Chthonic interview (07/2020)

With: Freddy Lim
Conducted by: ScreamingSteelUS (skype)
Published: 01.07.2020

Band profile:


Chthonic has kept relatively quiet since 2016, when founding vocalist/songwriter Freddy Lim was elected to Taiwan's Legislative Yuan, which we refer to as Parliament out of convenience. He was reelected earlier this year, but the band recently released a new/old single and a stunning live recording from last year, and Freddy has begun a new podcast that we'll mention later.

I don't conduct too many interviews, and most of the ones I have published were conducted via e-mail rather than in concurrent discussion - the fundamental component of interviewing somebody is talking to a stranger, which, being the cause of much anxiety, is a substantial roadblock for me. In fact, I interviewed Freddy via e-mail just two years ago. This time, however, I decided that I could not pass up the chance to speak with one of my favorite musicians, and so I bring you this interview, which was conducted live over Skype. I found Freddy an amicable man of good humor and strong principles who, as you will see, enjoys a good run-on sentence. I do, too.

The photo used as the main image for this interview is taken from the website of the Legislative Yuan. I thought it would be fun to do that.

NOTE: You may be familiar with my editorial comments from Radu's interviews (and if you aren't, go familiarize yourself), so in case you are wondering, the editorial comments here are still from me. Seeing as I am the editor-in-chief and in this case I am both interviewer and transcriber, it isn't strictly necessary to preface my notations with "Ed:", since they should all be understood to be me, but I've included it anyway to clarify further that I was not saying these things aloud to Freddy.

SSUS: Hi, Freddy. It's a pleasure to be speaking with you.

Freddy Lim: Yeah, nice to talk to you. Let's do it.

SSUS: All right. Well, at the moment, there is only one topic of conversation around the world, so I might as well start there. What has your experience been like individually and as a citizen of Taiwan during the pandemic?

FL: My experience here… I think since early February, we started to encourage people to wear masks and to wash our hands and the border has been controlled in early January, I think, so what I want to say is that the whole situation, the procedure that our department in the government has in place, we're, like, border control in January and then to fire up the manufacture of masks in February and then to encourage people to wear masks and to have social distance and to wash their hands, so in March and April, the economy has been a little bit down and people have been quite careful, but the restaurants are still open and shopping malls are still open, and some concerts and some big events have been stopped, but then it's back, one-by-one in April and May, so now in June it's, like, back to the ordinary life.

SSUS: That's pretty quick compared to most of the rest of the world, I think, but Taiwan had very few infections this whole time. [Ed: At the time of writing, Taiwan has a mere 446 confirmed cases with 7 deaths from COVID-19 so far. By comparison, doctors in the United States have succeeded in creating fire, formerly the domain of the gods, but it appears that rendering animal sacrifice to NASCAR does not prevent the spread of the virus.]

FL: Yeah, yeah. I think that's because we've always kept very skeptical about the Chinese information, because we know that they're gonna cover up the true story. But we have our own connections in Wuhan city, we have Taiwanese people there, we have professionals there, so we try to take our own steps to understand the situation in Wuhan right now. We gather our own information and we make the decision by our own and we found out that the WHO has quite followed orders from the Chinese government, so for us it's the same thing, that if we keep skeptical about the information from the Chinese government, then we have to be skeptical about information from WHO. When WHO was still encouraging people to stay the same, traveling in China, no need to border control, blah blah blah in January, I think in Taiwanese government we just did what we should do. And then the rest of the world found out that that's the right decision, then the other governments do the same thing, like, two months later. So it's a bit too late, actually.

SSUS: It seems kind of like business as usual for Taiwan, because so many other countries are… a lot of countries are hesitant to work with Taiwan openly and they don't want to be seen recognizing Taiwan, so the WHO excluding Taiwan and Taiwan kind of being on its own, having to deal with the pandemic, it's kind of like just an extension of how it already is because you have to trust your own information and go by your own authority.

FL: Yeah, but it's like - we are not that skeptical for other countries, we are not that skeptical compared to the information from Chinese government. I think the information from other democratic countries are quite transparent and trustable. For us, it's just that we have been facing the threat from China for decades, so we found out that, no matter is there information of human rights situations, information in Tibet, from Xinjiang, from Hong Kong, or information of pandemic, none of the information from Chinese government is transparent, so it's just like because we have been their neighbors for so long a time and we always deal with all kinds of threats from them, so naturally we try to remain highly cautious.

