< February 2012 - Artspace China
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February 2012

Nova Heart Helen flash small.jpg
Helen Feng, lead singer of Nova Heart, has been dubbed 'China's Blondie', but the comparison doesn’t go quite far enough. Sexy, provocative and confident, she’s perhaps more of a femme Jim Morrison, constantly feeling out the boundaries of appropriateness in order to nudge them that bit further. A recent stage dive left her on crutches for months, and she’s just as bold offstage as on. Intelligent and articulate, Feng brims with opinions on American imperialism, Chinese politics, and the identity of the Beijing indie rock scene.

Born in Beijing, but raised in North America, Feng has been a major shaker in Beijing music circles since moving to China in 2002. In 2004 she started the punk band Ziyo [自游], in 2007 co-founded the electro group Pet Conspiracy, and in 2009 she and her partner, Philip Grefer, founded the Chinese music collective, FakeMusicMedia. Nova Heart is Feng’s long-planned solo project, and has the full force of her energy and professional experience.

Last Saturday I lay on a grassy slope in Bondi Beach, sizzling in the sun, with Feng, her guitarist Zhong Can and bassist Bo Xuan, and various other musicians and organisers who had been involved in the Sydney gig the night before. See below for our conversation. And thanks to Shaun Hemsley of tenzenmen for his contributions.

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