Thursday, December 23, 2010

the world’s only asian-american dance rockers : q/a with the slants

Self-dubbed as “Chinatown dance rock,” Portland’s The Slants consider themselves “the first and only all Asian-American dance rock band in the world,” according to bassist Simon Young. Twenty-ten saw the quartet, composed of Asian Americans from different parts of the country, unveil their third self-produced, recorded and released album in Pageantry, following hot on the heels of their 2009 remix album, Slants! Slants! Revolution, which remixed tracks from their 2007 debut Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts. Plus Young adds, “We’re currently working on a new release.”

The Slants features vocalist Aron Moxley, a Vietnamese refugee who grew up in Astoria, Oregon; bassist Simon Young, a Chinese-Taiwanese from San Diego; guitarist Johnny Fontanilla, Filipino-Mexican also from San Diego; and drummer/vocalist Tyler Chen, a Chinese-German who has lived throughout the Northwest.

With ’80s influences like The Cure, Depeche Mode, New Order, and Joy Division plus a background in punk rock, The Slants’ third release has shifted a bit of focus away from the synth-driven sounds of their earlier work. But Young assures fans that “the electronic elements are always going to be a part of this band” as The Slants “find a way to balance between electro, dance rock, and synth-pop in a style that is still ‘Slants.’”

Celebrating the release of their first-ever music video at Dante’s on Saturday, January 8th, OMN caught up with bassist Simon Young.

You consider yourselves “one of the only, if not only, all-Asian dance rock bands in the country.” Is this true? Who else is out there?

To our knowledge, we are the first and only all Asian-American dance rock band in the world. There’s a few other acts out there doing the dance rock/synth-pop sound that have a token Asian player (such as VHS or Beta) but no one that we’re aware of that is doing something quite the same as us.

Pageantry has been said to be “harder-hitting,” “guitar fueled” and “a slight deviation from the synthesizer-driven” debut. Tell us how you have changed and grown.

Unlike most bands, we started recording our first album (Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts) even before our first show. As we progressed and brought in more musicians, it started leaning towards a more energetic live show. The singer, Aron, and I both come from punk rock backgrounds so we always leaned towards a heavier sound. So after our first album was completed and released, we knew we wanted something a little more rock-driven. But with so many lineup changes (11 different members in the first 3 years), it was tough to begin work on a new release.

Read the rest on OMN.

No comments: