The Bang Bang Fun Interview
Bang Bang Fun (砰砰阿峰) is a political satirist in Taiwan who produces songs, animations and games.
(Apple Daily) "The More Popular I Am, The Sadder Things Are in Taiwan." August 4, 2006.
Q. Your songs make sarcastic criticisms of the first family, and you also have a game in which people can kick footballs at Ah Bian. You are popular on the Internet. What changes have occurred between Taiwan musicians and politics over the last few years?
A: Previously, Taiwan had Pighead Skin (豬頭皮), Chen Ming-chang (陳明章) and the Loh Tsui Kweh Commune (濁水溪公社) who dared to challenge the blues. After the government changed hands, musicians don't stand up anymore because they have not reversed their attitudes yet. Rock 'n roll music will always oppose the government, no matter when or where. But it is different in Taiwan, because rock 'n roll in Taiwan is organized by the government for everybody to come out and play. This is why the Democratic Progressive Party is so tough. University students have no political thinking. They want to talk romance and have fun every day. Who has time for politics? But rock 'n roll music is edgy and they can easily influence students. That is why the Democratic Progressive Party want to use music to win over university students.
When Chen Wen Qian (陳文茜) organized her first annual concert (野台開唱), Chen Shui-bian was a legislator; when the fourth annual concert came around, A-Bian was the mayor of Taipei; when the tenth annual concert opened, he was the president. At the time, the Democratic Progressive Party gave a platform to these musicians. They felt that the Democratic Progressive Party was quite good, and so they went after the Nationalists. As more and more students became fans, the Democratic Progressive Party got results at the schools. Most university students are 'green.' But the injection of political power into the school campuses also affected the musicians.
Q: If rock 'n roll music opposes the system, then why do some rock 'n roll groups in Taiwan stand with the authorities?
A: Most of the rock 'n roll music by young people are superficial. They dress cool, they play music that sounds like rock 'n roll, but their songs are mostly about romantic love. How can you call that rock 'n roll?
The most important things about rock 'n roll music are the spirit, the words and the desires. But 60% of Taiwan rock 'n roll music today do not have the spirit.
I make music right now to criticize the governing party. This is the spirit of rock 'n roll.
In the Yang Ru-men (楊儒門) inicident, I wrote "Taiwan people love to eat Taiwan rice." I was talking about how the supermarkets only carry imported rice. For the poor Taiwan farmers, the more they grow, the more money they lose.
Lo Ta Yu (羅大佑) has a song titled "Made in Taiwan" and so do I. "Is this world still beautiful? Red, green, blue, is this what it is like? I have rapidly forgotten what my hometown is like. The air is very bad now ..." I was talking about what a mess politics has made Taiwan. The A-Bian government is incompetent, and they can't even steal money properly. I am very angry and so I write songs to express my anger.
Q: Are your songs commercial products that everybody can consume?
A: All my songs, animations and games are given away for free. How can I make money?
Even if I produced an album, I doubt that it will sell. These cannot be said to be commercial products. They only allow people to release their emotions. My A-Bian soccer game got 5.7 million hits in one week.
A few days ago, I just released the Super Nanny Dad game. There are so many people out there. I have to continue to do this so that they have an outlet to release their emotions. Even the media reporters come and ask me to write a song when Wu Shu-chen got off scottfree in the SOGO case.
Q: Why are the Chao Chien-ming products selling so fast on the Internet?
A: Taiwan society is sick! Right now, you turn on the television set -- if you don't see Chao Chien-ming, you will see Auntie A-Ching. Even though people are irked, they continue to watch. Look at Hsu Chun-mei (許純美) -- even though we think that she is a real bitch for not providing for her daughter and buying love with money, we continue to watch her perform. This is like taking drugs -- we know it is bad, but we still take it because it is stimulating. Actually, my songs became popular only after Chao Chien-ming was detained. Frankly, these are products in the Chao Chien-ming line too, except I don't charge any money for now.
Therefore, I often say, the more popular I am, the sadder things are for Taiwan. In a sick Taiwan, people wear Chao Chien-ming t-shirts, listen to Bang Bang Fun's music and they get a dose of Hsu Chun-mei.