Tune Glue 008: Sunset Rollercoaster

An interview with Kuo-Hung Tseng of Taipei-based indie rock band Sunset Rollercoaster

Sunset Rollercoaster

Sunset Rollercoaster is a synth-pop band based out of Taipei, Taiwan who released their debut album in 2011. They had a recent resurgence starting in 2016 with their EP Jinji Kikko. The group’s newest album, SOFT STORM, is out now via their own Sunset Music Productions. Joshua Minsoo Kim and Finn Roberts talked with Kuo-Hung Tseng, the principle singer-songwriter of Sunset Rollercoaster, on October 20th, 2020 to discuss video games, trolling friends in high school, the simplicity of Raymond Carver, working with Ned Doheny, and more.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Hey, hey, hey! How are you?

Kuo-Hung Tseng: Oh, I’m good, I’m good. How are you guys?

JMK: We’re good, we’re good. I don’t know if you were informed, but Finn and I will both be interviewing you together. Is it just going to be you, and not the rest of the band?

I think it’ll only be me, because right now it’s like 12AM. (checks time). Yeah, it’s midnight(laughter). So I think the others are probably hanging out at some random bars in Taipei. So I’m the one just dedicated.

Finn Roberts: You’re the responsible one (laughter).

JMK: How has your day been?

Quite alright. I had several interviews today for radio, i-D, and stuff. There’s a quite interesting story that I’d like to share with you guys today. I love to play this game called StarCraft II. It’s a game that’s supposed to be 1-on-1. I haven’t played that game in a while. So I searched around for an ID. And my opponent’s ID was “SoftStorm.”

FR: Whoa. That’s crazy.

Yeah so I was like, “What the fuck is going on!?” There are several games where if you haven’t played in a long time, the first round of the game will send you an AI robot and it will use a name that you recently used. So I thought maybe it was a robot. So I chatted him—DM’d him—like, “Are you a robot?” and he replied “No, I’m a real player” and he started telling me about strategies he was going to use to abuse me in the game (laughter).

I was just like, “Wow, you’re actually a real person.” So I told him that I just made an album called Soft Storm that’s going to be released at the end of the month. And he was just like, “Wow, that’s a crazy coincidence.” Then we finished that game, and he sent me really sweet messages like “I wish you good luck with your music, when it’s released I’ll definitely go check it out.” Exactly the same ID—same name, Soft Storm—and that was literally my first game, after several months, after the whole album making process. After this one interview happened I had like a two hour gap, so I was just like, “Okay I’ll try to play one game” and then this story happened. 

FR: That’s so awesome.

Unbelievable, yeah.

JMK: So are you a big video game player? Do you play a lot of video games in general when you have free time?

I only really dig into StarCraft II because I’ve been playing this game for around 10 years now. I didn’t play every day, maybe like once a week. Like, for several hours I can really enjoy myself. But yeah this was just crazy—I thought someone was trolling me. Maybe it was someone who interviewed me, trying to sneak into my account and find my ID, and trying to interview me while I was playing StarCraft II (laughter).

JMK: It’s great how you were able to connect with a random person you hadn’t met before. I know you’ve talked about how, with your band and the influences you’ve had, you’ve found out so much through the internet. Do you have any friends that you’ve made just because of the internet? Do you have things you’ve been able to do, just personally or creatively, because of the internet and that you’re really happy about?

Hm, let me think about it. I think my first experience sharing music on the internet was through this software called SoulSeek.

JMK: Yes!

And I remember it was high school, this friend of mine introduced me to that software saying that if I wanted to dig into rare music or indie music, I should go through that software. So there’s this community and a small share box with labels like “music general,” “shoegaze,” “industrial,”—this kind of catalogue that you can click into, and people can share music from their hard drive. So when I first listened to YMO or Happy End, like really early city pop stuff, I got that music through SoulSeek. So that’s kind of the beginning of me really digging into the internet and surfing for music. So I don’t know if that can count as an experience.

JMK: No, that’s totally important. I’ve had similar experiences, I’ve used SoulSeek and I still use it. That’s how you can listen to music which, previously—before the internet—I wouldn’t have been able to hear. So that’s totally important and a great experience. 

Yeah, it’s really fun. I remember when I was new to the software, I was new to music so I didn’t really have files to share with people. Some people would yell at me like, “Hey dude, you should put a lot of music into your hard drive so you’re not just stealing our collections” and I was like “Oh okay, sorry.” During that time I was only really had like Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit-type stuff. But that was fun. People were really nice, they were just trying to be fair. They really want to dig into something special, so they do expect you to have something they’ve never heard of before.