SSUS: And China has been saying that they've been able to handle the virus so well because of all these authoritarian measures that they can put in place -

FL: (exercises his constitutional right to laugh)

SSUS: - and because they have such a strict government, that's how they've been keeping everybody safe, and then here's Taiwan, a democratic country -

FL: (laughs democratically)

SSUS: - that is succeeding even more without resorting to any of that.

FL: Yeah, I think that's why the Chinese government must hate us a lot, because we are the one to - we are the, what to say, the…

SSUS: Competition?

FL: Yeah, to prove that their lies are not trustable, and because I always believe that if you are a transparent and democratic country with more transparent information, then the strength from the civil society can make the country or the society healthier, better, and we can protect what we have, and so when they try to cover up information and control information in their authoritarian government, which means they can't really have an improved mechanism how to deal with a pandemic in place… Actually, in Taiwan, in January, it's not like the government, the Taiwanese government, think what to do, but the civil society and a lot of organizations, especially… how to say it… let me find the right word… the public health organizations, that kind of NGOs, in Taiwan, try to contribute their ideas how to deal with a pandemic right now, and the local citizens in Taiwan, the local pharmacies, local doctors, they have their own ideas how to deal with the pandemic, so they can contribute their ideas through their legislators or their representative in the government, so it's a two-way, two-direction exchanging ideas happening in January, and then we came up with a good system to deal with the pandemic, so it's not like our Taiwanese government is wonderful, is #1 in the world and can deal with the pandemic, but it's more about first of all we remain cautious, like what I said, remain cautious with information from the authoritarian government, and the other thing is that we remain democratic and transparent and to work with people and the civil society to come up with a good mechanism to deal with the pandemic.

So there are a lot of things happened in Taiwan - you know we had the Mask Map? It's an app that people can know where to buy masks, in the drugstore or in the convenience stores, what's the amount left there, so they don't have to line up too long there. They can see where has most of the masks around them with the app, but the app was not invented by the government. The government is just… shared the transparent information with the local NGO, with the civil society, with the talented engineer who can write this kind of app, so there are a lot of good things in this pandemic that happen not just because we trust the government, but because we are a democratic country, so we always try to improve what we can do, not just weekly, maybe daily! So that's something better, much better, than authoritarian regimes, because when you trust your government and count on your government only and when you come up with some different ideas you got arrested, you got "fixed" by the government, that's not the right way. I think the Chinese government tried to cover up all the stories. I think the situation there must be even worse.

SSUS: Yeah, and you have a government that is open and transparent with information, so everybody has a better idea of what to expect, and then on a local level you have so much more freedom to contribute your own ideas - like you said, it's a two-way street, and everybody together can work to try to find better solutions as opposed to the government just saying, "This is how it is, do as we tell you," and they may be wrong. [Ed: This does not apply to Metal Storm, where what we tell you is correct.]

FL: Right. You got my point, yeah.

SSUS: You've said in the past that you're hoping for the discourse in Taiwanese politics to move away from "Taiwan vs. China" and start focusing on issues within Taiwan. Do you think that the pandemic is forcing people to do that and that the conversation has been more local and national instead of Taiwan against China?

FL: You mean inside Taiwan, the conversation inside Taiwan?

SSUS: Right, yeah.

FL: I think it's quite interesting right now. The people here in Taiwan, of course, on the one hand we try to focus on Taiwan much more, because now the border control is not open yet, so everything we can do is how we can improve Taiwan better by our own. It's like in every country right now, because the border control is there everywhere. But on the other hand, I think this might be a key point for some Taiwanese people. They're like, "We have something to contribute to the world," so it's not like Taiwan comparing China, it's more like Taiwan contributing to the world. So when we saw that Taiwan's Mask Map app of locations, that news, not just Japanese news or Korean news or the news in other countries, saying that "Wow, that's something quite efficient," and how Taiwan can work that quick to have that kind of app, and that's not even a governmental thing - it's just government work with the people, with the citizens, so we found out that…

