Chen Jhen-chang's Special Place in Kaohsiung's Music Scene／前進高雄音樂場景
Chen Jhen-chang's Special Place in Kaohsiung's Music Scene
◎Recount by Chen Jhen-chang ◎English translation: Wendy Wei Chang
◎Photo by Yang Shih-jie
Chen Jhen-chang is the owner of Paramount Bar. Although, he is very experienced at running bars and organizing activities, it is music that is his real passion. He recalls his years in high school when he would listen to loud, intense music, with his very first rock'n'roll album being Guns N' Roses. Back then, the only way to acquire information about foreign music was to either listen to the radio or read Yu Kuang Music Magazine. While doing my mandatory military service in Taipei, I began to listen to a lot more music. Taipei had more resources for music lovers, so it was easier to find the albums I wanted. I used to visit a comic book store, where piles upon piles of albums were stacked against the wall. The owner also liked to listen to rock'n'roll. He recommended that I go to see shows at the Roxy, where I met Sho-sho, the guitarist from a band called Groupies. Sho-sho told me the type of music I liked, was known as 'punk rock.' So in order to understand punk, I started to look for books about it in bookstores around National Taiwan University in Gongguan.
When I graduated from high school, I began playing guitar. I also studied folk guitar during my military service. But, it was not until after I completed my military service that I returned to Kaohsiung and started a band with some old friends. At first, we weren't very good, we tried to write our own songs with simple chords. At that time, we'd practice at Doremi Music Store on Bade Road. A lot of songs were composed there but never played.
The band was initially called 'Circus Monkey.' At that time, bands in Kaohsiung had short names, so audiences could shout them while they were performing. We realized Circus Monkey was a relatively long name compared to the others, so we eventually abbreviated it to 'CM.'
On June 25th, 2009, (the day that Michael Jackson passed away), my friend Don and I opened our live music club named 'The Mercury,' located near Hanshin Arena Shopping Plaza. Don was in charge of the bar on the first floor, and I was in charge of performances and activities held on the second floor. The Mercury was located inside a residential building, so after a while the loud noise would often made the neighbors complain.
On New Year's Day 2014, we opened Paramount Bar. This was located in an independent building, so the drums did not bother anybody. Bands wouldn't have to worry about keeping the volume down during performances. The stage was also bigger and the bar could accommodate up to 120 people.
If anyone wants to get into playing music, I would advise them to practice at either Doremi Music Store or 91 Studio on Sintian Road. They are both very professional, with a cozy atmosphere and wide range of music equipment. They even have recording studios, and bands can practice there until midnight. Many musicians also teach at 91 Studio. The studio is a great place for Kaohsiung's bands to record albums and create their own brand of music. There's also a new music club in Dayi Warehouse. It has been professionally designed and is fully equipped. It is quite likely to become a popular place for out-of-town bands to perform.
Kaohsiung's music scene continues to develop and has some really excellent music festivals. Megaport Festival seems to be one of the most popular. Everyone who attends always has a lot of fun. However, Kaohsiung could use more live music, so people will come out and adopt it as a hobby, like they have done with karaoke or the movies. I hope one day people will get excited about going out to see live music and make it something they regularly do with their friends. Hopefully, Kaohsiung will continue to develop, and really terrific music scene will eventually emerge.
2009年6月25日，Michael Jackson逝世當天，我和朋友Don一起在漢神巨蛋附近經營的Live House「水星酒館」開幕了！Don負責一樓的酒吧，二樓的演出事務、活動安排、節目企劃由我負責，找過許多樂團來演出。過了這麼多年，水星因為開在大樓底下，很容易因為聲音過大被鄰居抗議，近年來在邀團上會儘量避開太重、太吵的音樂。我也開始尋覓一個沒有鄰居會抗議的空間，便促成2014年元旦「百樂門酒館」的誕生，百樂門的房子因為是獨棟、沒有跟隔壁房子連在一起，大鼓的聲音不會穿過水泥傳到隔壁去，能夠讓表演者更自在的演出，舞台更大、觀眾可以容納120人。
以經營者的角度來講，其實看了高雄十多年的音樂環境，這裡的音樂產值還是不行，無論是Live House 的經營者、門票銷售、觀眾數量、甚至是樂團的多樣化…都還不成熟，消費習慣也尚未建立起來，同類型的音樂太多，有的時候在安排節目表的時候，譬如說邀請迷幻的樂團來，就找不到適合的共演表演者，儘管現在越來越多表演的場地，不過最重要的還是期盼消費者能夠把聽樂團現場演出當做假日的消費習慣，就像是我們放假會去唱卡拉OK、看電影那樣，希望能有一天大家是以「週末有誰要來表演耶！要不要一起去看？」當做平常的休閒娛樂心態，進而建立起地方音樂的文化環境。