4:17 at Beijing, pm2.5 278, Saturday. Lots of people chose to stay at home on that day to avoid the severely-polluted air.
But some of the loyal fans of Sodagreen came to Huiyuan Space, which located
around West 4thring, to watch the last show before Sodagreen got into their hibernation.
In the glee feast after Sodagreen won the Taiwan Golden Melody Awards this year, their agent Lin Weizhe announced, they would get into their hibernation for three years, which was also agreed with all the members of Sodagreen.
For these loyal fans, their “After Summer” tour of this year became the last chance for them to get close with their idol.
However, some of them were not that lucky, “I planned to use the money home to buy their ticket, but when it just opened to us, it suddenly sold out, which makes me so sad about it!” one of the fans complained.
Just as nothing can satisfy all the needs in the world, a simply performance either. However, for a 13 year-old band,they will show their best to repay their supreme supporting company and their loyal fans.
Head to mainland
“Were you guys appear Tango 3 years ago?Did you enjoy the time than now?” Lead singer Wu Qingfeng asked the 1,800 audience after singing a song. “I think the present status is the best!”
He asked this question, since all the members of this band enjoyed the sense of intimation that small areas brought to them and to the audience. They love to do live shows in small areas and enjoy having interactions with their fans.
After Sodagreen finished their tenth album last year, they decided to perform all of their songs in small areas. Then,they started to have a tour called “In Summer” since last August, which held 28 times lasting 2 months in Taiwan. Sodagreen’s agent Lin said, “when they told me their idea about this tour, I agreed but I knew it was not a beneficial thing, haha.”
At the same time, Qingfeng referred to ahead to mainland China, which put Lin into a dilemma, since Lin was quite familiar with the resources in Taiwan, but he knew little about that in mainland China.
If Sodagreen wanted to have performance in livehouses in mainland China, he needed to collect the data of all the livehouses, analyze the appropriate places for them, make contacts with them, then decide, which was a huge project needed to be finished all by himself. He’s quite confused in the first place.
At the beginning, Lin spotted several cities himself. The whole process, including settling the place and approved by the government, made him quite frustrated. Even in the next phase, he invited some sponsors to help him, which was not that smooth either.
Sodagreen was having more than 30,000 fans at that time, however they chose to have performance in small places which were able to contain around 3,000 people, which was a hard thing to complete. Lin was about to give it up, however he reminded QQ music, which had some cooperation with him in 2013.
“I was quite hesitated to contact QQ music at the beginning, since it was not a win-win situation. However, QQ music finally accepted my invitation. I was quite moved about that. Neither of us worked on this was for money. For MUSIC!” said by Lin.
Thus, just like later we could see that Qingfeng thanked QQ music and his agent and boss Lin on stage, which was like an advertisement, but the words were from his deep heart, sincere and warm.
In addition, this warm band opened their online broadcasting for the first time for the fans whom wanted to come to their live but failed to buy the tickets. The total number of the reserved audience who were going to watch the online live show reached more than 32,000.
Find another way
Singing a whole album for a show is a very attractive idea, which was generated when Sodagreen and Lin chat for fun. Unexpectedly,this idea was gradually carried out and became complete. This miracle is not the first one among Lin and Sodagreen, since they started to cooperate they’ve made many creative ideas and make them all come true especially when Taiwan music industry was on its wane.
In late 90s, the whole worldwide music industry was harshly aggressed by copyright piracy. The purchasing power of entity records had largely declined. The number was 4.76 million in 1997 but declined to 1.5 million in 2004 for Taiwan area. It was a big hit for the whole industry. However, Sodagreen had published several singles at that time, which was a bold action for them.
When Lin was having an interview with magazine <Cheng Pin Reading>, he insisted he won’t publish albums like other labels did, and he would publish several versions of a song at the same time to decrease the cost for people who were going to buy it. In addition, he also thought for the newbies, no needs to have at least ten songs if they
wanted to publish their own work. If they could write songs in a cozy environment,
the music pieces would be more creative and interesting too.
At that time, Sodagreen just began their music career, and there were few people knew them. Lin tried quite hard and hoped they could grow up soon. He put their albums in coffee shops or online, encouraged them to have more live shows for promoting. This method was quite different with common ones, but the outcome showed a great work.
Plus, Sodagreen has their own website,which showed the basic data of every member, their weekly updated rehearsal videos and some common videos reflecting their daily lives. That was a great way for them to communicate with their fans online.
Later on, when they were invited to be the guest for Shang Wenjia’s concert, they noticed they’d already got many fans in mainland China as well. Lin noticed it was the internet had helped them a lot. However,for Sodagreen, they were quite surprised since at the beginning they just wanted to share what they really were via internet, and now they’d already got so many fans through their simply ideas and behaviors.
Focus on music rather
In 2009, they started a new project calledVivaldi, which was also generated by
having chats with Lin. It was planned to finish in two years, but it lasted 6 years due to the army calling of a member. This 6-year waiting was not wasted at all. After it, Sodagreen had won more accepts among fans and music professionals.
After they had two hits–<Little Love Song> (2006) and <Incomparable Beauty> (2007), a grand people thought they would start to become more commercialized like the Mayday, but they responded usingVivaldiproject in 2009. In the next phase, they had published more works using the four seasons as their themes, and had tour to show their new music pieces and had close communications with their fans in different places.
