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* aural cavity located on the sides of the head for insertion of local music scene
The COMPASS Group,April 2006

Year of the Sparrow

--By Cynthia Aylward Translated by Liu Fang Ru

Superheroes of Taiwan's tiny alternative scene, Chasing Sparrow is a mild-mannered bunch, apologizing for their poor English (which, in fact, is very good). Lead singer Yoz is even an ex-kindergarten teacher (to his credit, he was recently fired!). Jobs and manners aside, the group is in fact--as stated by a friend of mine at Chasing Sparrow's New Year's Eve show in DV8--one of Taipei's best indie bands.

I sat down in Shida Park on an unusually warm January night to have a chat with three out of four Sparrows--Yoz, YuChen and Graffiti (guitarist LaiQ was busy filming his final school project)--about their music and thoughts about Taipei's current indie scene.
Chasing Sparrow rose in 2003 from the ashes of other Taipei indie acts. YuChen and Graffiti were both in the critically-acclaimed Varo, Yoz drummed for Sugar Plum Fairy, and guitarist LaiQ had been in Fall of This Corner. Bass player YuChen describes their initial sound as more "cute and happy" but says that it is now more "heavy", influenced by the likes of alt. rock acts Built to Spill and Modest Mouse. Their varied backgrounds give Chasing Sparrow a unique and adventurous sound, making the band difficult to pigeonhole as they mix elements of punk, post punk, emo and new wave. Yoz sings and screams in English over an understated, intense musical squall.

When asked about Taipei's indie scene, both Grafitti and YuChen say that it was more exciting a few years ago and that "electronic" music is currently capturing the local crowds. A reflection of this, according to Grafitti, is the fact that a lot of local indie bands, especially the ones she finds really good, seem to break up even though they gain popularity. She feels that this is probably due to a sort of disappointment at the lack of local support, coupled with limited venues. As a good example of this, one of Taipei's best live venues for new alternative acts, The Underworld, was forced to stop hosting bands in 2005 due to pressure from Taipei city authorities.

You can see Chasing Sparrow along with Banana Brave and Chimpanzee at their tribute show to The Smiths on February 9 at The Wall.


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