Introducing: "Life is a struggle, standing with outcasts is our lifelong goal" - 打倒三明治 Sandwich Fail on their journey so far

Introducing: "Life is a struggle, standing with outcasts is our lifelong goal" - 打倒三明治 Sandwich Fail on their journey so far

A successful Tinder date, a shared love for rock music, and a goal to empower others - here is 打倒三明治Sandwich Fail's perfect recipe in a nutshell.

Formed by band leader and bassist Noel Twu (屠松煜) just over a year ago, Sandwich Fail's musical potential owes to the rich musical experiences of their individual members. Noel is currently joined by Neo Wang (王欣茹, vocals & guitar), Alexandre Candela (康偉理, drums) and Kuilun Lee (李奎綸, guitar), who used to play in rock and hardcore bands in the local scene.

"Sandwich Fail’s songs feature keen observations and reflections of our daily life. Life is a struggle, standing with outcasts is our lifelong goal. Together, we defeat the sandwich!"

The band quietly crept into the scene after their demos on Streetvoice, Taiwan's equivalent of Soundcloud, caught the eyes of music enthusiasts and subsequently earned them their first live performance. They released their debut EP Roadkill last April, inspired by the notion of a road trip towards a beautiful destination while meeting with unpleasantries along the way.

Following their performances at the Simple Life Festival (簡單生活節) last October in Taipei and Shanghai, Sandwich Fail is slated to perform at LUCfest 2020. They have also been working towards their new releases, including their new single 'Please, don't! (母湯)' which dropped this week.

"Get busy living, or get busy dying. That’s our portrayal of life."

Bandwagon caught up with the four-piece band on their musical aspirations, debut EP, favourite sandwich flavours, and more.

Tell us about how you started making music as individuals and how the band came about.

Each band member played in different bands before we started Sandwich Fail.
Neo was a guitarist and vocalist in Tu Ego Fun Pan and she also performed as a solo singer-songwriter since high school.
Alex was a singer in high school, then he started to play drums at college. He joined Ripple and Whale Done as a drummer between 2015 to 2018.
Kuilun was the bandleader and lead guitarist of hardcore band Gd Impression. He currently works as an arranger and composer in the music industry.
Noel Twu, Sandwich Fail’s bassist and bandleader, was the latest one to start playing music. With a huge enthusiasm for making his own music, Noel met Neo on a Tinder, but they didn’t have a date like Tinder users. Instead, they decided to jam in a band practice room and see whether they suit each other, and it actually worked. Sandwich Fail is the final outcome of that start.

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What music do you listen to and how does that reflect in the music that the band creates?

We like Toe, Radiohead, Paramore, Phoenix, King Crimson, Omnipotent Youth Society, and so on.
In short, alternative, folk-rock, post-rock, and psychedelic rock influence us the most. You can more or less hear those genres in our music. It's not exactly the same, but we feel a spiritual connection to them.

What story does your debut EP Roadkill tell?

The original word Roadkill refers to the phenomenon of small animals being crushed to death on the road, just like the news that stone tigers and crabs were crushed in Taiwan.

The lyrics of 'Roadkill' mentioned that "this road has many beautiful sceneries, so many lives are crushed to death", which reflects that we want to go in a certain direction and yearn for a certain beautiful place, but on the road, we may have been trampled by many external pressures and ideas, and we will die on the road before we reach that beautiful place. This phenomenon has prompted us to string this image into the concept of the entire EP.

'Night Wandering (夜走)' is also a song about the road and it is about the feelings of a breakup. Through the deep and painful impressions of the word, the emotions are constructed by various imaginations.

'Romantic Scum (浪漫人渣)' is about how people always want to do many things, but they end up neglecting many people and things. When they enjoy themselves in the world, they are relatively inferior. In fact, they know that they cannot do many things and proceed to self-reflect.

'Reflection of eyes (沒有人在意他的眼睛裡)' speaks of how everyone needs to be cared for. No matter how optimistic people are, there are surely things or emotions that require care. The whole song depicts acknowledgement tugging at the heart with both humorous and painful feelings.

Having celebrated your first anniversary earlier this year, what are some of the biggest takeaways of the band so far?

It was a great milestone for us to publish our first EP Roadkill’s 10-inch vinyl this month, including a bonus song 'Our Smile', which is a rearrangement version of Mint Green Mill (薄荷綠工廠)’s song.

Noel used to work as a vinyl DJ in historic bar Roxy Rocker, so he insisted that analog is the best way to record music.

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Where in the world would you like for your music to be heard? Share with us some tour destinations that are on your bucket list.

We wish for our music to be heard on the streets among the protesters and spread the psychology of every suffering person basically everywhere. Realistically, besides Taiwan, we want to perform in Japan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Singapore as well.

With concerts resuming in Taipei, how has adapting to the new normal been like for the band?

Performance opportunities have started to grow, but so does uncertainty. With the outbreak of foreign cases, regulations are changing day by day and Taiwan has been in a state of tension. At present, almost all performing venues in Taiwan have resumed normal operations. Only large-scale events with a scale of 10,000 people can be held after government approval.

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Outside of music, what does the band enjoy doing together?

Get busy living, or get busy dying. That’s our portrayal of life. Most of the time, we stick together because of music, making music, or watching band shows. Besides that, we like to go on sightseeing tours, visit others and cook together.

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We’re really curious to know what each members’ ideal sandwich would look like. Share with us your personal favourite concoctions.

Noel: I would like a hot and sour tasting sandwich with noodles in it. I love hot and sour noodles(酸辣麵), it is a kind of Chinese food that I would want to try mixing in the sandwich.

Neo: My favourite sandwich is a strawberry butter egg toast sold near my hometown. The salty and sweet tastes are mixed, just like how anger and love can be combined together without any harm.

Alex: I like sweetness so I would like to add grilled cotton candy and Nutella to my sandwich.

Kuilun: My favourite sandwich would be full of love and courage, passion, and Pikachu to support my adventure everywhere!

Watch the music video of Sandwich Fail's latest single 'Please, don't!' here: