Monday, March 18, 2013

Taiwan artist - Lim Giong / Lin Qiang

One of my favorite Taiwanese artists from 1990, he started off as a singer, mostly writing about travelers that travel from the boonies to Taipei in search of a better life, with their characters being home sick, contemplating about life and future in the big city.  He has since retired and became a film score composer, and occasionally, an actor (see above in the awesome motorcycle scene in the South of Taiwan) His works are mostly known to international audiences from his collaboration with Taiwanese film maker Hou Hsiao Hsien. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

On the road to god knows where 5 ASIA PACFIC

On The Road To God Knows Where 5 Asia Pacific from Alex Zhang Hungtai on Vimeo.

video shot and edited by Alex Zhang Hungtai, on tour in Asia Pacfic, feb 2013.
Unfortunately, there were not much videos for Australia and Hong Kong as I was suffering from a lower back/tail bone injury from falling onto a table while carrying amps. The majority of the time through that first leg I was completely out of it on pereceptimol and codeine....It wasn't until Tokyo that I was completely not on pain killers. I surprised myself how determined I was to finish this tour, even though half of the shows I performed while being on so much codeine that I couldn't even feel my legs (my spine and tail bone were so bruised from the fall that I had a hard time sitting or standing, but I made it through in the end with the help of positive spirits and my bandmates Shub and Bernardino cheering me up holding me up, while I was falling every night....J'taime mes freres)

Each city had its special place in our hearts, and was great to see old friends in Hong Kong and Japan, some in which I haven't seen in 7 years.  But that moment when you see eachother and run and hug eachother like as if it was yesterday that you said good bye to one another.  Time corrodes a lot of things, but some friendships were never meant to be corroded.  Take that, TIME!!!

All and all, this trip made me realize that no matter how far I've trailed and drifted, deep inside, I will always be a child of the Pacific Ocean.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Water Park OST

I'm a bit late on the announcement of this film score I did for Evan's film Water Park, as I was on tour in Asia when it was released, but it is now available out on A recordings Ltd, special thanks to Anton Newcombe who had faith in what I do when no other labels wanted to put out an instrumental film score LP as they deemed it "not profitable."  I feel blessed and am very proud to present more work this year that showcases the other side of Dirty Beaches.  After badlands, I've retired the idea of flirting with the concept of samples and have returned to my old territory of synth, basic electric guitars, drum machines, along with experimentation in newer territories like electronic drum pads, and casio digital guitars, which you will hear on the new double LP "Drifters/Love is the devil, coming out later this year in May via Zoo Music.  Can't wait to get it out and share it with the world.  I'm also working on more compositions at the moment and hopefully will be able to find a home for these instrumental compositions that I really love writing.  Good bye true blue, good bye lord knows best, good bye sweet 17, and good bye pompadour.  Hello present day, hello future.  Understanding the past is the first step to construct a vision for the future.  This also works well when it comes to family.  Know your family, know your siblings, know your parents, find out what or who your parents were before they had you.  They too, were once individuals.  Before responsibility and obligations and reality morphed them into the figures that stand before you.  Obviously, some parents are more chill than others.  But for those like the most of us with good old fashioned parents, this is a good way to start a conversation.

you can order water park here for European shipping:

or here for north america shipping:

Sunday, March 10, 2013

DB live in Bangkok / thoughts on life/ post asia pacific tour

It was really amazing to work with audio engineers Tim, Koichi, and lighting artist Jiro.  Thank you supersweet live thailand and all the other promoters like Jane in HK, Sean in Korea, big love in Japan, and the Oz promoters who helped brought us there.  we feel very blessed to be able to go there and play for you guys.  This past Asia Pacific tour was a real rebirth for me, after coming out from a long winter slumber in Berlin that almost destroyed my psyche....

Being able to swim in the pacific ocean again, while we were in Australia really healed me, bringing back to life certain things I had let go, and helped me restrengthen my character, and my path, and what it means to be alive and be appreciative of all things life has to offer.  "The darkest night has yet to come" said a palm reader to me in Yokohama, Japan.  "But the phoenix doesn't rise, until its completely burnt to the ground."  I took in those words hard as I had not asked for a fortune reading about my future, but only wanted an evaluation of my current being.  The old Japanese man told me a lot about myself, of my stubborn nature and destiny line, that cuts a deep center line across both my palms from top to bottom.  "This signifies independence, and that your success is solely the efforts of your hard work, which were laid like bricks, step by step, forming a path that marches forward onto its inevitable destiny."  "Your palms are also longer than your fingers, meaning not only you give a lot, but you will receive a lot as well.  Be careful with your finances." ...Sometimes when you are lost in life, it takes a stranger to read your palms and remind you of your own qualities that you no longer even notice.  From that day on, I began to not doubt my path, even when it seems impossible, when all outside forces are telling me "no."

I kept on going. 

Just like I have for the past 12 years in the pursuit of music as a profession. 

