Rocks, Kaohsiung 3/31/2017 saw yet another fantastic lineup of international artists perform as part of the pre-Spring Scream party. Deer Mx, from Hong Kong, set the tone with their unique blend of trip hop and electronic down tempo, while COMezik a three piece all girl band from Japan set the stage alight with their energy and powerful garage punk sound. The night was left on a high note with an immense performance by The Devils & Libido, from Japan, who brought a powerful mix of alternative noise and hardcore sounds. An intimate crowd gathered to witness the nights preceding’s.
Deer Mx is a band that one really has to see in order to believe, feel and hear. Made up of the duo which is Adriana Martinez and Miguel Bastida, the group, originally from Mexico now based in Hong Kong, have produced and honed their craft on their own terms. From a classically trained music background Miguel brings an experience of composition and song structure while Adriana, who has studied ethnomusicology, brings a folk like presence to their music accompanied by her passion for various forms of traditional and ethnic music. This lends itself to something truly original, but represents a departure from the areas they have trained in. Pulling from a variety of influences and genres, Deer have created a musical experience that gives the listener glimpses of the greats such as Massive Attack, Bjork, Portishead and Nine Inch Nails. Their sound drifts from hard industrial bass lines with pummeling drums to lighter sounds that create a sensation of floating, of traveling on clouds. Electronic percussion to surging synths, piano and electric guitar all culminate around Adriana’s beautifully powerful and nostalgic vocals to create a piece of music that is full of contrasts.
The writing process for their music is the opposite of which they have trained for. Through free play and improvisation they are able to guide the writing process a long in a natural, organic way which lends itself to the creation of their unique sound. While structuring the songs an atmosphere is created within which certain characters are created or their perceptions and feelings of the world is inserted into the lyrics. From vampiric erotic experiences in the track “The Blue Dark” to a perspective on illegal immigration in “Wild eyes” there is a variety of music material that is expertly delivered.
As unique as their music, Deer add a more unique aspect to their performance by attempting to break the boundary between themselves and the audience. This is achieved at the end of the set when Miguel removes his deer mask and presents it to a member of the audience who then becomes a free entity to dance and move as they wish. Conceived in 2015 and designed by Wintercroft Designers, the mask not only represents their name, but is used as a way in which they create an element of engagement with the audience that is free of inhibitions, much in the same way Deer create their music.
In only a matter of four years, Deer have been able to forge ahead and create a name for themselves within a relatively short amount of time. This is due in part to their massive touring schedule which has seen them play at many of Asia’s top music festivals such as Clockenflap (HK) Zandari Fest (KR) Wake Up Festival (TW) Unlimited Freedom Fest (TW) and Spring Scream (TW) to name a few.