Japan is the main supplier of female fronted metal bands in Asia. But there are other countries on that continent that you wouldn’t one-two-three expect as a homefront for such bands as well. Indonesia for example has Voice Of Baceprot, in Lebanon you can find Slaves To Sirens and even Iran has a band with a female singer named Heterochrome. From Taiwan comes M.E.L.T, a relatively young symphonic metal band (formed in 2021) with a beautiful singer named Moon Wu who has a beautiful voice. And with their recently released beautiful debut album “M.E.L.T“, which makes three beautifuls in a row, there’s no escape from inviting Moon for an interview. We did… and she agreed!
INTERVIEW BY: HENK VAN NIEUWENHOVEN
HELLO MOON, IT IS NOT VERY OFTEN THAT WE GET TO TALK TO A FEMALE FRONTED METAL BAND FROM TAIWAN. IS THERE AN ACTIVE METAL SCENE THERE? CAN YOU NAME SOME OTHER FEMALE FRONTED METAL BANDS FROM TAIWAN?
There are some other great metal bands with a female lead singer in Taiwan. For instance Crescent Lament, MakeMake, Eureka, Bloody Tyrant, InFission, etc. These are all very unique metal bands with very distinctive traits. Overall, I would say the metal music industry is still a niche market in Taiwan. However, I think the young generation is becoming more open-minded towards new genres of music. More and more female vocalists are even learning screaming vocal techniques now. I’m very optimistic about the future metal scene in Taiwan!
M.E.L.T WAS FORMED IN 2021, SO ONLY TWO YEARS AGO. CAN YOU TELL US WHO WAS OR WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT? DO THE LETTERS M.E.L.T STAND FOR SOMETHING?
M.E.L.T was originally founded by me, our guitarist Daniel and former drummer Kin Nam Cheong. We were all band members of a band named Cradle Infernal. Later we regrouped and recruited our bassist Chih Yao, keyboardist Henry and drummer Luka. M.E.L.T is actually an acronym of four characters in the literature by Albert Camus, Samuel Beckett, Arthur Miller and Charles Dickens.
YOUR MUSIC IS A MIXTURE BETWEEN SYMPHONIC AND POWER METAL, A VERY POPULAR GENRE IN ASIA?
To be honest, I’m not sure if symphonic/power metal is popular in Asia nowadays. As far as I know, in Taiwan it’s not very popular for sure. The reason why this album is a symphonic/power mixture is that our band members are deeply influenced by some traditional metal bands like Stratovarius, Halloween, Nightwish, Within Temptation, etc. Yet at the same time we also love modern metal genres like progressive/djent/tech death. We try to strike a balance between old-school and modern elements. In other words, a distinguished vocal melody line is very crucial for us. Then we build upon it with the elements we deem fit.
BEFORE WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT M.E.L.T’S EPONYMOUS DEBUT ALBUM, DID YOU RELEASE ANYTHING ELSE BEFORE THAT? ANY SINGLES, PERHAPS?
Yes, actually we released “Boiling”, “Goddess” and “Fly To The Moon” on YouTube/Spotify last year. But this year, we added in some new layers and re-recorded some parts with a remix/remaster process. As you know, we included these songs in the album. I hope the audience enjoys the new versions!
“M.E.L.T” WAS RELEASED ON AUGUST 3RD, 2023. YOU SAID: “THE CONCEPT OF THIS ALBUM FOCUSES ON HUMAN RELATIONSHIP AND PERSONAL INNER SALVATION IN MODERN SOCIETY”. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THAT IN YOUR OWN WORDS PLEASE?