Which brings to mind a recent discussion I had with my friend Jens about the music industry:  Jens:  "what is professionalism?  It means to give people what they want and do your job right, if you don't give people what they want, my friend, you are not doing your job.  That is amateur, and "artist" bullshit pride that's hindering you from a making decent living in this industry." 

I can't remember how many times I've heard "you can't do that, you can't play music like that, its not right" or "this is not music, whatever your making" or "this is bullshit, you don't even know how to play real chords" or "this is stupid, you are stupid for quitting your job to go on tour and play for 5 people each night in some stupid moldy basement" All of this didn't deter me from my dreams.  I kept going.  After a short 2 year run in the "professional" music industry, the only people that have continued to exceed my expectations, are my audience.  Yes, some have abandoned me already ever since they realized the other side of Dirty Beaches catalog of music, but to be honest, compared to dealing with bigger labels that continue to make me feel like all my efforts are hardly worth anything, I trust my audience more so than anyone else in this industry.  I believe your real core listeners will progress with you through out your career.  If your in this pursuit of music for life, chances are, your real fans will also continue to follow your endeavors as they too, grow and change in their lives.  From teenage years onto adulthood, from moving and relocating to getting new jobs, we all go through changes in life.  And like the many risks I've taken my entire life, I'm betting all my hope onto my listeners, in the sense that I feel very lucky to be able to have this job, this was my dream job when I was in my twenties.  I'm not some young band who had everything handed to them, I never ask my audience to "get it" or understand the "reference" those are just superficial aesthetics that are disposable.  I just wish to connect to people on a raw, personal level.  To those people who think I'm always pretending or acting as a tough guy, I am projecting my insecurities out loud in hopes to deter any hecklers who have fucked with me from the early years that have really scarred me.  This is a residual defense default mode I'm in unfortunately.  I don't always wish to be unpleasant on stage, scrunching up a warped expression like someone is stabbing me.  But can you imagine how many times I've been ridiculed on stage while performing? Especially when I was all alone, touring and driving myself.  All while being the polite, pleasant and friendly Asian guy.  This persona I have on stage is one of rage, and anger from past experiences not wanting to be taken like some joke.  And til this day, I still encounter these negative comments, people who still think I'm a joke.  For what? Apparently all it takes is one look at my face.  "can't stand that guys face" I once read somewhere online.  It doesn't matter how hard I've worked, how much mileage I've trailed, all it took was one look at my face.  I also read somewhere online in the beginning of DB's badlands hype "if that guy wasn't Asian, none of this would fly.  People just pity him and tolerate it cuz he's asian.  A white guy could never get away with this bullshit music"  

....sorry.  I'm ranting and don't really know how to censor myself.  And yes, like always I tend to focus on the negative comments far more than the nice ones.  Because I'm very critical of myself.  I've since stopped reading anything that's written about me online.  It truly traumatized me.  I should've listened to Kristin (from Dum Dum Girls) advice long time ago to not read these online things that our profession brings us in contact with.  A recent conversation with my old man kind of help made me see things more clear.  After spilling my guts to him like how I did above, complaining that how can people be this cruel, he just brought his cigarette down to the ash tray and looked at me squinting: "How do you think genocides exist? People can be far more cruel than what your naive ass thinks.  You wanna roll with the big dogs you gotta take a punch or two.  A little criticism is healthy for you, or else you'd be full of yourself."   ...I kinda just looked down to the ground and shrank.

My father also said to me, "if your not happy writing or playing these songs people want to hear in your music, you might as well quit and find a real job.  You will still be unhappy but at least you will make more money and have a more stable income.  If your going to be "free" be FREE."  Sometimes that old man dad wisdom is so spot on that your forced to just shut the fuck up and listen to them.  This was one of those moments.  Thanks, dad.

Each city had different meanings to all of us, Bernardino got to see his uncle and cousins in Melbourne, Shub went out on a friendly PG-13 date with a very nice Japanese girl in Tokyo, I swam in the pacific ocean, and saw so many old friends in Hong Kong and Tokyo, and it made me miss my family.  As a result, the 3 of us unanimously decided to go spend some time with our loved ones as the tour wrapped up. Shub flying to India to see his Grandmother, Bernardino back to Montreal to see his parents, and I went to meet up with my mom and sisters in Taipei. Of that beautiful ocean hotel view in Busan, to ferry rides in Hong kong, to late night binge drinking in the labyrinth of Shinjuku late at night, to river boat rides in Bangkok, it all seemed to end so abruptly like a dream.  Originally, I had intended to share some stories and all the fun things we experienced in Asia, and all the great things our new friends took out to experience, but instead I got caught up in my head with these heavy thoughts....Will try and post something more light hearted in the next few posts....But there is one memory/image that I would really like to share with you all:

While riding on the back of a motped taxi in Bangkok criss-crossing thru traffic and the endless neon lights at night in south east asia, I can't help but think:

"Please don't let this dream stop."

...I wish you all in good health and in good spirit.

God speed


Paris, March 10th, 2013.

Blasting this song SUPER LOUD in paris walking around at night riding the metro.