The rockers just debuted their latest single “Same Old, Same Old (如常)”.
Meet No Party For Cao Dong, the Taiwanese band with big dreams and an even bigger fanbase. Bounding between garage rock, grunge, disco and even punk, the group have even been renamed No Tickets for Cao Dong owing to their wildly successful live shows. After debuting in 2015 with their grief-stricken record The Servile, the group have gone from strength to strength, whether it be selling out stadiums, touring the world or even (finally) pushing out their long-awaited sophomore album.
Their latest offering, “Same Old, Same Old (如常)”, slows things down a little, taking a tranquil and soulful approach to indie with breathy vocals ruling the roost. Having planned to share the song alongside a slew of new tracks on a highly-anticipated stadium tour earlier this year, a global pandemic decided to stop the rockers (and the rest of the world) in their tracks, calling for improvisation of the highest degree. The result was a groundbreaking RPG Livestream series titled We All Love Our Moms 5.0, putting fans in direct contact with the band. Live actors performed at the whim of NPCD’s fans, exploring the song’s deeper meaning about the unpredictability of life, whether it works out funny or cruel.
We managed to catch up with the group below, and got to grips with their inspirations and new innovations.
Hi guys! How has lockdown been treating you? What do you think the experience has taught you?
Luckily, living in Taiwan right now is probably one of the safest corners we could be in this whole world. However, the impact of the coronavirus on all industries is still unimaginable, especially the live industry where we were the most active. Because of COVID-19, our 10K stadium concert that we’ve been preparing for a while had to be cancelled, just like most artists during this period. But it’s also not such a bad time to take a breather. It reminded us how important it is to slow down and look around. We’ve also been exploring different possibilities in the digital realm, such as the multiple-choice RPG mini-series we livestreamed on YouTube an episode a day from May 20-23. In other aspects, we’ve been making the most use of our time on improving our musical and physical abilities through extra training. While the coronavirus caught the whole world off guard, it gave us a chance to reflect on the extent to which we could stretch our creativity. It almost feels like jumping into a warp and landing in a parallel universe.
How did you all meet, and what do you feel like you all bring to your sonic synergy? What is your name about?
We all met in school. Wood, Chu Chu and Fan are from the same high school. Sam met Wood in college. Though our music tastes keep evolving, we’d always have an overlap somewhere, which is rare. Building on this overlap and trust as we got to know each other, we were able to bounce ideas off of each other and come up with surprising sounds that we otherwise wouldn’t have. Fun fact for your readers: our earliest band name was “Party For Cao Dong Street”. Cao Dong Street is actually a real street name in a mountain in Taipei. The origin of that band came from a couple of our young selves who enjoyed hanging out on Cao Dong St. But as we grew up, some of us went their separate ways and the ones who remained decided to change the band name to “No Party For Cao Dong”, which sort of represents that transformation. The band lived on as the four of us and that also contributes to our current style, whatever it sounds like to your ears. The diversity in what we individually enjoy listening to and how we create together actually make up our sound.
How would you describe your genre in three words?
Quiet. Loud. Honest. Generally, our set is the so-called rock setting: vocals, two guitars, a bass and drums. But with playlists being such a huge influence and habit of listening nowadays, music seems to be categorized less often by genre but rather mood, feelings or emotions. And we get that because we’d probably introduce our music in a more feeling-oriented way instead of genres.
Congratulations on your newest song 如常, what is it about and inspired by?
Thank you. We’re also very excited that “Same Old, Same Old (如常)” is finally out, especially during a time like this. It’s a coincidence that what has happened in 2020 so far marks the central theme of the single. It’s exactly about the concept of “change is the constant”. There were many things that happened in the past two years, during which the song gradually grew into what it is you hear today, of our life that made us feel very strongly about this concept. It is inspired by events such as what we are collectively going through right now as humans.
Touring around so many cities within such a short amount of time infected us with the same feeling of being as busy and detached as however that city felt. Although that made us restless, this unusual became our daily touring usual. Were we the change to the cities or did the cities change us? It’s the same old sold-out shows yet with different fans in different venues. We travelled with the same crew almost 24/7 and we knew our schedules but waking up in different hotel rooms became our days. And that’s the constant in the change. Social distancing, quarantines and lockdowns weren’t the norm but over the past couple of months, they have become a new normal. Releasing this song now is timelier than we were ever able to predict.
You’ve done innovative livestreams where your fans are able to interact with your live shows – do you think it’s important for musicians to keep up with the realms of what is possible when it comes to your fanbase?
We’re actually pretty open-minded when it comes to this. Any kind of concept or creativity that speaks to us is something we’d be open to try. For example, whether it’s the format or the concept of the content in this RPG live action mini-series, they’re both something we think are rather unique and challenging enough for us to give a shot. There’s also the cancellation of our first ever 10K stadium concert due to the pandemic that made us intuitively think that this livestream was going to be a worthy investment. It’s less about keeping up with certain trends but more about how boundless any type of art is. All artists have their own original and sincere ways and styles of connecting to their fanbase.
How do you think your sound has progressed since your debut EP aired in 2015?
We start to think, a lot more than before. After thinking too much we start to think about how not to think too much. So we end up thinking more or just stop thinking altogether. Then we realized what we should be concentrating on is to present our present and what sounds good to us at this moment. However our sound progresses will naturally reflect our state of mind and what we enjoy. What we like has always evolved as we evolve into newer stages in life. This will inevitably put us in a different creative space and result in a change in our sound. But we accept it as a very genuine instinct instead of a surgical calculation.
How do you want your music to make people feel?
Authentic. Being real to ourselves and in our expressions have always driven us. Whatever you feel when you hear our music, as long as it’s authentic, it’s what we want you to feel. Any element in the music that you feel you can truly resonate with and help you find your true self, that is the most important thing. It may sound different to everyone. You may still be searching for your own authenticity, what makes you feel the most you. And that’s all okay. May we contribute a little piece of our journey through our music to your authenticity.
What’s next for you in 2020?/What are you excited about this year?
We’re very excited about our second album. Being back in the studio is the now and the next for us. The creative juice flowing out of us should make this year. Despite the circumstances the whole world is facing right now, 2020 shouldn’t just be a year of fear, social distancing or worries. It should be a year of strength, reflection and innovation. After touring for over two years, we’ve finally had a chance to take a breath and make use of this completely blocked off time to focus our energies on our new album. We’ve grown a lot since travelling around the world. This is a rare opportunity to look back and reflect on ourselves, our career or just life in general. All of that made us who we are and we will make an album that is authentic to all of that.