This pandemic has brought out both the best and worst in people, and the hatred for Asian folks, for no other reason than the virus originated in China, is definitely an example of the worst. In the light of this senseless hate, we’re even more excited that Taiwan’s Chthonic are back at it with a new, live album. Yes, a live album that came out during the pandemic.
To be specific, it was recorded at the Megaport 2021 festival, an anomaly in and of itself, since it took place at a time when no other shows were happening.
“Taiwan has been carefully back to normal since last summer, and it’s not easy, but I believe if Taiwan can do it, then other countries can do it,” says vocalist Freddy Lim. “So that’s made this album very, very special.”
In addition to featuring live renditions of fan favorites, and being the first album out in several years, it is special because the songs on the album are remixed in an electronic style to pay homage to the band’s electro, drum ’n’ bass roots.
It’s also exciting because Lim has been out of music for a while, as a member of the Taiwanese Parliament.
“I spend most of my time in politics,” he says. “We haven’t played much since 2016, when I was elected to Parliament, but the reason we accepted the invitation to play this show is because it’s a very special moment for Taiwan. After this, we might go low-profile again, back to the way we were.”
In a sense, Lim’s entire life has been about fighting for human rights, both in Taiwan and abroad. Even before his official induction into politics, he was using his musical platform as a way to stand up and call out injustices, speaking out in favor of same-gender marriage, the plight of other Asian countries, and other major issues through Chthonic’s music. And now, while he is shocked and saddened by the hatred Asian folks in the U.S. are facing, he sees the reaction against it as an example of what truly makes democracy and organized government so powerful.
“I think seeing how the U.S. has reacted to Stop Asian Hate can be an inspiration to Taiwan, which is considered quite a democratic and progressive country in Asia,” he explains. “We look up to democracies in western parts of the world, like the U.S. and many European countries. With movements like Stop Asian Hate being supported by so many people in the U.S., especially young people, that makes us feel like we need to work even harder because yes, we have a democracy already, but even democracies in the U.S. or Europe are trying to continually improve.”
Recently, Lim got the chance to meet U.S. President Joe Biden and discuss how to improve U.S.-Taiwanese relations. And, some would argue equally as importantly, he also got to get up on stage to perform to an adoring crowd, reminding metal fans across the world that there is a live music light at the end of the long, dark COVID tunnel.
Listen to Megaport 2021 below, and pick up a copy and merch here.
Images courtesy of Chthonic.