1. When I speak about you and your music with friends, a typical response is their chest swells with pride, a smile forms on their lips, and their eyes look distant, recalling fond memories.
In other words, there is an obvious and profound connection between you and your fans. It’s a bond other musicians rarely enjoy. As you are performing again at Legacy, I’d like to ask you: What is your legacy? What are you most proud of in your career?
Ah! What am I most proud of in my career? I am proud of the fact that I can continue to perform, with people supporting me on this path. It is wonderful that people support me to write the songs I want to write and to discover the possibilities of my music. Even though my own personal ideas and viewpoint incubates my music, I think my songs resonate well with people because they can relate to the era and society that sit as the background of the songs.
2. As an artist who built his craft playing small bars, how do you feel about the loss of places like Underworld and the current challenges faced by local live houses?
This is all part of the process. Every generation has its own problems. For example, when I first started performing, no pubs would allow performers to perform their own materials. Performers could only sing cover songs. Any own material would be an appendix to the set. Out of ten songs, we might get to sing one original song. Unfortunately that one song is also usually the cue for the audience to visit the toilets or to go out for a smoke…
What this story tells us is that tomorrow will be better. We got to believe.
3. What is your opinion of the local rock scene? Do you follow it much? Are there any new bands you particularly enjoy?
I feel that the local scene’s creativity is at a good level and is becoming more and more mature. There are many different types of bands playing different genres. There is a lot of diversity and vitality in the scene. However, the bands will have to work on finding their audience and hence supporters. I always hope that good music will find its way to more and more people and to more people from different walks of life.
4. Besides music, you’re also active with acting and, more recently, photography. Do these arts complement one another for you, or are they completely different pursuits? Do you learn things from shooting pictures, for example, that you later apply to music?
I do not feel that these artistic pursuits have to complement each other. The starting point for each pursuit of mine has always been interest in the subject matter. The motivation has always been a pure enjoyment of this interest, instead of linking the pursuit to another artistic endeavor. I continue to refuse to use my photos at my concerts.
Any artistic pursuit that is not based on pure interest cannot create beauty.
5. Creating, art: they are acts of discovery. After all these years, what are you still learning as a musician?
Creating, art: they are acts of discovery to others. To me, they are acts of learning.
6. Finally, KTV is pretty much a national pastime. Do you enjoy it as well, and if so, what songs do like to sing? Do you sing your tunes? Are there any surprise favorites you’d care to share?
KTV kills songs! I will repeat myself again – the existence of KTV constrains the composition of songs into KTV-friendly formats. Hence, all songs sound the same because they have to be “K-able”. KTV may well be both a gift and a curse to Asian culture.
Translated by Alex Lee