Mayday (Taiwanese band)

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Mayday
Mayday at Daan Park 20160723.jpg
Mayday at Taiwan Daan Park 2016. From left to right: Ming, Stone, Monster, Ashin and Masa.
Background information
Chinese name五月天
PinyinWǔ Yuè Tiān (Mandarin)
OriginTaiwan
Years active1997–present
Genre(s)
Label(s)
WebsiteOfficial website
Members
Past members
  • Qian You Da (錢佑達)(drummer)
  • Chen Yung-chang (陈泳锠)(drummer)
  • Robert (drummer)

Mayday (Chinese: 五月天; pinyin: Wǔ Yuè Tiān; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Gō͘-goe̍h-thiⁿ), is a Taiwanese band that debuted in 1999 with five members, Monster (leader, lead guitar), Ashin (vocal), Stone (rhythm guitar), Masa (bass) and Guan You (drums).

Formerly So Band, they came to be known as Mayday in 1997, with the name originating from Masa's online nickname.[1] Mayday won the Golden Melody Award for Best Musical Group in 2001, 2004, 2009 and 2012.[2]. CNN calls them "The Chinese Beatles" and they are named "Kings of concerts" in Asia. They are one of the most influential Taiwanese bands in the 2000s.

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.[3] 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 musical crew.

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)[4] who described them as "the ones who would usher in the sound of the future".[4]

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 (角頭音樂) which included their first studio recording Motor Rock《軋車》.[5] In June 1998, they also released Embrace《擁抱》 compilation album for which they took on most of the songwriting, production and recording duties.[6]

In 1999, after their third drummer Robert from Loh Tsui Kweh Commune had left (the second one was Chen Yung-chang 陈泳锠), the ex-member from a band called "whynot" (disbanded) - Guan You (冠佑) joined the band and completed Mayday. They went on to release their first full-length studio album Mayday's First Album《第一張創作專輯》under Rock Records on 7 July 1999. Their debut received critical acclaim, and they gained a following in Taiwan. It went on to sell more than 300,000 copies, a considerable feat for a new band in the then pessimistic and saturated music industry.[4] 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).[7] 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 on the KTV Chart. Peter and Mary was one of the top ten songs of the year according to 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 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.[8] 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).[9] Mayday also held a series of concerts called Hundred Thousand Youths Standing Up 《十萬青年站出來演唱會》 in Taipei City, Changhua City, and Kaohsiung City.

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.[10]

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 Municipal Stadium. The concert attracted nearly 40,000 fans, which broke the record for the most concert-goers in Taiwan, 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. Time Machine also won Mayday their second Best Musical Group award at the 15th Golden Melody Awards.

In the summer of 2004, Mayday also participated in the making of the soundtrack for the movie Love of May, in which they also presented new arrangements of some of their old songs. 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 at Lake Kawaguchi, 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 tour called Final Home – When We Are All Together World Tour《Final Home 當我們混在一起 世界巡迴演唱會》. This took them around the world to America, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Japan. The tour lasted for six months until early 2006. A compilation of live performances from those concerts were released in Final Home – When We Are All Together 《Final Home 當我們混在一起》.

Not content with performing on the ground, Mayday also took to the top of Taipei 101 to perform. Dubbed the "Closest to the Sky in History Concert"(史上最接近天空演唱會), the Heads Touch the Sky Concert《頭頂天空昇空演唱會》 took place 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 organizing 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, including several bands from Taiwan, such as Tizzy Bac, 1976, and The Chairman, 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 broke Mayday's own record of three consecutive concerts at the Taipei Arena during their last world tour. Furthermore, Mayday's concerts at Taipei Arena was the first to end with power outages 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 outage until Ashin sang the 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 the National Stadium (Kaohsiung), which would allow Mayday to hold a "55555 people" concert.[15] It was Mayday's first concert at the stadium.

Second Round and world tour (2011–2015)[edit]

On 29 March, Mayday announced the upcoming fall release of their 3D film, 3DNA.[16]. Mayday became the very first Chinese band to launch their very own 3D movie, the second installations showcases snippets of their concert 诺亚方舟 世界巡回演唱会 held over 3 years, across 40 cities , over 70 nights.

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.[17] It has two versions, named Now Here (明日版) and No Where (末日版). They are different in their rendering of themes and song ordering, reflecting optimistic and pessimistic sentiment respectively about the fabled end of civilization by the year of 2012. This album helped them to win 6 awards from 7 nominations in the 23rd Golden Melody Awards.

