tom and Mark’s solid but clear hip hop taking you on a funk infused journey. For me this song encapsulates the band’s energy when you see them live.
But Pyrogylphix cover a number of styles and this is what makes them interesting. They are playing in Nanjing this weekend at the Chic Hills Music Festival. It’s an occasion I’m looking forward to as it’s a chance to see the band in a different setting than I’ve previously seen them.
Their set starts at 6:30pm on Saturday April 18. And to get a flavour of what to expect you can listen to the EP below. And for the princely sum of five English pounds sterling (46rmb) you can buy the EP yourself.
Have a listen and tell me which is your favourite track in the comments below