Chthonic interview (08/2018)


With: Freddy Lim
Conducted by: ScreamingSteelUS (e-mail)
Published: 09.08.2018

Band profile:

Chthonic


Later this year, Chthonic will be releasing Battlefields Of Asura, their follow-up to 2013's Bú-Tik and their first album since frontman Freddy Lim's election to Taiwan's Legislative Yuan (roughly equivalent to Parliament) in 2016. I'd always be excited to talk to (or about) Chthonic, but Freddy's new job also makes him the first foreign dignitary I've ever interviewed. Perhaps this is the start of a new chapter in my life. Probably not. Anyway, here's the skinny:

ScreamingSteelUS: Will this fit into the mythologies of previous Chthonic albums?

Freddy: Every single song in the album represents a deity in Taiwanese folk belief, and the spirit. But just like some of our past albums, the entire album itself is a conceptual story.

A series of stories told in our albums started with Seediq Bale in 2005. One of the main characters is a psychic who has the power to travel through hell and change history named Tsing-guan. Our new album is a prelude to this series of stories. It tells you from which deities did Tsing-guan get his divine power, and his birth.

SSUS: Although traditional music has always been a part of Chthonic's sound, you used a wider array of folk instruments than ever on Takasago Army and Bú-Tik. Will this trend continue on Battlefields Of Asura?

Freddy: Yes, there are still many Taiwanese and Asian instruments be used in the songs, but the whole idea is slightly different from the previous albums. This time, not only these instruments, but also guitars, keyboards, and choirs play melodies with more Taiwanese flavors too. So we have Taiwanese instruments blended more in the mixes.


Battlefields Of Asura


SSUS: Around the release of Takasago Army, you stated that Chthonic's approach for that album had been to write traditional-style Taiwanese songs and make them as heavy as possible. Did that approach differ for Bú-Tik and Battlefields Of Asura?

Freddy: No, since this way of writing songs is very natural for me, I have sticked to this way for writing Bú-Tik and Battlefields Of Asura! It let me smoothly express my emotions and feeling through writing music.

SSUS: How does public life as a politician differ from public life as a musician?

Freddy: When I was only be known as the vocalist of Chthonic, mainly I have been recognized by young people. But after I have been elected as MP, now I'm recognized by people of different ages. And young people used to just come to me for selfies, but nowaday, people come to me with some political ideas to exchange. But I'm always nice to people, so I don't feel too much difference.

SSUS: I've read that your long hair has been a popular target with the KMT [Kuomintang, historically Taiwan's dominant political party]. Do you find generally that people in the political world or those who know you primarily as an activist treat you differently because of your background in extreme music?

Freddy: Not really. It depends on which political ideology they share. Generally, I feel the conservatives need a bit more time to get used to my look and musical background, but the liberals and progressives don't.

SSUS: Likewise, has your standing in the music world or that of Chthonic changed as a result of your political career?


Chthonic on the campaign warpath.


Freddy: Yes. As the vocalist of Chthonic, I have been working with young colleagues and connecting with young people. So it makes me have more chances to conversate with young citizens, be their voices, and be supported by them. The young supporters play a very important role for my political career and my party (NPP).

SSUS: Has holding political office influenced your creative process? Is it difficult finding time to devote to Chthonic in the midst of your other obligations?

Freddy: Mainly I've devoted my time to my work in the Parliament and in my party. So, yes, it's very difficult to find time for Chthonic. But during the Lunar New Year holidays in 2017, I started looking at those musical inspirations and materials for new album I've accumulated for years so far. I was pleasantly surprised to find that what I've been through in these past few years have given me a lot of emotions--joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness--and these accumulated emotions made writing songs smooth like never before. So after the Lunar New Year holidays last year, I've finished the basics and the framework of the songs. Luckily, I can keep our new-album promise that we made a few years ago to our fans.

SSUS: Does Chthonic have a significant fan base in China? How does the band's political messages affect your relationship with international audiences?

Freddy: I'm not sure how many Chthonic fans there are in China. But some of them have always found their ways to get across their government's Great Firewall to the free internet world to leave us messages. Mostly, they don't talk politics to us, but only music. Actually, mainly our international fans discuss music with us, only those who love to study politics would exchange more of their own political ideas with us.

Anyway, we write music for making great metal, not for politics, so that's fine with us!

SSUS: Chthonic recently produced and starred in Tshiong, an action-comedy film that was released in Taiwan at the end of last year. What inspired this project?

Freddy: It's not a recent project. It's produced in 2014, but since I decided to run for MP, the release dates have been postponed many times till the end of last year. In 2012, Cheng Wen Tang, the director of our Music Video "Supreme Pain for the Tyrant", came up with the idea making a comedy with us. So we joined the ride!

SSUS: Are there any plans to release the film internationally?

