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Dirty Fingers’ Ale Amazonia

Nov 9, 2018

My given name is Alexandre Leal de Almeida but my war name is Ale Amazonia. I’m the drummer for Dirty Fingers. The vocalist Guan XiaoTian came up with the band name, he was reading a book about The Beatles, there was a list of fan-made names, and Dirty Fingers was one of them. Our band really took the dirty part to heart.

The first formation was in 2013 at XiaoTian’s university but they were terrible, seriously search "脏手指" and you can find videos from five to six years ago, it’s just bad. XiaoTian is just jumping around and the other guys don’t know how to play but are trying to figure it out.

Shanghai"

I met him in 2014 when he was working at Power Station of Art. The kids here are very polished, a little commercial you could say, XiaoTian looked very different with his bad Christmas tree tattoos. We got to talking and he asked me to drum for the band. I come from the black metal / death metal scene in Brazil, so I play very fast. I told them we can be faster, and without thinking we just became punk-ish. We also added Xiaohai, the guitar player whose sound is rock and roll and Haiming our bass player is a bit funky. I think now after four years we’ve finally found a good balance.

I come from the DIY scene in Brazil, I don’t care how the market operates. You do what you want, you push it, and that’s it. People can like it or not. All the things it takes to manage a band we do by ourselves, because we are young, we are able to. In 2015, we did the first tour: 32 cities in four months. That was brutal, we lost a lot of money, but we had fun and during that tour we figured out where our audience is.

We just came back from our first round of our world tour, from Cambodia and Thailand which were crowdfunded for. We’re applying the same logic, paying for everything and going everywhere, just to know where there’s opportunity. From that crowdfunding campaign we still have money to do Japan, Egypt (Trip to Cairo?!), and Brazil. We’ll be finishing in March.

dirtyfingerslive

I didn’t come here to play music, I came to be an ordinary person working in international consultancy. I’m from a city in the south called Curitiba and my degree is in international business. I opened a company in Brazil and an office here to do whatever for who pays me whatever. After two years of working a job for money, I couldn’t handle myself. That’s when I found the boys and started playing music again, abandoned my career as a trader and became a producer of music, documentaries, and festivals. I became drastically poor after that but richer in spirit!

In the six years I’ve been here I’ve lived in several places. In Xujiahui, Jing’an, Changning, Yangpu, Putuo. Now I’m moving back in with Dirty Fingers in Yangpu. We used to live together but got busted and went to jail and were kicked out. This was before our record deal, so we were just indulging ourselves in drugs, cheap sex, and bullshit. Now we have a career to develop, we actually have a shot, so we’re moving back in together to focus.

Shanghai"

We are a concert band so we play very often. Every month we do an event called “Thursdays I Don’t Care About You” at Yuyintang, which invites bands across the country to play with us in Shanghai. I like places like this or like Specters (RIP) but they can be a bit too dramatic for me. I believe in the spirit of places and bars here can feel quite heavy, a mixture of drunkenness, frustration, and anger. Right now, what I’m trying to develop more is going to parks to read. It’s super punk.

I also have my first solo concert at Mao Live house on December 8 opening for a Brazilian Disco Punk band called Blastfemme that I'm helping to tour here. It’s very experimental, not fun, and more aggressive. In my solo project I play guitar, I play base, and my riffs are dark, way too fucking dark for Dirty Fingers. I’m also busy with SUBLAND, a venue I help run here with SUBTROPICAL ASIA a company we founded about one year ago when I was living in Beijing. The idea is to promote young independent creators like movie makers, with events where they can showcase their work. We’ll be screening Chinese independent movies and “exploring possibilities of the afternoon” because the building cannot stay open very late. But community building is the idea, it’s a place to display your work and hang out.

As for Dirty Fingers, I think we’ve reached the ceiling of the underground scene quite fast. Now we’re trying to break the ceiling. It’s part of the attitude of the band, not caring. We care a lot about the music itself, the structure of it and so on, but don’t stress too much about money or success.

Shanghai"

But it’s time for us to take a more professional approach to reach another level. We have to record a third album now, so that will come out next year around June. The bass player from The Cribs has accepted the role of producer, so we will bring him here to record with us. The hope is he’ll help open doors for us in the European and American market because the China market is just concerned about China. It’s amazing because no one outside knows what’s happening and that creates a very specific ecosystem here but it’s annoying when you want to leave.

If we want to play in China and just sustain our life here, we can do it…but that’s boring.

VENUES MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE:

  • Power Station of Art

    • Arts
    • Museums
    • Old Town (Yu Garden)
    • Address
      200 Huayuangang Lu, near Miaojiang Lu
      花园港路200号, 近苗江路
    • Phone
      3110 8550

    The PSA is an impressive but cumbersome space, a huge building likened by curator Qui Zhijie to London’s Tate Modern. The PSA may have similar hardware to that legendary institution but it doesn’t have the software — the staffing, budgets, etc — to match.... Read more

  • Yuyintang

    • Nightlife
    • Live Music
    • Outdoor Seating
    • Address
      851 Kaixuan Lu, by Yan'an Xi Lu (Entrance behind the Metro Station)
      凯旋路851号, 近延安西路口
    • Phone
      5237 8662

    Yuyintang is one of the oldest underground live music houses in Shanghai, and has become a staple in the city. Featuring regular gigs every weekend, it brings in underground rock acts both worldwide and local. Read more

  • This venue has now closed

    Specters

    • Nightlife
    • Bars
    • Live Music
    • Address
      1485 Beijing Xi Lu, near Changde Lu
      北京西路1485号, 近常德路
    • Phone

    Sometimes a man. Sometimes a man. Sometimes a red-blooded, full-grown, get-down kinda man (with some partners from Yuyintang), despite a decade of experience that suggests it's probably a bad idea, decides he wants to open a dive bar. A grotty, black and red,... Read more

  • SUBLAND

    • Huangpu
    • Community
    • Address
      Bldg 8, No. 51 Runan Jie, near Zhizao Ju Lu
      汝南街51号8号楼, 近制造局路
    • Phone
      139 1679 6735

    An independent art gallery located inside a commercial building surrounded by random disconnected activities, such as a gym, coffee shop, kids education center and commercial office. Run by SUBTROPICAL ASIA, they describe themselves as a "cultural playground" and... Read more

[Shanghai Famous]:

Shanghai Famous is a weekly SmartShanghai column focusing on people out there in the city makin' the scene. They're out there around town, shaping Shanghai into what it is, creating the art, culture, and life around us. We asked them what's good in Shanghai. We asked them what's bad in Shanghai. We asked them to tell us more, more, more about their wonderful selves.

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