2011 / 11月
主唱季欣霈是畢業於台大會計系的高材生，高中就有組團的經驗，上大學後開始參加大大小小的音樂比賽，並和師大附中的學長組成「APAY樂團」，開始在live house 演唱。
Eric Lin /tr. by Geoff Hegarty and Sophia Chen
The growth of the independent music scene and the enthusiastic support it receives from its large number of fans has become quite a striking element of Taiwan's rock music development over the past decade. Bands producing experimental or avant-garde music, usually heavily individualistic in style and lacking any commercial support from mainstream record companies, have been able to attract a diverse and expanding number of fans. With their emphasis on experimentation and challenge, the band Coconuts is a good example.
Inside Coconuts' somewhat shambolic studio near National Taiwan Normal University, 20-plus electric guitars hang on the wall.
The band comprises three members: lead vocalist and keyboard player Ji Xinpei, guitarist Han Likang and drummer Lai Shengwen. Established less than a year ago, the band has released only three singles, but has already attracted attention-perhaps because its three members were already familiar faces on the music scene.
Lead vocalist Ji Xinpei is in fact an outstanding graduate of National Taiwan University with a major in accounting. Ji gained her first experience of playing in a band when she was a student at the Affiliated Senior High School of National Taiwan Normal University. She took part in a number of music contests during university, and with some of her fellow senior-high-school alumni, set up a band called APAY, which gave her the first experience of playing live in front of an audience.
In 2003, not long after the band started, their talent was discovered by musical producer Will Lin, and their first single "Blue" was released in 2004. In the same year, the band won the honors for Viewers' Choice at the Ho-Hai-Yan Rock Festival. Their debut album The Lead Vocalist was released in 2006, the singer's vibrant voice winning them countless fans. But afterwards when both the guitarist and the drummer were called up for military service, and the bassist won admission to a graduate institute, they were forced to disband.
After saying farewell to the band, Ji experienced a low ebb in her life. She considered giving up singing and writing music, but eventually she used music to help herself face reality. The disappointment and despair turned to hope, and became the inspiration for new songs. So in 2008, she restarted her career and released two albums Life and Little World.
Aiming for a future like her senior-high classmates Mayday, Ji believes unconditionally in her dream of becoming a rock star.
"Over the years, I have always felt that I haven't really been able to make the kind of music I want. After going through some rather painful transformations, finally I found two partners to help me kick off with some post-punk material."
With her cute dimples, Ji looks a bit like Japanese actress Ryoko Hirosue. There's no doubting her potential to become a successful pop singer, but the Coconuts want to be known as the best musically, not just pretty faces.
The song "Dreamer" tries to deflate the dreams to which so many become addicted in order to escape from reality, and has gained an enthusiastic response from fans. Ji sings: "The worse I feel, the more I want to escape to sleep / In dreams there are no restraints / You're hanging around waiting for a bite / After dawn, you'll be in my stomach."
The song features some unique musical arrangements not heard before in Taiwanese rock music. Fast guitar riffs kick off the melody, like a person falling into the dream world. But after the first eight beats, just when listeners are expecting the vocal to begin, surprisingly there's another eight-beat break, leaving one longing for more. It's a sweet song, but full of traps and surprises.
"A transliteration of 'Coconuts' into Chinese conveys a meaning something like: unveiling the scars-you listen to my sweet voice, yet I want to touch your pain," says Ji. "Coconuts doesn't want to make loud music for loud music's sake: we want to show a philosophical and artistic side to life and music."