The democracy here in Taiwan, it's not perfect, I don't think it's better than others, but because in Taiwan, I think the young people in recent years, more and more young people get engaged with politics, so our democracy has been more… let me find the word… more imaginative, more lively. Yeah, because the IT minister we have here - you know Audrey Tang? You might not know, but he's IQ-180 young people and he's our IT minister, taking care of all the high-tech ideas and these kind of things, and he's transgender, so I don't know if I should say "he" or "she," but he's a transgender - I know him 20 years ago, he was one of our first Chthonic fans 20 years ago and enjoyed all our music in our practice room, and back 20 years ago, I can't imagine, I couldn't expect that one day she will be transgender, because when I knew him, she was him, and now, he's she, and she will be in the government as the IT minister, and I will be in the Parliament and we can work together. So it's just like, I think Taiwan's democracy is not #1, not the best one in the world, but we are very lively and we are trying to find - we try to improve our democracy and try to find some new ideas about democracy and make democracy not just about the day you vote, but more about your daily life, how you get engaged with public affairs, so I think there are a lot of new things happening here in Taiwan.

You know that in the Parliament, there is a new member of the Parliament this year, her name is Lai Pin-yu, she is a cosplayer. [Ed: Oh, yes, I do know. This is her standing in front of Freddy.]

SSUS: Oh, I did hear about that, yeah. [Ed: That's my casual way of declaring that Radu brought Lai to my attention when she was still campaigning and I was hoping that one of her opponents would cosplay as Rei. Some wishes were never meant to come true.]

FL: Yeah, she worked in my office for years and she used to be my fan as well, and I encouraged her that you can run for Parliament, and she didn't really think that she can, but she won! So I think that Taiwanese citizens and the Taiwanese society is still very lively and always curious about what we can do with democracy. They are imagining beyond the reality right now so we can improve our democracy. So that's what I think - on the one hand, we care more about our domestic issues, especially when now is the border control, everything we have to deal with is only us, but on the other hand, I think that, through this pandemic, our society found out that, "Wow, our democracy might be some inspiration for other democracy," and that's what we can contribute to the world.

So that's one thing that's why Taiwanese think that we should join WHO. Decades ago, when we feel like we should be a member of WHO, that's because we need to be supported by WHO and the world, but now I think the Taiwanese people think in another way, like if we can join WHO, we can contribute to the world more efficiently and especially international organizations like WHO should be governed by democratic members, so it's how we can improve international organizations', like WHO's, governance, I think it's more about the more democracies can influence more of these organizations with better ideas, with better expectations. I think that's what the Taiwanese, when we talk about joining WHO, it's more about contribution now.

SSUS: Right. You put it really well a minute ago when you said it's not just about the day you go out and vote, it's about every day and participating in the democratic process just as part of your life, and what you were saying reminded me of how countries like Canada and Australia trace their national identity to, like, World War I, where up to a certain point they were just a colony of Britain and then going through this enormous national and global crisis changes people's perception of where they live and how they want to participate in their government. [Ed: I apologize to any Canadian or Australian readers who feel that I have mischaracterized their national geneses. If you've got a problem, take it up with the Queen.]

FL: Hm. Yeah.

SSUS: And a little bit more on the subject of government - you were one of the founders of the New Power Party several years ago, which quickly became a very important party in Taiwan, but you left the party last year and were reelected as an independent. What were the reasons behind that decision?

FL: (laughs) That's a long story, but to make the long story short, what I want about the party is - wait, wait, wait, let me find the right word… I think the reason why I formed the New Power Party was because I hoped that it's a party with a very open platform, with a transparent decision-making process, and was open-minded, could work with a lot of people, especially the people with good ideas or the people with passions, so that's what I think, but the party in the last few years went to another direction, more narrow, and go to a very narrow idea… So there was not just me, but people left, and it's not that easy to attract more people to join the party because the direction was not in that way, not in how to get more people to join, and the most important thing is that the last year, I think it was a very tough year for Taiwan since late 2018.

In late 2018, the local elections got very huge influence from the Chinese government. Those pro-China politicians got huge resources from China and also they tried to infiltrate Taiwan's elections with their resources, with fake information, all that kind of thing, so that election in 2018, combined with the referendum - one topic of the referendum is about same-sex marriage, and I don't want to go too deep, but what I want to say is that all those, not only the official elections but also the referendums, got a huge influence by wrong and fake information, so how we can make the direction back to what we truly believe, back to our values such as LGBTQ rights, such as transitional justice, all those things that we still need to get people's support, which means we need to unite with more people, with other parties, includes the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), they are in the big direction of the country, they share the same idea with us, so I think that we should work together, no matter in some details we might have different ideas, but in the last year, the election year is so important so there's no way that we separate ourselves from the big family.