FR: That actually makes a lot of sense. I feel like I would have been like you (laughs). I would have been like, “I’m listening to this thing that’s like really popular.”

(laughs)Yeah.

JMK: I’m curious, what’s the earliest memory you have of playing an instrument and really feeling like you could create art, that it could be something you wanted to do?

Okay, my background in learning English… my mom is Christian, so I started to learn how to play guitar in church. The sheet music in church in Taiwan, it’s not like the typical five lines. It’s kind of like a guitar chord sheet. So, you know, a C Major—they just give you a shape. They just give you a sheet of shapes. I just remember fiddling around.

When I was in high school, I would kind of fiddle with some chords, I didn’t really think about how I was trying to make music. The whole process was kind of natural, trying to sing something that made sense with the chords. So to me, I just naturally wanted to do that. When I was in high school, I was kind of trolling kids. I tried to make a lot of fun with my classmates, so the very beginning of making songs was kind of making nonsense stuff. Not bullying! Just making fun of each other (laughter). I was not a bad kid! (laughter).

FR: You gotta save yourself (laughter). Do you consider yourself religious or spiritual in any sense, or does faith have a different meaning for you?

I do believe in faith and truth, but I’m not sure if I could believe in them under artificial forms, like those religions which are made by humans and histories. Maybe it’s more like, I’m my own god, I live with my god, I’ll spend my whole life having my personal journey with my god, so we could understand each other, and probably figure out the meaning of life.

JMK: You mentioned these songs you made—do you remember any of them? Like do you remember a specific person you wrote a song about and what you sang in your song?

Uhhh, wow, I wrote like tons of them. But I remember for one of them, the English translation, it’s called “Small Ball.” And I remember—wow, this sounds really childish—but I feel like I kind of had a crush on a girl, and we used to… like, we were just friends. But then I felt like, “Oh, I feel something special with her.” So I wrote this song called “Small Ball” which means I want to play with this small ball with you, so it has a lot of energy, but I’m actually trying to tell her I love her, in this childish way.

FR: That’s so cute!

Yeah, it’s kind of embarrassing. Yeah, and I recorded that through this tiny MP3 player that had this microphone on it. You could record a guitar through the MP3 player. But yeah, I think I definitely deleted that file after I sent it to her (laughter).

FR: No, I wish you still had it (laughter).I feel like one of the things I really like about the songs you guys write, and a lot of the lyrics, is that sometimes—especially when it deals with love or romance—is that it feels more innocent, or like a purer type of romance. There’s not always this really heady, sexual energy that I feel like a lot of Western music might have. 

Yeah.

FR: Off of the most recent album, like with “Teahouse,” I was just like, “Oh yeah, I also want to just sit around with someone and make tea.” It’s such a pure thing. 

I finished that song when I was in Tokyo. There’s this place called Sangen-jaya that’s really close to Shibuya. And those words, in Mandarin, mean exactly tea house. That place, I remember that station used to only have like three tea houses before Tokyo really grew into a huge city. So that station is called Three Small Teahouses. I remember that I stayed really close to that station and I felt like “Okay, I’m going to write a song called “Teahouse” and just set up a lovely kind of love story in that song, about making the tea.”

JMK: Zen.

Yeah, Zen love style. (laughter)

JMK: I like how you talked about that song, and what you said earlier about your crush in high school. Do you feel like with music you’re able to say and express things that you wouldn’t be able to just from talking with others in person? Like, are there songs you have that have helped you express emotions, or helped you understand something about yourself?

Yeah, to me, because I’m a libra guy—

FR: Me too! I’m a libra!

(laughs) High five, high five. Yeah, so, I think libras kind of have a natural setup of being able to easily communicate with people. Like, communicating with people is not that difficult with a libra setup. So to me, writing songs—more than communicating with people, it’s like talking to myself. Especially with Sunset Rollercoaster, most of the stuff I will set up a conversation, or like a small play in my head. I try to set up a small story in my head, with a couple or several characters trying to have a conversation.

FR: Mmm.

I’m a huge fan of Raymond Carver. I really love his way of storytelling. His novels and his way of English writing is so simple—it’s not that difficult for me at all. So I’m always trying to set up several characters in my mind and I think having a certain topic—or a vague idea of topics—is not a really solid thing to do. So like daily nonsense talking.

