Backstage CMJ 2012 With Taiwan's 831
The band members had a good sense of humor, singing bits of the Power Rangers theme song and Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On"
I had the opportunity to hang with 5-man pop-rock outfit 831 after their 2012 CMJ Taiwan Music Fest show. Immediately after enduring a dishearteningly long struggle with the speaker system, entertaining hundreds of fans and several groups of interviewers, I was unsure how they'd respond to yet another interview, but 831 was actually relieved to have a chance to sit down chat in their native tongue.
The band members had a good sense of humor, singing bits of the Power Rangers theme song and Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On." Although they each come from different musical backgrounds and originally wanted to create punk music, they said the main goal of their music at this point is to make something that resonates with their listener. Undoubtedly this band possesses the good nature and energy to connect with their audience.
Speaking with drummer Zi-Yu after the interview, we discussed the obstacles to fostering a more vibrant indie music scene in Taiwan. He said there's simply no market for bands like 831 to exist on a broad scale. He also spoke on a more cultural level, saying that parents in Taiwan won't support their children's interest in rock music because there are not enough examples of rock successes.
Following up on the idea of a "rock success", I asked when he knew 831 had succeeded. "I don't think we've succeeded," he responded. It turns out, contrary to what I thought, that being invited to a foreign music festival is no measure of success. "If I can keep making music that I enjoy making, then 'success' is no matter to me." Either way, I hope to see 831 bring their music back to the States some time soon.