It's been said that everything that could be done in music has been done already; new artists are inherently boring, with nothing that is original or creative to offer. But those people hadn't heard The Slants (yet), a band who has everyone screaming for some "Chinatown Dance Rock."
It was early 2006, when Simon Young decided to leave his group, The Stivs, to start a synth-pop outfit. In essence, he wanted to create synthesizer-driven rock n’ roll but with an Asian twist. Enter Gaijin, who answered one of Young's numerous calls for Asian musicians. Though he wasn't Asian himself, the two found a common love for The Faint, Depeche Mode, New Order, Joy Division, and of course, sushi. After some shuffling with the line up, The Slants were formed and began playing in mid-2007.
Within three months of their first show, The Slants have already found themselves with international press (print, radio, and internet), requests to perform in four different continents, and have even played for a gathering of 3,000 fans. Also, within this time, they released their first record: Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts.
Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts has everything that a perfect record should have: shattering hooks and anthemic choruses, powerful guitar and keyboard lines, and just the right mix of rock with darker, dance themes - all with an Asian twist. The self-recorded, self-produced, and self-released record quickly caught media attention, with press from Asian Week (the world's largest English printed Asian newspaper worldwide), the Asian Reporter, Willamette Week, Shojo Beat (an international teen girl's magazine), and more. It seems like everyone can’t but help dance to the beat being played in The Slants' army!
On the album, Aron's voice powers through songs reflecting of love and loss, as well as thoughtful prose about struggling with an Asian identity in American Society. Jen Cho leads the way with danceable synth leads, as well as adds sultry back-up vocals in tracks like "Kokoro (I Fall to Pieces)" and "I Want Everything." Throughout the album, AC's pulsating drums keep the dance flavor alive.
Audiences everywhere have fallen in love with the band after watching them as well. At the first show after the album was released, over 200 copies were sold. Furthermore, The Slants spent nearly six hours autographing copies of the cd, posters, and other merchandise picked up by their fans. “It’s been very exciting for us,” says lead singer Aron, “we’re able to give these kids an Asian hero now.”
PDX-Pole calls The Slants “controversial but well loved.” It’s true, the name has stirred some controversy, bringing the band even more attention. Bassist and founder Simon Young explains, “Most of the people that find our name racist aren’t even Asian! We’re saying to the world ‘We’re proud of who we are, we aren’t going to hide it.’ In fact, our biggest support has been from the Asian community itself!”
Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts reflects some of the same themes. Aron explains “We have a song called Sakura, Sakura where we take hateful rhymes about Asians and we turn them into a song about unity and being proud of our heritage.” But the band is more than just sharing similar ethnic heritages: Jen Cho explains that “everyone pays attention to our name. We might be met with a lot of skepticism at first. Once they see us play, they realize that we’re serious musicians and not just a kitschy music project.”
Indeed, the culmination of all of the band members’ experience totals to over 2,500 live performances, several cross-country tours, hundreds of hours in the studio, and working with some of the biggest names in the business. However, The Slants are now poised to take on the world with their own music and presence, their own name. Like the power of the rising sun, The Slants are bold, majestic, and filled with unlimited potential to light the dark ignorance of society...all while melting people’s faces off with “Chinatown Dance Rock!”