FINALLY YOUR NEW ALBUM “SEEDIQ BALE” IS OUT IN EUROPE AND VERY IMPRESSIVE. YOU MUST BE SATISFIED WITH THE RESULT. ALREADY ANY REACTIONS? Yes, we are very happy about the result. Some of the fans or reviewers said we are excellent and achieve the peak of COF, Emperor, and Dimmu, so they like us a lot, but some of the others said that we are not that good as we only would try to copy what COF, Emperor, or Dimmu have been. Anyway, it looks the same to us, and we only try our best to make better music continuously. THE NAME “CHTHONIC” COMES OUT OF THE GREEK MYTHOLOGIE. HOW CAME THE IDEA TO USE THIS AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR YOU PERSONALLY? We like mythic lecture a lot, and when we were thinking about how to name our band in 1995, we just decided to find it in a Myth Dictionary, and “ ChthoniC “ looked cool to us, and it sounded like “Shining Spirits” in Taiwanese Pronunciation. It connects to what we want to write, so we decided to use it. YOUR CORPSEPAINT IS INSPIRED BY THE “EIGHT GENERALS”. DO YOU GET IN A SPECIAL MOOD WHEN YOU PUT IT ON AND IS THERE KIND OF A PERSONAL CONNECTION BETWEEN EVERY MUSICIAN AND “HIS” GENERAL? Yes, we feel full of anger and more powerful when we put on it. It’s just the same with what our ancestors needed these corpse paints for, to strengthen the men who wear them, and to apotheosize the souls of these people. Each member creates its own character based on the concept of these generals, but there is no strong personal connection between the musicians and the generals. THE BAND ALREADY EXISTS MORE THAN 10 SUCCESSFUL YEARS, YOU DID A BEST OF, A BOOK, PLAYED IN THE US AND WITH “SEEDIQ BALE” YOU ARE NOW FOCUSSING MORE ON THE INTERNATIONAL MARKET. IS THAT ONE OF THE LAST MAIN GOALS YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE? To focus more on the international market is definitely one of the most important goals for us, but above all we will spend our time to learn how to write songs more original and oriental, and also how to introduce more good Oriental metal bands to the world. TELL US MORE ABOUT THAT BOOK, PLEASE: The title of the book is “ ChthoniC Dynasty “ and it has been published by an important book publisher, Yuan Shen, in Taiwan. There are stories about forming the band, writing songs, touring, success, failure, happiness, anger, and sadness during the 10-year history of ChthoniC. IN YOUR LYRICS YOU ALWAYS DEALED WITH THE TAIWANESE HISTORY AND THE WARS AND PROBLEMS BETWEEN YOUR COUNTRY AND FOR EXAMPLE CHINA OR JAPAN. WHAT ARE THE LYRICS ON “SEEDIQ BALE” ABOUT? AND WHAT IS “SEEDIQ BALE” ANYWAY? “Seediq Bale” means “True Human “. The Taiwan Seediq-tripe, which lived high in Mount Wushe, was fabled born from the fusion of big rocks and giant trees a thousand years ago. Only clansmen that have passed a severe trial can be tattooed on the face, a mark signifying clansmen may cross the rainbow bridge to join the ancient souls and receive eternal life. In A.D.1895, the Japanese started governing colonial Taiwan. They banned the Seediq’s thousand-year tradition of face tattooing and cutting heads. Monarudao, the chief of the tripe, led his people to bow to the Japanese in order to survive under the suffering circumstance. Under the rule of the Japanese, the Seediq were forced to give up their land, religion, way of life, and their tattoo, the mark of honor and pride. Monarudau once believed that his tribe would be preserved if they bowed their heads to the hegemony, but he finally realized that giving up everything – the pride and spirit – would cause the Seediq to vanish. So Monarudau decided to change his attitude as a tribal chief and warrior. He encouraged the young to wear the tattoo on their faces, to be a real, proud Seediqbale, and fight against the Japanese ruler. In 1930, 27th October, the Wushe incident exploded. The Seediq killed all the Japanese on the mountain to regain their territory. The Japanese colonial government was furious. They seeded hatred to raise war against each other, while gathering a huge amount of modern soldiers and chemical weapons in order to terminate all tribes. Hence, the Seediq met enormous defeat against the Japanese army. The women and children of Seediq all hanged themselves on trees, in order to let the Seediq warriors concentrate on fighting instead of worrying about their families. Unfortunately, the Seediq warriors went down one by one, or committed suicide. The last 298 Seediq were captured by the Japanese army at Chuan Island between Bac Gang stream and Mei Yuan stream. After being captured, the last Seediq chose to self-destruct. Monarudao’s body was found four years later hanged at Maho Hill, legend telling that only half the body was decayed. The surviving Seediq believe that the half-decayed Monarudao has led his people across the rainbow bridge to their ancestors to obtain eternal life, and the other half will stay to look over the Seediq offspring. His eternal spirit of life will forever guide his