Sunday, 3 February 2013

Jay Chou interview with Yahoo for OPUS 12

Jay did an interview with Yahoo Entertainment for OPUS 12. It's a very enlightening one which is why I'm translating it here too. :)

Part 1:

"Well, I was thinking of using 12 December 2012 to release my new album, which is my twelfth album. Quite a few of my previous albums have numbers in them too eg Qi Li Xiang (七里香), Eight Dimensions (八度空间), November's Chopin (十一月的萧邦). I felt that this was good fun and would also indicate to my fans that it is Album No 12. The 'xing' does not mean 'star' 星 but 'new' 新, hence Twelve New Works.

Re my MVs:

I find it difficult to trust others to take charge of my MVs. In fact, I can let other directors do the job but it's just that when I'm writing the song, I already have the visuals for the MV in my mind. I find it difficult to convey to another person what they are and to let them execute it.
Which is why I prefer to handle it myself, the shooting and editing, which is very tiring. And to get the MV ready for a press conference.
Actually, very few singers produce MVs for every song in their albums. That's why I want to maintain this standard for myself, so that the MVs can also be used for KTV.
There was only one year in which I did not have a new album; that was when I was filming The Green Hornet, which I felt was a pity as I broke my own promise to come out with a new album every year.
Since then, I vowed to get back to one-album-per-year because music is my strong point and my basis.
I've been very busy this year with my self-acted-and-directed movie (The Rooftop) and also another movie (The Viral Factor). I want to remain a Superman doing many things and keep myself going for the fans.
Previously, I had alot more time to write songs but it's different now.
I use my sleeping time to write songs but inspiration can strike any time and cannot be controlled.

Like when I was in England shooting the MV for ming ming jiu. Actually, I had the music but not the lyrics yet. But I did have the visuals in my mind so I phoned Vincent and told him that I would have  seagulls and a castle in the song so you have to put them in your lyrics. And he delivered them the next day!
At other times, I might need to have a one-on-one discussion.
Sometimes I just record the music alone late at night in my restaurant but that is only for a demo tape for discussion and of course not what you hear in the final product.
It can all be very random.
Again, like the double bass for A Larger Cello.
I saw this street musician in England just singing and playing the double bass and found that very interesting as usually people use piano and guitar.I don't think any other Chinese singer had ever done a song like that and I like to do things others have not done before which means it's fresh. And so I proceeded to write one when I returned to Taiwan.
There is no set plan to write a song. It's not like I say, "Ok, it's time to compose this week" and sit down to do it.
Even when I'm working, my mind is thinking about all these.

The other styles in the album are the R&B ballads, Chinese style and the Imperial hip hop song, Eunuch with Headache, which I felt was yet another new style which I could do.
It's like a menu; I'm like a chef who wants to offer different dishes...there's old, there's new dishes.

Oftentimes, the creativeness doesn't just come from myself. Like for the Gong gong song, it struck me that Xiao Mai looks like a Gong Gong and I said I'd write a song for him. Eventually, I felt that the song was quite nice and decided to sing it myself.
Life gives you all these forms of inspiration; an artiste and composer has to keep young-at-heart to have fun playing with music.
I feel I'm still young which is why I write songs like Cowboy Very Busy. I also want to stay in touch with the youngsters of today.
My fans also come from a wide age range. As such, I don't limit my songwriting to certain styles and like to try anything."

Part 2:

Actually, my physique was already not that good when I was filming The Green Hornet. Maybe you guys didn't realise but people around me would comment that I had put on weight.
So this time, when I was working out for the new movie, it hit me that my new album was also due, together with the MVs.
To me, this was my way of telling my fans that if I could achieve this body, then the music would be even more powerful and intriguing, and what else could I not do?
I wanted fans to be impressed by my new image and be curious about the album.

People have asked me if I worry about the day when my songs will not be popular anymore. Of course, but I also feel that such concerns are unnecessary.
If there comes a time when it happens, it means you have lost touch with the fans but I will do other things like movies, run my music company and nurture new talents who can do better than me. I'm not sure how those rumours about these came about but I think people are always watching and wondering about such things.

Nunchucks is a must-sing song during concerts, which I'm likely to keep performing for another 10 or 20 years.
Other must-haves are the zhong guo feng songs, which I can count on my fingers.
Also Silence, Black Humour from the early years.
Most of the earlier songs are naturally associated with alot of memories from a certain period in your past.
As such, it also creates the impression that I cannot write as good songs now as before.
But that's mainly because the memories which are linked to those songs have already been ingrained in your mind and given them a certain depth.
But I feel that the new songs in OPUS 12 are just as good so please do not say that I have not surpassed the older songs. Ten to twenty years from now when you look back on OPUS 12, you'll feel that this was not too bad after all!"

I've only been his fan for two years but I get what he's saying.
He's still writing chart-toppers now (his new songs have been doing very well in the local charts, both hitting and maintaining No 1 positions on two local radio stations), so obviously, he has not lost it. :)

Looking forward to his concert and The Rooftop much!!!


  1. thanks for the translation. I agree with the last sentiment. everyone looks back on his old songs with rose tinted glasses, but his new songs are good too and should be appreciate more. How many other artists have kept up this consistency over their careers? Only Jay and that says it all.

    1. You're most welcome!

      If I could turn back time, I would become Jay's fan from his debut, instead of just the past two years!
      But better late than never, right?
      I look forward to many more years of loving him. :)