In our efforts to continue to offer audiences the opportunity to stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Taipei Cultural Center in New York would like to share stories of Taiwanese indie musicians and artists who are the winners of the 18th Independent Music Awards in 2020. The Independent Music Awards, presented by U.S.-based Musical Resource Group, announced this year’s winners on the program’s official website April 28, with seven artists from Taiwan earning top spots out of over a thousand submissions from 73 countries. According to IMAs’ official announcement, it unfortunately has to cancel the ceremony, originally scheduled for June. Though these Taiwanese musicians are not able to attend the ceremony, we will be featuring online introductory clips and winners’ remarks along with Music videos. Please enjoy the music with us!
Taiwanese Indie music, beginning as a fringe movement, now is part of mainstream Taiwanese pop culture and is redefining the entertainment industry in Taiwan. In the 80s, Taiwanese indie music started as an underground student scene around university campuses. By the 90s, live music houses were popping up around the universities in Taipei and gradually seen in other major cities in Taiwan. The indie venues , “live houses” play a significant role for the development of Taiwan’s indie music. And those who played and thrived from these “live houses” are often regarded as indie musicians. Without these remarkable venues, indie bands and music won’t grow up in Taiwan. After the 90s, Taiwan’s indie music scene began to flourish and that’s the background for “Emerge Live House” emerged in central Taiwan, TaiChung City.
“Emerge Live House,” founded by Hsin-Hung Chen(陳信宏，老諾), started as a place that held small-scale music events and lectures and it had its first band performing on stage in 2002 with today’s high-profile band “Fire EX.” (滅火器). At that time, the audience was very few. However, it provides an excellent music platform for independent musicians in Taiwan. Hsin-Hung, born in 1976, organized his first band in life to show his respect to the Beyond Band leader, Hong Kong musician Wong Ka Kui(黃家駒) and sang Wong’s popular song “Broad Sea and Sky”(海闊天空) in his high-school campfire party. Since then, Hsin-Hung had a music dream hidden in his mind and it pushed him to make efforts on not only creating and playing indie music, but providing venues for indie music bands and programming indie music festivals.
In 2007, due to relocation, GamaaMusic, an independent label owned by Hsin-Hung and “Emerge Live House” were merged and integrated into the brand “Emerge Music.” Hsin-Hung became an important promoter and undertook three major indie music events in Taiwan-“Rock in Taichung,”(搖滾台中) “Taoyuan Iron Rose Music Festival,”(桃園鐵玫瑰國際音樂節) “ New Taipei City Ho-hai-yan Rock Festival”(新北市貢寮國際海洋音樂祭). There are many indie music bands that are closely related to “Emerge Live House” and they celebrated the 20th anniversary of the brand “Emerge Music” in 2019. The line-up for “Emerge Festival 2019” includes “The Last Day of Summer/831”(八三夭), “Fire EX.” (滅火器), “Tizzy Bac”, “929 Band” (929 樂團). Hsin-Hung believes that “making music also has social responsibilities,” and just like many well-known bands aboard, the works of many Taiwanese indie bands are closely associated to social issues. Therefore, “Emerge Music” has offered performing platforms for many indie music bands and given joyful moments to countless music lovers for two decades. “EMERGE HOUSE BAND-Time” is an album filled with memories and reflecting a history that Taiwanese people are daring to resist the authority and speak out their true thoughts. It is a record that is dedicated to Taiwanese people who strive for freedom of speech, and open up a new era.
“EMERGE HOUSE BAND- Time” album won the Best Album Packaging in the design category, at the 18th Independent Music Awards in 2020. The trio, designer Li Jheng-han(李政翰), album producer Chen Hsin-hung (陳信宏) and Tai Hsiao-yin crafted the artwork for “Emerge House Band- Time,” juxtaposing dark elements of Taiwan’s past with symbols of its bright future on the album’s cover. Like Hsin-Hung said, Jheng-han is the first person he had in mind to collaborate with the design of album covering because Jheng-han, as a band member, understands perfectly what difficulties an indie band would encounter. At that time, Jheng-han’s creativity and talent as a designer is evident for he is already a winner of the Best Album Packaging at the 17th Independent Music Awards. Jheng-han successfully presents two elements of this album- the past and the future; the sorrow and joy- at same time as long as you pull the Vinyl Record out and the changing color with two looks is perfectly showing the inner meaning of this album.
2020 The 18th Independent Music Awards
⏹Watch Remarks of the winner team, Chen Hsin-hung and Li Jheng-Han
⏹Watch The 20th anniversary of EMERGE MUSIC
⏹Watch The Theme Song of 2019 EMERGE Music Festival