Freddy: I'm not sure, it depends on the movie company. But I doubt that if the foreign people get those humours in Taiwanese…. haha.



A promotional poster for Tshiong, featuring Lamb Of God's Randy Blythe.


SSUS: Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

Freddy: In the past 5 years, there have been a lot of changes in my life. On one hand, my political career requires me to improve my abilities in different areas, and learn to face more difficult situation. On the other hand, the birth of my daughter gave me incredible amount of joy and hope, but the sudden death of my father gave me incurable helplessness and feeling of being lost. So I think a lot of my feelings and emotions during this period of time are reflected in the songs of Battlefields of Asura. I hope all the metalheads will find those feeling deep in the songs and enjoy more of our new album!

We extend our thanks to Freddy Lim for doing this interview and look forward to hearing Battlefields Of Asura on its release this October.


 



Posted on 09.08.2018 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments

Comments: 9   Visited by: 69 users
09.08.2018 - 02:27
Darkside Momo
Retired
Short but interesting interview. Keep it up, SSUS!
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"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you" - Ray Bradbury

"I've lost too many years now
I'm stealing back my soul
I'm awake now"
Abney Park (Letter Between A Little Boy & Himself As An Adult)
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09.08.2018 - 10:23
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
Just a suggestion: You should have interviewed Doris Yeh. She's the backbone of Chthonic.
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09.08.2018 - 12:10
Darkside Momo
Retired
Written by Cynic Metalhead on 09.08.2018 at 10:23

Just a suggestion: You should have interviewed Doris Yeh. She's the backbone of Chthonic.

Sadly, you can't always interview the musicians you'd like, and have to do with those willing (some musicians consider interviews to be a bore, really, and avoid them like the plague)
----

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you" - Ray Bradbury

"I've lost too many years now
I'm stealing back my soul
I'm awake now"
Abney Park (Letter Between A Little Boy & Himself As An Adult)
Loading...
09.08.2018 - 13:01
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
Written by Darkside Momo on 09.08.2018 at 12:10

Written by Cynic Metalhead on 09.08.2018 at 10:23

Just a suggestion: You should have interviewed Doris Yeh. She's the backbone of Chthonic.

Sadly, you can't always interview the musicians you'd like, and have to do with those willing (some musicians consider interviews to be a bore, really, and avoid them like the plague)


But I know my girl love interviews. She always slays with her bass and words.
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09.08.2018 - 13:03
Darkside Momo
Retired
Written by Cynic Metalhead on 09.08.2018 at 13:01

But I know my girl love interviews. She always slays with her bass and words.

ahah maybe she just wasn't available at the time?
----

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you" - Ray Bradbury

"I've lost too many years now
I'm stealing back my soul
I'm awake now"
Abney Park (Letter Between A Little Boy & Himself As An Adult)
Loading...
09.08.2018 - 13:17
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
Written by Darkside Momo on 09.08.2018 at 13:03

Written by Cynic Metalhead on 09.08.2018 at 13:01

But I know my girl love interviews. She always slays with her bass and words.

ahah maybe she just wasn't available at the time?


Actually, I wasn't able to give her time. Then, out of nowhere, this cracked face lullaby came and snatched my girl. Now, they're having a girl. Damn my schedule.
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09.08.2018 - 14:33
Darkside Momo
Retired
----

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you" - Ray Bradbury

"I've lost too many years now
I'm stealing back my soul
I'm awake now"
Abney Park (Letter Between A Little Boy & Himself As An Adult)
Loading...
09.08.2018 - 14:45
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by Darkside Momo on 09.08.2018 at 12:10

Written by Cynic Metalhead on 09.08.2018 at 10:23

Just a suggestion: You should have interviewed Doris Yeh. She's the backbone of Chthonic.

Sadly, you can't always interview the musicians you'd like, and have to do with those willing (some musicians consider interviews to be a bore, really, and avoid them like the plague)

Momo is right; when invitations for interviews come in, they usually specify which member the interview will be with, so that's not up to me - but I was very excited to interview Freddy and I'm grateful for the opportunity, and if anyone could be called the "backbone" of Chthonic, it is he, since he is the founder, co-lead songwriter, and politically/conceptually the face of the band, although Doris does frequently serve as the frontwoman. I'd love to interview Doris, too, and I could probably even overcome the anxiety associated with a live conversation if given the opportunity, but if I had interviewed Doris this time I would be saying I can't wait to interview Freddy.
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Row, row, fight the power
Djently down the stream

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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09.08.2018 - 21:24
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Why didnt u ask him about anime
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Professor Isak Borg: And the punishment?
The Examiner: I don't know. The usual, I suppose.
Professor Isak Borg: The usual?
The Examiner: Loneliness.
Professor Isak Borg: Loneliness?
The Examiner: Precisely.
Professor Isak: Is there no mercy?
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