Congratulations to Golden Dragon, redAMP’s inaugural champion. Personally I think there isn’t another band that deserves this more than them. They are focussed, disciplined, hard-working, humble and throughout the competition kept a lighthearted and positive attitude despite the many challenges that they faced.
A strong and critical panel of judges contributed 70% of the final marks to balance popular view with professional opinion. Yes the differences in marks were very close. What that means is the judges found all 4 contenders equally strong and appealing in their own right with no one band clearly leading the pack. So what if you don’t get Golden Dragon or their music? There are over 270,000 people out there who does. And these people have spoken. When the final tally was done, Golden Dragon made the cut and I could not have been happier for them.
Many people asked me, why redAMP? Obviously there are commercial reasons why we organised something like redAMP – which I will not go into.
But I will tell you that when I conceptualized redAMP last December, I have a specific idea of the kind of musicians I want redAMP to produce – one that takes responsibility for their future and posses the drive and determination to deliver what their fans want while staying true to their musical sensibilities. I want a band that realizes the importance of being a crowd pleaser and putting up a good, enjoyable show. I want a band who knows what they are good at and what they are weak at, who understands that this music thing is a job and a serious one, that fame and recognition is just a minor consequence of a job well done. I want a band that is prepared, who doesn’t have to be coddled, one that will take any breaks given to them and push it as far as they can without waiting for other people to make things happen.
When Golden Dragon came to the audition, they were obviously a lot more prepared than others. They didn’t come in tshirts and jeans. They went for broke, to quote Adrian – make up, costume, hair, stage movements. The moment they were in costumes, they ceased to be ordinary folks from Jogjakarta; and they did not break character right til the end. Of all the bands that I auditioned that day, they were the only one whose answer blew me away when I asked them why do they think they are ASEAN’s best band. It was obvious that they have thought about it a lot, and they have thought about it long before redAMP even came into being. While their music and theatrics were definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, the energy from their performance was so strong that people kept coming into the audition room or stood watching from the small glass window at the door that by the time they finished I quickly turned around nervously to stop people from erupting into an applause because we were still taping the session.
What they remind me of is Kaname, the famed cosplayer from Japan that I saw last November. There were hundreds of cosplayers at the event, many of whom had more elaborate costumes and fancy moves. But when Kaname appeared, it was obvious why he is way above the rest. When he gave his talk about what makes a good cosplayer (see link below) he broke into a smile often throughout the session. But at the end of it, he bowed and apologized repeatedly to the crowd.
Why? because Cloud Strife doesn’t smile. Cosplaying is not a hobby, to Kaname it’s a job.
That was the kind of commitment that I saw in Golden Dragon and I am glad I am able to play a small part in making redAMP a great memory that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Congratulations again Golden Dragon. The rest is all up to you now :-)
Golden Dragon’s Submission Video to redAMP 2010
Kaname at Anime Festival Asia