We should work together and stop the infiltration from China, but the other people in the party doesn't really share the same idea with me, so for me, last August, I felt that I should leave the party by my own because I need to win in my constituency, because my constituency used to be very conservative district and it's always been dominated by a conservative legislator, so I can't just give that back to them because I've been trapped in the party's inside politics. It's not the right way. I need to look at the big picture, so I decided to focus on the fight, the battle, in my constituency, so I left the party.

(he laughs, having not made the story short at all)

SSUS: You did manage to get reelected, so I guess enough people are following you and your ideals and not just being loyal to the party.

FL: Yeah, I think so, because when I left, most of my supporters and volunteers, they all still support me, work with me, help me, and even now there are some NPP politicians in the local levels, or some city councilors of the NPP, they are still good friends with me, share my own ideas, and they still hope to change the direction of NPP, so I give them my best wishes, but I can't really spend my time there anymore because there are a lot of important things that we need to do right now, so I just left that inside politics in that party behind.

SSUS: Obviously both music and being socially involved have been important parts of your life for a long time now, but over the last few years, since you got elected the first time, you've had to balance Chthonic and being a public official more. Is this something that you see yourself doing in the long term? Would you ever have to abandon one side to focus entirely on the other, or could you sustain both of these long-term?

FL: I really don't have the answer right now, but for me, the next four years in this term, I will still try to - actually, I focus on politics more than music right now, but I will still try to make Chthonic still alive. (laughs) What I want to say is that still working on some new materials - and I think music, it's very difficult for me to abandon music, because it's a way that I express my feelings. I don't know how the other artists or the music writers think, but once you write music, it's very difficult for what you write in your lyrics or in your music, in your melodies, to translate them into a serious article, and so for me it's very difficult for me to write serious articles a lot quite often on Facebook, and even when I do that, it can't replace what I'm doing writing music. I think writing music is still the way that I 100% share my ideas, share my feelings, and express my emotions, and that makes me healthy. That keeps me calm in politics, so I can't really think if I abandon music what I will be. I might scream and shout and growl in the Parliament! (laughs)

SSUS: Have you ever done that before if you need to get somebody's attention?

FL: A few times in the first term, just because I was so angry, so I got pissed and was shouting to some other politicians or some official, and after that I found out that's not the right way to converse, to discuss with others, and that's not the way to convince people. The people might be shocked by you, might be thrilled by you, but they won't really follow your ideas. Thank God I have music - I can channel my anger with music, not in a speech in the Parliament. In the Parliament, I try to always stay calm and find the right way to get enough support, because in Taiwan there are 113 seats, which means that if I want my ideas passed, I need more than 57 votes, right?

SSUS: Right. [Ed: I was just agreeing with his guess. It takes me a good 25 seconds to work out a simple math problem.]

FL: So it's not the right way that you find out you are alone and then you shout at everybody else. You're not gonna get any votes from that, you're not gonna get any support from that - people would just laugh at you. So I keep my shouting, screaming, growling in my music, and that helps me to keep my reason, to stay reasonable, stay calm, and to try to always find a new way to convince one more vote and then I can let my ideas be passed in the Parliament.

SSUS: Well, I'm glad to hear that you don't intend to abandon either, not just because I'm a big fan of Chthonic's music, but also because Chthonic is fairly unique in that while there are a lot of bands out there that will sing about their ideas and some of them will maybe put those ideas into practice, Chthonic is definitely one of the most extreme examples.

FL: (laughs) Yes, I believe so.

SSUS: So you just released the new version of "Supreme Pain For The Tyrant," featuring Matt Heafy of Trivium, and that song is about Peter Huang's assassination attempt on Chiang Ching-kuo and was rereleased to coincide with the 50th anniversary of that event. My first question about that is why did you decide to record that particular song with Matt Heafy?

FL: First of all, I think that's because it's more about it's 50th anniversary of the attempt of the assassination.

SSUS: It was just the right timing?