To some degree this album is a somewhat personal piece. Daniel and I wrote the concept of this album based on our personal experience, or our feelings towards society. “Boiling” is a rather straight-forward love-searching holler in this fast-paced world. “Sin” is a pretty dark song about dying alone centering on modern societal indifference. “Let You Go” is a powerful song about letting go and re-defining yourself. On the surface, “Goddess” is a song about Helen of Troy in Greek Mythology. Despite her unparalleled beauty, her fate is still tragically controlled by those that are in power. To some extent the helplessness and anger inside her remain unchanged even in this modern world. “Fly To The Moon” is a song of bravery and resolution, about chasing your dream at all cost. “Still” is a desperate song about one’s supreme devotion, regardless of the secularly imposed values. “Wind” is a sad song about hope and feeling lost in a relationship. “Despair” is a quite unique song on this album, it’s about nihilism and helplessness in the modern world.
WHO WROTE THE MUSIC AND LYRICS FOR THE DEBUT ALBUM?
I wrote the lyrics for “Boiling”, “Let You Go”, “My Goddess”, “Fly To The Moon” and “Wind”. Our guitarist Daniel wrote the lyrics for “Sin” and our close friend Louis wrote the lyrics for “Still”. “Despair” was co-written by Daniel and Louis. The music was basically the end result of every band member. Although we all love metal music, each one has a rather different taste. I love traditional power/symphonic metal, Daniel’s more into modern metal while our keyboard player Henry’s a big fan of black/thrash metal. This is great for our musical creation in my opinion. We’re very open-minded and not limiting ourselves to one specific genre.
AFTER THE BEAUTIFUL “INTRO” WE GET “BOILING”, A SONG THAT REMINDS A LOT OF NIGHTWISH (WITH ANETTE OLZON). THE WHOLE ALBUM HAS A EUROPEAN SYMPHONIC METAL VIBE. ANY OTHER BANDS OR SINGERS FROM EUROPE YOU ADMIRE?
European symphonic metal is one of my favorite genres. Floor Jansen from Nightwish, Sharon den Adel from Within Temptation, Simone Simons from Epica, Noora Louhimo from Battle Beast, they are all female singers that influenced me the most. Personally, I love powerful female vocals that penetrates through heavy ‘wall of sounds’. For this paticular genre, female lead vocaIs is undoubtedly the ‘soul’ ingredient. I admire not only their singing abilities, but also their personal charisma on stage.
“For me, Mandarin is best suited for describing certain poetic scenarios and expressing personal feelings. When I sing it, I can immediately feel the deepest sentiment inside me”.
– MOON WU –
“LET YOU GO” IS A REAL EARWURM WITH MALE SCREAMS ON THE BACKGROUND THAT IMMEDIATELY REVERT TO NIGHTWISH AGAIN. IS IT ONE THAT YOU LIKE TO DO LIVE ON STAGE AS WELL?
The theme of “Let You Go” is about letting go and self-redemption. In this song our keyboardist/male vocalist Henry uses both clean and screaming vocals to promote the tension of contrast. During the live show Henry will sing and play keyboards at the same time. We try to present every nuisance of our music during live shows. Henry is also the lead singer of a black metal band named Efflore in Taiwan. His diversified voice certainly plays a peculiar role in our music.
ONE OF THE ABSOLUTE HIGHLIGHTS ON “M.E.L.T” IS NO DOUBT “MY GODDESS”. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL SONG! WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
This song is about Helen of the Greek-Trojan War. Her state of mind, inner struggle and innocence are the main topics of the song. The dilemma of her pursuit of love and earthly warfare leaves her helplessly stranded. Her utmost desire for a serene state of mind and the causal suffering to other people bring out her destined predicament. We try to sculpt the song with a beautiful vibe yet with embedded resent. I’m so glad you like it!
AND THEN WE GET “FLY TO THE MOON” AND “WIND”, BOTH IN MANDARIN. YOU COULD NOT HAVE TOPPED THAT WHEN YOU HAD USED ENGLISH LYRICS. THEY WERE MEANT TO HAVE MANDARIN LYRICS PARTLY DUE TO THE CHARGED ATMOSPHERE IN BOTH SONGS, RIGHT?
