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Interview: Tzusing, Stockholm Syndrome

By Nov 13, 2014 Nightlife


Shanghai-based electronic music producer, fixed-gear bike parts magnate, and sub-cultural shadow figure Tzu Sing — the brains behind semi-regular cold vibes showcase Stockholm Syndrome — is holding a release party for his debut EP tomorrow (Friday) night at The Shelter.

Said EP is four tracks of dark, abrasive, metallic techno that will make you feel kind of funny at that joint where your skull meets the top of your spine. The 7" vinyl — first of three that Tzusing will be releasing on L.I.E.S between now and May — gets officially midwifed into physical existence at tomorrow's party, straightforwardly named "Release." Though Tzusing has been active as a promoter and producer for years now, it's taken him this long to put this record out because the songs were too emotionally attached to their captor and therefore had no interest in being released. That's a kidnapping joke.

Anyway, the crack team at premiere Chinese-language music blog Wooozy conducted an interview with the mystery man ahead of his big night, and have given SmSH the exclusive English hyping rights thereto. Take a peek behind the veil...

Who is Tzu Sing? Many people who know your music don’t really know who you are.

I’m Malaysian Chinese. I’m 32 years old, male, and single. I’m heterosexual. I’m 182 cm. I don’t have kids, but would like to have some in the future. I run a small business. I’m pretty tidy.

You popped up in the Shanghai scene out of nowhere and were even dubbed as “Man of the Year” - what have you been up to recently?

I decided that I really need to get healthier, after spending so much time in clubs and my bedroom (both my office and studio are in my bedroom). I haven’t seen much sun, so lately I have been skateboarding again. Pretty much always SMP. Gym is too boring for me, but once you step on a skateboard you don’t even realize you're working out. So I’m just trying to learn how to skate bowls/transitions.

You are releasing an EP on L.I.E.S. How did that come out?

Through An-I actually, this guy Doug Lee that made one of the baddest beatz recently on Cititrax. I wanted to book him for Shelter but that date was taken so Sacco had him at 390. I went with them for dinner and I gave Doug this record comp I was part of, Dark Acid III on Clandestine. He hit me back after he got back to Berlin and told me to send him more beatz. Next thing I know, he had sent them to Ron [at L.I.E.S], and Ron hit me up. I was with Taro and Hiro the moment I got the email and was flipping out. This was around March/April 2014.

Your L.I.E.S record got lots of rave feedback from some established producers. Did you get any feedback from some unexpected people of non-musical backgrounds?

Yes. My mom, she said she can accept this type of music. She said "ISMs" sounded like this Taiwanese film she just watched, 《陣頭》.

You were spotted at Yuyintang with Hanhan (Duck Fight Goose) recently, checking out both local and international rock bands. Is rock and punk next on your radar? Do you have a favorite album from a Chinese band?

Rock and punk have always been on my radar, more or less. And I once in a while play some post-punky stuff at my parties. Admittedly a lot less these days. My fav Chinese album would probably be (Taiwanese) from Wubai, or Lim Giong. And in this situation Wubai probably wrote my fav songs for Lim Giong as well. My fav album would be that live thing he did where he re-sang all the songs he wrote for other artists. He wrote "台北孤兒", "無聲的所在." Thats enough for one person's career to be legendary status.

What[s the most Chinese thing you can relate to, and what's the least ?

I like how Chinese culture is a lot less focused on individualism. I like that you're suppose to think more about the collective. It turns into, when you're drinking with your friends, you're always making sure your friend's cup is full, making sure your people are as drunk as you. That's awesome, that's how you’re supposed to party. The least is probably nationalism. As I don’t really have a nation, it would be silly — close to impossible — for me to ever be nationalistic.

Everybody knows Tzu Sing, But do you know the Chinese characters for Tzu Sing? Can you write them down for us ?

Yes, but I have only met around 10 people in my life that can read the Sing in Tzu Sing. It’s a real pain in the ass really. My bank account omitted the Sing, and my driver's license had the Sing hand-written in because many computer systems are unable to input my Sing. 涂子訢

I guess my Dad is kind of a prototype hipster with Chinese. He is big into Chinese lit and likes to find words that no one has seen before.

There are rumors going around that you are a second-generation American Chinese, is that true ? If so, does that actually inspire your creative process behind music production?

This is not true. I lived in the US for five and a half years, for the last year of high school and college. That Resident Advisor article about Shanghai wrote I’m ABC [American-born Chinese]. i went to American/international schools growing up. That's why I’m so white-washed. But if this is what you are pointing to, yes, I def spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff. What it means to be Westernized, how to maintain some sort of cultural integrity. It’s such a status symbol to be able to speak English in China/Taiwan, and that's sad. It’s one of the things I like about Beijingers a lot. They don't give a fuck about not being Westernized or not speaking English. I don’t see this in Shanghai and Taiwan. I hate how people actually apologize when they can’t speak English.

What can one expect from your release party at Shelter on Friday?

Gaz said he would do a speech before my set. And reggae MC during my set. I always looked up to him for his verbal abilities, so I look forward 2 that. This is more of a celebration, so I’m going to really have fun with the set, probably play a bit more pop music than usual.

Catch the toasts, pop blasts, and industrial-grade vibes of Stockholm Syndrome: Release on Friday, November 14 @ The Shelter.


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