Fri, May 23, 2014 - Page 11 News List

Live Wire: Funky Brothers gets a nomination

By David Frazier  /  Contributing reporter

Collider, pictured, plays with Skycruiser and Soup Mother tomorrow night at The Park.

Photo courtesy of Collider

The nominees for the 25th Golden Melody Awards have been announced, with the ceremony set for June 28. First, congratulations are in order to Funky Brothers for their two nominations as Best New Artist and Best Band. Released last year, Funky Brothers first eponymously titled album was the first in Taiwan to be crowdfunded, and the group is the only nominee in this year’s list to be self-released. In the Best Band category, Funky Brothers are up against at least one artist that plays stadium tours throughout China — Sodagreen (蘇打綠) — and several past winners, including Tizzy Bac, Chairman (董事長) and Chthonic (閃靈). The other nominees for best band are Fire EX (滅火器) and Mixer (麋先生). In the Best New Artist category, other nominees consist almost completely of manufactured starlets. It’s nice to see a band that is not only known for smoking hot live performances, but also writes its own songs and has developed its sound through constant gigging in the local scene, in this putatively elite mix.

Funky Brothers’ lead singer Airy Liu (劉怡伶) was fairly elated, writing on her Facebook, “For all my past hard work, a Golden Melodies nomination is a huge affirmation. I sincerely believe that both for myself and the Funky Brothers, this nominations is the biggest honor… That we’ve been able to come this far, is due to the efforts of those friends and supporters who in the past delivered us firewood through the snow. This affirmation is an affirmation of all of us.”

The Golden Melodies are generally considered the Grammies of Chinese pop music, but we should not forget that they are still essentially a Taiwanese government event. Many nations provide funding to music awards, though most other governments have the modest good sense to at least step back, let some local recording industry association put its stamp on it, and smile from the backstage champagne table that the interests of national culture are being served. But god forbid a Taiwanese government agency should fund anything and not take all the credit. The host organizations are The Ministry of Culture along with a second agency not exactly known for being hip, the National Center for Traditional Arts. The co-host is whichever local government is willing to pay for the awards ceremony, in this case Taipei City’s Culture Bureau. The real organizers are a television network, TTV, and the Recording Industry Foundation in Tawian.

Several indie bands received multiple nominations. Tizzy Bac received five nominations for their album This is Because We Feel Pain (這是因為我們能感到疼痛), and Fire EX and Chairman each received two nominations. Some commentators noted that the awards are moving more in line with international trends — but by that, they of course meant hip hop.

SPACE ROCKOUT

Taiwan’s first and possibly only expat post-rockers, Collider, is due for one of its sporadic explosions onto the live scene tomorrow night, playing with Skycruiser and Soup Mother at The Park. Collider was formed seven years ago under the heavy influence of Mogwai, Godspeed! You Black Emperor and an unhealthy obsession with effects pedals. These days they prefer the label “space rock” and for the last year have used two drummers.

When I ask one of the drummers, Greg Russell, if the musical focus has shifted over the years, he ruminates, “Has the sound changed much? I wouldn’t say too much. With two drummers there are a lot more dynamics. Are we more dancey? No, definitely not that. Maybe more drum ‘n’ bass? We have one new song like that. That mainly comes from me. Also, Pia [Hsieh] from Roxymoron sings on a couple of songs. She’ll be there Saturday night.”

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