Big up to international music exchange programs like RBMA (Red Bull Music Academy, www.redbullmusicacademy.com) that offer independent music makers and artists from around the globe opportunities to participate in workshops and play gigs overseas. Each year the Academy is staged at a different location and the lucky few chosen to attend enjoy a two-week vacation and musical adventure free of charge.
“There’s even an on-site open bar that serves beer, wine and, of course, Red Bull, every afternoon. This year, it will be held at Barcelona, Spain. Doesn’t it sound fantastic?” says Zephec, the first and only RBMA alumnus from Taiwan, who took part in last year’s Academy in Toronto.
Established in 1998, RBMA has played a significant part in bringing industry people together in a multicultural setting. “The workshops hosted by famous artists on the scene are intriguing,” says Zephec, “Benga, Esdemin (German tech house producer) and DJ Zinc (UK drum ’n’ bass producer) were some of the most impressive speakers.” In fact, after listening to the inspiring session and music by last year’s headliner Benga (a dubstep music producer from the UK), Zephec was determined to get into creating a kind of sound, dubstep, that he’d never dabbled with before. The participants are also encouraged to access the studios and collaborate on tunes with each other. “I got to make a track with DJ Zinc, and it’s probably the first dubstep track that’s got lyrics in Chinese!” he says, laughing.
RMBA welcomes anyone who loves music and wants to be involved in its evolution. No particular set of skills is necessary, but only 60 participants every year are selected to represent a wide range of cultures, musical backgrounds and skills. The contest may seem competitive, but the chance of receiving an invitation is basically equal for all applicants, so you probably have a better chance of getting yourself admitted than getting booked at Luxy. It’s all about a creative vision, an honest attitude and an open mind.
But Zephec might have been aided by his accomplishments. This one-time drummer-turned-electronic-music-experimentalist is talented. The demo he submitted to RBMA last year was his debut album, We Will Still Repeat Today (released in December 2006 on Tripper Records). A stellar piece of experimental tech house, it was praised by many local music critics. Before that, Zephec was a nominee in Fnac’s annual music talent competition.
This year, Zephec was chosen to participate in another international electronic art event, the 404 Festival, in Italy. “But I will have to take a rain check because I haven’t heard from my anticipated sponsors yet,” he says with a tinge of disappointment.
Still, he appreciates the opportunity he had to see beyond the local scene, which to him is discouraging and not supportive enough. “It’s broadened my horizons for sure, and I will keep on making the music I love no matter what,” he says.
Zephec will be touring with KbN this weekend:
■ Tonight at 8pm at Room 335, B1, 47 Kangle St, Tainan City (台南市康樂街47號B1). Entrance is NT$250. On the Net: www.wretch.cc/blog/room335.
■ Tomorrow at 8pm at Womb, 2F, 18 Linnan St, Lingya District, Kaoshiung City (高雄市苓雅區林南街18號). Entrance is NT$350. On the Net: www.lofi.url.com.tw/womb.
■ Sunday at 10pm at Ins_Cafe, 3F, 1-1, Ln75, Taiping Rd, Taichung City (台中市北區太平路75巷1-1號3F). Entrance is NT$300. On the Net: inscafe.blogspot.com.