Clarence and Ling from Heavy Metal Tribune had the extreme privilege to do an e-mail interview with Doris Yeh, bassist/leader of Taiwanese black metal band, ChthoniC. In this interview, we get to see Doris’ point of view from matters regarding their music, their image and politics.
Clarence: Hi Doris, on behalf of Heavy Metal Tribune crew, we would like to thank you for giving us this opportunity to conduct this interview. We are very honoured to have Chthonic on our interview section.
How are things going in Finland? Did you manage to learn any Suomi language?
Doris: Everything is fine here. The people from Spinefarm Finland / Universal Music are very nice, and I also met many people and friends during those few days. The weather is pretty cold here (-18 Celsius degrees), and the city Helsinki is all covered by snow, like a huge cake 🙂
I didn’t learn any suomi language here, but I remember the word “Sauna” because I went to a public sauna with friends, and I can’t even stayed outside over the snow land for over 3 min!
Ling: Chthonic had an extremely privileged honour to play at Wacken 2007. How was that experience like, to represent the entire Asian metal genre to a greater population of metal-listeners?
Doris: Actually before we get on the stage, we lost every instrument when we transferred flight in Frankfurt airport. So we borrowed all the instruments from the stage team. But when we stepped on the stage, the venue of our stage were all fully packed, and the fans were so crazy and always put their hands up and shouted with us.
That was a really fantastic experience for the band.
Clarence: Chthonic has been around for 14 years. But it was only after the release of the English version of 9th Empyrean and your appearance at the Fuji Rock Festival that you garnered more attention from the worldwide metal scene. How did all these (label distribution in US & Japan Festival appearance) come about?
Doris: Sometimes things just keep coming to us. After releasing 9th Empyrean, we’re starting to reach out the label companies outside of Taiwan. And then the foreign promoters and booking agent start to contact with us, we get on to bigger and bigger stages afterwards.
Ling: If you had to choose one word to represent the sound and ideology of your band’s music, what word would it be?
Doris: I can only describe a similar feeling of the word in Taiwanese that is 「衝!」And I don’t know how to translate into English… 🙂
Clarence: Since Chthonic’s formation back in 1995, a lot of extreme metal bands have spawned in Taiwan. How different is the scene now, compared to the late 90s?
Doris: I think Extreme Metal scene here is getting bigger, and also full of variety. In the past, people who are playing metal are more into 80s metal or speed and progressive metal. ChthoniC has a hard time in the beginning. But after the band got success, we roll up a trend of playing death/black/folk/thrash metal. And also because of the popularity of internet after late 90s, bands and fans in Taiwan can also get different kinds of music information easily, that brought up a certain degree of growth into the metal scene.
Ling: Any informed metal listener would know of ChthoniC’s journey from obscurity is one that is nothing short of extraordinary. If a new band would aspire to reach ChthoniC’s level of musical success, what advice would the band impart?
Doris: We do have some awesome profiles, but I can’t say now ChthoniC has already achieved their ideal success, we still have to be more active and positive things to get into next level. But I think have your own independent thoughts, make the band not just another genre of the music but has its own personality, give the whole band a unique soul, not just a shape of the music.
Clarence: Let’s touch on the topic of politics. This year has indeed been a great year for the Democratic Progressive Party, where they won all three seats in Taoyuan, Taichung and Taitung. Any expectations or hopes for the upcoming election in 2012?
Doris: I’m not the supporter of DPP, I’m the supporter of Taiwan Independence. Any party who support Taiwan Independence and human rights in on my side. President Ma has no sense of direction for this country. He is totally incompetent to protect the benefit of the country and also incapable of bringing happiness to the people. What I can expect is I hope people can really understand treasure the real value of democracy and choose a better person to lead the country.
Ling: Since ChthoniC has always been at the forefront of conveying politically-driven messages in their music or otherwise, does the band ever see their music getting played in China? Can music truly be a medium of unification?
Doris: We don’t limits playing in any countries, but China government limits every freedom of people, including art and music. I think we can play in Hong Kong and Macao but can’t get into China. But as I know there’re already a lot of ChthoniC fans over China, they can find their way to grab our music and see our live on the internet. Freedom exists in every normal human, we give our message of freedom to them, hope someday they can find a way to get their own freedom like they find a way to get our music!! 🙂
Clarence: Back to the music. What are the plans of Chthonic this year? Can the fans expect a new album?
Doris: We’re now writing new stuff, hopefully we can go into studio early next year. And this year we’ll play more shows all over the world.
Ling & Clarence: Any last words for the fans in Singapore?
Doris: We do hope to see you guys soon!!!
Once again, thank you for taking the time off your busy schedule to do this interview with us. On behalf of Heavy Metal Tribune, we wish you (and the band) the best of luck in your upcoming tour, and we hope to see Chthonic perform in Singapore soon!
View the pdf version on scribd.com here!
©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Ling & Clarence