Mayday (五月天, Wǔ Yuè Tiān; jp: メイデイ), is a five-member Taiwanese alternative rock band that was formed in the late 1990's. Formerly under the name of So Band, they came to be known as Mayday in 1997, with the name originating from Masa's online nickname. They have gone on to sell more than 1 million albums.
Musical style and influencesEdit
Mayday's songs are written mostly in Mandarin with some Min Nan (Chinese dialect) tracks by Ashin, who speaks fluent Min Nan in addition to Mandarin. They are popular for their student band roots, and their ability in capturing the zeitgeist of Taiwanese youth in the mid to late 1990s. They are often cited as one of the pioneers of rock music in Taiwan.
Mayday's early style of music was characterised by raw music production that tended towards Hokkien garage rock tunes. They were also vocal advocates on the issue of gay rights, with several songs making oblique references to the issue. As they gained popularity however, the band gradually shed its hard-edged sound and moved towards slicker production and sprawling anthemic songs.
Earlier lyrics written by Ashin centred around themes of teenage angst and growing up. However, in recent albums, Ashin has alluded to several cultural icons notably the Chinese mythical monkey-god Sun Wu-Kong, Mickey Mouse, Superman, Neil Armstrong and Che Guevara. Ashin has also cited movies and novels as inspiration for his songs including "Viva Love" (愛情萬歲) which was inspired by avant-garde Taiwanese director Tsai Ming Liang's 1994 movie, Vive L'Amour and the song "Armour" (武装) which was influenced by a Chinese drama 《孽子》and Haruki Murakami's novel, Kafka On the Shore.
Mayday has made no secret of its admiration of the Beatles whom they cite as influencing their ideals of rock music. The eighth track of their fifth album has a track called John Lennon (約翰藍儂) where the band espouses its dreams to become the "Beatles of the Chinese World" (華人世界的披頭四). Other diverse musical influences include the Irish band U2, the British band Oasis, the Japanese pop music artists Mr. Children, Sting as well as the Taiwanese rocker Wu Bai and China Blue.
1995–1997: Formation and early yearsEdit
Mayday evolved from So Band which was formed by Ashin, Monster and the first drummer Qian You Da (錢佑達) in 1995 while they were studying in The Affiliated Senior High School of National Taiwan (師大附中). They were later joined by Masa and Stone, who were attending the same school. After graduation, the members went to different universities but continued to cut their teeth performing in pubs and eateries. They were also actively involved in promoting the growing rock music trend in Taiwan. In 1997, the band registered under the moniker Mayday in order to join the Formoz Festival (野台開唱). This would become the official name of the band.
1997–1999: Early recording careerEdit
Shortly after participating in the Formoz Festival (野台開唱), the band began to actively send demo tapes to various record companies in the hope of sealing a record deal. Their demo impressed Rock Records executive Jonathan Lee (李宗盛) who described them as "the ones who would usher in the sound of the future".
As a result, they signed their first record deal with Rock Records in 1998. In the same year, they also took part in the release of the Taiwan Independent Compilation Album 《ㄞ國歌曲》by indie music label tcm (角头音乐) which included their first studio recording Racing Car 《軋車》. In June 1998, they also released the Embrace《擁抱》 compilation album for which they took on most of the songwriting, production and recording duties.
In 1999, Guan You became the band's fourth drummer and they went on to release their first full-length studio album 《五月天第一張創作專輯》under Rock Records on July 7, 1999. Their debut received critical acclaim and gained a following among the Taiwanese. It went on to move more than 300,000 copies, a considerable feat for a new band in the then pessimistic and saturated music industry. They were also nominated for the 11th Golden Melody Awards under the category of Best Band (十一届金曲獎最佳樂團獎). The tracks "Peter and Mary" 「志明與春嬌」and "Embrace" 「擁抱」 also caught on among the youth, and became the top songs in the KTV list. "Peter and Mary" was one of the top ten songs of the year according to the The Association of Music Workers in Taiwan (中華音樂人交流協會). In fact, "Peter and Mary" has been acknowledged by Mayday's Ashin as the "song that brought them from the north of Taiwan to the south, allowing everyone to recognize Mayday." On the 28th of August, they held their first large-scale performance called 168 Performances 「第168場演唱會」, cementing their position as one of the rising bands in Taiwan.
1999–2001: Viva Love and People Life, Ocean WildEdit
The band's second album Viva Love 《愛情萬歲》was released 7 July 2000. Sales of Viva Love exceeded their previous album, shifting more than 350,000 copies. Additionally, Viva Love won them the "Best Band" award at the 12th Golden Melody Awards (十二屆金曲獎最佳樂團獎). Mayday also held a series of concerts called Ten Thousand Youths Standing Up (「十萬青年站出來」巡迴演唱會) in Taipei City, Zhang Hua and Gaohsiung City. The concerts were famous for having the most concert-goers in 2000.
