Friday, July 26, 2013

Interview : Doris Yeh of Cthonic

Cthonic just released their most ambitious album to date ,  I was lucky enough to catch up with their bass player Dorie Yeh to discuss Bu-tik and every thing else that makes her band stand out.

What was different this time in the process of creating "Bu-tik?

Doris- The big difference this time was the writing process. This time we wrote the traditional pieces first and wrote the metal music around , so there is more melody and folk taste. The only draw back to recording in Sweden is the cold.

The video for "Supreme Pain For the Tyrant" is more involved and cinematic in scope than most videos coming out these days ,  what is the story behind that ?

Doris - The theme is an assassination thirty years ago  that occurred when the vice president visited New York in the 1970. He was pushed down by security and said "Let me stand and face this like a Chinese".  We wrote the song of that, but wanted to recreate the story making it more like Inglorious Bastards. Our friend who is a movie director discussed the script with us , the story originally came from me, he wanted to include the Nazi symbol . In 1930 the supreme ruler at the time was friends with Hitler, it never appeared in text book, the whole story and the way we used the camera were all made to look more like a movie and the band played the parts of the assassins.

The visual element of what you do seems to be an important par of what you do and has hanged over the years from black metal corpse paint to a more militant look to a futuristic thing you have going for the new album, what brought about this evolution?

Doris - We change to different outfits with the concept of each album. One reason is we are not only black metal, and don't deal with satanism or anti-religious themes, so we thought we needed to change. We are still wearing marks on our face, they are the traditional marks of a general, every year people and make these marks in the temple to the gods of the earth, but we don't wear the white make up.The guitarist complained it was to hard to take off after the show and guys don't always have the easiest time putting it one.

And it would be unfair to expect you to do that for them. Back to the new album,there are many elements like thrash and power-metal that can now be heard more distinctly , are those influences for you guys? I know Marty Friedman joined you on stage at a local festival , so are you guys fans of  Megadeth and early thrash ? 

At the beginning in 95  Freddie was influenced by Emperor. and bands like Exodus, Gorgoroth, Iron Maiden, and Megadeth then after some lineup changes we joined and brought in different influences. That is where the power metal elements came from.

As for Marty Friedman, we had invited Megadeth to play a festival in Taiwan, it was their their first show in Taiwan and Marty wasn't in the band at the time.  He now lives in Japan and his manager has connections to our Japanese record label so it was networked that way and we were really lucky to get to play with one of our all time idols.

So what influenced you to pick a bass and start playing ? Was there a particular band?

Doris - In the beginning there were not many opportunities or rock clubs but I really wanted to play in a band and had been planning on playing drums. I put up fliers in the bathrooms at school, and found guitarists and keyboards, vocalist and drummer but no was was playing bass.  My dad played bass and the guys I was playing with said well you don't have to buy one you can just barrow one of your dads. There was a long connection to bass, when I played piano as a child my dad would sit by me and play along on the bass. So my dad was my biggest influence. I remember picking up the picks as a child. I love the powerful deep sound, the resonance and frequencies of it.

Tell me bout the work you have done for womens rights with the Awakening Foundation?

Taiwan is conservative so , there aren't laws to protect womens rights.They had asked me to endorse this event ,I  think the laws are not changing at the speed they should.

Your persona in Cthonic is at odds with a conservative concept of women in Taiwan as it is sexy and strong at the same time , though not like a  Britney Spears thing where the sex element id in the forefront , So how's the perception of that in the homeland? Any acceptance or just judgment? 

Doris- It's natural born personality , I always played with the boys back in kindergarten. I'm not girly. Being involved in photo shoots in sexy outfits, I think women can be brave, and strong and sexy at the same time. I don't want to be just one type of elder and relatives don't understand , they say why do you show you body, but that comes from grand mas and grandpas, people under forty are accepting, it is changing. I find it better not to care, if i care what people say then i am just wasting my life and not doing the things I want to do. .

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