I will set up these characters in my head and try to memorize every line that every character says, and then I’ll try to shrink it down to small, tiny lyrics or a small story background. So the whole process I would say is definitely communicating. But it’s just all of me, and this communication is all set up in my brain. My brain will become a tiny living room, or a tiny kitchen with people sitting around a table, and I’ll try to put everything down and shrink it into lyrics.

JMK: Wow. What’s your favorite Raymond Carver story?

I can’t remember the title of the story, but it’s really simple. It’s about a really young couple, they just got married, and they have a really young girl. The husband makes an appointment with the older friends to go bird shooting. The wife says, “Okay, you can go.” The appointment to go shooting is really, really early in the morning the next day. Before the husband goes—before they go to bed—the baby daughter starts crying, and is crying really, really hard for several hours. The wife is concerned and thinks there is something wrong with the baby and maybe the husband shouldn’t go to the bird shooting.

The husband is a really quiet character, so he doesn’t say anything. So the next morning, when the baby girl’s still crying, the husband still goes out the door. So his wife is thinking, “Oh, he doesn’t give a shit about us, he still wants to go bird shooting.” But actually, the husband is just driving to his older friend’s house, and tells them what is going on with the baby daughter and he’s not able to go bird shooting with them. After that, he goes home and their daughter goes back to sleep, not crying anymore, and his wife makes him breakfast and the husband just gives her a really quiet and silent hug. And that’s the end, that’s the story. I feel like Raymond Carver’s story definitely tells something, but you feel like he doesn’t tell anything.

FR: Mmhmm.

There’s nothing crazy, he’s just writing about daily life. You can definitely feel something through his storytelling. I don’t know, I just really dig that story. I can’t really say it tells me something so special, or about the future. It’s just about daily life. So I’m just trying to understand myself, about writing songs. I just really want to have this kind of vibe. Like this narrative. It’s not something really romantic or anything.

JMK: How do you feel like you’ve grown as a songwriter then? Like, if this is the kind of vibe you want to capture—where it’s just everyday sort of life and there’s not a lot of drama, yet there’s still a poignance to it—do you feel like you’ve been able to capture that throughout your career?

In the songwriting process, I’m never thinking of me as a proper singer-songwriter because I’m just messing around with life. I’m just kind of a music nerd. Like to me, songwriting is just a setup of a really basic arrangement of chords, synthesizer, drum machines, and then put some AutoTune in my nonsense singing. So to me, a song is already like a mesh of a lot of ideas around music. But this year, this past March, I was in Los Angeles and I was working with Ned Doheny and he’s kind of like the OG of city pop. And he kept telling me, that he’s a really old school guy—he’s already 72—but when he was young, like my age, all of his friends were Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, like those legendary singer-songwriters. He was telling me that his idea of making music, lyrics and melody are the soul of the song, and the arrangement is what you can add on.

If you have a really good song, no matter the arrangement or mixing or mastering process, it just all adds up. But you need to have a really good soul for the song. So after you add up a really good arrangement and mixing, they just become like a pair of wings for it, so you can really make the song fly around. So he just encouraged me to really dig into my songwriting skills and ideas. He really helped me to run through the new song “Overlove,” which I believe is the second track on the album. He just tried to tell me—he’s not like teaching me—he was trying to help me understand what I really wanted to express. He just helped me to polish the lyrics and the melody. It was a really awesome experience. 

JMK: Thanks for sharing that. I love that idea of the arrangement being the wings and it adds to the soul of the song. With the new album, which song do you feel like was the most challenging to find that soul?

Hm, yeah, I would definitely say that it was “Overlove,” actually. We had already jammed with that song with my bandmates; I had like at least six or seven versions of that song because I couldn’t really finish it. I know there’s definitely something really special with that song, so I couldn’t decide what format I wanted it to be. I remember that we had a jam version, it sounds like ’70s Beatles, like really psychedelic and really progressive—I don’t really know how to explain it.

I made up the word “Overlove.” I really love words that have a double meaning and “Overlove”… you feel like you have too much love, and another meaning is that I kind of just want to get over it. And I made up these words to put these two definitions, or feelings, into words. That song is like a small maze, and trying to get out of that small maze. But no matter what, you still need to set up a certain arrangement or a certain format into the song—you can’t really play it two ways with arrangement ideas. Maybe in a lyrical way I can kind of put up a word game, but with arrangement you definitely stick to a form.

