Interview with ChthoniC

This year marks the third time Taiwanese band ChthoniC sets foot on Singapore. We catch up with frontman Freddy to learn more about their new album, Bu-Tik and more. For non-Mandarin speaking friends, look out for the English version of the interview in the upcoming issue of Heavy Metal Tribune!

ChthoniC logo

Hi ChthoniC, it’s been a while since our last interview with you guys. How has things been going since the release of your last album, Bu-Tik in May?

專輯發行至今,我們跟過去一樣忙碌,但是卻過得非常多采多姿,做了很多以前沒做過的事情。我們拍了三支MV,每一支都有全然不同的經驗,讓我們學習了許多新奇的事物。我們也采風樂團、詹雅雯、唐美雲合作,在英國Download Festival與台灣Formoz Festival演出。另外,小黑跟Doris也在日本進行了首次的Clinic Tour,Doris則前往德國進行另外一趟Clinic Tour。現在我們又開始準備台灣的武德殿Acoustic巡迴,以及東南亞的演唱會。

Takasago Army marked the end of a trilogy of a series of album which started from Seediq Bale, with the intention of Bu-Tik being a new series of stories. But songs like Defender of the Bu-Tik Palace are still related to the 228 incident. Was this planned intentionally by the band, to still have some kind of link back to the previous albums?

這張專輯開始構思時,我們只是想寫「武德」的概念,尋找和平與戰鬥的平衡,尋找我們自己的答案。寫到一半才發現Tsing-Guan(正源)與台灣民兵當年的戰鬥本部就在「武德殿」,這地點正是我們的新專輯名稱!這個發現讓我們非常的驚訝,感覺好像我們曾經寫過的故事會一直緊追著我們不放,也讓我們自然而然的把故事與過去的幾張專輯融合了。因此,「武德」也成為了三部曲故事中的重要角色Tsing-Guan被囚禁在地獄時,腦中發生的瘋狂體驗。

For those that are unfamiliar with the stories that are being told on Bu-Tik, would it be possible to give us a brief summary about the concepts and themes that are on Bu-TIk?

大部分的答案都在上一題已經回答您了。但我可以再增加一些解說在此。Tsing-Guan已經被囚禁在地獄孽鏡台數百年,看遍了許多過去、現在、未來的武裝衝突事件。無窮盡的歷史影像與鬼魂終於把Tsing-Guan逼瘋了,他常常自以為穿梭在不同的時空,也常常回到過去的生活,回到武德殿,但總是在孽鏡台旁驚醒。

What is also interesting is that despite the historical stories that are being told by Bu-Tik, the band has adopted a rather steam punk image, such as the album artwork and on the music video for Defenders of the Bu-Tik Palace. What is the meaning behind the album artwork, and why choose this particular image this time round?

這張專輯隨著Tsing-Guan瘋狂的腦海穿梭了時空,從幾百年前,一直到現代。因此我們決定外型應該要時空難辨,最後Doris與Oink(我們常合作的美術設計)決定了Steam Punk的風格。

Listening to Bu-TIk as well, it is obvious that the band has once again expanded its musical style, departing from the style that ChthoniC started off with. The melodic death metal and thrash sounds have become much stronger this time compared to Takasago army. What are some of the main influences when writing the music to Bu-Tik this time?

很有趣的是,我們寫這張專輯的時候,並沒有聽比較多melodic death或是thrash,反而都是聽更多的台灣民謠、台灣歌仔戲等等。如果要講metal類,那倒是小黑與Dani這兩年聽了不少Djent吧!

Freddy and Jesse are the main songwriters on Bu-Tik, but how much do the rest of the band contribute when it comes to the songwriting of the album? Also, regarding the lyrics for the English version of the album, the band collaborated with Joe from Revilement. Will this be a permanent arrangement for the band in the future?

我與Jesse會先把歌曲的Demo做出來,再交給所有的團員去改。全團一起改的時間大概會有兩個月,大家會把自己的想法都貢獻出來,並且再集合成為一個新版本的Demo,這個時候才是差不多可以去錄音了。而跟Joe Henley的合作,這兩張專輯都非常的愉快,而且他很能快速的抓到歌詞的節奏,寫起來很流暢,因此未來應該會繼續合作。

Like Takasago Army, Bu-Tik also featured high profile non-metal Taiwanese artists as guest singers on the album, with opera singer Tang MeiYun being featured on Defenders of the Bu-Tik Palace this time. How did this idea of featuring non-metal artists come about, and how do you decide who to guest on your tracks? 

由於台語歌、台灣民謠、歌仔戲都是我們從小就很熟悉的音樂,對我們的影響很深,這些歌手、音樂家們,都是我們非常熟悉的對象,應該說,他們是許多台灣人的共同記憶。我們會依據歌曲來思考應該要找誰來搭配。例如上張專輯的「薰空」,當時就認為中間那段應該要找很會唱「演歌」的女歌手來演唱,因此就想到詹雅雯。而這次的「暮沉武德殿」,後面一整段都很有歌仔戲的感覺,因此決定找唐美雲來演唱。總之,我們會先看歌曲的風格,來決定可以找哪類的歌手合作。

While many extreme metal bands often gain controversy through their music or image, ChthoniC has garnered some attention for its political stance. How does the band’s political stand translate into the music, and do all the band members have similar views on politics?

關於政治,我們五個團員都想法都很相近。但是我們在寫歌的時候,倒是沒有特別想要怎樣把政治理念轉化到音樂裡,我們只想寫動人的故事跟爽快的Metal。在我的經驗裡面,要能把政治寫到音樂裡,好像Rap比較適合,我有很多唱Rap的歌手朋友在這方面都很厲害,閃靈在這方面還很遜…

Recently the band launched a guitar competition by getting fans to cover the song Sail into the Sunset Fire and the winner will earn himself an ESP E-II KATANA 6 guitar or a Randall Amplifier RG13 Preamp Pedal for free. How did the idea come about? And why this song in particular?

這個idea是小黑想的,因為他自己非常喜歡這首歌,所以就想用這首歌來玩一個吉他比賽。

Being the only female in the band, Doris has always caught the attention of both media and fans, with the band even garnering new fans because of Doris. What does the band think about this?

我們其他幾個團員都沒有特別的意見,本來就有很多人會因為各種因素來聽閃靈。有人可能因為看到造型很特別,有人可能因為我們個人的理念,有人可能是因為好奇來自台灣的金屬團聽起來如何,不管原因是什麼,只要成為我們的樂迷,喜歡我們的音樂,我想都是好事。

The band recently announced an European tour with Satyricon, making this the second time ChthoniC plays alongside the band. How does it feel like to perform aside a legendary Norwegian black metal band like Satyricon?

我從很小就聽Satyricon的歌,90年代初期的許多Black Metal團體都給了我很多的衝擊,讓我組成了閃靈。因此,跟他們一起演出,除了可以學到很多經驗以外,也多了一份尊敬!

Also, ChthoniC will be performing in Singapore for the third time, with the last time being the 2009 Mirror of Retribution tour. What can Singapore fans expect from the band, and will the band be singing more songs in the native Taiwanese language this time round? 

我們正在安排歌單,可以確定的是,隨著在2009年之後,我們已經發行兩張大受好評的專輯˙,我們一定會給大家比上次更爽快的感受!至於要唱什麼語言的,也許我們可以在FB公開問新加坡的樂迷!

Remember to catch ChthoniC on 11th October this month! Details of the event are available right here!

Chthonic poster

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