people living in Taiwan. TAIWAN HAS A COMPLICATED HISTORY. HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO FIND THE RIGHT INFORMATION FOR YOUR LYRICS? Taiwan has not just a complicated, but also a sad history. It takes months or even years to discover the whole story from different views, and we add our own creativity into it. Before we started to write music, we always spend lots of time in Liberary and discuss with scholars, too. ARE THERE STILL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE COUNTRIES BASED ON THE PAST? As time goes by, Japan and Taiwan have became friendly to each other. However due to the fact that thousands of missiles are still aiming Taiwan from China, the status quo between two countries remains hostile and tense. YOU’RE USING THE “ER-HU” IN YOUR MUSIC. WHAT’S THE HISTORY OF THAT INSTRUMENT AND WHY DON’T YOU USE JUST AN VIOLIN, THAT HAS A KIND OF SIMILAR SOUND… In 1997, while we were writing some important parts of our songs, Freddy insisted on using an alternative instrument which can best express sadness. “Oriental 2-string Violin” is a common traditional instrument in many Eastern Asian countries like Taiwan, Korea, China, Hong-Kong and Singapore. What is special about it, is its plaintive, sad tone. So Freddy decided to learn from a traditional musician and started to play it in Chthonic’s music. The tone of Oriental Violin must be the saddest in the world, and it was invented in Mongolia in A.D.800 or so. HOW ARE THE REACTIONS OF THE EUROPEAN BLACK METAL-FANS? MANY MIGHT THINK THAT SCANDINAVIA IS THE ONLY TRUE LANDSCAPE FOR BLACK METAL…. So far so good. The first English forum of ChthoniC is set up by an English fan, and there are more and more European fans dropping comments in our myspace page. HOW IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN YOU AND THE EUROPEAN BANDS? It is similar to the facts that Scandinavian black metal also fights against the invasion of the Christian culture. Taiwan is still facing the cultural invasion and military threats from China nowadays. I think there are connections between Taiwanese Black Metal to Scandinavian Black Metal. MORE AND MORE BANDS FROM ASIA ARE COMING OVER TO EUROPE. THERE ARE VISUAL KEI-BANDS, FEMALE BLACK METAL-BANDS LIKE GALLHAMMER, SWEDISH-LIKE BANDS LIKE BLOOD STAIN CHILD AND NOW IT’S YOUR TURN…. IS THERE A KIND OF UNITY BETWEEN THE BANDS IN ASIA? AND HOW IS THE SCENE IN TAIWAN DOING? No, there is no real unity in Asia. About the metal scene in Taiwan… In the nineties, many record stores in Taiwan started to sell death metal and thrash metal albums, other kinds of heavy metal like doom metal, black metal, dark metal, gothic metal became popular in Europe & US, too. In the meantime the Internet era began, allowing Taiwanese fans to buy much more CDs than before from the online stores like Dark Symphony, CD World. And the first Taiwanese Extreme Metal Band, CHTHONIC, formed in 1995, and the scene here just getting bigger and bigger, but I don’t think it’s big as in U.S or Europe.. I think some people know that we won the “Best Band” award in the Golden Melody Awards, which is considered as the Eastern Asian Grammy Awards, so they feel like the metal scene here is very big. But I don’t think so. Music awards in Eastern Asia do not have the specific importance for each music genre like Grammy does. Golden Melody Awards put all the bands of different style together to compete for the Best Band award. It’s actually very unfair. In the year before CHTHONIC, a pop idol band won it and in the next year after CHTHONIC won, this award went to a pop folk band. I think the fact that CHTHONIC won the award means that people’s taste of music in Eastern Asia became less limited and more diverse. But I wouldn’t say that extreme metal already became the pop music here. Even in Scandinavia it’s not the case, either. AS MENTIONED, YOU ALREADY PLAYED IN THE US SOME YEARS AGO. ANY PLANS TO GO BACK THERE? Yes, we are planning to play in U.S. in late April and May. YOU ARE GOING TO PLAY ON GERMANY’S WACKEN OPEN AIR (WITH MIGHTY IMMORTAL!), THE BIGGEST METAL FESTIVAL EVER… ALTHOUGH YOU ALREADY PLAYED IN FRONT OF BIG AUDIENCES IN YOUR HOMELAND, DOES IT MAKE YOU NERVOUS TO THINK ABOUT PLAYING IN FRONT OF 50.000 METAL-HEADS? Yes, it’s the biggest metal festival in the world, we are very excited about playing there, but no, we are not nervous at all. The western fans are crazier and relaxed than the fans here, and to face to crazy fans will just set us easy. MORE PLANS FOR EUROPEAN TOURING? Yes, we are planning to tour Europe after WOA. DO YOU PLAN TO RELEASE YOUR OTHER ALBUMS AND MAYBE THE BOOK INTERNATIONALLY? Not decided yet, we might focus on a new release after the whole international tour and it might be a good idea to release the old ones with the new one. GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR RECORD AND THE LAST WORDS ARE YOURS: Thank you very much. We appreciate your spending your time on our music, hope you enjoy it.