Ned definitely helped me with that, saying that “the verse should be like this, the chorus should be like this, maybe you should only sing the chorus one time, you can double that in the second chorus, you need to set up a chord change or a key change after the second chorus”—stuff like that. So he helped me set up a journey for that song, and helped me to route it out. So that’s the most difficult one. I already knew that song for quite some time, and that’s why I think I got lost for quite some time until I worked with Ned.

JMK: It’s nice to hear how you overcame that process and were able to work with Ned to be able to get to that point. I am curious, with this new album do you feel like you learned anything about yourself? Like obviously you may have learned how to make these new songs, but do you feel like in the process of writing lyrics and making these songs that you learned anything specifically? It can be simple too—it doesn’t have to be anything profound.

I do have a really huge backstory, uh, which I am almost going to finish with this album. My journey, with playing in Sunset Rollercoaster, is around 5 years now. And this album is supposed to be our fourth studio album since we rebooted Sunset Rollercoaster. I kind of feel like I already checked off the goals I set up for these 5 years. So I feel like this album is probably going to be the last thing I want to talk about to me, to myself, and to the whole world as well. I’ve never written a song in Mandarin. So I probably want to move on, just like, writing something down which is in my native language. My situation right now is just kind of being in between [stages]. 

JMK: Do you have anything that comes to mind that you want to do in the near future? Has anything kind of been bouncing around in your mind with new goals that you have?

Not yet, actually. Because playing bands, especially indie bands in Taiwan, and now with Sunset Rollercoaster—which has been touring around the world and getting the world’s attention, especially on streaming platforms and stuff like that—it’s just a little bit too overwhelming. And to me, the last couple of years, it was way too busy. It was so crazy. I never stopped working, touring, writing songs in the studio. To me, it became more like work, or like a business. It’s not that pure to me anymore. Or it wasn’t until this year—until COVID-19 showed up— and our whole tour was postponed.

To me, I just realized I didn’t want playing music to become work, or to become a businessman. And I do believe I kind of have this kind of mind because I’m a libra (laughter). So, as a libra, I have a really good business mind, but I don’t really want to become a businessman. So I was thinking, “What’s the relationship between me and my music?” Of course, I definitely want to go somewhere else [musically], because I’m a guy who’s really big into the history of music. I know what kind of genre and what kind of trend… with city pop, for example, I know how people record this kind of music in the studio. I know this trivia and these details. I know how to become a certain general type of musician, but of course I want to go beyond those types, and I’m still trying to figure it out. I’m trying to be even more honest with myself when I try to express something, because my imagination is a little too good, so I know how to build up people’s expectations. I do want to build up my true heart, even if it’s cliché to say that. I think that’s going to be the next five years’ worth. 

FR: So I feel like, going off being a libra and what that mindset entails, sometimes I feel like you want to experience so many different things because sometimes you just feel like you’re good at everything (laughter).

Yeah (laughs).

FR: Is that why you might want to branch into something different, because you feel, like, “I’ve already kind of got the nuances of what Sunset Rollercoaster is and what that experience offered”?

Yeah, I think my biggest lesson for the near future is to try and not be too greedy. I’m still a human being, so I’ve got limitations of time and age and energy and stuff like that. But I do want to really just polish myself and my soul of making music. I want to go deeper, just dig deeper into myself, and not try to think too much about the outside world and the material world.

JMK: Do you feel like you’re able to do that in the music scene in Taiwan? Do you feel like that’s something the community and environment allows for you to do?

I think so, because our situation in Taiwan is kind of interesting because we’re probably one of only five bands who are singing in English, and now we can do that as a career in Taiwan, because mostly people who listen to Mandarin listen to Chinese pop. When we’re singing English in Taiwan, basically we can do whatever we want. No one will really say, “Oh, you betrayed your music style,” or something like that. No one will really throw down really huge judgements with us. So I think we really do have this freedom to be a unicorn flying around in our music territory.

JMK: You mentioned how you wanted to start singing in Mandarin. What do you feel like is the difference between singing in English and singing in Mandarin, beyond just the difference in the language? Do you feel like there are different personalities and emotions that are easier to express in the different languages?

