Photos from the Beijing Underground


Capturing the faces of an ever expanding and changing youth movement in China, photographer Matthew Niederhauser’s ongoing project, “Sound Kapital,” documents the emerging underground punk, indie rock, electronic and folk music scenes of Beijing.

Niederhauser’s photos, now collected in a book, were largely taken at D-22, the CBGB of Beijing. At the center of the work is China’s reaction to the clash of socialist idealism and new economic problems brought on by free market reforms. And although still nascent, the underground music scene in China is growing quickly — much faster than it did in the West — as the use of cell phones and the internet helps to spread the music and find fans.

Carsick Cars and P.K. 14, two bands in Niederhauser’s book — recently wrapped up their first U.S. tour, selling out shows in Brooklyn, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Niederhauser, who also traveled with the bands on tour, says he’s continuing to document the bands in the basement shows of Beijing and is looking to broaden his project to the city’s hip-hop scene.

Art Beat recently talked to Niederhauser about his project while he was on tour:

To hear some of the musicians in Matthew Niederhauser’s book, visit Sound Kapital’s Web site.