Guess Who's Comin' to Dinner

Posted Aug 29 2006

While Japan is known in dancehall circles for its devoted scene and top rankin' sound systems, other countries, such as its Taiwanese neighbor to the south are often overlooked. The three-man O-Brothaz Sound System is on the scene to put Taiwan on the map and spread Caribbean music to Asia and the world!

Update: Check out this 2010 interview!

Click here for more info on Taiwan

1) Why did you all pick Taiwan to set up shop?
I don't think we really chose Taiwan, I think it chose us.  We were all here and by a coincidence got a chance to start and the thing just started from there. Assassin and me (Lion) started first and Youngblood came on later. It was just a natural group and just fell into place as it should.  Later, we decided that Taiwan was a good central place in Asia and thought it would be a good place for a base, so made things legal and set up shop. Plus there is not really too much of a Caribbean music scene here so why not?

2) Do you all only play Caribbean music or do you mix in other forms as well?
Most of the time we stick to Caribbean music, Reggae, Dancehall, Soca, Calypso, Zouk, Kompas.  It just depends on the vibe. Sometimes we will play some hip-hop, R&B and maybe even funk.  But the Caribbean music is the root of what we do still.

3) What has been the response so far? Do mostly locals or expats come to your shows?
We always have a great mix of people at the shows, foriegners from all different countries and Taiwanese as well as other Asian people.  A lot of people who love the music and don't usually go out come to our shows just to hear the music.  The response from the crowd has been great!  People have danced for the whole show, Taiwanese and foreigner alike, nuff times they don't want us to stop, and we get a lot of requests to play more often.  So, yeah, we give thanks for the diehards who are at every show and the people who come out cause they keep the music alive.  The response from the media has been positive for the most part too, which is good.  The response from the club owners...well, what can we say? That is for another interview!

4) Are there regular spots you play? If so, where?
We were playing regularly at TU for about one year until they changed owners.  Now we will start playing once a month at The Wall and various places in between in and around Taiwan.  Maybe outside of Taiwan too...hopefully.

5) What’s been the most memorable party so far, and why? How was the World Cup party?
The World Cup party went great, good crowd and people danced and danced and then watched football and danced at the same time, so was great.  Most memorable show would be the second "Firerama" show.  It was madness.  About 600 people showed up, alot of people didn't get in cause the line was too long and we had some problem with the set up!  But it was incredible, people danced and sang, danced with each other, was the real vibe!  Was the first show where we can say the crowd almost wore us out man!  By four o'clock people still wanted more!  Wicked!

6) How’s the studio coming along? Have you begun working with any local artists?
The studio is up and running.  We have been making some riddims/beats and are getting ready to try shopping some soon.  Local artists, we are always on the look out.  We are trying to work with a few right now but takes time. There are some cultural things with that which are difficult but, it will work out.  We are still looking and also hoping maybe to get some U.S.- based Asian artists to work with also. 

7) Are there locals who do Caribbean music?
Well, not many. There are a few who dabble but not really any locals who only do Caribbean music.  But there is our good friend, the Daddy of reggae in Taiwan, Red Eye.  He is a Taiwanese/Belizian who really was the first to do reggae here-great singer and performer.  Also there is a foreign group who does Ska called the Sound Clashes who do a nice live show.

8) Is there anywhere to check out music online? Mixes, tracks, etc?
Here, not yet, but we are setting up a website which should be up in September.  We will have our mix cd's, downloads, music videos, info on performers, a shop and more on it.  All in Chinese and English.  Also we will be doing internet radio which will be a big thing.  This will give a chance for people to learn more about the music and us. 

9) I imagine it’s hard to keep up with music in Taiwan. Do you all spin 45s or digital?
Definitely digital.  Jamaica makes more music faster than anywhere in the world.  In a year there can be about 500+ riddims made and on each riddim at least 20 different songs.  So, yeah, keeping up with the music is a full time job.  45's are just too expensive to ship and too slow to keep up.  We have some connections back home in Jamaica with some studio and friends and family send us stuff.


1. Mike Palmer said at August 29, 2006 9:55 pm:

I'll have to check the O-Brothaz out at The Wall sometime. I've seen Red Eye and the Riddim Outlaws before (I think most of the band was Japanese), but they didn't get much of a rise out of the crowd (the Taiwanese crowd is tough). Sounds like these guys have a better time at it.

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