The Taiwanese indie band "我是機車少女 I'mdifficult," with its English name "I'mdifficult," cleverly captures the unique Taiwanese context where "motorcycle" is used to describe someone who is hard to communicate with, stubborn, and uncompromising. Band leader Ernest explains that the name was chosen to stand out among the many youth-named bands in Taiwan and to express his gender-fluid identity. The band, originally planned as a five-EP project, evolved into a four-member group with synthesizer/vocalist Hsuan, finger-style guitarist Eason, and drummer Zhonglin, culminating in their debut self-titled album.
In an interview with Taiwan Beats, Ernest, Hsuan, and Eason discussed their journey and the formation of the band:
Q1: Ernest and Hsuan have known each other for a long time. Can you introduce the connection between the band members and how the four-person lineup was formed?
Hsuan: We were classmates in elementary school. We first met at a winter camp and played in the same string orchestra. Our friendship grew closer over time, and we kept in touch even when Ernest moved to the U.S. for middle school and I went to the U.S. for university.
Ernest: I cherish our long-standing relationship. Eason and I were high school classmates. Drummer Zhonglin and I met at an improvisational music event called "That's My Jam." Eason and Hsuan had already been part of the band for a while, and we were searching for a drummer. Many of our drum tracks were MIDI-programmed before our second EP.
Q2: Half of the band members have lived in the U.S. How has this experience shaped your music, and what are your musical backgrounds?
Hsuan: My classical music background and participation in theater and musicals in the U.S. influenced me significantly. I joined a local band in Pittsburgh, Pinstripe Sunny, and performed at various house shows, immersing myself in an independent music scene.
Ernest: I lived in the U.S. twice, once during middle school and then for university. My experiences in a professional youth choir and my classical composition degree there ingrained a disciplined approach to music in me, which I apply to my current indie-pop creations.
Eason: My musical taste was heavily influenced by my father, who introduced me to folk music. As a guitarist, I often feel isolated in the band, especially when my enthusiasm for new effect pedals isn't shared by the others (laughs).
Q3: What does "experimental pop" mean to you, given that your music incorporates elements from various decades?
Hsuan: We describe our music as "Alternative Pop." It's about blending familiar elements in unexpected ways.
Eason: The "experimental" aspect was present in our first EP. It felt like a fusion of different cultural contexts that somehow worked together. We all have diverse musical influences, which we blend subtly into our music.
Ernest: We're interested in how listeners interpret our music. For us, "experimental pop" combines different elements to create something new and unique.
Q4: Why do your song titles and lyrics mix Chinese and English? Who writes the lyrics?
Ernest: Hsuan and I both write the lyrics, the mix of languages reflects our daily habit of code-switching. It's part of our "collage" approach to music.
Hsuan: I write lyrics that reflect my everyday speech, switching between Chinese and English naturally. The lyrics explore themes like family relationships, the fear of aging, and the different life paths between me and my friends.
Q5: What musical influences do each of you have? Are there any other music projects besides the band?
Eason: I'm influenced by Jim Croce, Marvin Gaye, Luo Da You, and Michael Jackson.
Ernest: I'm influenced by Cheer Chen, Coldplay, and Outkast. As for music projects, I attend right now, I am a session member of Yile Lin (of Skip Skip Ben Ben), playing keyboard and cello.
Hsuan: My influences include Prefab Sprout, FKA Twigs, and Frank Ocean. I have a solo project named dotzio and play synthesizers for MoonD’shake.
2023 was a notable year for "我是機車少女 I'mdifficult," as they were chosen to open for bands like Men I Trust, Pearl & The Oysters, んoon, and The Chairs. They plan to hold a special album concert on March 1, 2024, and release the physical version of their debut album.