FL: Yeah, it's just the right timing. That song was inspired by Peter Huang because he's my mentor - he was my predecessor of the chair of Amnesty [International] Taiwan, so I follow him and I discuss a lot of ideas with him, so that song was inspired by him, so we decided, the band decided, to rearrange that song with some ideas after we release the original version in 2013, then we come up with some ideas, but we never have a chance to make it real, and so we decided to do that and then we were discussing about whom we want to ask - because the idea was to make the chorus part more melodic, so we were thinking who we should ask to be our guest vocalist. Then we come up with Matt Heafy because, I think in 2013, in some interviews he was saying that Chthonic is one of his favorite bands, and so we found out that and through Randy Blythe we know each other, with Matt Heafy, but after that, we never come up with some ideas about working on a song or something. Jesse [Liu], our guitarist, always hung out with him about video games. (laughs)

SSUS: (I laugh, remembering this article)

FL: So for a few years, when we knew each other, we talk about video games mostly, not about music, so it feels like, "Oh, maybe this time it's good to have him to sing the chorus part." He was not just singing in the chorus part; he also wrote the melody in the chorus part, so he fulfilled our ideas, so we like the version very much. We think it's a good way to make the chorus part be lighter.

SSUS: Yeah, I think it came out really well. That song strikes me as one of Chthonic's most distinctly Taiwanese songs, in part because you use Peter Huang's words at the end: "Let me stand up like a Taiwanese."

FL: Yeah.

SSUS: Did you talk with Matt Heafy about that and the context behind the song and what that means?

FL: We tried to explain in an easy way. It's a democratic incident and it's a milestone for Taiwanese democracy, so we let him know some about that and we gave him some links of the incident and Peter Huang. It was not like I gave him a lecture. (laughs) We tried to share some ideas and links with him.

SSUS: You mentioned that Peter Huang was your mentor and he preceded you in Amnesty International. So you knew him before you wrote "Supreme Pain For The Tyrant"?

FL: Yeah, yeah.

SSUS: Does he know about the song and that you quoted him in it?

FL: I think he knows, but he never said anything about the song. I think he didn't really get into metal! (laughs) But he supports what I'm doing. But he's very old now, so, yeah… but I love to exchange ideas with him. He's a very smart guy. Wise guy, I should say.

SSUS: So he's not really a metal fan, not really a fan of Chthonic's music?

FL: No. (laughs) But he has been to our concerts and been there for two hours, so -

SSUS: Wow. [Ed: My dad is two decades younger than Peter Huang and actually listens to metal, and a two-hour show is a daunting physical commitment for him.]

FL: I think he was not there enjoying music, but enjoying the fans. For them, how the metalheads were moshing in the music, it was quite interesting for them, I think.

SSUS: It is an interesting experience, for sure. I remember you saying something a few years ago about how when you toured the United States you'd find a lot of elderly Taiwanese people in the audience who maybe aren't there for the metal but just to have a little solidarity, I guess.

FL: (laughs) Just to see, yeah, yeah! Peter Huang was there for the same thing.

SSUS: I know that Taiwan has a few dozen other metal bands, but Chthonic is the only one that I'm really familiar with. Are other Taiwanese metal bands as active socially and politically as Chthonic, or is the metal scene there more focused on the music?

FL: Um… Mostly on music. I think rappers and some world music… world musicians? World music musicians? (laughs) I don't know how you say that!

SSUS: (I laugh, not knowing the answer either)

FL: That's tricky.

SSUS: That works just fine.

FL: But they focus on politics more, rappers and world musicians, but the other metal bands, they share their political ideas - we share the same ideas, we share the same values, but they post the ideas on their Facebook and on the stage they say some ideas, say some political speech on their stage as well, but they just don't really participate in politics.

SSUS: I was listening to the first episode of your podcast, Metalhead Politics, and you said something about how if non-Taiwanese people want to understand why heavy metal exists in Taiwan, they just have to look at Taiwanese history and see all of the injustice and the anger that fuels metal.

FL: Yes, yes. I think another Taiwanese metal band, called Flesh Juicer - if you have time, check their music - I think their music is very Taiwanese and also mixed with Taiwanese culture and mixed with the anger or the emotions of Taiwan. Not like Chthonic in so specific historical or mythological way, but they kind of share their angers in the local level, so they use a lot of local dialogue and reflect the injustice in local levels, so I think the more and more Taiwanese metal bands now try to find their inspiration from Taiwan, because metal is angry music, so most of the inspiration are about injustice.

