TaiwaneseAmerican.org’s Ho Chie Tsai catches up with Taiwanese American singer-songwriter Alanna Lin aka Fascinoma as she works on her latest project recording covers of Beatles songs. She has had a strong following since her days performing shows around Los Angeles and since one of her songs became “quasi-famous amongst fans of American Dad on FOX”. The ballad, “I’m Walking This Road Because You Stole My Car (Don’t Go),” was used for a love scene between a boy and a cat. Seriously, the song is sad and seductive at the same time. Check it out. In the past few years, Alanna has re-emerged on the musical and social media scene and is dusting off old projects to bring to fruition. I chat with her about cats, life, and her fascination with the Beatles. Oh, and Taiwanese food.
H: Alanna! Or shall we call you Chairman Meow now?
A: It’s Chairmeowww, actually. 3 W’s. World Wide Web.
H: Ahh! I get it now! Who calls it the World Wide Web anymore anyway? Well, it has been way too long! How have you been since we last chatted?
A: Heh heh. Chairmeowww calls it the World Wide Web because that’s what it is, though people forget. I think it’s been four years, possibly more. I think you wrote up my last project with Monk Turner, Emergency Songs, but we maybe talked talked last in 2009.
H: What’s the story behind Chairmeowww?
A: It’s a very long story and requires a very cold beer. She’s my online marketing-as-performance-art-alter-ego. I could say she was the result of a head injury, but I’m not. Gotta respect Chairmeowww.
H: Respect. What’s not to love about a two-dimensional two-whiskered cat? Anyways, what have you been up to in recent years? Still performing regularly?
A: Are you ripping on Chairmeowww, HoChie? That’s her logo! I am Chairmeowww. To answer your straight question with a straight answer—I’ve been quite busy…mating. I got married to Matt Ramage in September of 2014. I took a two-year break from performing in order to facilitate normal behaviors like, working, dating, etc. — but have been back at it since this year. Thank goodness.
H: I love the Beatles! So old school, but their stuff definitely transcends the generations. Tell us more about this project of yours and what inspired you to do this?
A: Well. How to say? I was having a hypomanic episode. It’s a state of mind that can sometimes afflict / delight creative people. You can look it up on Google. Then you’ll want to have one. During that experience Chairmeowww was born. I didn’t quite understand her at that time, but she had a definite and exciting sense of how things / people / objects / words are connected. She recognized that the Beatles connected to a lot of people and suggested that I do the cover album as a way of personally connecting to the deepest part of the America’s collective unconscious. 🙂 I don’t know that this cover album does that, but it was certainly an interesting experiment.
I love the Beatles now, especially after doing the album, but growing up in a second generation Taiwanese American house-hold –my parents immigrated here directly from Taipei– we heard classical music and Chinese soap operas at home, along with non-denominational Taiwanese church hymns. I only heard the Beatles through movies and commercials.
H: So, would you say Chairmeowww, your alter-ego, provoked this album?
A: Chairmeowww’s idea was that as an Asian American artist, I should do a cover album of the most relevant group in rock history and that because of my outside-the-mainstream perspective– it could be interesting. With very minor research, we concluded that the Beatles were more ubiquitous in appeal than the Rolling Stones.
H: Where do you see your musical path going in the future?
A: I’d like to play the Hollywood Bowl next year. Ha! That will be my next Kickstarter project.
H: Now that the holidays are upon us, all I can think about is food. What’s your favorite Taiwanese food?
A: I’m hankering for some really steaming hot beef noodle soup. I would also like some pickled jellyfish that my mom used to make for me (or for our family, but I would eat it all). I remember being shocked to realize it wasn’t some light tanned-color vegetable –but rather: JELLYFISH. Delish! Delicious and crunchy.
H: I used to think it was a veggie of some sort, too. The things our parents didn’t tell us, probably for good reason. Well, thanks so much for sharing with us! Good luck on your project!
A: Thanks for taking the time to check in on Chairmeowww, Ho Chie. The artistic path is not very good-looking sometimes, but I can always count on you and TaiwaneseAmerican.org to keep tabs on me. Gracias. (whoops! been in LA too long! 谢谢! Thanks!)
Fascinoma’s Endorsement by Professor Hans Von Puppet: http://youtu.be/RWBGSBDHsD4
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