In 2001, Mayday worked for the first time, on a movie soundtrack and accompanying score for the movie Migratory Bird 《候鳥》which starred Rene Liu and Huang Pin Yuan. Two months later, Mayday released their third album People Life Ocean Wild 《人生海海》, sales of which hit more than 35,000 copies after just a month.
2001–2003: Temporary hiatusEdit
In view of Masa's impending military call up, Mayday decided to take a temporary hiatus at the height of their popularity. This led to their farewell concerts titled Where Are You Going? 「你要去哪裡」from 18 August 2001 to 1 September 2001. Tuo La Ku and Japanese rock band Glay were special guests at the concert. Memorably for many fans, guitarist Stone chose the occasion to propose to his girlfriend and the proposal song was also included in the live concert album. In November 2001, the members temporarily disbanded with Masa going into the military, Stone heading to England to learn production techniques and Guan You to Los Angeles in order to hone his drumming skills. Meanwhile, Monster and Ashin remained in Taiwan with Rock Records, taking up recording and production duties for other label mates.
2004: Return to the music sceneEdit
During their hiatus, Mayday released the autobiographical documentary titled The Wings of Dream 《搖滾本事》, with ticket sales hitting more than NT1.2 million in barely three days. They also released an accompanying soundtrack.
After Masa's official release from the military, the band regrouped and made a return to the music industry. To mark the event, Mayday held their City of the Sky 「天空之城」 concert on the 16th of August 2004 at the Taipei Stadium (台北市立體育場舉辦). The concert attracted nearly 40,000 fans which broke the record for most concert-goers at a concert, a record previously held by Michael Jackson.
On the 11th of November 2003, the band also released their 4th studio album Time Machine 《時光機》. Sales of the album hit more than 15,000 within two days, with Mayday seeing no decline in their popularity despite their hiatus. The Time Machine also won Mayday their second "Best Band" award at the 15th Golden Melody Awards.
In the summer of 2004, Mayday also participated in the making of an accompanying soundtrack for the movie 《五月之戀》in which they also presented new arrangements of some of their old songs. Guitarist Stone also had a supporting role in the movie.
5 November 2004 saw the release of their critically acclaimed 5th studio album God's Children Are All Dancing/Flying Angels With A Falling Soul 《神的孩子都在跳舞》. This album used the simultaneous recording technique to create the distinctive "band" sound of their past albums and was specially recorded in Kawaguchi-to, Japan. In 2005, they also released a best of compilation album Just My Pride 《知足最真傑作選》，which included six new songs and favourites culled from previous albums.
2004–2006: Final Home World TourEdit
Near the end of 2004, Mayday embarked on an ambitious worldwide series of concerts called Final Home - When We Are All Together「Final Home 當我們混在一起」. This took them round the world to America, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Japan. The concerts lasted for six months until early 2006. A compilation of live performances from those concerts were released in a DVD-CD format and simply titled 《Final Home》.
Not content with performing on the ground, Mayday also took to the top of the Taiwan 101 building to perform. Called the Nearest to the Sky Concert「史上最接近天空演唱會」 (or Our Heads Reaching the Sky Concert「頭頂天空演唱會」), Mayday performed at a height of nearly 390.6 metres from the ground.
2006–2008: Born to Love and Poetry of the Day AfterEdit
Born to Love 《為愛而生》was released on the 29th of December 2006, with Mayday organising an autograph session lasting ten hours that became the first in 2007. In conjunction with their new album and sponsored by Le Tea, they also held Born to Love 《五月天 le power 天使，為愛而生新歌演唱會》 concerts around Taiwan. Tickets to these concerts were packaged within the first edition of the Born to Love albums, and fans formed lines overnight in order to get their hands on the actual tickets that allowed them entrance into the concerts. Mayday played a total of 12 concerts, and the best performances are compiled into a DVD that was packaged with the third edition of the Born to Love album.
The year 2007 also saw the release of Jump! (Leaving the Surface of the Earth) 《離開地球表面》, which included several new songs, live performances from the concert tour of the same name and the promotional tune Going Crazy 《抓狂》 for the video-game Halo 3. Included also is a duet with singer Cheer Chen, Elope to the Moon《私奔到月球》. As an additional leg of the Jump!, Mayday concluded the world tour with four Returning to the Surface of the Earth 《回到地球表面》 concerts.
