Mayday: No Help Needed

Interesting to read articles about Mayday written in English.

Read the actual article here.

Mayday doesn’t need any help.

At this point, the Taiwanese band is pretty much on top of the world.

The five-piece band has been dubbed many things, most notably the “Chinese Beatles,” which is a fitting moniker when you consider the type of piano/guitar-driven pop they play and how much the Fab Four played a role in getting them where they are. (They also have a song called John Lennon, just in case it wasn’t obvious enough.)

One million records sold and over 150 different awards later, Mayday is a global phenomenon.

Over the past two years, they have outsold Madonna’s MDNA tour by moving over 2.48 million concert tickets worldwide.

On the phone from the band’s studio in Taiwan, lead guitarist Stone (real name: Shi Tou) sounds like a man who still can’t believe his good fortune.

It’s a bit of a surprise to learn that Mayday’s 15-plus-year odyssey — one that began back when Stone, singer Ashin, guitarist Monster, bassist Masa, and drummer Guan You were in high school — had one of its cornerstone moments take place in Vancouver, where Mayday recorded its debut album.

“We went to Greenhouse (Studios),” he said. “Is that still open?”

It is.

He laughed when it was suggested he was coming home to perform at the Pacific Coliseum on the first North American date for Mayday’s Nowhere Tour.

“It’s our first home, yes.”

After high school, the five members of Mayday decided it was time to get to the next level. They formed a band while in university, So Band, which was eventually renamed Mayday in 1997. Their name is band member Masa’s old online nickname.

“We recorded some demos, trying to leave some memories before we went to the army or tried to make some money. Luckily, the record company said, ‘Maybe we can record a real album.’”

Their first album for label Rock Records was a minor hit, but Mayday wasn’t playing stadiums just yet.

Rather, they were playing small bars and opening for other bands, much to the dismay of their parents.

“Monster studied law at school but he never became a lawyer,” Stone said. “I studied environment protection. At that time I really wanted to play music.

“Right now, some songs I wrote or the point of views I see are all about the things I care about. The idea of our tour is about Noah’s Ark, talking about the Doomsday and the end of the world. We’re thinking about how humans cause pollution and cause environmental change. So we have to think about ourselves and how we hurt this Earth a lot and we hurt each other a lot.”

When asked about the levels of pollution found in booming industrial China, Stone is crystal clear.

“When we go to the big cities in China, it’s hard to see the blue sky. It’s grey. Whenever we see the sky in Beijing we’re always yelling.”

Over the course of eight albums, including their most recent, the “2012”-themed The Second Round, Mayday has come to be defined as Asia’s version of The Beatles.

Such is the phenomenon that a recent three-night stint at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest, the stadium built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, attracted 300,000 fans who scooped up tickets in just five minutes.

When tickets for their forthcoming concert at New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden (March 22) went on sale in December, an estimated 400,000 fans crashed the ticketing website.

“We like The Beatles because they see things differently. They have a very positive point of view to see this world, especially John Lennon’s (solo) work. He talked about peace and love. And that’s the idea we always admired. We like to make music ‘from ourselves’ — our friends, love and family.”

With their mix of big anthems, singalongs and state-of-the-art concert presentation — including multiple moving platforms, eye-popping visuals and projections — Mayday is now turning heads away from their home in Taiwan.

They have started writing songs in Japanese for their Japanese fans, and it shouldn’t take long until they write songs in English as well. Not that they really need to.

“I think (our fan base) has evolved and it’s getting better and better,” Stone said. “The first time we came to Vancouver, it was about 99 per cent Chinese people there. Maybe one or two were boyfriends or girlfriends that were brought by Chinese fans.

“I see more and more Western people now,” he added. “Last week we went to Holland and there were lots of western people in our concerts. And they don’t just know the English subtitles, they also know the Chinese lyrics. I think it’s the evolution right now — maybe Western people can learn some Chinese from Mayday’s songs. It’s the way Mayday’s members learned English before. We learned from English songs.”

And what about Canadian songs?

“We love Bryan Adams,” Stone said. “We really like him. He’s been to Taipei two or three times. When he came, all the band members were there.”

Maybe some day, much like they did when they worked at Greenhouse for their first album, Mayday could find their way back to Vancouver to work at Adams’ famed Warehouse Studios.

“Oh really?” Stone exclaimed upon learning Adams had a studio here. “Cool!”


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