SSUS: Yeah. I know the name Flesh Juicer, but I've never listened to them, so I will check them out. [Ed: I did, and I liked what I heard.] I think another thing that makes Chthonic very interesting is that there are a lot of metal bands out there that are very focused on their own culture and on their national identity, but it's all very history-oriented, and so you get Scandinavian bands that sing about the Vikings, English bands that sing about the Saxons, Finnish bands singing about the Kalevala, and Chthonic, of course, also has - you take inspiration from history and tradition as well, but it's also very focused on the present, because there's still a struggle for international acceptance of a Taiwanese cultural identity.

FL: Yeah.

SSUS: So it's not just about reliving the great events of the past, it's also about trying to establish a place for Taiwan now and thinking about Taiwan in the present and Taiwan in the future.

FL: Yes, yes. (laughs) So I think that's why our music - or not just our music, but also, like, Flesh Juicer - when the young people in Taiwan listen to our music, of course it's about the history and the remarkable moments of our history that people can get inspired from, but also people will think more about what we want to do right now, what we want to have right now, and will think about the future as well. I think our lyrics can inspire people in different levels, and some people read our lyrics with the "ancient" taste, but some people read our lyrics with the modern inspirations what they can do right now or be more active. I think because the… let me find the right word… because the objective environment in Taiwan now, people, when they read our lyrics, they will become all kinds of different meanings for them, and I think that's a good thing because we don't want our lyrics just about the past, we want our lyrics can be something encouraging people to do right now.

SSUS: Yeah. Well, my next batch of questions are a little more… random, I guess. What does your daughter think of Chthonic's music?

FL: (laughs) Hm… She has come to our concerts, because we don't really have a babysitter with us, or we have a babysitter but we always want our daughter with us, so she went to our concerts, not during the rehearsal, though I think she doesn't really still like screaming, growling; it's something strange. But recently, most of the time she listens to the music of the Disney cartoons. (laughs) So now she listens to all those cartoon theme songs and soundtracks mostly, so it's very difficult to compete with Disney, you know.

SSUS: Oh, yeah. That's a lot more fun than metal.

FL: (laughs) Because we don't have our own cartoon, so she's in that age she loves to watch cartoons, but there is no metal cartoon, so I always play rock music, metal music, to her to balance her taste of music, but I sing Disney songs with her, too.

SSUS: Well, I guess that's your next project: you have to come up with a metal cartoon for children. [Ed: Like that time KISS was on Scooby-Doo, but not insane garbage.]

FL: (laughs, contemplating a Dethklok Family Special) She always wants me to sing "A Whole New World" with her -

SSUS: Oh, that's a classic.

FL: Yeah, and she wants me to sing Aladdin parts and she wants to sing the Jasmine parts, always like that. It's like every five times I sing with her, then I will play a metal song for her or a rock song for her to balance the taste.

SSUS: I've heard that you named yourself after Freddy Krueger.

FL: Yes.

SSUS: Are you still satisfied with that decision?

FL: I think it's just a kid's decision, but I've used that name since I was in high school, so a lot of people know me with this name, so I just leave that. [Ed: I gave myself this username when I was 16 and I'm not changing it either.] And people now in Taiwan know about Freddy Lim much more than Freddy Krueger, so I don't really care anymore. (laughs)

SSUS: Yeah, it's much more - it's yours now, it's not a reference.

FL: Yeah, but Freddy Krueger - A Nightmare On Elm Street, that series, it's really… how to say it… I think it's my… because I didn't really have a peaceful childhood with my family, so I always need some…

SSUS: An escape.

FL: Yeah, and some… how to say… in Taiwan we say - some "heavy" movies.

SSUS: Right.

FL: To make me can express my feelings, and so I think A Nightmare On Elm Street be there with me for a few years that when I feel upset I can be shocked by that movie, but that was before when these movies become a joke, become too hilarious.

SSUS: Yeah, it spun out of control pretty quickly there. [Ed: I once watched all seven in one sitting and it gets pretty dumb pretty fast, but there's always this absolute gem.]

FL: Yes, but the first two, I think the first two or first three, was very classic. I watched that over and over.

SSUS: Are you a big horror movie fan generally?

FL: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I like horror movies a lot. The old-school horror movies and the new, like Saw, and after 21st century the new ideas of horror movies also are my taste as well.

SSUS: Well, this is a good lead-in, because we have a standard interview question at Metal Storm which is: if you could choose any living director to direct a music video for Chthonic, who would it be and why?

FL: Oh, really? (laughs)

SSUS: And I'll tell you now that you are not allowed to say David Lynch.

