Made in Taiwan – The Band (interview)

Today I am sharing with you something different! There has always been K-Pop and J-Pop, but… come on guys, it’s old story now, time to move forward and… how about T-Pop?

I discovered last summer a French Band called Made In Taiwan, and I found it funny that T-Pop actually could spread as far as France! Getting to know the band, I realized though that it is actually not related to Taiwan musically or culturally, but anyway it is an interesting discovery, and a band to follow for sure! Read on for the summary of the interview with Manu, who created the band…

 

When Manu created his band 2 years ago, little did he know that one day, from the other side of the world, in Taiwan, people would be following his progress and asking him for interviews! Exceptionally, the pictures are not by me, but were given to me by Manu and were taken by Florent Travia.

The Band

When Manu, a freelance journalist and long-time music lover, decided to start creating his own music two years ago and nailed his first compositions, he opened himself to his family and friends, who where surprised, to say the least! Not many of them did believe he was serious. But he was.

Understanding the need to create a group and get a richer sound for the scene, he quickly met a bass, Jean-Baptiste, a sound engineer in the person of Yann, followed recently by Simon at the battery.

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As they felt confidence to get on stage, the group seized the opportunity to enter a Music Contest made by Les Inrocks, one of the most influential french Music Magazine. They reached the semi-final, giving them visibility and get a chance to keep playing live, before, who knows, maybe signing a contract with a label. At the end of last year, the band played in two famous concert halls in Paris, Bus Palladium and La Maroquinerie.

According to Manu, the current French scene has really been vibrant and dynamic for more than ten years. Among the many other young bands, Les Victoria’s, Ou Sont Les Filles or De La Montagne are as many other jewels that will maybe make it one day at the top of the charts. I can actually feel the same in Taiwan, where, as boring and conventional as the mainstream music can be, you can find many gems as well, for example 透明雜誌 or 騎去哪, 白目樂隊. Actually, I also like the young alternative music scene in Taiwan, with the difference that their sound is much more rock and punk than their french counterpart.

Made in Taiwan keep working on their music, and while the songs available online actually date back from the early days, Manu and his friends soon hope to release a new EP that will reflect the hard work the band has put in lately. At the same time, they plan further concerts and even appearance in festivals like the Cargese Sound System in Corsica this summer.

Made in Taiwan?

The name actually comes from a pins that grabbed Manu’s attention as he was in the mountains looking for a name for the Band. Taiwan is actually not that well known in France, people know it mainly for the « Made in Taiwan » label that struck people’s imagination in the 80’s and that’s what decided Manu to actually call the band this way, because his own music has a shiny optimistic touch, with a hint of machines that goes well with the image people have from Taiwan.

It is only after he started his musical adventure that he came to meet some pretty Taiwanese girls living in Paris-they became fans of the band and participated in creating the buzz, they even introduced the band on stage at some of their performance, and in turn they let Made in Taiwan get a flavor of the « real » Taiwan.

Electro-Pop from Paris

But apart from a success-story and a cool name, what sets the band apart is of course the music, I remember listening to it for the first time and immediately finding the melody from Every Night excellent. There’s good rhythm and the resolutely 80’s flavor is perfect for dancing. In the few months after our conversation started, the group has already made good progress towards achieving a more mature sound, no doubt that we’ll have to count with them in the future, and who knows, maybe one day they’ll be performing live at the Wall or Riverside!

The group influence is split between American and French roots, following a lot of the electro scene like Phoenix or Daft Punk for the most famous, but also Metronomy, and Prince, Breakbot or Irfane while on the contemporary French Scene a few names to mention are Jupiter, Sebastian, Mr Oizo, Chateau Marmont, Gush. Manu also made reference to Supertramp and the very special voice of the singer Roger Hodgson.

 

To me, it sounds like Made in Taiwan is not only a musical adventure that hopefully will unfold itself in a big success, but also an opportunity for both French and Taiwanese to gain some mutual understanding. Also, I am always glad and interested to hear what French people think about Taiwan, and give them a chance to discover more about it! So if you’re reading from Taiwan- what do you think? How do you see Taiwan and which music would represent it best?

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