Yeah, to me, singing is already a purer form of expressing oneself. It’s pretty dramatic as well. I just feel like I’m 100% okay when I sing someone else’s song in Mandarin, but when I’m singing my own song that I’ve written down in Mandarin, I feel like “Ooh! It’s really awkward,” I feel like “Ooh, I don’t really want to express myself in this dramatic way in Mandarin.” When I sing in English—English is not my native language, I learned English from Sesame Street when I was really, really young—I can set up a whole new character with no cultural burden, with no politically correct stuff in my mind, and I can say whatever I want to say.

I feel like I’m a free man, or a free soul, to express myself when I’m singing in English. But singing in Mandarin, I feel like I do have a social burden to say something with pride or something that can really touch and connect with people. I don’t feel that free when I’m singing in Mandarin, but maybe because I’m not that mature to face my real problems yet about like, you know, being a Taiwanese, or Chinese, person singing and expressing myself in my native language in the rock ‘n roll or indie music form. I’m still trying to figure it out, but I'm on the way—it’s a process. 

JMK: Yeah, you’ll get there. It’ll be good!

(laughs) Thanks, man.

FR: Do you feel like you don’t feel comfortable expressing in Mandarin yet because it’s too vulnerable a thing for you to do? Do you think that because you’re a Taiwanese musician who has achieved a large amount of success worldwide—while singing in English—that there is a burden of expectation for what you might express in Mandarin?

It is possible. When I sing in English I can let my subconscious flow because it’s in this language I’m not naturally capable of [speaking]; I feel like I don’t need to take full responsibility. It also reveals that I don’t have anything solid to say to the world in my conscious mind, which is singing in Mandarin. If I do, that’s the vulnerability that I don’t feel comfortable with.

JMK: I wanted to ask, since your other band members aren’t here, do you mind talking about—and you don’t have to talk about all of them since there are a lot of them—what do they bring to Sunset Rollercoaster that you can’t bring?

Okay, wow. I never really seriously thought about it before. Because everyone in the band, we have known each other for a really, really long time, like since high school or university school life. So they, to me, aren’t even really like bandmates or even friends, they’re more like family now because everything is all meshed up together. All of our personalities, we are all at least kind of antisocial, and I’m the one who’s kind of social… because I’m libra (laughter).

FR: I was going to say—because you’re a libra (laughter).

Yeah, so, I’m the one capable of doing all the communication work with the rest of the world besides music. But to me, I think my bandmates are more like artists. They only do things because they believe in this kind of stuff. So, every time when I’m trying to play music or make music with them, they will say “Oh, I heard your demo before, and it sounds more naïve” and that’s the stuff that touches my bandmates. But after the recording session or mixing session, they’ll tell me, “Oh you started to wipe out all the sincere parts of the music because you tried to communicate too hard with the people, or audience, or fans.” So they just tell me that, and of course I’m still the guy writing songs, but I’m not the only guy playing music. My drummer is playing drums, helping the groove—they definitely help set up the sounds of the recording.

So my bandmates, to me, are more like true artists. I’m kind of like an artist slash businessman—something like that. They always remind me why we’re a band, because we do believe in music. Of course, communication. Music is about the relationship or connection between human beings, because music is definitely a language. It’s kind of a lower language—you don’t need to understand cultural stuff for music to touch people’s hearts. Of course, you have to have a certain kind of cultural background to understand a certain kind of music, but it’s still called “music”—sometimes you don’t need to really understand what’s going on, but when you hear it, you feel the emotion. So my bandmates, they try their best and sometimes we fight, and we had a really hard time especially during the tours. But they kind of remind me, “Kuo, Kuo, you need to really embrace the music.” and that’s really important to us as a band. 

JMK: I love that. I want to ask you then, and obviously you write songs, but what do you feel like you bring to Sunset Rollercoaster that the others can’t?

I bring them money.

FR: (laughter) That’s awesome.

I bring them bacon, man. (laughter) I tell them, “Yes, you guys are artists and I know you all have a difficult time getting bread and bacon, and I’m the one capable of doing that. Being the front man, I’m the one capable of getting you cash.” Tax free cash, yeah (laughter). I think I’m a really good… You know, in a band it’s a group of people, so there’s definitely a kind of dynamic there. We used to be a six-piece—last year when we were touring our lineup was six people. So our percussion guy wanted to do his own solo stuff so he just left this year and now we are a five-piece band. Besides our saxophone guy—he is the youngest, he’s around 24 right now—the original members, we are all around the same age. We were all born around ’87, ’88 and we are like 33, 32 right now. All of our personalities are different, I’m really good at sitting in between all of them and trying to understand how we can integrate us into one unit, as a band. So I do have this kind of ability, besides bringing back money (laughter).