FL: Ah, okay. I might know some movies, but… why can't I say David Lynch? (laughs)

SSUS: Because for some reason, invariably, every single person who gets asked this question says David Lynch.

FL: Ah, okay.

SSUS: I mean, if you really want to say David Lynch, I'll let you say David Lynch, but then I'd have to ask you your second choice also.

FL: (laughs) You are smart. [Ed: Well, shucks.] Who's the director of the first Saw?

SSUS: James Wan.

FL: Oh, then I would say James Wan. Wait, really? Let me see.

SSUS: I think so.

FL: Yeah, I think so, I think so. Then he directed much more other movies. Oh, yeah, yeah. Yes. So I think James Wan will be my #1.

SSUS: All right, that's a good choice. [Ed: Because it isn't David Lynch] He's gonna be, I think, he's directing the upcoming sequel to Train To Busan -

FL: Oh, really?

SSUS: - which is one of my favorites from the last few years. [Ed: Ma Dong-seok for President of South Korea]

FL: Yes, yes.

SSUS: Or, sorry, not the sequel, um… the American remake, which is probably going to be a lot worse than the sequel, but I'll keep my fingers crossed.

FL: (laugh) Okay.

SSUS: Ah, let's see… Oh, I guess I just have one more question.

FL: Okay.

SSUS: I've heard that you are a big fan of David Bowie.

FL: Yes.

SSUS: Has Chthonic ever covered any of his songs, and if you haven't, which ones would you like to cover?

FL: Hm… Uh… The… Eh… Ah… I would say… Uh… That is too difficult!

SSUS: (I laugh at the steam coming out of Freddy's ears)

FL: I think "Heroes," but it's not gonna happen! How can we cover "Heroes" into metal? So maybe another song that's called… "Hallo Spaceboy"?

SSUS: Yeah.

FL: Yeah, "Hallo Spaceboy." That would be the one easier to be covered as a metal version, but I like "Heroes" very much. [Ed: Oh man, he is just so right. Imagine Chthonic doing this.]

SSUS: Well, I believe in you. I bet you could pull it off.

FL: (snorts) Let's see, let's see!

SSUS: That's about everything I've got, so do you have any last words for our readers?

FL: Hm… I think I would just encourage people to check out our podcast more. There will be one episode monthly in the next few months, and so if you want to know more about what's going on in Taiwan and international politics and also what's new about Chthonic, then, yeah, follow our podcast.

SSUS: Oh yeah, we didn't actually spend that much time on it, but, yeah, I really enjoyed the first episode, so I will add my endorsement to that, too.

FL: Okay. Thank you, Kevin.

SSUS: Yeah, thank you very much.

FL: Thank you.

SSUS: I hope that I will eventually see you on tour here some time when live music comes back to life.

FL: Yeah, I really, really want to tour. I really want to go back on the road. Hope soon, yeah. So, yeah, good night.

SSUS: Yeah, good night - well, good morning to you, I guess, and stay healthy. [Ed: Freddy is 12 hours ahead of me, which made scheduling this thing a fun challenge.]

FL: Yeah, yeah. Bye; stay healthy.

As I'm sure I've already mentioned, you can check out Freddy's podcast here or here or here or wherever, you can watch their full live set here, and you can hear the new version of "Supreme Pain For The Tyrant" here.

I extend my thanks to Freddy Lim for spending almost an hour chatting with me. 2020 promises to continue being a difficult year for everybody, so we wish the best to him, his family, Chthonic, and their countrymen.

Metalhead Politics


Posted on 01.07.2020 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 97 users
01.07.2020 - 11:21
That was such a great read, so glad you decided to interview him another time. Although seeing his official photo like that in an MS setting immediately triggered the illusion that it's one of those spam accounts linking to essay writing websites.

It was great seeing the political discussion involving Taiwan especially as an effective counterpoint to the literal Reich, really hoping that Taiwan will eventually get a bit more official recognition eventually, but I don't see that happening any time soon. It's great seeing more and more metal musicians actually getting involved in politics, other than this.

You know damn well Lynch must do a video for every band.

I might give his podcast a shot, once I catch up to Alan Averill's.
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.

2020 goodies
02.07.2020 - 20:42
The Picture
death to all but science
Iron Maiden | Rate'Em All!
03.07.2020 - 14:27
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
That was a....let me find the right word...great interview.

And can "[Ed: "be replaced with "Narrator"?

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