Not to be outdone by the previous year, Mayday held a concert《突然很想見到你》on January 1, 2008 that lasted from 1:00 AM to around 6:00 AM. Mayday's new studio album, Poetry of the Day After 《後青春期的詩》 was released on October 23, 2008. Like Born to Love, the new album had tickets packaged with it. The two "Concert" versions include a ticket for the In the Sky of 100000 You & Mayday concerts to be held at Chung Shan Soccer Stadium, while the "Campus" version includes a ticket for one of the campus concerts that were held around Taiwan.
2009: DNA World TourEdit
On March 19, 2009, Mayday announced their new World Tour DNA Mayday "Creates" Concert《DNA五月天「創造」演唱會》, which commenced in Hong Kong on May 20, 2009. For the tour, Mayday released two songs, DNA and Unbridled《放肆》. They cooperated with transnational teams for the world tour and added Australia as their tour stop for the first time. A concert called A.N.D - Mayday and Friends was held ten days later that included several bands from Taiwan, such as Tizzy Bac, 1976, and The Chairman, etc. to celebrate Mayday's tenth anniversary since Ming joined the band.
Nominations for the 20th Golden Melody Awards were announced on May 15, 2009, which included You are Not Truly Happy 《你不是真正的快樂》 for Best Song, Ashin for Best Lyricist for the songs The Yet Unbroken Part of My Heart 《我心中尚未崩壞的地方》and Like Smoke《如煙》, as well as, Mayday for Best Band. The band attended the ceremony held on June 27, 2009 and returned with their third Golden Melody Award for Best Band.
The concert stop with the most attention, the Taipei DNA stop set for September 26 and 27, 2009 sold out within a day. Two days later, the band added a third day, September 25. With that day sold out within three hours as well, a fourth was added for September 24. This would break Mayday's own record of having three consecutive concerts at Taipei Arena during their last world tour. Furthermore, Mayday's concerts at Taipei Arena would be the first to end with power shutdowns that kept Mayday from continuing to perform encores, as they were already paying heavy fines for performing after 11 PM at the venue. On the last day, the 27th, fans continued to encore around 25 minutes after the shutdown until Ashin sang a last song backstage and asked the fans to finally leave the venue.
At the Taipei concerts, the Kaohsiung concert stop was announced. It was held on December 5, 2009 at 龍騰體育場, also known as the stadium at which Kaohsiung held the World Games, which would allow Mayday to hold a "55555 people" concert. It will be the first EXPO concert for Mayday, as well as the first concert held at the stadium.
2013-2017: Japanese promotions Edit
In 2013, the band released a repackaged collaboration album with 五月天 for all their prior years and followed up with Do You Ever Shine in 2014. In 2015, the released Your Legend and History of Tomorrow in 2017.
Ashin (阿信) Edit
- Real Name: Chen Hsin Hung (陳信宏)
- Date of Birth: 6 December 1975
- Place of Birth: Taipei, Taiwan
- Instrument: Vocals/Guitar/drums
- Position: Vocalist
- Height/Weight: 180 cm/74 kg
Monster (怪獸) Edit
- Real Name: Wen Shang Yi (溫尚翊)
- Alias : Eugene Wen
- Date of Birth: 28 November 1976
- Place of Birth: Hsin-Chu, Taiwan
- Instrument:Lead Guitar/Back-Vocals
- Position: Leader
- Height/Weight: 168 cm/62 kg
Stone (石頭) Edit
- Real Name: Shih Chin-hang (石錦航)
- Date of Birth: 11 December 1976
- Place of Birth: Taipei, Taiwan
- Instrument:Lead Guitar/Back-Vocals
- Height/Weight: 172 cm/67 kg
Masa (瑪莎) Edit
- Real Name: Tsai Shen-yen (蔡昇晏)
- Date of Birth: 25 April 1977
- Place of Birth: Kaohsiung, Taiwan
- Instrument: Bass Guitar, Piano, Harmonica, Back-Vocals
- Height/Weight: 172 cm/66 kg
Guan You/Ming (冠佑/明) Edit
- Real Name: Liu Yen-ming (劉諺明)
- Date of Birth: 28 July 1973
- Place of Birth: Miaoli, Taiwan
- Instrument: Drums
- Height/Weight: 178 cm/60 kg
Taiwanese / Chinese Edit
Studio albums Edit
- Mayday's First Album (1999)
- Viva Love (愛情萬歲) (2000)
- People Life, Ocean Wild (人生海海) (2001)
- Time Machine (時光機) (2003)
- God's Children Are All Dancing/Flying Angels With A Falling Soul/ (神的孩子都在跳舞) (2004)
- Just My Pride Best Of Album (知足最真傑作選) (2005)
- Born to Love (為愛而生) (2006)
- Poetry of the Day After (後青春期的詩) (2008)
Live albums and DVDs Edit
- The 168th Performance (第168場演唱會) (1999)
- A Hundred Thousand Youths Standing Up (十萬青年站出來) (2000)
- Where Are You Going? (你要去哪裡) (2001)
- City of the Sky (天空之城) (2004)
- Final Home - When We Are All Together (Final Home 當我們混在一起) (2005)
- Leaving the Surface of the Earth (離開地球表面 Jump!) (2007)
- In the Sky of 100000 You & Mayday (100000人 出頭天) (2009)
- D.N.A. Live! (「創造」小巨蛋) (2009)
- DNA World Tour In Live DVD (五月天「創造」演唱會影音全紀錄) (2010)
Studio albums Edit
Repackaged albums Edit
This is a list of the major concerts held by Mayday within Taiwan. It does not include campus performances, autograph cum performance sessions or year-end galas.
