"Mellow is What I Feel About Taiwanese Music", Says Budha Terao, Japanese Manager of Moon Romantic Taipei (月見ル君想フ)


Budha Terao poses in front of Moon Romantic Taipei. (Photo credit: Gin Tzeng)

Text by Jessie C.

In Taipei city, there is an tranquil alley named Chaozhou Street. At the side of the street, a cozy getaway for the hustle and bustle life is glowing between the old Japanese style apartments. Moon Romantic (月見ル君想フ) is the name of the place. In Moon Romantic, you can not only enjoy a plate of Okinawa Taco Rice or a set of South Indian Curry, but also grab a bottle of beer while being immersed in the laid back live music. Thanks to Budha Terao, the manager of Moon Romantic Taipei, we can have a small but exquisite place to hide away.

The specialties of Moon Romantic are mostly curry and taco rice. (Photo via Moon Romantic Taipei Facebook Fanpage)

Before settling down in Taiwan, Terao worked as a promoter in the original store of Moon Romantic in Aoyama, Tokyo. About seven years ago, Moon Romantic Aoyama started receiving emails from Taiwanese bands who were seeking opportunities to play their music abroad. Through helping the bands promote their shows, Terao’s interests in Taiwanese music got stronger. Therefore, he decided to go across the sea to learn more about the music and the live house scene there. During the time Terao stayed, he discovered many good and promising local bands and got familiar with the music scene. He started to think about planning and holding live shows for them and also inviting Japanese bands to play here.

However, as an independent music promoter without much resources, Terao had to go through lots of time-consuming processes by himself. He also had to rent venues for the shows and that imposed a heavy burden for him and the artists. So, it dawned on him that in the long term, without having his own place, it was impossible for him to promote great independent music in Taiwan as what he had done in Japan. As a result, he decided to open the branch of Moon Romantic in Taipei. His ideal was to make Moon Romantic Taipei a crossing point for Taiwanese and Japanese independent music.

Moon Romantic Taipei is a fusion space. It combines restaurant and live house together. When it comes to its Japanese name, it means “I think of you when I see the moon.” According to Terao, it is an implied way to express love in ancient Japan. And just like its name, the air of Moon Romantic Taipei is filled with romance and gentleness. During the interview, Terao said the word “mellow” several times. In his opinion, comparing to Japanese music, mellowness is the very unique feature of Taiwanese music. Thus, he spares no efforts to promote this kind of music in Moon Romantic, and most important of all, to promote this kind of Taiwanese music to Japanese audience.

A big moon projected behind folk duo Chieh Huang & Adrian Lin while they were performing in Moon Romantic Taipei. (Photo credit: Moon Romantic Taipei)

Aside from managing Moon Romantic Taipei, Terao wanted to do more. He launched a new label called “Big Romantic Records”(大浪漫唱片)last year, through which he helped the Taiwanese bands such as Sunset Rollercoaster and Freckles to publish their albums in Japan, and also publish Japanese bands’ music works in Taiwan. Something worth mentioning about Big Romantic Records is that it only published cassettes. From Terao's perspective, nowadays, no matter buying CDs or cassettes, 99% of people would still listen to music through their digital devices. However, as a physical music commodity, cassettes are smaller and easier for storage than CDs. Moreover, to the independent bands who wants to release their work as an analog version with warm sounds, the cost of making a cassette is lower than a vinyl. Based on the two reasons above, Terao even made a bold prediction that by next year, cassettes would be more popular than CDs in the market.

Selected albums are displayed at a corner of Moon Romantic Taipei. (Photo credit: Gin Tzeng)

Though expanding his business to label management, the core of Terao’s job is still maintaining Moon Romantic and promoting live music. After several years of experience and observation of Taiwanese live music market, Terao finds out that both live house audience and band members in Taiwan are mostly people under 30. The situation points out that the music scene in Taiwan is energetic, creative and still providing broad development space for music lovers. Besides, Terao also indicated that from equipment to service, the quality of Taiwanese live house become better and better due to the more and more competitive and active music market.

To take advantage of the market’s current situation, Terao plans to cooperate with other labels and create more exposure and possibilities for the artists under Big Romantic Records. In addition, he hopes to spend more time updating the music news on the website of Big Romantic Records. Step by step, his goal is to make the website the most comprehensive information platform for Taiwanese and Japanese independent music. Once the website and the offline space Moon Romantic work well together, both of them can be the most iconic brands in Taiwanese and Japanese independent music markets.

Chaozhou Street Music Festival 2017

The bustling Yongkang Street in Taipei City is a must-visit place for tourists from all over the world, while the nearby Chaozhou Street is rather tranquil and has been an area where Japanese people choose to live. This is where cross-cultural experiences happen. Since 2015, Moon Romantic Taipei has expanded the experiences and held the annual Chaozhou Street Music Festival each fall. Unlike most music festivals in the world, the Chaozhou Street Music Festival centers on Moon Romantic Taipei along with neighboring stores on the street. Artists and musicians from Taiwan and Japan perform and give lectures in store and in the street. It is a music festival that music fans can relax, chill, and enjoy another side of Taipei City.

Time: Oct 20 at 7-10 pm & Oct 21 at 12:30-7:30 pm
Location: Chaozhou Street, Taipei City
Ticket: NTD590-17,777 (KKTIX)
Lineup: Harada Sahanji (JP), HAPPLE (JP), Deca Joins (TW), senoo ricky (JP), Zooey Wonder (TW), TANAKA of the HAMADA (JP), Chang Yu (TW), Song (TW), Necomachi (JP) and more.
Hosted by Moon Romantic & Door Cat Records
Website: https://www.doorcatrecords.com/cjsfest