Taiwanese heavy metal band CHTHONIC, which has not released any new work in 5 years, announced that it will perform at the largest rock festival in Taiwan–the Megaport Festival. Fans went mad over the announcement, and Megaport tickets were sold out in seconds. Moreover, CHTHONIC caught many by surprise by releasing the MV of its new single “PATTONKAN”.
Also sitting in Taiwan’s Parliament, CHTHONIC’s lead vocalist Freddy said that, though he’s invested most of his time in parliamentary works, inspirations for music still popped up from time to time when he felt depressed. But he didn’t have time to sit down quietly and write them down. “I feel anxious sometimes, there are so many things I want to do, but I feel I don’t have sufficient time in my life to do everything," he said. “How would those who came before us think of us in Heaven if we don’t move forward?”
With such emotions in mind, Freddy once met Mr. Kao Ying-chieh（高英傑), son of an indigenous victim of Taiwan’s White Terror authoritarian period Kao Yi-sheng（高一生), and his family. Freddy listened to him telling the story of how his father advocated for democracy and was eventually executed, and read the over 60 letters that Kao Yi-sheng sent to his family before he was executed. “The very strong emotional bonds between Kao Yi-sheng and his wife, as well as with his children were an inspiration to me,” Freddy said. “As long as we don’t give up, defend the people and land we love, and move as hard as we can, we’re on the right track." Jesse, who co-composed the music, said that they first wrote a lot of complicated stuff, but later simplified it as the emotions flew. “We found that the simplified version actually really hit the spot!”
So the new song was born. The title “PATTONKAN” is the indigenous Tsou name for “Yushan"（玉山) or “Jade Mountain”. Jade Mountain is the highest peak in northeast Asia, and considered as a sacred mountain to the Taiwanese. The name “PATTONKAN” is meant to be a reminder of the inspiration for the song. The line 風起田地 過溪山野 吾魂四時看顧守護 actully echoes a line in Kao Yi-sheng’s final letter “田地和山野都有我的魂守著", meaning that his soul will safeguard the fileds and mountains of Taiwan.
CHTHONIC again worked with film director Hung Po-te for the MV for the song. The actors in the MV are the same as the ones who acted in Kaoru, Defenders of Bu-Tik Palace, and Millennia’s Faith Undone. Hung Shih-hsun acted as the male lead Tsing-guan, and Wang Ting-chu acted as his wife Kaoru. The actress who acted as the daughter in the MV of “Millennia’s Faith Undone (the Aeon’s Wraith Version)” appeared as an adult. Lee Hsueh, who played a role in the movie Untold Herstory also appeared in the MV.
The painting that appeared in the MV is Looking at Jade Mountain from Alishan by Chen Cheng-po（陳澄波). Chen Cheng-po and Kao Yi-sheng were both key players during the 228 Massacre. Chen was executed openly in the street, while Kao was arrested and executed years later. The production team decided to make it more powerful artistically through the connection of the painting and music.
The director, Hung Po-te, pointed out that previous MVs in the same series gradually turned from the husband Tsing-guan’s perspective to his wife Kaoru’s. This time, he wishes to show the kid Kiku’s perspective. The child’s story was inspired by that of Kao Yi-sheng’s daughter Nana. After Kao was executed, his family was still under long-time surveillance and repression by the authoritarian regime. Nana, who dreamed of becoming a singer, became a controlled “toy” for high-ranking officials. Doris is very supportive of the director’s design of the storyline. “The song is not about praising a hero, but to see a family through a person, and see a generation of people through a family,” Doris said. “this is a song that’s full of brevity, yet also sorrowful.”
Although the song "PATTONKAN" is completely in Taiwanese, English subtitles are available on YouTube. Besides YouTube, it is also released on all digital platforms.