Taipei after Dark with U.TA

 

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Perhaps better known for its diverse food and its New Wave cinema, Taiwan has been quietly establishing its indie music cred in recent years. As the island’s cultural center, pluralistic, polymorphous Taipei has been awash in a range of aural delights, from post-rock, psychedelia and punk, to hip hop, folk, and jazz. Reverb-laden shoegaze and breathy dream pop bands in particular seem to sprout, blossom, and thrive in the capital’s languid, subtropical heat, with native species Manic Sheep, I Mean Us, DoZzz, and TuT offering a kaleidoscope of shapes and colors.

One Taiwanese dream-pop band in particular, U.TA, revels in cross-pollinating styles and genres to produce striking musical hybrids. Formed in 2013, the band includes vocalist Urayn and bassist Garry Lu, along with Garry’s brother John on guitars and their friend Tao on drums. Urayn and Garry started an embryonic version of the band back in 2006 but felt the need to expand their sonic horizons. “Although we started in Taichung when we released our EP as a duo,” Urayn recalls, “we thought that we’d be more complete if we had a full band.”


近年来,在一向以美食和新浪潮电影著称的台湾,一股独立音乐力量正悄然崛起。作为台湾的文化中心,多元化的台北奉上了一场精彩的听觉盛宴,从后摇、迷幻乐和朋克到嘻哈、民谣和爵士乐,包罗万象。其中,Shoegaze(自赏)派音乐和梦幻流行乐队大放异彩,在台湾慵懒温热的亚热带气候中萌芽、开花。Manic Sheep、I Mean Us、DoZzz 和 TuT 等本土乐队带来万花筒般的音乐。

其中令人瞩目的梦幻流行乐队 U.TA 擅长将各式风格与流派的完美融合,打造出令人惊喜的混血音乐。乐队成立于 2013 年,包括主唱 Urayn、贝斯手 Garry Lu,吉他手则是他的兄弟 John,鼓手则为其好友 Tao。2006 年,Urayn 和 Garry 组成最初的双人组合,后来又觉得有必要扩大乐队的音乐视野。“当初在台中一开始推出 EP 时我们只是双人组合。” Urayn 回忆道,“但我们觉得,如果可以有一支完整的乐队,我们的音乐也会更完整。”

While all four share arrangement duties, Urayn writes all the songs herself. She also sees each one visually: “Each time I sing a song, I have a video script in mind. When I have more time and energy in the future, I’d like to transform each song into a video to reveal the conceptual basis behind it.” With such a cinematic outlook, it’s no surprise that the band is drawn to the emotional richness of Hong Kong cinema, and in particular the films of Wong Kar-wai.


Urayn 负责写歌,四位成员各司其职。Urayn 喜欢将每一首歌都视觉化,她说:“每次我唱歌,脑海里都会在构想一些画面。将来如果我有更多的时间和精力,我想把每首歌都做成视频,表达出其背后的概念。”既然有这种对影片创作的向往,也就不难理解,为什么乐队都喜欢情感细腻的香港电影,特别是王家卫的作品。

Their musical DNA includes dream pop pioneers Cocteau Twins, Chinese musical icon Faye Wong (who starred in Wong Kar-wai’s Chungking Express and 2046), and the dark hues of American band Mazzy Star. “Our music is like a constellation. Just as there are twelve types of people [in the Chinese zodiac], shoegaze, for example, is one type of music, but we can mix it with other types like punk or hip-hop to create something unique.” Anyone who’s listened to the band’s 2015 release “Highway Cruising” will recognize its unique combination of styles and influences.


他们的音乐灵感包括梦幻流行音乐的先锋 Cocteau Twins、王菲以及风格阴柔凄美的美国乐队 Mazzy Star。“我们的音乐就像一个星座,或是中国的十二生肖,例如 Shoegaze 就是一种类型,但我们可以将它和其它类型的音乐混合,譬如朋克或嘻哈,创造出独特的音乐。”如果你听过他们在 2015 推出的《缓飙公路》,你一定能从他们独特的音乐中听出各种不同流派与风格的融合。

Unlike many bands, U.TA is equally at home on stage and in the studio, which they see as two sides of the same coin. “If you don’t create complex lyrical arrangements in the studio, then the live performance won’t be solid either,” they say. Studio work allows them to refine their sound until it matches their emotional register, while live performances offer a more immediate connection with their audiences. Fans in Taiwan, Japan, mainland China, or Hong Kong might respond in slightly different ways, and concerts offer instant feedback that can’t be replicated in the studio.


与许多乐队不同的是,对 U.TA 来说,他们喜欢舞台上的现场演奏,也喜欢在录音室的工作。这两种不同的形式犹如一枚硬币的两面——“如果你不能够在工作室里创作出复杂的歌曲编排,那么你的现场表演也不会很好。”录音室可以让他们不断地调整音乐,直到它符合他们想要的感觉;而现场表演又为他们提供了一个与观众更直接联系的平台。虽然由于文化倾向的不同,台湾、日本、中国大陆或香港的粉丝可能会有不同的反应,但现场表演能让他们获得即时的反馈,那种自发性是无法在录音室中获得的。

What do they think about Taipei itself? “We live in a city brimming with inspiration,” says Urayn. “From the beauty of traditional Chinese characters, to the ways people connect with each other, to the flavors of the city, it all deeply influences our work.” The energy of Taiwan’s capital has spawned various musical events along with a growing roster of clubs and record labels to support them. “Taipei is absolutely heading towards becoming a city of music, and I’m so excited about it.”


而他们对台北本身,看法又如何呢?Urayn 的评价是:“这是一个充满灵感的城市。无论是美丽的传统汉字,人们之间的互动,或是城市的风味。所有这一切都深深地影响我们的创作。”作为台湾首府,这座城市的蓬勃生命力催生了丰富的音乐活动,同时还有越来越多的俱乐部和唱片公司作为后盾。“台北正朝着音乐之都的方向发展,这一点让我很期待。”

Currently at work on a new album, the band reveals they’re exploring urban elements such as “fog” and “fragrance” but will maintain their trademark shoegaze sound. As Urayn enthuses, “What I’m most looking forward to this time is that we’ve invited many musicians from different countries to create new songs together.” Global in outlook, defined by the sights and sounds of Taipei streets, U.TA represents the best of Taiwan’s musical cosmopolitanism. Their openness to experimentation is helping to put their city on the indie music map.


目前,乐队正在筹备一张新专辑,他们透露,乐队正在探索与城市相关的元素,譬如“雾霾”和 “香水”,但乐队的标志性 Shoegaze 风格不会改变。Urayn 兴奋地说道:“这张专辑最让我期待的是,这一次我们邀请了来自不同国家的音乐家一起创作新歌。”立足全球的视野,又始终坚守源于台北街道的风景与声音,U.TA(屋塔)代表了台湾最具创意的音乐世界主义,他们开放性的实验态度正推动着台北独立音乐力量的发展。

Bandcamputaband.bandcamp.com
Facebook: ~/uta25
Instagram: @utaband_tw

 

Contributor: Brian Haman
Photographer & Videographer: Anaïs Siab
Audio Courtesy of U.TA


Bandcamputaband.bandcamp.com
脸书: ~/uta25
Instagram: @utaband_tw

 

供稿人: Brian Haman
图片与视频摄影师: Anaïs Siab
音频由 U.TA 提供