When it came out at the end of march, “Badlands” (Zoo Music) was a record that refused to leave our stereo as well as our imagination. Its powerful combination of 50’s rock and roll, feedback and noise experimentation was as distant and romantic as the smoking black and white figure on its cover. We thought of David Lynch, Elvis Presley, Wong Kar-Wai and Suicide.
Yet, far from being smokes and mirrors, the songs betrayed an almost spiritual and desolate nature. So it was not at all surprising to learn that Alex Zhang Hungtai, its creator, had spent most of his life moving from Hawaii to China and later Montreal.
A few months later and “Double Feature” (La Station Radar) – a joint effort with Ela Orleans – has refined the “lonesome cowboy” image with a more nocturnal feel. An image which is perfectly matched by his touring around the world alone, seducing stages with just a few pedals, his guitar and a microphone.
We met Alex on a warm summer afternoon, before one of these shows. We took him to the sea and to the sound of crashing waves we talked about growing up in places without belonging, music as scriptwriting, the wish to go back to play in a band again and Vincent Gallo.
And then he played some music for us too.