Mayday Guitarist Monster Shoots the Breeze
After working tirelessly for a decade and a half building up a significant fan base in Asia, Taiwanese quintet Mayday bring their unique blend of alternative rock and pop on a multi-continent tour. Co-founder and guitarist Monster gives an insight into the band today and talks about plans for signature model Gibson.
For those who’ve not yet heard of Mayday, how would you describe the band in three words?
Music, friendship, dreams.
You’ve been cited as ‘the Chinese Beatles’ before, how do you feel about being compared to a group of their magnitude?
The Beatles have been inspiring and influencing Mayday’s music since we were young, we do not think we are comparable to the Beatles, but we are honored to be described as the Chinese Beatles by the media. Mayday is deeply influenced by the Beatles, because the Beatles music is unlike some rock music which just expresses anger against the world - the Beatles music can touch and create a big impact on people with their compassion, their feelings. The Beatles also has the spirit of continuous innovation and exploring new musical directions – this also deeply influences us.
The Nowhere World Tour has seen you play 200 concerts in over 70 cities so far – what have been the highlights?
In the Nowhere World Tour, we feel curious in every new city we visit, especially the international part of the tour - London, Paris, Amsterdam. In mid March we will tour in the United States. We are very excited and looking forward to every stop. We did 3 shows at the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing; each show has an audience of 100,000 – that lets us interact with the 300,000 people in the three shows. We really enjoy performing to big crowds of our fans who have supported us all along. We are grateful to our fans that have been supporting us all these years.
Mayday has been together since 1999, but this is your first tour of Europe and North America. Why do you think it’s taken so long for you to come to these parts of the world?
This is a special opportunity. After many tours in the past years, more and more people have seen the Mayday show - that includes international live events promoter Live Nation. We’ve been working with Live Nation to bring our music to international destinations since last year. There are still many people yet to know who Mayday are, that’s why we are hoping to bring our music to other parts of the world. For those who do not know Mayday and want to understand us more, they can visit our social media pages such as Facebook and Twitter, which have both our music and videos with English subtitles.
What was the first Gibson that you ever owned and where did you get it from ?
I bought my first Gibson guitar when I got into college (after years of savings) in Taiwan.
Which is your favorite Gibson out of all the guitars you own and why?
I have over 15 Gibson guitars and I love the music of the Japanese band B’z guitarist Tak Matsumoto. Later we became friends and I have collected 7 of Tak’s Gibson signature models. The TAK series is my favorite series and I have been using the TAK series ever since. My collection includes the TAK Canary yellow, TAK burst and TAK DC 5 colors. What I treasure most is the TAK DC prototype given to me by Mr. TAK Matsumoto as a gift. I will only use this one at my own studio.
You’ve been working on a signature model guitar with Gibson since 2012 – what can fans and guitar players alike expect from the collaboration?
To me, to own a Gibson signature model is to reach a peak moment of my musical journey. I grew up and aspired to own a Gibson guitar and my dream was to have a Gibson signature model one day. I dreamed to be like other guitar heroes and idols, to own my very own Gibson signature model. When Gibson approached me to create a signature model, I was informed by others that I would be the first Chinese artist to own a Gibson Signature model and the second artist in Asia who owns a signature model, after Mr. Tak Matsumoto - an artist who I respect and has inspired me a lot. This makes me very excited, but at the same time there is pressure on me to lead a mission to become the ambassador of Chinese and western music - like other Gibson guitar heroes who bring their music to music fans and guitarists internationally. I will also have the mission to share Mayday’s music to the western world and to let them know that apart from Mayday, there are many other good Chinese musicians and guitarists and Mayday will share the international (western) music and guitarists with the Asian community.
Your last album was released in 2011, are you currently working on any new material?
Since our last album release, we have been on tour for the past two years and we have produced some creative work and singles, but we understand the fans are looking forward to our new album. Mayday composes, creates and produces our own works between the five of us. We work very hard and rework material continuously until we are all satisfied with the songs, so every time we have a deadline to complete an album, it feels like we have gone through a second life. I just hope the deadline can come a bit later this time!
Check out Mayday at a town near you.
March 20: Air Canada Centre - Toronto
March 22: Madison Square Garden - New York, NY
March 24: Auditorium Theatre - IL - Chicago, IL
March 29: Los Angeles Sports Arena - Los Angeles, CA