One of our incredibly talented graphic artists, Jackie Jack, is leaving shortly with his band to play at the famous 2014 Spring Scream Festival held on the island of Taiwan. This event, which is in its 20th year, is held at Kenting National Park at the southern tip of the island, which is best described as having “lush vegetation and beautiful white sand beaches”.
The three-member band includes Jackie on drums and two guitarists: Frank Chen and David Jiang, who are architects and — like Jackie — work full-time. This means that practice sessions take place on Sunday nights. “We share a rehearsal space in Long Island City with three other bands,” says Jackie. “We all keep to a schedule so it works out very well.”
The group has played extensively throughout greater New York. Recently, they appeared at the Keep Taiwan Free Festival in Times Square and at the Passport to Taiwan (P2TW) Festival in Union Square. “We try to keep our gigs to the weekend, rather than after work,” notes Jackie.
How did they do it?
The group, which is called Torpid May, heard about the Spring Scream Festival and decided they wanted to be part of it. As Jackie explains, “This is a big deal in Taiwan. In fact it can be compared to the Burning Man Festival that is held every year in the Nevada desert here in the U.S. Going in, we knew this was an event that was open to musicians in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Europe and the United States. It’s very competitive.”
In order to be considered they had to complete a detailed application and submit a portfolio that showcased the band’s experience. The entire package was submitted in 2013, but they did not receive an acceptance until the end of February 2014. “That’s when we really started rushing around,” says Jackie.
The scope of this venture
This three-day festival features — unbelievably — 200 bands from all over the world, on eight stages. Each group is allotted a 50-minute set. This translates into nonstop music, food and fun for thousands of participants. According to Jackie, “We will be at the festival for two days and then we’ll move on to two separate gigs in Taiwan — followed by a flight to Hong Kong and two more gigs before returning home.”
Going forward in style
So far, the band has produced one CD called Weather Balloon — a single that references the controversial UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947. This CD is sold at the band’s performances. When asked about their musical style, Jackie admits that, “We’ve borrowed a lot from post-rock — which is rock music that mixes with things like jazz, grunge, pop. It’s a repetitive melody that builds slowly and changes subtlety from very quiet to quite heavy. I’d say we play contemporary rock.”