1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
After the former album ‘Mirror of Retribution’ released in 2009 and two-month tour in North America and UK, we were heading to writing new songs for next album. During those days we also did some successful performance at festivals like Loud Park (Japan), Hammerfest (UK), Download Festival (UK), Wave Gotik Treffen (DE).
In 2011 spring, we recorded our new album ‘Takasago Army’ at Sweet Spot Studio in Halmstad, Sweden’, produced by Rickard Bengtsson (Arch Enemy, Nemesis) , and it released in the middle of this year.
We had successful headline tour in Japan and Taiwan right after album release, and also were invited to play ‘Busan Festival’ in Korea. Then we’re heading to tour North America and Europe for the rest of this year!
2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album and how it differs from previous releases?
The theme of ‘Takasago Army’ has more various emotions: from the confusion of themselves because of the identity to become proud of their own bravery in battle field, and then the depress feeling when they have to face to the loss of the war but at the same time they find themselves a inner freedom and their identity to Taiwanese ancestors. So the emotion of rise and fall of ‘Takasago Army’ is huge than ‘Mirror of Retribution’.
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the new release explores?
《Takasago Army》is our 6th full-length album. It’s talking about the struggling emotions and struggles of those over 200,000 Taiwanese soldiers who were fighting for Imperial Japanese Army in South Pacific in WWII.
They find themselves’ dignity and identity though this brutal and bloody process.
But after WWII, Chinese army (KMT party) occupied Taiwan, and those soldiers were forced to fight for Chinese army in their inner war with communist regime, most of them never come back. At the meantime, there’s also an uprising from Taiwanese people to against Chinese government, but it leads to a tragic massacre in Taiwan called ‘228 Massacre’.
It’s a series concept album, and it’s also the last part of the trilogy of our former two albums.
4. I know that the album title is based on the aboriginal tribes in Taiwan joining the military in World War II, what interest do you have in the mythology of these people and I have noticed not that many bands have ever explored that form of mythology with their lyrics?
Because this is a good story, and it’s based on the REAL history but was hidden by the history for over 60 years, so not too many people knows those people of WWII.
We have a very strong interest toward to this kind of topic. Our former albums were also related to mythology/history theme.
We are not interested in bring fans History class, what we want to reveal via the concept is the spirit and the value as a human beings based on those stories. J
5. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?
‘ChthoniC’ means ‘Gods from the underworld’. For the past few albums, we’re re-creating the Oriental mythology based on the real history or culture background, like the second album was talking about Taiwanese Aboriginal Gods wake up and fight against the Gods from Mainland China to protect the island; In third album, we’re writing a revenge story by a female ghost who was been killed and tortured both mentally and physically. For the later 3 albums, we are writing the heroic battles based on our folk stories and hidden history in WWII.
All the elements of the stories, the living and dead people are all connected to the concept of ‘Acheron’.
6. You have done a lot of tours over the years, out of all of the places that you have played so far which one did you enjoy the most and also which band was the funnest to tour with or do live shows with, and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Actually I LOVE all fans from every countries, I ‘enjoy’ them very much! Haha! But the most favorite fans are still in Taiwan! ;)
7. What are the touring plans for the new album?
US Tour: From Sep 8th to Oct 4th, we will tour with Arch Enemy, Devil Driver and Skeletonwitch in the US and Canada! Excited!
UK Tour: From Oct 27th to Nov 17th, we will be main support of Turisas UK tour. Looking forward to play with them (and also the other band from Finland- Kiuas! ;)
Europe Tour: We will Tour from Dec 6th to Dec 22nd with Arch Enemy and Warbringer in Germany, France, Switzerland and Netherlands.
CHTHONIC will have a big outdoor concert in Taiwan on Oct 22nd. And the place is right in front of 'Sing-Ling Temple'. Sing-Ling Temple is a very important concept in our albums (Mirror of Retribution and Takasago Army). So the concert will connect to our album perfectly.
Now not only the place is very special, our guest play will also be very special. Now Randy Blythe from Lamb of God will fly to Taiwan to play with us and BBQ for fans!!! And now we're having a 'competition' for foreign fans, if you pass the competition, you can win the flight tickets to Taiwan to see our concert! :)
8. How has the feedback been from fans that have heard the new album so far?
I think it’s pretty good, and again, better than former album!
Especially this album is the last piece of the trilogy, that interest many people and draw more fans to notice our former albums! This ‘Takasago Army’ completes a trilogy that binds together the band’s Seediq Bale and Mirror Of Retribution albums, released in 2007 and 2009 respectively.
9. What direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?
From the new experience of composing songs for our latest album, we think we will use more Oriental elements and Taiwanese folk music as the base foundation, then mix metal music into it. The logic is different from our former albums, and we love to do our music in this way now. J
10. The last few albums came out on Spinefarm, how did you get in contact with this label and how would you compare Spinefarm to the other record labels that you have been on?
Our label manager in Spinefarm UK has already listened to our music before we signed with them. So when we start to shop labels, it’s naturally for us to get connection with this label.
Before Spinefarm, we’ve been worked SPV, and some individual label in different countries. After signing with Spinefarm, of course the aspect becomes wider and the strategy is more international.
We have good time in working with them. J
11. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have influenced the new album and also what are you listening to nowadays?
The main song writers Freddy and Jesse have listened more Taiwanese traditional music (Enka) according to their ages getting older! (haha!) So if talking about the influence to CHTHONIC nowadays, I think that might be bunch of names on the list are Taiwanese singers or artists! :D
12. What role does Occultism play in your music and how would you describe your views on this topic?
Maybe it’s because the word ‘Orient Metal’ that we use more often nowadays has given some imagination of ‘Occultism’? J But we do use many concepts from the mythology of aboriginals, Taiwanese, Japanese and some other Eastern Asia countries.
It’s a natural process for us to use those elements just because we’re so into this kind of topic and theme. J
13. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
For me, that would be cooking and traveling! I love good food all over the world! J And also I love to read some novels / poem or business magazines under the dim light at night! J
14. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Join the competition and win the flight ticket from your country to Taiwan for our concert in Oct 22nd! (And also having BBQ with CHTHONIC and Randy from Lam of God!)
Also, our new album ‘Takasago Army’ will release in North America on Sep 6th, and soon CHTHONIC and Arch Enemy will start our NA tour from this Sep 8th! Don’t miss it!!! J
Our new music video! :)
Broken Jade: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heF_NPJbv8Y