Subject: A New Beginning
5/29/08 7:58pm En Route to Chengdu, China
It’s been embarrassingly long ago since I wrote a journal with the last one being nearly a year ago. Much has transpired in the past year but sharing what has past is somewhat pointless as I’d rather move on and talk about the future and of things to come.
First and foremost, in the wake of the recent Sichuan earthquake and cyclone disasters in Myanmar, I’d like to urge all of you to continue your prayers, efforts and donations for the victims and their families. It may appear that the worst is over though, in fact, the most arduous and difficult tasks of rebuilding have only just begun. We are a society with a short memory and soon these tragic events will be nothing more than just a chapter in history. However, we must continue to remember that there are people in the world less fortunate than us and still very much in need of our aid and love. I firmly believe that one person’s love and efforts can bring about change let alone a group of people united. Let us all give and contribute what we can to those in desperate need of our love and support.
The past year has been inundated with numerous shows some of which have been part of the tour. The shows have all been very successful thanks on major part to all of your support. However, I’ve been quite exhausted being “on the road” though the rewards outweigh the hardships our entire team has gone through. On behalf of the entire production crew, I would like to extend to you our deepest gratitude for all your support and friendship. Playing music live in front of an enthusiastic crowd is one of the greatest joys in being a musician because nothing beats that kind of direct interaction. Interestingly, playing live also gives you an urge to go back into the studio to create new music and vice versa.
Playing live allows you to hone your performance skills on stage in real time in front of an often times unforgiving audience. A live show could end either in disaster or leave you feeling euphoric. However, the process of producing an album alone in the studio can be often lonely, depressing and frustrating. To create something from nothing is a fascinating process but often times it’s very abstract and intangible. There’s no formula to it (or, rather, it shouldn’t be formulaic) and you’re never guaranteed that the end result will amount to anything spectacular. You could spend days on one idea and still have it come out being not what you intended it to be. Or you could spend 10 minutes on something and have it come out to be one of your best works.
I’ve begun work on the new album already and I’m very excited about sharing this with you. Each time I embark on a new album, I always tell myself I’m going to produce “the” album and the one album I’ve always wanted to make. You tell yourself you’re going to make the “ultimate” album but, in the end, what does that mean anyway? Does that mean once you make this album of album’s you will retire as you’ve reached your final goal? To me, I frequently feel that my previous works fall short of what’s to come or what I had intended to do. It’s that overachiever’s mentality in all of us, I guess.
The new album is taking shape slowly though I’m still in the very early stages of song writing and putting ideas together. This album will most likely be the most conceptual of all my albums because lately I’ve been preoccupied with a lot of things revolving around a constant theme and idea. Concept albums are a thing of the past and most people think of the 1970’s when they hear that term. Albums now often appear to have a concept, however, it’s usually more just hype and marketing strategy and nothing more than just “packaging”. A concept album is something more complex and encompassing than just that and, in my opinion, should have an attitude and a real sense of purpose. In the past year, I’ve observed and felt a lot of things that have permeated my life which has filled me with a strong sense of purpose to make this album. By no means do I purposely try to make a “concept” album but, rather, it’s something that dominates your being and, thus, is reflected in everything you do.
You’re probably wondering what this concept is that I’m talking about and how it will manifest itself in an album and in the songs. I don’t want to give anything away just now because I’m still in the early stages of planning and writing but what I can share is that this will be a very experimental album in its lyrics, song writing, themes and also production. There are so many things I want to do musically that I haven’t done in the past and I hope I can realize them in this upcoming album. I do worry that I might lose many of you in this album because it might come off as very “un-David Tao” but, in actuality, it’s going back to my roots. To be honest, I have little interest in making an album filled with chart topping singles and karaoke-friendly hits. I’m more and more inclined not to pay attention to the market, what’s selling and what the trends are. I want to make an album that makes me happy and expresses what I feel though often times that may mean losing your listeners. I know there will always be the people out there who want me to write songs over and over again like 天天 or 愛很簡單. It’s not that I’m unwilling to repeat myself but rather that I’m in a different period of my life in which I’m unable to write those kinds of songs and express those kinds of emotions anymore.
6/1/08 Chengdu back to Taipei
I’m on the plane back from Chengdu sitting next to Lee Hom. We’ve each had a very touching and powerful experience witnessing the devastation of the earthquake and meeting the survivors. For me, being able to still see the smile on the faces of the children is what truly touches me. That attests to the strength and resilience of humanity but also to the power of love. Lee Hom and I also got a chance to talk about many things that are important in our lives as this trip to Sichuan put many things in our lives in better perspective. It’s gratifying and inspirational to hear another creative individual share his passion, ideals and feelings about his work and life. Lee Hom, I wish you the best as you are truly one the most talented and hard working individuals I know. I also wish you all the best in this year filled with many trials and tribulations some which have passed and many yet to come. Let us continue our prayers and in giving love to those in need in the world.
Peace be upon us, DT
DT's New Msg
David's new diary entry ^__^