| Band: Ming & Ping|
Interviewer: Matthew Willis
This synth pop duo from San Francisco, Ming & Ping are reviving the electronic music movement with sparkling dance beats and cleverly written songs.
Opening Statement Matt (GC): I am pleased to have you guys join me for an interview with Grave Concerns E-zine Website. Thank you so much for joining me. Glad to finally get to talk with you guys!
Opening Response (Ming and Ping):
Ming: Hey cheers, mate! We are quite honored that you are interested in us and our music.
Ping: Yes, thank you for contacting us about this interview.
Matt (GC) Tell me about yourselves. How long have you guys been playing together? What are your roles in the band?
Ming: Ah, I am Ming. Ha-ha, you know, we only been making music as Ming & Ping since summer 2002.
Ping: Well, usually Ming is leading singer and I am singing backing. We have a new album in August called MP2 and inside this CD, we both write the songs equally. Sometimes there is Ping only song or Ming only song but when we produce the music, we are doing everything together.
Matt (GC): How would you describe your sound to viewers who may have never heard your material?
Ming: Oh this is tough since we are not professional English speakers. He-he... Brother you are certainly better speaker than Ming.
Ping: Actually we have influences in older and classic pop like Beach Boys and Elvis. But I think for the music, we take much influence from rigid electronic sound of New Order's "Blue Monday" or "Perfect Kiss" and for lyrics and vocals we take influence from classic Gary Numan and mix with Howard Jones.
Matt (GC):How is your upcoming album MP2 coming along? How was the experience of making the album? Could share with us when it will be officially released?
Ming: HAHA, this is most amazing experience I ever had! MP2 will be release in August and we will have a performance in Los Angeles in August 26 to celebrate new CD. We learn very much about making songs and we add this to MP2. We still have same ideas as we did in first album, but this time we are easier to communicate these ideas.
Ping: I think new album is very "heartfelt" because we really speak what we are always thinking. And we are able to put into our songs the same appreciation that we have for normal little things around us that make us happy. We program in the music the same repetition and patterns we see in the city. And for the voice we sing of the little bits that stand out, like the beautiful rust stain that we find underneath the fire escape or the movement of pigeons from sidewalk to building's edge. MP2 is really quite special.
Matt (GC): I have recently seen your latest video on your website. Can you explain your experience in making it? Who directed it? Etc….
Ming: Our most recent video is "The Bright Sunlight" made by our amazing friends Rory Sheridan and Brian Williams of 29films.com. They are most friendly and fun to work with, we don't mind to spend a few days working on this video non-stop! Only the bad part is to wait for editing and stuff, you know what I mean? Haha, I am so impatient to waiting!
Ping: The Bright Sunlight video is written mostly by Brian Williams and our friend and producer Bao Vo. They look at our song and our meaning and they make it visible. Really, the song is about forgetting the beauty and fun that children always have. So they take all our ideas and make a very simple visual story about hacking TV satellite to broadcast this beauty and fun spirit to everybody who is so "serious." Quite fun!
Matt (GC): You have some brilliantly written and well composed songs such as “A Little Different” and “The Bright Sunlight”. Can you fill us in on the composition and song-writing process?
Ming: Oh thanks, mate! We drink a lot of coffee and we like to stay up late so we always playing with some noises in our home studio or on the laptop. So we make a lot of things that we don't use for songs, but we save them just in case. And we always writing words, so if we have some lyrics we try to connect with the sound files that we make. Or sometimes the sound we make inspire some idea for the lyrics. Process is different all the time, you know?
Ping: Usually we are always writing nonsense and scribble nonsense in some little books. Then a song is coming from the connection that we find all through the different writings. So usually we combine some words that we like to make one idea and then we write the song with that idea. I think we write The Bright Sunlight while having a coffee in North Beach, San Francisco.
Matt (GC): Describe your experience in doing live shows. What can fans expect when they attend one of your shows? You guys recently did a show in Houston. Can you share the experience with us? Are there any upcoming shows on the horizon?
Ming: If any listener will like to come to our L.A. show in August, we will love to have a great party! August 26 at The Key Club (hey thank you for letting us advertise, haha) We only play like three shows per year because each show is very special event. Our live show is quite fun, we have so much talented designers and performers who help us create a multi-media live show! We usually have some theme and we have some very crazy costumes for ourselves and stage engineers and dancers. We try to have a show that is involves the audience in a fantastic dance party, not so much about audience coming to watch the rock star, you know what I mean? Ping: My favorite is the Cymbal Monkey! You know the little monkey toy who plays the cymbals and wears a little red hat? Our beloved Cymbal Monkey is amazing dancer and he helps to get the audience involve in the party! I think the audience has a lot of fun and a lot of dancing!
Matt (GC) From what I understand, You guys work out of your own music studio. (?) What are some of the machinery, synths, software etc. used in the realm of your music production?
Ming: I think we start our songs in our home studio but we do a lot of work at our producer's studio to make final version. I think most important tool is software, Logic Audio. We learn quite a bit from our producer Bao Vo, about how to make nearly any sound we like. So we actually do a lot of processing with Logic software.
Ping: Yes, we make a lot of beats with Reason software but we always like to add some real human touch with little keyboard played by hand. Ming purchased a fantastic broken mini-keyboard for one dollar at Swap meet in the Mission and we use that for some great old sounds. We actually like older dirty sounds so sometimes we cannot find the right sound on modern synth so we record it and process in Logic software to get more dirty sound. But other tools are whatever we get from our friends, hehehe. Small Yamaha sequencer and keyboard and some rack effects units at Bao Vo Studios and even some musical toys from Chinatown and Mini-Disc recorder for recording our life in the city. Our CD is like a collection of interesting sounds.
Ming: This is what we have at our home, we use more stuff at other studios but we don't quite remember them. This is what we use to get started:
Some Apple Powerbook G4
M-Audio Ozone MIDI Controller / USB Audio Interface
Logic Audio 7
No-Brand mini keyboard
Yamaha QY-22 Sequencer
Boss Dr. Sample SP-202
Some AKG Microphones, favorite is C-3000B
ome other Chinatown toys
Some very old Alesis MIDIFex and MIDIVerb
Very old Yamaha PSR-21 Keyboard (not PSR-2100! Hahaha)
Many ROM files from video game emulators. :)
At Bao Vo Studio :
Our favorite thing is AKG 414 Microphone and amazing effects for pro-tools!
Matt (GC): Finally, Is there anything you would like to say to your fans out there?
Ping: You know, we never actually thought we will have "fans" so we are so very honored to have some listeners who like our songs. So we really appreciate each email and message that we receive and we realize that we really love to make songs.
Ming: True, we quite appreciate all the new friends we make from our music and we are quite encouraged to play more shows so that more people can have a great party!
Closing Statement Matt (GC): I want to thank you very much for joining us today. I urge everyone to be on the look out for their album Mp2 which will be a must have for all of you synth-pop purists out there.
Closing Response (Ming and Ping):
Ming: My brother and I like to thank you so much for having this chat with us, we quite appreciate it. We will add some new songs from MP2 on our website, we will be happy if you check on www.mingping.com soon. Cheers, Matt!
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