Taiwanese DJ Duo Salamander Bring 'Shmup' To Electronic Music
Focusing on complex but danceable beats, Salamander's high octane music should have no problem getting listeners to head-bang the night away
Z the Phoenix and Yen at MIC Taiwan
1986 video game Salamander belongs to the class of game known as 'shmup' – a contraction of the phrase 'shoot-em-up' – in which, in the form of a spaceship, the player scrolls either left-to-right or bottom-to-top shooting at armada upon armada of spaceship, alien, and/or floating space debris. Shmups are generally characterized by intense, seemingly unending sequences of button mashing, explosions (both in-game and emotional), and the constant thrum and whoosh of lasers and projectiles being fired on-screen, to produce high tension and – after clearing a hellish bullet-riddled stage – euphoria.
Rather than being an acquired taste, shmups like Salamander instantly call out to a certain kind of people: people drawn to the challenge, the fast pace, the one-man-army sensation only badass AWOL super-soldiers in movies are supposed to feel. Listening to Taiwanese DJ duo Salamander (沙羅曼蛇 ), I can almost immediately feel the connection. The first type of media which kids born in the 80s experienced was not music, but video games. We are one of the first generations for which video games played an integral part in shaping our sensibilities and, dare I say, personalities. It's unsurprising then, that DJs Yen and Z the Phoenix have produced music which channels the energy and tempo of shmups like Salamander.
That's not to say the DJ duo emulate the 8-bit video game music; their music is in good company with many of the artists they cite as influences: Aphex Twin, Royksopp, and other electronic/IDM artists. Focusing on complex but danceable beats, Salamander's high octane music should have no problem getting listeners to head-bang the night away. In a recent interview, though, Salamander discussed the lack of interest, among Taiwanese audiences, in the type of music they produce.
Having never played live outside of their home country, Salamander are left to the existent but unimpressive electronic scene in Taiwan. Unable to consistently get shows and bring out audiences, Yen and Z must look for alternatives. They've found musical odd jobs, such as doing remixes for bands, and even composing themes for government-sponsored events. Though it pays the bills, this isn't the kind of work that excites Salamander. The two Djs discussed fantasies of working with Cat Power, Bjork, and Sonic Youth – an indication that these artists are interested in expanding their brand and commingling with other genres. While discussing the topic of reaching a wider, perhaps international market, Z the Phoenix made it clear that, while it was appealing, he wasn't interested in sacrificing his principles to achieve greater attention. He remains determined to "maintain authenticity" and although he acknowledges the idea of a Taiwanese electronic DJ duo would probably excite foreign audiences, he doesn't plan on exploiting his nationality for greater attention. "We're not going to scream 'We're Taiwanese! We're Taiwanese!"
One would hope Salamander will not have to rely on such gimmicks to promote their music: there easily available work can be found streaming here and here. As geographic distance is becoming a trivial issue for the relationship between bands and their fans, it isn't hard to be optimistic about Salamander reaching an audience that will appreciate their percussive feats and infectious beats.
» BMG Signs Worldwide Rights Management Deal With Chinese Music Company Giant Jump
» Incisors Break Through The Dawn With Their Debut Album On Nov. 28
» The First Chinese Rock Exhibition Launched in Beijing
» The Modern Musical Magi Of Beijing
» MOCAMIX: DJ Daniel Wang
» [2014-11-20] BMG Signs Worldwide Rights Management Deal With Chinese Music Company Giant Jump; BMG Will Exclusively Manage All Giant Jump's Recording And Music Publishing Rights, Both Domestically And Internationally
» [2014-11-20] CMA Gives Snapshot Into Music Discovery Behavior; While AM/FM Radio Ranked No. 1 As A Music Source, Streaming Apps And TV Drove Higher Levels Of New Artist Discovery Compared To Radio
» [2014-11-13] How To Manage Your Talent: FIVE Realistic Tips For Success; Talent Agent, Motivational Speaker And Author Of Come Fly With Me... Michael Bublé's Rise To Stardom (A Memoir)
» [2014-11-13] Executive Wach: Villanova University School Of Law, Mozart's Estates Theatre, Universal Music Publishing Group, Music Group, HighVolMusic, New West Records; Villanova University Law Professor; Stage Director Of Don Giovanni Production; UMPG Special Advisor; Music Group Snr Manager, Professional Division For Asia Pacific; HighVolMusic Talent Relations VP; New West Records President
» [2014-11-13] PRS Guitars Amps Up 30 Years Of Manufacturing; The PRS US-made 30th Anniversary Core Model Is A Prime Example Of How Paul And The Craftsmen At PRS Keep Focused On Providing The Best Possible Instruments
» [2014-11-09] Spotify Overtakes ITunes In Europe For Kobalt; Spotify Revenues Surpass ITunes Revenues In Europe By 13% For Kobalt Clients
» [2014-11-06] Incisors Break Through The Dawn With Their Debut Album On Nov. 28; Incisors Break Through The Dawn With Their Debut Album On Nov. 28
» [2014-11-04] The First Chinese Rock Exhibition Launched In Beijing; "Serve The Rock" Exhibition Showcases Rare Collections And Documents From Major Historical Events In The Development Of Chinese Rock
» [2014-11-02] CIAM Congress Meets In Nashville To Discuss Music Copyright In The Digital Age; Fair Trade Music Project Unanimously Adopted To Promote Fair Trade Remuneration For Creators
» [2014-11-01] The Modern Musical Magi Of Beijing; Djang San Will Be Performing At Yugong Yishan On November 26 As Part Of The Dong Dong Music Festival And Convention
» [2014-10-31] World's Most Influential Electronic Music Figureheads Head To Asia; International Music Summit - The Premier Platform For Thought Leadership In Electronic Music - Hits Singapore December 11, 2014
» [2014-10-31] MOCAMIX: DJ Daniel Wang; DJ Daniel Wang Takes Listeners For A Spin On The 90s Chinatown Music Scene, African American Dance Music, And New York's Queer Club Culture
follow MusicDish on