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Celluloid: Making Their Own Kind of Music

By Selena Huang Translated by Lisa Chiu

Celluloid released its first album on April 2. The celebration party was not held in a fancy location but, rather, at Underworld--a club where many local original bands normally play. There was no crowd of reporters vying to be first to get an interview or flower baskets outside. Rather, things were kept simple, with a blackboard filled with notes of support from friends and fans.

Celluloid formed 10 years ago, making it one of the oldest original blues bands in Taiwan. When people think of celluloid, they usually think about the film used for making movies. One of the cover songs that the band used to perform when they were just starting out was "Celluloid Heroes" by The Kinks. This is a song about people's feelings of love and hate for famous movie stars and prompted the group to rename their band Celluloid.

A-Ei is the mastermind of the band and he is sometimes referred to as Taiwan's "godfather of blues". He writes all of the songs and is the lead singer and guitarist. A-Ei started his career in music about 10 years ago while working at Caves Music. There, he composed music, built his own recording studio and served as recording engineer for several bands, like Lady Bug, Sugar Plum Fairy, Echo and Anarchy. Now, his own band has released its own first album, "Spring Weather", in which A-Ei integrates his life experiences into the music.

Guitarist Eba used to play drums for different bands, until he saw A-Ei in concert. Eba was completely captivated by A-Ei's blues talent, so much so that he asked A-Ei to teach him. Later, A-Ei asked Eba to join Celluloid. Drummer A-Wan learned how to play drums at Caves Music and formed several bands before being recruited by A-Ei. He said that, because the music industry was so competitive, he felt driven to learn as much about music as he could. In addition to Celluloid, he has played drums for Backquarter and Cats Fighting. Although Celluloid has not yet found a stable bass player, everyone that has played in the band has enjoyed an excellent track record.

Hsin-yi, the band's first bassist, has often been referred to as "the queen of bass" and is a former member of Cats Fighting and other bands. Currently, she is the bassist for Bobby Chen. Wei Wei, from Assassin, also played with Celluloid for a while. His heavy metal style combined with Celluloid's blues music to create a unique chemistry. Other bass players include Wang Chi-san, Ah-chen and the current Chang Tung.

Before this album, the band released two singles, "Leaving" and "Spring Weather" on a rock compilation album. Crystal Records produced an album called "Band Age: Force" which included the Celluloid song "I Don't Care". "Have Mercy", another of the band's creations, was featured in the album "Men Will Always Be Men" produced by Soundera. For "Spring Weather", the band has taken charge of everything, including composing, recording, singing and even marketing. There are no record company labels on this album, a totally independent production. Please see this month's CD reviews, for an introduction to this album.
The music style mirrors the band's members--deep and down-to-earth. At this year's Spring Scream, Celluloid was invited to play with Chethonic and Labor Exchange Band. Those who came to listen to them first sat quietly on the grass, then started tapping their feet to the rhythm, then finally got up and danced. The band played so intensely that A-Wan almost broke the drums.

If you want to know more about Celluloid, visit their website at http://home.kimo.com.tw/celluloid_band, or bbs://twserv.csie.nctu.edu.tw

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