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[InC-terview] Taiwanese Bands - IO, MJ116 and Echo!

By InCinemas  /  22 May 2015 (Friday)

Three Taiwanese bands - MJ116, IO and Echo are in Singapore as part of the 4-day music festival, ‘Music Matters 2015’. InCinemas managed to speak with these musicians about their thoughts about the industry, future collaborations and their journey as musicians.

(Find out more about Music Matters at the official website here!)

IO Band


The pop-rock band comprising of members Hans (Guitarist), Angus (Lead Singer) and Cody (Drummer), was formed in 2002 when they were just high school students with a big dream. Starting out as a group who ‘did music for fun’ and ‘just played at gigs’, these boys are now one of the hottest Taiwanese bands, having performed in many countries around the world and scored multiple nominations at the Golden Melody Awards throughout the years.

Of course, it wasn’t all that easy. Speaking in fluent English as they grew up in Vancouver, lead singer Angus shared about an incident where they ‘spent the entire afternoon figuring out our style’.

“We had a comment where someone said ‘Yeah, you guys are cool but you don’t have a style.’ and I remember very specifically we spent one whole afternoon trying out different sounds, but that just didn’t fit. We actually spent the whole day testing out the different voices I could do; pretending to be this and that. Eventually and naturally, it landed on what we sound like right now - that kind of ‘style’ of what people recognises us today.”

The now three-member band will be performing at the festival tonight (22 May) and Saturday, to which they have prepared a new song for the fans in Singapore.

“We have some new singles and we are going to debut them in Singapore! We love Singapore,” quipped Cody.

In terms of dream collaborations with other musicians, the trio hopes to collaborate with Hip Hop artistes, Chris Martin, Rihanna, Jay Park and HyunA from K-pop group 4Minute.

“I would like IO to collaborate with a female vocalist. That’s something we’ve never tried; not even a demo with a female vocalist… I think that will be something really interesting,” explained Hans.

There’s no stopping IO ever since their debut as a band more than 10 years ago. Still holding on and working towards their big dream of ‘being a Chinese icon internationally’, the talented lads are hoping to inspire and motivate people through their music.

Angus said: “What really drives me to continue to be a part of this is the opportunity and honour to speak on a platform that reaches out to people - to convey a message to the masses. And that’s a privilege for us.”



Echo is an indie rock band known for their unique mix of modern Chinese poetic lyrics and Neo-Psychedelia Rock style music. Comprising of members Pochang Wu (vocalist), Yin-Chun Lo (guitar), Wenyen Chiou (bassist), and Chunyu Mu (drums), the 4-piece band soon became popular in the indie music community. In 2002, the band won the Chinese Pop Music Media Awards for ‘Best New Band’ in China.

“For our performance at Music Matters, we want to bring the best of Echo to Singapore,” said Chiou. “We believe there are not many people in Singapore who know who we are so we hope to introduce our music with some of our best hits.”

“For most of our songs, we will make an effort to interact with the audience. Although the audiences in Singapore may seem a little unenthusiastic at first, they tend to warm up to us after our performance; requesting for photos and autographs,” added Mu.

Formed in 2002, the then University students didn’t think their passion would turn into a full-time career. Drummer Mu said: “It is just a bunch of good friends coming together to create music because that made us happy. As long as we have a message to convey, we will continue to create music.”

In 2013, the band's comeback single “Shi-mao” was selected as the theme song of the movie Tiny Times, which became a hit in China with 6 millions play counts on QQMusic, and 1 million music video view counts. In terms of their future developments, guitarist Lo shared that the group is open to incorporating different music styles into their music, as long as the all the members agree to it.

“One very important factor for us as a group is to have the same direction towards our music, and how we can improve together.”



The love of rap brought the group together in 2004. E-So, Kenzy and Muta, three rappers of Taiwanese Hip Hop MJ116 has been entertaining audiences around the world with their straightforward lyrics and head-bobbing tunes.

Recently nominated for the Golden Melody Awards, the members expressed their gratitude towards their family members, friends and fans for the support.

“We didn’t think much about it actually, and never had thoughts that we could ever be nominated because we just do what we love, and that is creating music,” said E-so.

Their strong rhythm style quickly brought them as a favourite in the Taiwan club scene and was subsequently known as the ‘party kings of Taiwan’, performing over 100 colleges and high school concerts.

To this day, their music is most popular with students and young adults; loud screams and cheers could be heard whenever they appeared on stage, but there was a time when they only performed to just a few people.

E-so explained: “When we just started out as an underground Hip Hop band in Taiwan, there were very few people who knew us. There was once we performed to about 3 people… and a dog! But whatever the numbers may be, as long as our audience enjoyed themselves, I think we have achieved our goal.”

For E-so and Muta, it was their first time in Singapore and are craving for Singapore’s famous chilli crab. After their performance at Timber @Substation on Wednesday, they stayed back specially to catch Singaporean rapper Kevin Lester’s (Lion City Boy) setlist. “He is really good and his songs are very cool… We talked for a bit after that and I’m hoping we could maybe collaborate in the future.”

If it’s a go, we definitely can’t wait to see that collaboration come to fruition!
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