Mayday (Taiwanese band)

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Mayday
X06Taiwan 20061105-36.jpg
Members of Mayday at X06 Taiwan
Chinese name 五月天
Pinyin Wǔ Yuè Tiān (Mandarin)
Origin Taiwan
Genre(s) Pop rock, hard rock
Label(s) Rock, Universal Music Group, B'in Music Co. Ltd (相信音樂) (2006-present)
A-Sketch (Japan)
Years active 1997–present
Current Members Ashin
Monster
Stone
Masa
Ming (Guan You)
Official Website Official website

Mayday (Chinese: 五月天; pinyin: Wǔ Yuè Tiān; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Gō͘-goe̍h-thiⁿ), is a Taiwanese alternative rock band that was formed in the late 1990s with five members, Ashin (A Shin) (vocalist), Monster (Guai Shou) and Stone (Shi Tou) (lead guitars), Masa (Ma-sha) (bass guitar) and Guan You (Guan-You) (drums).

Formerly making music under the name of So Band, they came to be known as Mayday in 1997, with the name originating from Masa's online nickname.[1] They have gone on to sell more than 1 million albums.[2] Mayday won the Golden Melody Award for Best Band in 2001, 2004, 2009 and 2012.[3]

Members[edit]

Career[edit]

Formation (1995–1997)[edit]

Mayday evolved from So Band which was formed by Ashin, Monster and the first drummer Qian You Da (錢佑達) in 1995 while they were studying in The Affiliated Senior High School of National Taiwan Normal University(師大附中). They were later joined by Masa and Stone, who were attending the same school. After graduation, the members went to different universities but continued to perform in pubs and eateries. They were also actively involved in promoting the growing rock music trend in Taiwan.[4] In 1997, the band registered under the moniker Mayday[1] in order to join the Formoz Festival (野台開唱). This would become the official name of the band.

Early years (1997–1999)[edit]

Shortly after participating in the Formoz Festival (野台開唱), the band began to actively send demo tapes to various record companies in the hope of sealing a record deal. Their demo impressed Rock Records executive Jonathan Lee (李宗盛)[5] who described them as "the ones who would usher in the sound of the future".[5]

As a result, they signed their first record deal with Rock Records in 1998. In the same year, they also took part in the release of the Taiwan Independent Compilation Album 《ㄞ國歌曲》by indie music label tcm (角头音乐) which included their first studio recording Racing Car 《軋車》.[6] In June 1998, they also released the Embrace《擁抱》 compilation album for which they took on most of the songwriting, production and recording duties.[7]

In 1999, Guan You became the band's fourth drummer and they went on to release their first full-length studio album 《五月天第一張創作專輯》under Rock Records on 7 July 1999. Their debut received critical acclaim and gained a following among the Taiwanese. It went on to move more than 300,000 copies, a considerable feat for a new band in the then pessimistic and saturated music industry.[5] They were also nominated for the 11th Golden Melody Awards under the category of Best Band (十一届金曲獎最佳演唱團體獎).[8] The tracks "Peter and Mary" 「志明與春嬌」and "Embrace" 「擁抱」 also caught on among the youth, and became the top songs in the KTV list. "Peter and Mary" was one of the top ten songs of the year according to the The Association of Music Workers in Taiwan (中華音樂人交流協會). In fact, "Peter and Mary" has been acknowledged by Mayday's Ashin as the "song that brought them from the north of Taiwan to the south, allowing everyone to recognize Mayday." On 28 August, they held their first large-scale performance called The 168th Performance 「第168場演唱會」, cementing their position as one of the rising bands in Taiwan.

