TaiKo Electro Company
TaiKo Electro Company became an eye-catching new star of the emerging Taiwanese Hokkien electronic music scene when they debuted in 2016. They made a name for themselves at Taoyuan’s Iron Rose Music Festival, of which they won the grand prize in 2015. They released their eponymous debut album the subsequent year, and were nominated for Best Hokkien Album at the 2017 Golden Melody Awards.
Comprising TaiKo Electro Company are the duo of singer/guitarist KoDaBow and DJ David Jr. KoDaBow has extensive experience working as a sound engineer, film score composer and producer, while David Jr. has been a pioneering electronic music event curator and promoter, with many successful events under his belt. The duo’s experience gave TaiKo Electro Company an abundance of creativity once they began writing their own materials.
TaiKo Electro Company's music is structured around techno and trance, while also adding elements of dubstep and drum & bass. This description might not cause one to give much thought to them at first sight, and indeed the group gained a reputation not by just playing electronic dance music, but also incorporating and sampling elements of everyday life in Taiwan. They also opted to write lyrics in Hokkien rather than in Mandrin, which also gives their music a grass roots appeal. The final goal they are striving to achieve through their music is a rather abstract and difficult theme to tackle, as they wish to portray the warm hospitality Taiwanese people have for everyone, through the use of electronic sounds.
The word "Taiko" also has a deeper meaning. To one unfamilar with Taiwanese culture, it was generally used to refer to members of the working class, of which was connected to an image of unruly and uncultured laborers and farmers. The Taiwanese Hokkien dialect mostly spoken by these communities were also viewed with contempt by the ruling class. The traditional perception of "Taiko" has gradually changed in the past two decades, with more and more Taiwanese artists bringing their Hokkien heritage in to account while writing and composing music, transforming the term "Taiko" into a positive one.
TaiKo Electro Company has made a name by combining electronic music and local "Taiko" elements, with the ultimate goal of interpreting tradtional Taiwanese culture through electronic music. KoDaBow has also stated that the band is not about accomplishing some higher calling, and what they want to do is really just to have a good time with the audience. With lyrics filled with Hokkien slang, and a stage presence reminiscent of Taiwanese religious festivities, they have definitely found a footing with audiences and music festivals around Taiwan. They have also been invited to Tokyo’s "Taiwan Festa" for three years in a row since 2016. For those who wonder what a "Taiwanese" sound might be, TaiKo Electro Company may be a good place to start.