Midnight Ping Pong 午夜乒乓 is a relatively new band on the scene, but some of you have been playing around with other groups for a while. Could you introduce your members for us?
Liu Bang-Jie: Singer, guitarist (current guitarist for Hong Shen-Hao (洪申豪) & HBOrchestra, former guitarist for Wayne’s So Sad , and Bowz Tiger)
Tseng Jing-Jing: Drummer (former drummer for Homa)
Su Xian-Wei: Bassist
Hsieh Hong-You: Guitarist (also guitarist for Manic Sheep)
How did this band come together?
It started out as a project with Jing-Jing and myself (Bang-Jie), but in order to give the music more richness, we sought out metal head Ah-Wei (Xian-Wei) and shoe-gazer, Hsieh Hong-You.
I know you love ping pong. Why? Are all of you avid ping pong players? Who is the best /worst?
Haha! I’ve always loved sports. Before starting Midnight Ping Pong, my friends and I started a Ping Pong club called “Shi Da Park Table Chill Club”. Every week we’d organize a time to play, and from that we found we had several pretty impressive players among the group. It all kind of ended after I injured my wrist. Although there were lot of skilled players in Table Chill Club, in Midnight Ping Pong I am the best.
With Bowz Tiger 包子虎 and Wayne Is So Sad 傷心欲絕, you were primarily a guitarist. Now you’ve added frontman/singer to your duties. How was it, making that change? What new challenges do you find?
I like the way it is now, before all I would think about is writing for guitar. Now I need to consider more things in the creative process, its definitely more interesting.
And how do you enjoy playing with a second guitarist? What do you differently?
I don’t think there is much variety when you have just one guitar, and I really like interacting with other band members on stage. Adding a second guitar lets the music sound more complete, and closer to the sound that I want to capture. I already can’t wait to start recording.
You’re one of my favorite performers. Not only am I a big fan our your guitar playing, but you’re so emphatic on stage. It is emotional and gets people excited. How aware are you of this when you perform? What is your experience like? How does the audience affect you?
When you’re on stage, feeling the enthusiasm is the most important thing; that is the force behind the music. If there’s no connection between the audience and the band on stage, I immediately play a solo to comfort myself. Luckily, laying down a guitar solo is what puts a smile on everyone’s face.
Relatedly, who are some of your favorite performers in Taiwan? And why?
Celluloid’s Ah-Yi (阿義)! His performance at the 2012 Beastie Rock Festival was phenomenal. It was like a Taiwanese Woodstock. Touming Magazine’s Hong Sheng-Hao (洪申豪) is really great too. I am constantly finding myself singing his songs. And 88 Balaz’s Ah-Qiang (阿強), watching him perform always puts a smile on my face.
When did you realize you loved music? When did you first feel the power of rock ’n roll, so to speak? What are your musical roots?
The first rock song I heard was Jacky Cheung’s (張學友) “餓狼傳”, it had a sort of heavy “Beat It” rhythm. I remember in the 4th grade listening to it in my father’s car, and tapping my foot to the beat for the first time. The first time I started to picking up guitar, I would listen to Nirvana and Chang Chen-Yue (張震嶽).
Who/what else inspires you to create?
Mostly sorrow, I write songs to comfort myself.
Last, if you could go on the road and tour with any band in the world, where would you want to tour and what band would you want to play with? Why?
With MC5 touring the US, Taiwan, Japan and China. Because they are the best Rock n’ Roll band!