Viva Love and People Life, Ocean Wild (1999–2001)[edit]

The band's second album Viva Love 《愛情萬歲》was released 7 July 2000. Sales of Viva Love exceeded their previous album, shifting more than 350,000 copies.[9] Additionally, Viva Love won them the "Best Band" award at the 12th Golden Melody Awards (十二屆金曲獎最佳樂團獎).[10] Mayday also held a series of concerts called Hundred Thousand Youths Standing Up (「十萬青年站出來」巡迴演唱會) in Taipei City, Zhang Hua and Kaohsiung City. The concerts were famous for having the most concert-goers in 2000.[5]

In 2001, Mayday worked for the first time, on a movie soundtrack and accompanying score for the movie Migratory Bird 《候鳥》which starred Rene Liu and Huang Pin Yuan. Two months later, Mayday released their third album People Life Ocean Wild 《人生海海》, sales of which hit more than 35,000 copies after just a month.

Temporary hiatus (2001–2003)[edit]

In view of Masa's impending military call up, Mayday decided to take a temporary hiatus at the height of their popularity. This led to their farewell concerts titled Where Are You Going? 「你要去哪裡」from 18 August 2001 to 1 September 2001. Tuo La Ku and Japanese rock band Glay were special guests at the concert. Memorably for many fans, guitarist Stone chose the occasion to propose to his girlfriend and the proposal song was also included in the live concert album. In November 2001, the members temporarily disbanded with Masa going into the military, Stone heading to England to learn production techniques and Guan You to Los Angeles in order to hone his drumming skills. Meanwhile, Monster and Ashin remained in Taiwan with Rock Records, taking up recording and production duties for other label mates.

Return to the music scene (2004)[edit]

During their hiatus, Mayday released the autobiographical documentary titled The Wings of Dream 《搖滾本事》, with ticket sales hitting more than NT1.2 million in barely three days.[11] They also released an accompanying soundtrack.

After Masa's official release from the military, the band regrouped and made a return to the music industry. To mark the event, Mayday held their City of the Sky 「天空之城」 concert on 16 August 2004 at the Taipei Stadium (台北市立體育場舉辦). The concert attracted nearly 40,000 fans which broke the record for most concert-goers at a concert, a record previously held by Michael Jackson.[12]

On 11 November 2003, the band also released their 4th studio album Time Machine 《時光機》. Sales of the album hit more than 15,000 within two days,[13] with Mayday seeing no decline in their popularity despite their hiatus. The Time Machine also won Mayday their second "Best Band" award at the 15th Golden Melody Awards.

In the summer of 2004, Mayday also participated in the making of an accompanying soundtrack for the movie 《五月之戀》in which they also presented new arrangements of some of their old songs. Guitarist Stone also had a supporting role in the movie.

5 November 2004 saw the release of their critically acclaimed 5th studio album God's Children Are All Dancing/Flying Angels With A Falling Soul 《神的孩子都在跳舞》. This album used the simultaneous recording technique to create the distinctive "band" sound of their past albums and was specially recorded in Kawaguchi-to, Japan. In 2005, they also released a best of compilation album Just My Pride 《知足最真傑作選》,which included six new songs and favourites culled from previous albums.

Final Home World Tour (2004–2006)[edit]

Near the end of 2004, Mayday embarked on an ambitious worldwide series of concerts called Final Home – When We Are All Together「Final Home 當我們混在一起」. This took them round the world to America, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Japan. The concerts lasted for six months until early 2006. A compilation of live performances from those concerts were released in a DVD-CD format and simply titled 《Final Home》.

Not content with performing on the ground, Mayday also took to the top of the Taiwan 101 building to perform. Called the Nearest to the Sky Concert「史上最接近天空演唱會」 (or Our Heads Reaching the Sky Concert「頭頂天空演唱會」), Mayday performed at a height of nearly 390.6 metres from the ground.

Born to Love and Poetry of the Day After (2006–2008)[edit]

Born to Love 《為愛而生》was released on 29 December 2006, with Mayday organising an autograph session lasting ten hours that became the first in 2007. In conjunction with their new album and sponsored by Le Tea, they also held Born to Love 《五月天 le power 天使,為愛而生新歌演唱會》 concerts around Taiwan. Tickets to these concerts were packaged within the first edition of the Born to Love albums, and fans formed lines overnight in order to get their hands on the actual tickets that allowed them entrance into the concerts. Mayday played a total of 12 concerts, and the best performances are compiled into a DVD that was packaged with the third edition of the Born to Love album.

