PHOTOS & WRITTEN BY: Siena Sohn
This past Tuesday, one of Fishtown’s iconic grungey tour stops hosted the psychedelic, dirty sounds of Sunset Rollercoaster. Accompanied by Brooklyn-based, DIY group Navy Gang, the two bands stole the night from any other show happening that night. Navy Gang’s DIY side shows through their set: they’re hilarious, quirky, and their sounds embody the perfect touch of underground rustiness Philadelphia, an already heavily DIY music based scene, desires.
Sunset Rollercoaster’s genre is described as “groovy 80s psychedelic pop” by their lead vocalist/guitarist Tseng Kuo-Hung. Their set definitely proved this notion, although, I’d add the word soulful to the mix. Their show lasted about an hour and a half, but in retrospect, it was just a blissful blur of fervent musical tangents feeding endlessly between each band member. The most impressive aspect of the gig was from the saxophone pops of Huang Hao-Ting [think George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” but next level Indie Rock].
When Sunset Rollercoaster first debuted their music to the Philadelphia music scene in 2016, a mere 8 people attended. Two years later, Kung Fu Necktie’s dance floor was packed with fans swinging their hips and moving their feet in sync with each bubblegum beat. Some audience members were even facetiming friends so they could watch the band. Being in the venue felt like a super intimate moment between each band member, their instruments, and their audience; everyone was connected in a soulful experience.
After the show, WHIP Radio caught up with Sunset Rollercoaster’s humble and passionate frontman, Tseng Kuo-Hung. Read it below:
WHIP Radio: Why do you call your group Sunset Rollercoaster? There has to be a good story behind it.
Tseng Kuo-Hung: Around 2009, there was a website called MySpace and that’s about the time I started to make my own music. When we’d try to upload our stuff to Myspace, they’d ask us to upload a page photo. So me and my band opened up our Mac to an app called Photobooth and one of the preset backgrounds was a rollercoaster. It shows people sitting in the rollercoaster with the sunset behind them. So we’re like “Wow, that’s a cool combination, that’s chill.”
WHIP Radio: When you began working under the name ‘Sunset Rollercoaster’ in 2009, you’re music was a lot more electronic based. How has it changed since then?
Tseng Kuo-Hung: We’re still kind of the same idea, but now it’s more like groovy 70s or 80s with funk, soul, and synthesizers.
WHIP Radio: Your music is very instrumental heavy. Why do you choose to emphasize instrumentals over lyrics?
Tseng Kuo-Hung: I like playing guitar, so when I go on stage, I like to show off. The longer we play, the more solos I get. There’s something special about getting the whole band to play a unique unison together.
WHIP Radio: What is your favorite song to play live?
Tseng Kuo-Hung: Slow and Oriental. Originally they were one song – the first part is a more jazz style with piano and acoustic guitar. Oriental is more of an arrangement. They’re my favorite to play because I can feel that dynamic with the band. We can start from the soulful stuff and really get down hard.
Follow Siena Sohn on Instagram @sienasohn for more.