Before Lin sold his house to support Sodagreen’s publishing their albums, while this time to complete the grandVivaldiplan, he noticed he needed to find a stronger company in capital. Thus, he found Universal Record to solve their problems. He stated, at the beginning he never thought they would agree to invest them. But finally they were quite glad to support this great plan,which made him quite surprised and pleasant.
When Lin recalled the whole process, he said if without investment of Universal, this plan definitely would be put aside forever then.
Lin made a comment of <Spring﹒Sunlight> that, it was a challenging work for Sodagreen themselves. It was an experimental work, and could be easily found in one song– <Sunlight>, which was combines three kinds of rhythm in it. They were not knowingly to seek the uniqueness. Well,they just wanted to express themselves and what beauty is in their hearts.
<Winter﹒Endless> was the most costed album among these four. Sodagreen wanted to have some symphonic elements in this one, and they’d like to cooperate with the symphony orchestra.
The producing process lasted a whole year.A Long wrote more than 300 pages music sheets, hundreds of emails for communication, 35 million TWD costed, which is 10 times of a common record.
In the end of 2015, Sodagreen companies with a German conductor and a symphony orchestra with 60 people had a great concert in Taipei Arena. This show was without any words, only music. After it ended, the songwriter of the whole symphonic music—A Long, cried and said, “my dad would so proud of me, and it would be a powerful response when he was angry with me about being Sodagreen’s keyboard rather than another great job he thought.”
Besides the two albums mentioned above,<Summer﹒Fanaticism> and <Autumn﹒Stories>,which were produced in London and ideas collected in Beijing respectively,
every album was produced elaborately by Sodagreen. Also, they reflected the true status of Sodagreen in every phase. Their pure attitude towards music and their strong love to life made people deeply moved.
Last year, at the end of their live show “Stories not end”, Lin said toBusiness Today
Magazine, “Why people prefer to buy piracies or directly get all the free resources online? Is that because what we did is not valuable? In the past 10 years, I and Sodagreen both believe, trying our best is important than doing the right thing.”
In 2003 they were about to dismiss, while now they’ve already become the A-list band in this area. In these ten years, they’ve never earnt money by accepting the invitation of commercial advertisements. They occasionally did some commercialized activities purely for music. On 5thNov, Qingfeng said on stage, “you guys don’t need to
give us any gifts on Weibo. We’re doing music till now, not aiming at money!”He halted for a few seconds and went on, “or you guys hoping we want your money, aren’t you? haha”
“YES”, fans responded. The six members of Sodagreen all laughed loudly, and greatly warmed at the same time.
In the process of our interview of Lin, someone asked, “how you carried out your promotion?” “We don’t. We just focus on MUSIC ONLY!” he answered.
The model of success
might be imitated, but Sodagreen will never be
When something wins a lot of concerns or becomes extremely successful, it would be followed and largely imitated, even surpassed. The same rule applies on artists. However, Lin strongly believes,the success model of Sodagreen might be imitated, but Sodagreen will never be copied.
When Sodagreen just started their career,they chose to show the real side of themselves. No matter in what situation,they all insist in themselves using words before medias or express their thoughts directly through the lyrics. In this ingratiation age, a great number of artists choose to play up with their fans to win more concerns or money or opportunities, but Qingfeng insists to be himself, communicating with his fans
with his true heart.
On Weibo, he persuaded his fans several times not to take pictures at Sodagreen’s lives, since he wanted them to focus on their music and enjoy it, not disturbed by the other factors.
However, some of them chose to ignore his warm tips. Thus, once Qingfeng was quite angry about that and posted his caution of this behavior, which triggered a big debate online. Since this is a strange time that loads of people think fans are god, and artists should serve them. However, Qingfeng said, “don’t think you pay our money you become God then. Be a righteous man first!”
Lin was trying to mediate the relationships with Qingfeng and their fans, but when he noticed the way Qingfeng treat his fans was treating like his friends not just fans, he gave this idea up.
Lin gave space for Qingfeng in many sides. Not only the relationship with fans, also music. Once, he was also trying to give some suggestions on their music, but refused directly by Qingfeng. Then, he never tried to interfere once of their songwriting process anymore.
Thanks to his freedom brought to Sodagreen,they insisted their own style until now, which made them stand out from others.In addition, Lin would always have talks with other members in Sodagreen to encourage them and help them to have better combination with other members. For example, the Bass player Xin Yi was quite interested in the whole music industry, then Lin would give her some stuffs to do related with that.
In the next three years for rest, every member has their own personal arrangements. According to Lin’s words, the guitarist would go on his studies abroad. Lin himself will spend more time with his daughter and make a plan for Sodagreen getting into the European music industry in the future.
All in all, Sodagreen’s success can be attributed to their focuses on music only. To some extent, it can be duplicated. However,every member of Sodagreen is unique, their relationship built up in these years can’t be easily broken, also their strong faith on Lin’s leading is incomparable too.
On the Golden Melody Award of this year,when the Best Album Producer of the year went to Lin, Qingfeng was so excited and cried loudly under stage, since this award belonged to everyone of this whole team.
When asked whether Lin would sign with other artists in the future, he used MARRIAGE as metaphor. He said to cultivate a mature artist need to pay a lot of mental and physical efforts. For Lin, he almost put his whole life to cultivate Sodagreen and help them to form their unique style as can be seen now. He couldn’t imagine changing to another style one day, which would be quite hard and strange at that time, he thought.
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