The year 2007 also saw the release of Jump! (Leaving the Surface of the Earth) 《離開地球表面》, which included several new songs, live performances from the concert tour of the same name and the promotional tune Going Crazy 《抓狂》 for the video-game Halo 3. Included also is a duet with singer Cheer Chen, Elope to the Moon《私奔到月球》. As an additional leg of the Jump!, Mayday concluded the world tour with four Returning to the Surface of the Earth 《回到地球表面》 concerts.

Not to be outdone by the previous year, Mayday held a concert "I am suddenly missing you"《突然很想見到你》on 1 January 2008 that lasted from 1:00 am to around 6:00 am. Mayday's new studio album, Poetry of the Day After 《後青春期的詩》 was released on 23 October 2008. Like Born to Love, the new album had tickets packaged with it. The two "Concert" versions include a ticket for the In the Sky of 100000 You & Mayday concerts to be held at Chung Shan Soccer Stadium, while the "Campus" version includes a ticket for one of the campus concerts that were held around Taiwan.

DNA world tour (2009-2010)[edit]

On 19 March 2009, Mayday announced their new World Tour DNA Mayday "Creates" Concert《DNA五月天「創造」演唱會》, which commenced in Hong Kong on 20 May 2009. For the tour, Mayday released two songs, DNA and Unbridled《放肆》. They cooperated with transnational teams for the world tour and added Australia as their tour stop for the first time. A concert called A.N.D – Mayday and Friends was held ten days later that included several bands from Taiwan, such as Tizzy Bac, 1976, and The Chairman, etc. to celebrate Mayday's tenth anniversary since Ming joined the band.

Nominations for the 20th Golden Melody Awards were announced on 15 May 2009, which included You are Not Truly Happy 《你不是真正的快樂》 for Best Song, Ashin for Best Lyricist for the songs The Yet Unbroken Part of My Heart 《我心中尚未崩壞的地方》and Like Smoke《如煙》, as well as, Mayday for Best Band. The band attended the ceremony held on 27 June 2009 and returned with their third Golden Melody Award for Best Band.[14]

The concert stop with the most attention, the Taipei DNA stop set for 26 and 27 September 2009 sold out within a day. Two days later, the band added a third day, 25 September. With that day sold out within three hours as well, a fourth was added for 24 September. This would break Mayday's own record of having three consecutive concerts at Taipei Arena during their last world tour. Furthermore, Mayday's concerts at Taipei Arena would be the first to end with power shutdowns that kept Mayday from continuing to perform encores, as they were already paying heavy fines for performing after 11 pm at the venue. On the last day, the 27th, fans continued to encore around 25 minutes after the shutdown until Ashin sang a last song backstage and asked the fans to finally leave the venue.

At the Taipei concerts, the Kaohsiung concert stop was announced. It was held on 5 December 2009 at 龍騰體育場, also known as the stadium at which Kaohsiung held the World Games, which would allow Mayday to hold a "55555 people" concert. It will be the first EXPO concert for Mayday, as well as the first concert held at the stadium.

2011[edit]

On 29 March, Mayday announced the upcoming fall release of their 3D film, 3DNA.[15]

On 16 December, Mayday released their 8th studio album, Second Round (第二人生). The album was highly anticipated with pre-orders totaling 129958 in one week.[16] It has two versions, named Now Here (明日版) and No Where (末日版). They are differed in rendering of themes and ordering of songs, reflecting optimistic and pessimistic sentiment respectively about the fabled end of civilization by the year of 2012.

2013 they are playing the first Live Concert in Germany.[17]

Musical style and influences[edit]

Mayday's songs are written mostly in Mandarin with some Taiwanese Hokkien tracks by Ashin, who speaks fluent Hokkien in addition to Mandarin. They are popular for their student band roots, and their ability in capturing the zeitgeist of Taiwanese youth in the mid to late 1990s.[18] They are often cited as one of the pioneers of rock music in Taiwan.

