Taipei’s EastWave has, since the band’s 2017 inception, sought out a space between synth pop and K-pop, with a little bit of unabashed boy band bravado thrown into the mix.
Singer Guo “Jemmy” Zi-heng handles the lyrical flow, singing of life and love in dulcet tones reminiscent of the soothing sounds of his male Mando-pop peers such as Jam Hsiao or even the famed Jay Chou. The prize-winning songwriter, who also enjoys a burgeoning solo career, is a born front man, the crooning, emotive soul of the group.
If Guo is the soul of EastWave, then guitar/synth player Hsia “Frankie” Jing-chun is the heart. A scene veteran who has released four EPs under his former band, Frankie has served as a session guitarist in Taipei for years, and has been seen gracing the stage at national music festivals from north to south in Taiwan, playing for crowds both modest and in the tens of thousands, honing his presence and live chops. His minimalist synth lines and poppy guitar hooks form the basis of the EastWave sound that has launched the band from underground pop’s Next Big Thing to the brink of an international breakout.
On the bass is Kevin Deng, the man with the thick threads that bring EastWave’s songs together. Heavily influenced by his peers in the worlds of jazz and funk, Deng has won wide acclaim in the Taiwan music scene for his skill on the fat strings while guiding EastWave as the band’s main composer.
Rounding out the rhythm section is drummer/rapper Jason Zeng. Zeng’s rough and ready raps serve as a strong counterpoint to Guo’s clean leads, opening up the band to new possibilities and directions, freeing them up from the limitations of being a mere pop rock band. With his skills in high demand, Zeng does time in multiple bands, making him one of the most experienced multi-instrumentalists in the scene and a rock-steady performer both live and in the studio.
Keyboard player John, a trained pianist who grew up in South Africa, came on the Taiwan music scene in 2016, and was snapped up by EastWave last year after making a lasting impression on the band with his work with other groups. With influences ranging from gospel to jazz and soul, his eclectic choice of tones and underlying rhythms do for the backbone of EastWave what Jason does for the lyrics—bringing new elements into the mix beyond the usual predictable pop rock tropes.
Listen to EastWave, and you’ll hear bits and pieces plucked from the worlds of funk, disco, soul, R&B, and electro pop, a sound that from one minute to the next might be likened to Daft Punk, the 1975, or The Breakbot. With a sense of groove, the band has found its niche in the comfort and all-encompassing good vibes provided by the warm bass lines, vocal melodies, and the contrast of the strong backbeat and breakouts into funky hip hop elements. With multiple domestic awards under their belt, and appearances racked up throughout Taiwan and neighboring China, EastWave now sets their sights on international shores.
2020.03 Single "Wonder Girl"