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An interview with Doris Yeh, Chthonic | FESTIVALPHOTO
 

An interview with Doris Yeh, Chthonic

Review2032_chthonic

I spoke with Doris Yeh, bass player with Taiwanese metal band Chthonic shortly after they played the main stage at this years Bloodstock festival.

Festivalphoto: You've just played the main stage here at Bloodstock, how did you enjoy it?

Doris: More than happy to be here, to play Bloodstock is always one of our goals, so we are very happy to play the main stage this year. The response from the crowd was really really good. Yeah I think we made them excited today.


Festivalphoto: The last couple of times you've been to the UK it's been supporting Arch Enemy.

Doris: Yeah, last November was the last time. And this year for the summer festival tour we met them again a few times. It's good to see them again. It's always been a pleasure to play with them.


Festivalphoto: You wear different makeups on stage - is there a significance to the makeup you do? for example the eyes or symbols?

Doris: We want our music to fit our outfits, and our outfits to fit the music, so we change a bit of our makeup according to the different albums, so for this album we were talking about war, something about Eastern Asian history during World War 2 so we put different symbols on our faces. Our guitarist put the symbols of our aboriginal warriors on his face, and me...this one is Fire from the traditional gods, its called 8 Generals.

Festivalphoto: On the previous tour you had more white - more death metal looking makeup.

Doris: Yes, I think we were being lazy with our makeup. Just kidding, I think it's because we love to change our makeup. Maybe for the next album we put it all black.


Festivalphoto: Your latest studio album, "Takasago army" was released last year. Have you started work on your next album yet?

Doris: Yes we started to write our new songs early this year and while we're on tour we're still continuing to write new songs, so hopefully go to record our new album early next year, then release it in May.


Festivalphoto: You released a live album/DVD recently - Final battle at the sing ling temple. It's an unusual place to have a concert, so why did you choose to play there?

Doris: It's a very important place in our album, because a lot of the stories on our former album and latest album take place in that temple. That place conencted two generations of Taiwan. It's a legendary temple in Taiwan so we used that temple in our story, and we thought that if we had a concert there it would be so cool, and the fans would never expect it - they never thought we would have a real concert in that place, so we made it happen and the fans were so excited about it.

Festivalphoto: Was it hard to get permission to play there?

Doris: Yes, we had to get special permission from the government to play there, and we also needed the agreement and permission of the temple. They had to ask the god if they could let a metal band play there, and the god said ok.

Festivalphoto: There you go - Metal music is approved by the gods !

Doris: The gods of the temple yes.


Festivalphoto: What's the song writing process in the band - is it a collaborative thing or are there one or two main song writers?

Doris: The main people are our vocalist Freddy, and our guitarist Jesse. They will make the raw structure of the songs then the other members get involved and compose the finished song. Freddy writes most of the lyrics.


Festivalphoto: Freddy in particular is known for having strong political views, has this caused any problems for the band, for instance limiting where you can tour?

Doris: It would only be a problem if we wanted to tour China. Freddy is now the chairman of Amnesty International Taiwan and pacific areas, so he's really into these kind of issues. I think the Chinese government really hate us a lot, so we are on the blacklist in China - we can only play in Hong Kong and Macau because they are special districts, but mainland China - we cannot go inside. Thats fine though - U2 and Bjork were forbidden to play in China, so we are the same level. We're quite satisfied with the situation.


Festivalphoto: You were due to play several shows in the UK in the week before Bloodstock, but these were cancelled. Why were they cancelled?

Doris: Yes because our drummer can't play with us on this summer festival tour, so we have a different drummer with us just for the UK and because we flew to the UK straight from our Portugal festival we didn't ahve enough time to do rehearsals with the new drummer to do all the songs for a headline show - if you don't have time to rehearse properly it's very dangerous so we chose to postpone the headline dates to the end of this year. We feel very sorry for our fans and the support bands about postponing the dates.

Festivalphoto: I was just about to ask if you have any tours planned for later in the year, but that answers that.

Doris: Maybe we will come back to the UK very soon, in the middle of September, we would support another band in the UK and Scandinavia, then we will come back to the UK to do our headline shows maybe in November. We can't say who the support tour is with because it is not confirmed but it is a famous rock band.


Festivalphoto: Thank you for your time.

Writer: Anthony May
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