JMK: This is a question I always ask artists that I also want to ask you: What’s something you really love about yourself?

I’m a guy who’s really got patience. I can really wait. I’m the kind of person who has to have a kind of faith. I do believe in faith… we definitely have to be here and make stuff for a reason. Of course, we cannot know exactly what is going on and why we are doing this, but I do have this faith. I know I’m doing this for some kind of reason. And the result is maybe not fitting my expectations for a certain thing, but if I do have patience, things will come out in a really good way or beyond my expectations. I’m good at waiting. 

JMK: Has there been a time where waiting and being patient really helped you out?

I remember when we just set up the tours, the first couple of tours were so bad. We spent tons of money trying to fly around the world, and definitely a lot of shit happened. We missed some flights, we lost our instruments doing all the flights, and at a certain point I felt like, “Why should we do this? Maybe I shouldn’t only write English songs, maybe I should just write in Mandarin and we can just stay in Taiwan and China so we don’t have to worry about flying around the world trying to prove we’re so different.”

During that time, touring was so bad, no one really gave a shit. We couldn’t even make money, and the life of touring sucks. There were several times I was really questioning myself and whether I should keep doing this band, but I always have this really pure and naïve idea about wanting to do it because it’s fun. I can meet more people. I can feel the whole world and different cultures can inspire me even more, and the life of making music is fun. I don’t know how to explain it, but I just naturally want to do that. Just getting to know more people, and feeling like I’m living in the modern age. I feel like I’m in a big and tiny world through music. 

JMK: I’m happy you have that patience, because I’m sure Sunset Rollercoaster would be very different if you did not have that quality.

(laughs) Thanks, thank you so much man.

JMK: Finn, did you have any questions you wanted to ask?

FR: Have you ever watched this American movie called Labyrinth? It features David Bowie.

Labyrinth? Yeah, yeah.

FR: I was wondering if you ever got any inspiration from the sounds or the songs from that movie, because sometimes I feel like there’s some Labyrinth vibes in Sunset Rollercoaster’s music.

Oh really? Who makes the music, is that Giorgio Moroder?

FR: No, it’s David Bowie. And the movie has Jennifer Connolly and there’s puppets.

JMK: It’s directed by Jim Henson.

Jim Henson? Yeah, I remember it because [Bowie’s] dressed up kind like X Japan, like really glam rock vibes. 

FR: (laughter) Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly.

So there’s a lot of guitar, T. Rex, Marc Bolan stuff. Like I’m really into ’80s synthesizers and chords. I remember the story is about a sister going to find her younger brother, right? And David Bowie is the biggest bad guy.

FR: Yeah, right.

I remember that Giorgio Moroder made loads of ’80s movie scores. But I can’t really relate myself or my music to Labyrinth but I love that movie, for sure. No doubt (laughs).

FR: There’s a song that plays when she’s trapped in a ball and she has to dance with David Bowie, and it has such a similar vibe to a song that y’all put out, and it’s just really romantic (laughs).

Oh really? Do you know what it’s called?

FR: “As the World Falls Down.”

Yeah, I’ll check it out!

JMK: Did you have anything you wanted to say, or that you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview that you’ve never been asked before?

Well, I’ve been going through so many interviews now, so my mind, all the questions are squished together… let me think. Yeah, like no one really asks me how much tax I pay playing in a band in Taiwan (laughter).

FR: So uh…. how much tax do you pay? (laughter).

Last year, well I had to pay double tax because when I was touring in the States, I also had to pay State tax as well because we are a foreign band. So I had to pay like 30 percent of every box sale. After the whole tour finished, I asked my accountant to do some tax rebound. Last year in Taiwan we paid around 70k to 80k as an indie band from touring money and streaming.

I feel like I’m a grown up—I’m a responsible citizen of Taiwan now. I can yell at the TV when someone is doing corruption or doing a shitty job in the government, because I do pay tax. Before that, I never paid tax so I didn’t feel like I gave a shit. But right now, I feel like I can yell at the TV with my parents because I pay (laughter).

JMK: Maybe you’ll write a song in Mandarin about this corruption now.

Like “Taxman.” Mandarin version of “Taxman.” (laughter).

Purchase Soft Storm at Bandcamp.


Thank you for reading the eighth issue of Tune Glue. Please yell at corrupt politicians with your parents.

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