Mayday's early style of music was characterised by raw music production that tended towards Hokkien garage rock tunes. They were also vocal advocates on the issue of gay rights, with several songs making oblique references to the issue.[19] As they gained popularity however, the band gradually shed its hard-edged sound and moved towards slicker production and sprawling anthemic songs.

Earlier lyrics written by Ashin centred around themes of teenage angst and growing up. However, in recent albums, Ashin has alluded to several cultural icons notably the Chinese mythical monkey-god Sun Wu-Kong, Mickey Mouse, Superman, Neil Armstrong and Che Guevara. Ashin has also cited movies and novels as inspiration for his songs including "Viva Love" (愛情萬歲) which was inspired by avant-garde Taiwanese director Tsai Ming Liang's 1994 movie, Vive L'Amour[20] and the song "Armour" (武装) which was influenced by a Chinese drama 《孽子》and Haruki Murakami's novel, Kafka On the Shore.[21]

Mayday has made no secret of its admiration of the Beatles whom they cite as influencing their ideals of rock music.[22] The eighth track of their fifth album has a track called John Lennon (約翰藍儂) where the band espouses its dreams to become the "Beatles of the Chinese World" (華人世界的披頭四). Other diverse musical influences include the Irish band U2, the British band Oasis, the Japanese pop music artists Mr. Children,[23] Sting as well as the Taiwanese rocker Wu Bai and China Blue.

Collaborations[edit]

Ashin's collaborations[edit]

On his own as a songwriter and lyricist, Ashin has worked with Leehom Wang (王力宏) on his Heroes of the Earth (蓋世英雄) album. He has also written for various other artistes including Fish Leong, Aska Yang on the song Onion, Angelica Lee, Jolin Tsai, Sandee Chen, Riche Ren, Della, Alien Huang and Jam Hsiao on the song Loving Dearly. Also, he composed the song SHERO specially for S.H.E, which was chosen as the theme song for the 2010 Taipei Flora Expo. Vocals-wise, he has collaborated with Stefanie Sun twice on Mayday's 4th album Time Machine and on the upbeat track First Day which also included F.I.R. He has also dueted with Cheer Chen on the song 'Eloping to the Moon.' In 2008, he dueted with Della on her album “What I loved” and starred in her music video. A visual arts and design student in high school and at Shih Cheng University, Ashin has also dabbled in the design area, working notably with graphic designer No2good (不二良) on a line of T-shirts by the name of Stay Real and designing a dogtag player for BenQ Music's Player. As an author, Ashin has released two books called Happy.BIRTH.day which he called a "book of rock poems". It includes photos taken by him and lyrics of the songs he wrote for the band the other artists. His latest book Escape to Japan (浪漫的逃亡), which is a travelogue reflection on Japan.

Other members' collaborations[edit]

The other members of Mayday have also worked with other artistes mainly in the areas of songwriting and producing. Masa and Monster have helped with songwriting and instrument playing duties on tracks by fellow Rock Records artistes Fish Leong, Victor Huang and Ding Dang. Both Monster and Stone have also produced albums, notably Monster for Ding Dang's debut album and Stone for Victor Huang's 2007 album.

Discography[edit]

Main article: Mayday discography

Studio albums[edit]

Date of release Album Record company
7 July 1999 Mayday's First Album Rock Records
7 July 2000 Viva Love (愛情萬歲) Rock Records
5 July 2001 People Life, Ocean Wild (人生海海) Rock Records
11 November 2003 Time Machine (時光機) Rock Records
05/11/2004 God's Children Are All Dancing/falling Angels With A flying Soul/ (神的孩子都在跳舞) Rock Records
26 August 2005 Just My Pride Best Of Album (知足最真傑作選) Rock Records
29 December 2006 Born to Love (為愛而生) B'In Music (Rock Records)
23 October 2008 Poetry of the Day After (後青春期的詩) B'In Music (Universal Music Group)
16 December 2011 The Second Round (第二人生) B'In Music (Universal Music Group)
13 November 2013 Mayday×五月天 the Best of 1999‐2013 A-Sketch
30 December 2013 The Best of 1999-2013 (五月天步步自選作品輯)[24] B'In Music (Rock Records)

