We were finishing up dinner last Saturday night, exhausted after attending a big event, when one of my friends blurted out, “how about we go to Terrace?” Of course, nobody in the group said no, so a few minutes later we found ourselves on the dance floor of one of Shenzhen’s hottest clubs, and had completely forgotten how tired we were.
As the night progressed, I bumped into more and more friends who had come looking for a party. It didn’t take long for the dance floor to get packed.
It was a typical night at Terrace… that is, until I saw something. It was impossible not to notice. Her hair seemed to take up half the stage and her appearance electrified the crowd even more than they already were. I later asked the owner about her and it turns out that she was one of two new singers that have recently joined TAS. I didn’t have a chance to see the other that night so I asked if I could sit down with them both for an interview and find out more.
I walked into Terrace on Wednesday, July 3rd, just as the band was finishing their rehearsals, excited to meet and chat with the new members. I was greeted by warm friendly smiles and hellos from staff as I walked in and was hugged so hard by Emy the bass player that I dropped my phone. I found Leon, the now famous Canadian front man of TAS and partner at the Terrace, who then introduced me to the two new members.
I sat down with Rhyzza Nicol Kafilas and Jonathan Pullente Amata, both from the Philippines, on the beautiful outdoor terrace; exactly one week after they both first joined TAS, and began rattling off my questions. I heard that Jonathan was really into tarantulas so I had my first question ready for him. “When I was a little kid I loved catching spiders. Then I saw a tarantula in a movie and thought, maybe I’ll have a chance to catch one someday,” he told me when I asked him about it. So far he hasn’t got one but when I asked if I could get a photo with of him with a tarantula crawling out of his mouth he replied, “Sure, why not? We just need to find one.” I made a mental note to my myself, “find tarantula,” then turned to my computer to get ready to start jotting down answers to the questions I had prepared for both of them.
I had heard that this is both of their first times in Shenzhen so I started with the question every foreigner here has surely been asked multiple times by every Chinese person they meet: “How do you like Shenzhen?”
“I have friends in Shanghai and Beijing and they’ve mentioned how difficult it was adjusting to the cultural differences in China,” Rhyzza started, “but for me, here in Shenzhen, I haven’t had that trouble so far. There are a lot of foreigners here and it’s been really easy to adjust. Oh, and one thing about Shenzhen I find so amazing is that I can do so much with WeChat, connecting with friends and just pay for everything with it. It’s awesome!” Jonathan started with what to me sounded like a very zen-like answer coming from a guy I was still picturing with a tarantula coming out of his mouth. “I find Shenzhen to be very peaceful. The countries that I worked in before weren’t so peaceful. I’ve worked in Malaysia, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. Shenzhen is the most peaceful of them all.”
Rhyzza followed up perfectly to Jonathan’s response when I asked about what it was like working at Terrace, “Shenzhen is chill. At previous places we had to work so long hours and were even forced to drink with guests. The band, the staff, the customers, and the sound system here at Terrace are all great. The customers are so friendly and generous.” Jonathan had a similar tone in his answer. “It’s so nice to work here, the Terrace is so elegant. The places I was before were so stressful and busy. We worked from evening to morning. Here I can do my work, make friends with the guests, and enjoy every night. And we have a cool boss.”
I’m often on stage and know how nervous you can get in front of a crowd; especially one full of strange faces in a new place so I had to ask, “What was it like on your first night? Were you nervous?”
“Yeah, actually, I was shaking,” Rhyzza started. “It was also difficult because we have to wear in-ear monitors and I had never used that before. Later I had a chat with Leon and he just told me to relax, to chill. That helped but I’m still a little nervous. Especially during the first set of the night.” Jonathan said the same, “My first song I was nervous. My voice was not normal. Jek was the first person that told me to relax. It took some time but I finally did. I’m not nervous any more. Now I’m just having a lot of fun with it.”
I was at Terrace last Saturday night and was acting a little crazy, I can imagine that the band members have seen a lot of crazy stuff so I was really curious if they had already had any memorable experiences in their first week.
“Just last night, there was so many beautiful ladies here. They were dancing, partying. I don’t usually see that, especially on a Tuesday night.” Rhyzza started, “Usually you’ll see people dancing, especially if they’re already drunk. But these ladies were really partying and they weren’t really drunk. They just came to have a good time.”
As I turned to Jonathan I saw he already had a big one to tell me. “Just last night,” he said, “I saw a customer, she was having so much fun and she tore her shirt off. I’ve never seen that before. Only at Terrace.” I burst out laughing and replied, “Wow, that’s crazy. Do you condone that kind of behavior?” He replied like a true professional. “Well, it was a bit distracting. It was hard to keep singing after that.”
It took a few minutes for us all to stop laughing about that; which left me thinking just two things: I wonder what will happen next with these two new additions at Terrace; and where can I get a tarantula for that photo?
Terrace is located on the second floor above the Starbucks in Sea World, Shekou, Shenzhen, China. The nearest metro station is the Sea World exit of Line 2. For table reservations or questions, call 2682.9105.