Text: Vania Almira
After their absence from the Noisewhore Live Day 1 event due to some circumstances, a Taiwan band called Sunset Rollercoaster managed to show excellent performance for their fans last Sunday. Giving a stunning performance as the closing show, this unit managed to eliminate the disappointment of their fans last week, yet the warmth of the room that night left a sweet memory for the Noisewhore Live Day 2 show. Besides the full schedule, the lead singer/guitarist, Kuo made time to talk with us during our mini-interview session. We talked about the shifting of their musical influence, the upcoming album, and around the independent music scene.
After 5 years of hiatus from 2011 to 2016, your music can be considered quite changing from the previous album to the latest EP. Could you explain the shifting of influence for the band?
It’s also because we changed our line up. The first album we used to do a lot of thrill, and we do a lot of really old soul like delta blues or the Velvet Underground stuff. After that, we’ve got a new line up and added a keyboardist and new bassist. So we’re just put our focus into soul and funk combined with 80’s synthesizer and jazz-pop more to our music. That’s why our music journey is just shifting a little bit, and it sounded lusher now. It’s also because when I was in high school, I used to listen to Jamiroquai, Incognito, Lee Ritenour, Max Miller, and another fusion jazz stuff and when I was in college, I started to play shoegaze and grunge band. The band just got reboot 3 years ago, so we’re just trying to mix everything together now.
Do you ever expect that your EP “Jinji Kikko” will be hype within the Indonesian music scene?
I have no idea. I don’t have any idea about that (laugh). Because during that time the line up is the new line up, so I’m just trying to write new songs and combined all the idea together. So, I’m not even sure what’s going to come out from the recording session. But we never thought about this. When we finished that EP, we thought like, “Wow, that’s kind of amazing” and we’ve put everything in between, you know. We have this kind of vibe where we smashed everything together. So, this EP kind of become a new thing, we don’t really know how to describe the genre and what we’re playing, but turns out the people on the internet really like it. So, that’s kind of cool.
Is there any background stories or meaning behind the title “Jinji Kikko” itself?
I didn’t make the word. The word “Jinji” itself came from the 60’s bossa nova artist named Antonio Carlos Jobim, and he wrote a song called “Dindi”. But during the 70’s, there’s a soul singer called Jon Lucien who cover the song but changed the pronounce to “Jinji”. I think from the whole context, this word “Jinji” means “Baby”. So, “My Jinji” means “My Baby”.
The whole EP itself is just about a love story. It tells a story about a couple who realized that they fell in love and it didn’t go well, and some of their experience makes them found out that they have the ability to travel in time to find each other – like the life before life – something like that. If you ever heard a movie called, “Donnie Darko”, for me, it’s kind of the same idea. It’s just a superman, but the whole story I didn’t tell that he’s a superman. I’m just giving hints in a song saying that someone who’s in love has the ability to travel in time to find a true love. So, that’s the whole idea, romantic sci-fi. And this album is actually a concept album.
You just released a new single called “Cool of Lullaby”, does that mean that you will be releasing a new album anytime soon? If possible, could you share a little sneak peek for the upcoming album?
We’re going to release a new album next week, and I just got the mastering file on Saturday. We mastered it at Abbey Road. So, the upcoming album is going to be a concept album which follows the story from the previous EP. Our new album will be called “Cassanova”. So, basically “Jinji Kikko” is a girl’s name and “Cassanova” would be the boy’s name, and they two are a lover. “Jinji Kikko” tells the story from the girl’s perspective, and “Cassanova” will be talking about the love story from the boy’s perspective, and the Jinji character will also appear in this new album. So you know, when you listen to every song, the song will be sung to “Jinji Kikko”.
For the music, we’re using a lot of 80’s elements, like a synthesizer, chorus pedal, and some effects, but we are putting it with a little bit digital sampling. So we’re using Ableton, and we’re doing sampling and resampling. We’re kind of keep doing that so that you can hear a little more artificial effects, like a glitch in 80’s vibe. I don’t know how to describe that further, but for soundwise it’s going to be vintage and modern at the same time.
Since you never had a song in Taiwanese, do you have any plans to produce a song in Taiwanese?
I think so. It’s just because English is not my native language and I didn’t study abroad. I learned all English from Sesame Street and school stuff, so English for me is a really outsider thing. For me, I can put a lot of image of Asian in this kind of language. If I sing in Mandarin, I will think too much, but if I’m singing in English I just really don’t care. So, for me, it’s an enjoyable thing, but yeah, I think maybe one day I will figure it out how to put this trolling attitude back to the Mandarin. When I find the way, I will definitely do that.
Could you explain about the independent music scene in Taiwan itself?
Someone told me that shoegaze, noise, post-rock music is kind of big in the independent music scene here and the same idea goes with China. So I would say that shoegaze, post-punk, post-rock, noise punk band are all mainstream in our indie scene. So most of the people are doing that kind of stuff, but they are all singing in Mandarin. Because if we’re talking about the market in Taiwan, Mandarin is still the biggest market within the music and genre. Most of the people combined indie rock, post-punk, shoegaze, every kind of genre together but mostly in Mandarin. Maybe there are only 5 bands who sing in English.
Since you were invited to perform here, do you ever heard or happen to know something about the independent music scene in Jakarta?
On my way to here, they guy who drove us just show this band called Kurosuke and wow this band is fuckin awesome. I really wanted to invite them to play in Taiwan with us, if that’s possible. So, I think that’s the only thing I know inside the Indonesia’s independent music scene so far. Their just a mind-blowing band for me. Also, I know that you guys have Java Jazz Festival that is really big in here, so, I do give you guys super respect for the Jazz taste and I also heard there are a lots of great jazz musician coming from Indonesia. I don’t know why but for me it’s really cool.