Live albums and DVDs[edit]

Date of release Album Record company
30 November 1999 The 168th Performance (第168場演唱會) Rock Records
21 December 2000 A Hundred Thousand Youths Standing Up (十萬青年站出來) Rock Records
25 December 2001 Where Are You Going? (你要去哪裡) Rock Records
30 March 2004 City of the Sky (天空之城) Rock Records
27 May 2005 Final Home – When We Are All Together (Final Home 當我們混在一起) Rock Records
29 July 2007 Leaving the Surface of the Earth (離開地球表面 Jump!) B' In Music
20 March 2009 In the Sky of 100000 You & Mayday (100000人 出頭天) B' In Music
4/12/2009 D.N.A. Live! (「創造」小巨蛋) B' In Music
29 March 2010 D.N.A World Tour In Live DVD(五月天[創造]演唱會影音全紀錄) B' In Music
16 September 2011 MAYDAY 3DNA/O.S.T.(追夢3DNA-電影原聲音樂) B' In Music

Concert tours[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Hitoradio | 人物 | 歌手資料庫 | 五月天 / Mayday". Hitoradio.com. Archived from the original on 2008-05-19. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  2. ^ "Nothing to scream about". Taipei Times. 2012-07-27. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  3. ^ Jennifer Huang; Maia Huang) (2013-11-05). "'Chinese Beatles' want to meet British Beatle at London concert". CNA. Retrieved 2013-11-06. 
  4. ^ "ÃÖÉ¢£ºÒ¡¹öÀÖ£¬ÄãÔŲ́Íå"¹ºÃÂ𣿠– ¾"²ÊÀÖÆÀ – ÐÂÎŶ¯Ì¬ – ÖйúÒ¡¹öÏÖ³¡×ÊѶÍøÕ¾,Ò¡¹ö,Éú"îÔÚÏÖ³¡". Livehouse.cn. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  5. ^ a b c d "台湾乐队五月天部分资料". Ent.sina.com.cn. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  6. ^ "五月天_百度百科". Baike.baidu.com. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
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  8. ^ "第一十六屆金曲獎完整入圍名單 音樂新聞 KingNet 影音台-影音新聞". Movie.kingnet.com.tw. 2005-05-12. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  9. ^ "Hitoradio‧Hit FM -華人音樂入口指標". Hitoradio.com. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  10. ^ "中華民國行政院新聞局全球資訊網 - 第十二屆金曲獎得獎名單". Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  11. ^ "銀河互動網路". .iwant-song.com. Archived from the original on 2008-05-07. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  12. ^ "台灣樂團五月天天空之城演唱會四萬歌迷駭翻天". Epochtimes.com. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  13. ^ "銀河互動網路". .iwant-song.com. Archived from the original on 2008-05-07. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  14. ^ 第20屆金曲獎得獎消息[dead link] 2009年6月27日引用
  15. ^ "Mayday to debut their first 3D movie". Asia Pacific Arts. 29 March 2011. 
  16. ^ "相信音樂官方網站". Retrieved 30 June 2012. 
  17. ^ Mayday Tourdates. Vorverkaufstarts.de
  18. ^ "U-town音乐神话 20070428 有你在身旁--五月天-为爱而生专辑――山大视点". View.sdu.edu.cn. 2007-04-28. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  19. ^ "Who said Mayday was a sellout?". Taipei Times. 2012-07-27. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  20. ^ "band – discography". Maydaymayday.net. 2009-01-07. Archived from the original on 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  21. ^ "网易娱乐频道". Ent.163.com. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  22. ^ "五月天:摇滚的温情-人物_青年人". Qnr.cn. 2005-07-23. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  23. ^ "Simply Rock". Taipei Times. 2012-07-27. Retrieved 2012-08-03. 
  24. ^ "五月天步步自選作品輯新聞". 聯合追星網. 

External links[edit]