In the past 15 years, the Miro China has acquiring a leading role in the promotion of intercultural exchange projects between China and Europe. Miro China represents several Chinese bands in Europe and is a well-known bridge builder for Chinese artists to Europe as well as for European artist traveling to China. EARS interviewed Tobias Wälti of Miro China to get insight into the collaboration that is being promoted between East and West.

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Tobias Wälti from Switzerland and I work for Miro China together with a colleague. We do cultural exchange programs between China and Switzerland.

What is Miro China?

We are basically helping Chinese artists coming to Europe, organize tours and collaboration with local artists for them. We also help mainly Swiss artists, but not only, coming to China and organize tours and open doors to them to the Chinese market.

We have our own projects, our own festival and platform called China Drifting that we are trying to expand as the main promoter in the Chinese music in Europe but we also collaborate with other partners as well, depending on the project.

How long have you been working with Miro China?

I joined my colleague two years ago, but he has been working with similar projects since mid-90’s. He has good connections, he knows a lot of people from the early days. That’s how I got involved in this interesting project

Are you working with all Asian artists or only Chinese?

Only Chinese as we both have been living in China for a while, that’s where we’ve gotten our connections and the language skills. So far we haven’t expanded this to other countries.

A lot of the Chinese bands are new and different

Is Chinese music popular in Switzerland?

Well, that’s hard to say. Some of the bands we have been working with have been to Switzerland for many times and have a small fan base, but you can’t say it’s very popular in general. We are trying to show people that a lot of Chinese bands have reached a certain quality and they are interesting to listen to and convince people to come to their shows and to see something new and different.

How many events do you do in a year?

This depends. Small shows for bands maybe five times a year, but we have a lot of bigger events also in China with European artists, collaboration with Midi Festival, we bring artists to the Festival. So it’s really hard to say a number, it depends so much on the year.

Everything happens on short notice

What have been you biggest challenges you have faced?

Everything is always on a very short notice.  You always need to wait until everything is confirmed. I’m quite used to it and know that that’s how things work in China. But if you work with people who are not used to this they get nervous very easily. But it’s a problem for a long term planning of the year, for example our biggest project for year 2014 is still somewhere in the air and we don’t know what kinds of other plans we can do for the year. So being flexible is definitely the biggest challenge.

How do you see the future of Chinese music in Europe?

A few bands now have the potential to have shows in Europe and build up a name there. We always try to build connections to the art world and people and see what kind of potential Chinese art really has.

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