The theme of “Fly To The Moon” is about chasing your dream. No matter how difficult it is, with your loved one by your side you’ve got nothing to fear. This is actually a song that I want to dedicate to a good friend of mine. There’s so much personal feeling in it, so I chose my native language to write it. For me, Mandarin is best suited for describing certain poetic scenarios and expressing personal feelings. When I sing it, I can immediately feel the deepest sentiment inside me. “Wind” is quite the same situation. It’s a sad song about hope and feeling lost in a relationship.
IN BETWEEN THE TWO IS “STILL”, A SONG THAT COULD HAVE BEEN ON ANY EUROPEAN SYMPHONIC METAL ALBUM (FOR EXAMPLE ON THAT OF EPICA). WHERE DID YOU LEARN TO TALK (AND SING) ENGLISH SO VERY WELL?
I studied English Literature in university. But to be frank, I’m still learning and trying to do my best to convey the meaning of our lyrics. After all English is my second language and it takes a lot of practice to overcome accent and pronunciation challenge for me. The lyrics of “Still” is actually written by our close friend Louis. She’s a fantastic writer and we all love the lyrics of “Still”. It just fits with the music perfectly!
“DESPAIR” IS A VERY WORTHY ALBUM CLOSER AND THE SECOND LONGEST TRACK THAT BRINGS TO MIND EPICA ONCE AGAIN, WITH MALE GROWLS AND YOU SOUNDING A LOT LIKE SIMONE SIMONS. IS SHE SOMEONE YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO A DUET WITH WHEN THE OPPORTUNITY WOULD ARISE?
My God! If I have the chance, of course, I’ll be honored. It would surely be a dream-come-true. In fact, when I was the female lead singer of my last band Cradle Inferno in 2017, our band was the opening guest for Epica’s tour in Taipei. As for “Despair”, we decided to layer Henry’s intense and broad-range voice for the richness and hysterical effect. We think this song is the perfect finale for the album. We attempt to present a powerful and resounding vibe for the ending piece.
ONE MORE QUESTION ABOUT THE FULL ALBUM SAMPLER ON YOUTUBE. AT THE BOTTOM IT SAYS BOTH LUKA CHEN AND KIN NAM CHEONG ON DRUMS. THAT NEEDS SOME EXPLANATION.
M.E.L.T was originally founded by me, our guitarist Daniel and former drummer Kin Nam Cheong. However, after a while Nam had to return to Macau for personal reasons, so he became the producer and mixing/mastering engineer of M.E.L.T behind the scenes (this album is entirely mixed/mastered by him). Later, Luka joined the band to become the drummer till now. Luka Chen is an excellent drummer among the new generation of Taichung (a city in the central region of Taiwan), his performance is very accurate and powerful. During live shows, his stage charm is absolutely crucial for M.E.L.T.
THIS YEAR, YOU OPENED FOR NIGHTWISH IN TAPEI DURING THEIR ASIA TOUR. CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT THAT MEANT FOR YOU AS A SINGER AND DID YOU GET TO MEET FLOOR JANSEN?
That was really a very meaningful and unforgettable experience for me. Floor Jansen is very attractive and absolutely one of my lifetime inspirations. Unfortunately, I only saw her backstage and not had the chance to properly meet her. But we did have a great talk with mr. Troy Donockley. He is very funny and even joked about opening for us next time! Opening for Nightwish was a milestone for M.E.L.T and as a singer it means so much to me to have the chance to perform on the same stage with Floor Jansen.
M.E.L.T FLYING TO EUROPE FOR A TOUR IS NOT VERY LIKELY BECAUSE OF THE DISTANCE AND COSTS. BUT IF YOU COULD, ARE THERE ANY BANDS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SUPPORT OR GO ON TOUR WITH IN EUROPE?
We’re not ruling out any possibilities. Several great Taiwanese metal bands have already toured in Europe, like Bloody Tyrant and Crescent Lament. Maybe in the future we’ll plan a tour with some of our close-friend bands in Taiwan. I think it would be an unforgettable experience. As for the supporting band, I would be honored if I have the chance to warm up for any of my favorite bands I have mentioned! European metal is my greatest inspiration and I believe M.E.L.T will play in Europe in the future!