While Metal Insider Day is over at CMJ, the festival is still continuing through Saturday (26), with hundreds of bands from around the world converging on New York City. In fact, Taiwan Music Express is having it’s own night of music on Friday, November 24th at the Highline Ballroom. It’s a genre-spanning evening of music, with a Taiwanese rap artist (Dwagie) and a pop artist, A-Lin peforming along with rock artist Luantan Ascent. With the awareness of Asian music, particularly bands like Babymetal and Maximum the Hormone, we asked the artists some questions about what the scene is like in Taiwan.
With success of Asian bands like Babymetal, and to a lesser extent, Maximum the Hormone, is America ready for Taiwanese music?
All cultures are respected within America, especially music. Here in the Greater China market, everyone is accustomed to music from around the world, and international movies, especially Hollywood ones, have seen great success here in recent years as well. Most of people do not realize that Taiwan music holds over 90% market share in the global Mandarin market; therefore, there must be a large demographic who’s ready for Taiwanese music.
What’s the Taiwanese rock and metal scene like?
Still lots of room for improvement in people’s listening habits, but thanks to the Internet, various types of music can be heard. Rock, metal and indie music are becoming more and more popular in Taiwan. Artists give their heart out when producing an album, all they wish for is to be heard, but only major labels have the budget and resources to spend on marketing and media; after all, majors are still more acceptable by the general public. Music trend is just like weather and seasons, they vary in different styles, but who knows what will lead the next music trend.
How often do American bands make it to Taiwan?
Actually, it never ended, although Taiwan is a tiny country, but we have over 23 million people. Because of radio stations like ICRT (International Community Radio Taiwan), songs from the Billboard top 100/200 gets distributed easily. We get visits from top artists/bands almost every season, and lots of middle/small artists/bands scattered in live venues around the island.
What would you say is the biggest hurdle in breaking into the Taiwanese music scene?
Taiwan is not a difficult market, as long as you’re willing to perform, it shouldn’t be too hard to find its position. Easiest way is through local collaboration, whether it’s management, artist, or promoter. Of course, if you are here to make big bucks, time you spend here is the key. Because our main language here in this region is Mandarin, which will force you to compete against Mandarin artists. Once you’ve established a small fame in Taiwan, it shouldn’t be too hard to enter China or other Southeast Asian countries.
What American influences are there in your music? If not, what influences your music?
I listened to Billboard songs in my younger years until I started playing in a band, that’s when I started to become interested in 60 & 70’s rock, 80’s electronics and synthesis and many other types of music in general, which effected me subconsciously. Once I started doing film scoring, I was forced to listen to movie related music, and practice composing through motion pictures and plots.
Is the American market important for you?
Very important. There are lots of professionals to learn and exchange from, also a large Mandarin speaking demographic. I am excited about meeting new friends and experiencing new culture, which will probably give me some new inspirations in my future creations. America is a key market for all international artists.