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PREMIERE + Q&A: Mong Tong 夢東 Share 'Ancient Mars'
Patrick Clarke , June 8th, 2020 15:22

Hear an exclusive taste of the debut album by Taiwanese sibling duo Mong Tong 夢東, influenced by library music, psychedelia, folklore and the occult, and read a Q+A with the band's Hom Yu and Jiun Chi

Later this month, Taiwanese duo Mong Tong 夢東, comprised of siblings Hom Yu and Jiun Chi, release their brilliant debut LP Mystery秘神 via Guruguru Brain. Influenced by video game soundtracks, psychedelia and library music on a sonic level, and thematically by Taiwanese occult-inspired art, vintage superstitious imagery and folklore, it's a rich, layered and transporting listen.

Above, you can hear an exclusive taste of the record in the form of new single 'Ancient Mars', and below you can read a Q+A with Mong Tong 夢東 about the record's bizarre tapestry of influences and a face that appeared in their father's grilled fish...

Your name translates into English in many different ways, but the one you use is 'The east-side of dreams'. Why does that speak to you the most?

We simply love how it sounds! It can mean something totally different not only in Chinese but different languages (Burmese, Cantonese etc.), and we prefer the east-side of dreams In Chinese. Another reason is we come from the east so the translation is chosen. Imagine there’s a peaceful world, no judgment or morality are there, only music is the common language! It sounds like a dream right?

Are dreams an influence on your new album?

Not exactly dreams, we would say we are influenced by the collective unconscious. We are awaking the instincts, as well as the archetypes inside everyone.

What are your most memorable dreams?

Chi once had a dream about tuning into the biggest stone on Earth. Hom Yu once had a dream about winning the 3 billion lottery jackpot.

Where did your interest in the occult and superstitious imagery begin? Can you expand on some of the stories and imagery that inspired your music?

When we were kids, there were TV shows about ghost stories and spirit photography, and also one of our uncles was also a fan of UFOs. That’s when our interest began. One time my dad grilled a fish alone, and suddenly a face showed up in the fish! Then someone whispered to him: “Is the fish good?” He quickly took a picture of the fish and ran away. I still have the picture.

You've previously cited the influence of Taiwanese media's "obsession" with the supernatural in the 80s. Can you tell us more about that?

In 80's Taiwan, there were TV shows and magazines like 神秘雜誌, 靈異之旅 talking about ghosts, the occult, and supernatural events. Although those spooky stories and blurry photos look so funny now after nearly 30 years, it creates a certain nostalgia and the aesthetics we really enjoy. For us now, they are inspiring art pieces.

Hom Yu, tell me more about your Instagram page dedicated to vintage Taiwanese book covers? Which is your favourite cover?

We live on Guling Street (牯嶺街) where many second-hand book stores are located. Compared to old records or movie posters, I found that old Taiwanese books have so much creativity that impressed me! That’s why I decide to put them on Instagram. This one is my favorite book cover! It’s about the five arts (五術) of Chinese metaphysics.

Your album cover also serves as a puzzle, can you give us any hints on how to solve it?

There’s a conspiracy theory called Q33 NY, that’s all we can tell!

Mystery秘神 is released on June 19 via Guruguru Brain. You can pre-order it here