|1999||'Number 168th Concert' (第168場演唱會)||Mayday's first large-scale concert at Taiwan Municipal Stadium|
|2000||'Stand out 100,000 Youths' (十萬青年站出來 演唱會)||Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung. Mayday's second major concert.|
|2001||'Where are you going?' (你要去哪裡？台灣巡迴演唱會)||This concert marked Mayday's temporary hiatus of two years.|
|2003||'City of the Sky' (天空之城復出演唱會)||This marked the return of Mayday to the music scene. It also broke the record for most concert-goers in a Taiwanese concert with 40,000 fans in attendance.|
|2003||'Perseverance of the Eternal Star' (恆星的恆心 萬人免費演唱會)||Unticketed concert held in Taipei.|
|2004-2005||'Final Home - When We're All Together' (Final Home 當我們混在一起)||Mayday's first worldwide concert tour.|
|2007||'Le Power Angel. Living For Love' (le Power天使。為愛而生演唱會)|
|2007||'Leaving the Surface of the Earth'(離開地球表面世界巡迴演唱會)||Mayday's second world tour that included major cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Guangzhou, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.|
|2008||'Back to the Surface of the Earth' (回到地球表面演唱會)|| Mayday's third tour which included only the cities Singapore, Shanghai, Taichung, and Hong
|2008||'In the Sky of 100000 You & Mayday' (10000人。出頭天演唱會)||A free admission concert that comes with purchase of 後青春期的詩 album. This concert also celebrates their 10th anniversary since their very first large concert.|
|2009||'D.N.A' (創造演唱會)||Mayday's world tour that started from Hong Kong and included Taipei, Shanghai, Beijing, and Singapore.|
|2010||'D.N.A [2010 Unlimited Edition]' (DNA 五月天 世界巡迴演唱會 變形DNA * 無限放大版)||Mayday's D.N.A Encore world tour including (in chronological order of their performance): New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Singapore, Xiamen, Beijing, New Zealand, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Wuhan, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Xi'an.|
On his own as a songwriter and lyricist, Ashin has worked with Leehom Wang (王力宏) on his Heroes of the Earth (蓋世英雄) album. He has also written for various other artistes including Fish Leong, Aska Yang on the song Onion, Angelica Lee, Jolin Tsai, Sandee Chen, Riche Ren, Ring and Jam Hsiao on the song Loving Dearly. Also, he composed the song SHERO specially for S.H.E, which was chosen as the theme song for the 2010 Taipei Flora Expo. Vocals-wise, he has collaborated with Stefanie Sun twice on Mayday's 4th album Time Machine and on the upbeat track First Day which also included F.I.R. He has also dueted with Cheer Chen on the song 'Eloping to the Moon.' In 2008, he dueted with Ring on her album “What I loved” and starred in her music video. A visual arts and design student in high school and at Shih Cheng University, Ashin has also dabbled in the design area, working notably with graphic designer No2good (不二良) on a line of T-shirts by the name of Stay Real and designing a dogtag player for BenQ Music's Player. As an author, Ashin has released two books called Happy.BIRTH.day which he called a "book of rock poems". It includes photos taken by him and lyrics of the songs he wrote for the band the other artists. His latest book Escape to Japan (浪漫的逃亡), which is a travelogue reflection on Japan.
Other members' collaborationsEdit
The other members of Mayday have also worked with other artistes mainly in the areas of songwriting and producing. Masa and Monster have helped with songwriting and instrument playing duties on tracks by fellow Rock Records artistes Fish Leong, Victor Huang and Ding Dang. Both Monster and Stone have also produced albums, notably Monster for Ding Dang's debut album and Stone for Victor Huang's 2007 album.