Thu, Dec 04, 2014 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Independent music promoter finds new voice in activism

By Lii Wen  /  Staff reporter

Taiwanese activist “Indie Lord,” right, organizer of the profanity-filled “Bowel Blossom Forum” that marked the end of the Sunflower movement’s 23-day occupation of the Legislative Yuan’s main chamber, prepares for an online broadcast in Hong Kong’s Central district on July 2.

Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

As the results of nine-in-elections came through on Saturday, a live online broadcast by youth activists led by independent music promoter Yao Ken-hsiang (姚茛翔) gave a running commentary on the polls, culminating in the announcement of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) crushing defeat.

A veteran DJ and event organizer in Taiwan’s indie rock scene, Yao — commonly referred to by his self-proclaimed title: the “Indie Lord” (音地大帝) — rose to prominence in April after organizing the profanity-filled “Bowel Blossom Forum” (大腸花論壇) following the Sunflower movement.

Despite his bombastic online persona, Yao is known for his shy demeanor and deadpan style of humor in person, which provided a stark contrast to other participants of the forum as they vented their anger toward both the government and student leaders of the movement.

The organizer of Beastie Rock, one of the largest independent annual music festivals in Taiwan, Yao has since channeled his energies into new projects centered on citizen journalism, including the group that organized Saturday’s broadcast, Shot For Democracy (公民攝影守護台灣民主陣線).

“The main goal of Shot For Democracy is to encourage everyone to engage in their own media reporting,” Yao said in an interview with the Taipei Times.

Although the broadcast was serious in tone, Yao is known for his predilection for toilet humor, which featured prominently in the Bowel Blossom Forum.

Shot for Democracy is often referred to by its Chinese acronym shehuxian (攝護線), which sounds like the Chinese word for “prostate” (攝護腺); while the Indie Lord’s non-traditional transliteration of the word “Indie (yindi, 音地)” has the same pronunciation as “clitoris” (陰蒂).

The Bowel Blossom Forum, which the Indie Lord organized to allow Sunflower movement participants to release their pent-up emotions and grievances against each other, was a turning point in his life as an activist, Yao said.

“In the past, I participated in social movements as an individual, playing more a behind-the-scenes role. After setting up the forum, I became known to a broader audience,” Yao said, adding that people have come to value his opinions more.

The Indie Lord’s affair with activism extends years back when he hosted music shows on underground radio stations and invited bands to showcase their music. This includes a stint on an underground station run by the pro-independence group the Taiwan State-Creating Forum.

“I often discussed social movements or political issues with bands I invited to my show. Many of these bands touched on social issues when they discussed inspiration for their work,” he said. “For example, around 2007 to 2008, a lot of these bands were involved in the movement to protect the Losheng Sanatorium.”

“Rock music is limited to a niche audience in Taiwan,” Yao said. “For civic or political issues, we still aren’t going for the broadest range of listeners; we merely put the stuff we’re interested in onto the Web, and people can watch it if they find it acceptable.”

“If that drives others to discuss issues important to them, we’ll get a more diverse range of opinions,” he added.

Additional reporting by Sean Lin

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top