We recently chatted with musician and artist Dann Gaymer of project GUIGUISUISUI about his current East Asian tour and he gave Chincha some unique sketches as a much-appreciated gift. Read all about the dark, folksy act which, according to Dann, “combines harmonica, guitar and a customized skateboard-diddly bo to blast out punk-country and gutter-blues in a truly DIY style.

Please explain GUIGUISUISUI. What exactly is it?

GUIGUISUISUI is a band, consisting of me, Dann, and whoever I’m working with at that moment in time. Because I make zines to give out at shows which incorporate my writing, art and photography, which is also used in the records, it’s got a multimedia project vibe to it too. It’s also an alter ego for me when I’m on stage.

In terms of the meaning GUIGUISUISUI is pinyin for 鬼鬼祟祟, a Chinese word which means ‘sneaky’, a homage to my dad’s band of the same name. The character 鬼 (‘gui’) means ghost, which fits with the kind of dark vibes I bring into the project.

What are you hoping to achieve from the project?

I’ve been in so many bands of different styles over the years but I’d never got to make a record or go on a tour. The past is gone, the future is unknown, so we only have the present — seize the day! I want to try and release a record every year until, well, until I don’t want to anymore. Just use this as an outlet for all my creativity and have a lot of fun with my friends. Right here and now it would be cool to make a couple of short videos while I’m on tour and maybe talk with some labels about working together for the next EP.

 You used to live in Korea but have skipped on over to China. What are the main differences between the alternative/ art scenes in both countries?

China can be surpisingly free. By and large so long as you don’t get political you can get away with whatever you want. China is also such a vast country so even if only a tiny fraction of the population take an interest in music or art that still makes the scene bigger than Korea’s. Stuff tends to get quite extreme in China too, like its metal and hardcore scenes. It’s like if you’re going to get weird you go all the way or not at all. There are so many places, people and things to explore and take influence from, it’s pretty mind blowing.

That being said I currently live in Changchun, north east China. An average winter’s day can be around -30C, it’s a dirty insudstrial city, and people are rough around the edges and built for a survivial. It’s a million light years from the 798 art dirstict of Beijing and another million light years from Hongdae. It’s definitely presented me with new challeges to work around: howe do you make an art show in a ciy with no galleries and not even any decent spaces? How do you make concerts in a city with no live venues? You think wide.

On a side note one thing I appreciate is how people in the Chinese music scene know one another. You can travel thousands of miles away and meet someone at a show who shares a bunch of the same awesome friends as you. That reminds of the community feel of Korea, it’s super nice.

You’re currently on a trip. What are your travel plans/ where have you been/ what are you doing exactly?

Right now I’m in Shanghai. Last night I played the first show of the tour at a place called Live Bar with Xiao Zhong of Pairs, one of my favourite drummers. Funny story: there were seven people and a cat in the audience, including a pair of pretty hot Chinese girls. After the set I went over and started trying to talk to them — I was a sweaty, bleedy mess, and suddenly found I couldn’t speak Chinese — but I found out they had actually come to see my dad. I had played a show there with my dad last October and these two girls had come back because they said my dad was really sexy. They said I was just alright, so needless to say they were a tad dissapointed.

Next I’m heading to Beijing to play XP with Low Bow on January 13, stopping off in Dalian to play Echo Books on January 15, then taking a boat from Dalian down to Incheon. All of the the Korea dates will be with my main man Ripley Tao, who’s a walking explosion of creativity. Can’t wait to play with that cat.

We’re kicking things off at Yogiga, Seoul, on Jan 19, then Santa Claus in Daejeon on Jan 20. Rip is keen to do some midweek shows in Hongdae and Itaewon (still in the works), then we’re off to Daegu on Jan 25 to play Horus Music Garage with  Heimlich County Gun Club and Mr.Headbutt. Deagu is kind of my “hometown” as it’s where my Asian adventure began and it will be  Mr.Headbutt’s last show I believe, so we’re going to rock out hard. Then onto Basement in Busan on Jan 26.After one more date in Japan it’s back to Changchun (I’m supposed to catsitting for a friend during Spring festival). I’m stoked, I love being on the road anyway, but with my guitars, a bundle of zines and my CD, couldn’t be more excited. Hanging with great friends the whole way makes it even better. See you soon Korea!

Words and images from Dann Gaymer. Interview by Loren.

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