How did the band get started and how did you come up with the name THE NONAME?
Ray: My first band was called ANGRY ONLOOKERS, I formed that one in 1998, and we did more grunge stuff than punk. What really introduced me to all that stuff was when I met our guitarist Hua Dong, as he’d studied in New Zealand and had heard all these punk bands we’d never got to hear back home. That was an eye opener for me because even in the 90s, you couldn’t find many punk releases here at all. There was no turning back for me after that. I knew I wanted to play in a punk band, so I collapsed the old band and formed THE NONAME.
Last year you released a 20th anniversary compilation record. What is your favorite track on the record and what makes it a favorite?
Ray: This album is a record of the band for 20 years. I think each piece has an interesting story in it. After so many years, in such an environment, the band wants to express too much. So I hope you all like our music.
What is the attitude regarding punk-rock in China? Are there topics you avoid in fear of repercussion from the government?
Ray: This is a socialist country so we can’t do as much with the band as those from other countries, but we do what we can, and the Internet was a big help to us. I try not to sing about politics much, though. I’d rather sing about things that happen to me so people can relate to the songs.
China has an ancient tattooing tradition. How are tattoos regarded in China today and are there any limitations to what you can do?
Ray: Ten years ago, everyone would reject people with tattoos because they thought they were bad people. But now, with the development of the times, people have learned about the art.
Why are there so few foreign bands performing in China and are you and other Chinese bands able to tour outside of China?
Ray: The rock environment in China is very strange, despite the rapid development of the economy and the Internet, the things people pay attention to are changing rapidly. There are many organizers here who are also willing to invite foreign bands to perform, but the box office will not be as good as in Europe and America, unless you are a world star LOL! THE NONAME toured Europe in 2007 and the UK in 2010, and of course we hope to tour again and go to more places.
On your website you write “Rice and Kung-Fu movies are not the only things coming from China”. What are the biggest misconceptions about China?
Ray: This is actually the introduction that the German record company wrote to us when our first full album was released. Because maybe most punk fans around the world can’t get more punk news from China. But we believe that everything will be fine.
What kind of music are you listening to? What are your influences and favorite bands?
Ray: I’m listening some ska punk and some hardcore bands this time. In fact, I like more music styles, but I still like the melody old school punk the most. ANTI-FLAG, RANCID, THE UNSEEN are my favorite bands.
What kinds of occupations are all of you involved in when you are not playing music?
Ray: I am an architectural designer and also work at Kids-Union Records. The bass player is a recording engineer, and the guitarist and the drummer are music teachers.
What are the bands plans as of right now for the summer and the rest of 2022?
Ray: Just released the SPLIT EP with the American band BIG D AND THE KIDS TABLE, and we will have some new songs to release a split album with CUIDADO （another band of BIG D Volcalist David). New York cassette label THC will be releasing a limited tape version of our 20th anniversary album. I personally (Ray Noname) will release some singles. Then there’s THE NONAME’s preparation of songs for next year’s new album.