In 2013, they played their first live concert in Germany.[18]

In 2014, they performed at the Wembley Arena in London for the initial stop of their "Now Here" concert tour[19]. Also, in their "Now-Here USA tour", they became the first Chinese band and the second Chinese artist to perform at the Madison Square Garden on March 22nd. (The first one was Jacky Cheung)

History of Tomorrow and Life world tour (2016–present)[edit]

On 21 July 2016, Mayday released their 9th studio album, History of Tomorrow.[20]. They won Best Album Mandarin and Ashin also won Best Lyricist for the song Almost Famous on 28th Golden Melody Awards.

On 31 December 2016, Mayday announced their Life World Tour, which kicked off on 18 March 2017 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. On 02 May 2017, Mayday Sang the theme song for 《Love Off the Cuff》.

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.[21] 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.[22] 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[23] and the song "Armour" (武装) which was influenced by a Chinese drama 《孽子》and Haruki Murakami's novel, Kafka On the Shore.[24]

Mayday has made no secret of its admiration of the Beatles whom they cite as influencing their ideals of rock music.[25] 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,[26] 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 helped Leehom Wang (王力宏) write lyrics for a couple of songs in his Heroes of the Earth (蓋世英雄) and 18 Martial Arts albums. 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]

Studio albums[edit]

Date of release Title Label
7 July 1999 Mayday's First Album
第一張創作專輯
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
5 November 2004 God's Children Are All Dancing
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 Taiwan
16 December 2011 The Second Round
第二人生
B'in Music / Universal Music Taiwan
13 November 2013 Mayday×五月天 the Best of 1999‐2013
A-Sketch
30 December 2013 The Best of 1999-2013
步步 自選作品輯[27]
B'in Music / Rock Records
21 July 2016 History of Tomorrow
自傳
B'in Music / Universal Music Taiwan

Live albums and DVDs[edit]

Date of release Title Label
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 復出演唱會
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
十萬人 出頭天
B'in Music
4 December 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

Tours[edit]

  • 168 Live (1999)
  • Stand Out Live (2000)
  • Where are you going Live Tour (2001)
  • Union Live (2003)
  • Final Home World Tour (2004–2006)
  • Jump! The World Tour (2007–2008)
  • Back to the ground Tour (2008)
  • D.N.A World Tour (2009–2010)
  • Just Rock It!World Tour (2011–2017)
  • Nowhere World Tour (2011–2014)
  • Life Tour (2017–2019)

Awards and nominations[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Jennifer Huang; Maia Huang (2013-11-05). "'Chinese Beatles' want to meet British Beatle at London concert". CNA. Retrieved 2013-11-06.
  3. ^ "ÃÖÉ¢£ºÒ¡¹öÀÖ£¬ÄãÔŲ́Íå"¹ºÃÂ𣿠– ¾"²ÊÀÖÆÀ – ÐÂÎŶ¯Ì¬ – ÖйúÒ¡¹öÏÖ³¡×ÊѶÍøÕ¾,Ò¡¹ö,Éú"îÔÚÏÖ³¡". Livehouse.cn. Retrieved 2012-08-03.
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  10. ^ 五月天看見支票不為動容 Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine.(銀河網路電台)2006年12月29日引用
  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.
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  14. ^ 第20屆金曲獎得獎消息 2009年6月27日引用[dead link]
  15. ^ "五月天復刻「DNA」明年2月再登日本武道館". 中時電子報 (in Chinese). Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  16. ^ "Mayday to debut their first 3D movie". Asia Pacific Arts. 29 March 2011.
  17. ^ "相信音樂官方網站". Archived from the original on 18 June 2012. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  18. ^ Mayday Tourdates. Vorverkaufstarts.de
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ http://culture.people.com.cn/n1/2016/0725/c22219-28580886.html
  21. ^ "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. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-03.
  22. ^ "Who said Mayday was a sellout?". Taipei Times. 2012-07-27. Retrieved 2012-08-03.
  23. ^ "band – discography". Maydaymayday.net. 2009-01-07. Archived from the original on 2009-01-07. Retrieved 2012-08-03.
  24. ^ "网易娱乐频道". Ent.163.com. Retrieved 2012-08-03.
  25. ^ "五月天:摇滚的温情-人物_青年人". Qnr.cn. 2005-07-23. Retrieved 2012-08-03.
  26. ^ "Simply Rock". Taipei Times. 2012-07-27. Retrieved 2012-08-03.
  27. ^ "五月天步步自選作品輯新聞". 聯合追星網.

External links[edit]