Get To Know: Tzusing
FOR FANS OF BEAU WANZER, GESLOTEN CIRKEL, BROKEN ENGLISH CLUB
THREE TUNES ‘4 FLOORS OF WHORES’, ‘NO PRIMORDIAL STATE’, ‘DIGITAL PROPERTIES’
Tzusing’s first two EPs — ‘A Name Out Of Place’ volumes one and two — appeared on L.I.E.S. in late 2014 and early 2015, and came at a critical juncture. Much of the more adventurous techno music was coming from unexpected sources like the noise/industrial scene, micro tape labels and the group of lo-fi artists that Ron Morelli had gathered around him.
Unsurprisingly, there was an appetite for the Taipei/Shanghai-based producer’s discordant riffs, punishing EBM bass, rough kicks and undercurrent of menace that underpin raucous tracks like ‘4 Floors Of Whores’ and ‘No Primordial State’.
Tzusing grew up with MTV in Taiwan, which was his gateway to acts like The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers. Then a friend’s brother came back from the US with “rave and underground music CDs” that “blew my mind”, he tells DJ Mag. When he moved to Shanghai during his late teens, Tzusing started to discover EBM, industrial and acid. “There was a lot of random shit that would get bootlegged.” he explains. “Those markets exposed me to a wider range of stuff.”
Having also lived in Singapore, San Diego and Chicago, we wonder how much moving cities has affected his work? “The influences each city had is huge, but the biggest takeaway from living in so many different places is making sense of the cultural differences,” he believes. “When the values and culture you are brought up with are at odds with the ones in your new environment, one is forced to question their own values and sense of aesthetics. It creates a person that is more adaptable to different cultures.”
Tzusing’s recent mini-album on L.I.E.S, ‘東方不敗’, was inspired by Dongfang Bubai, a fictional character in a novel, and the leader of the Sun Moon Holy Cult. He says he picked the name and concept because “the character resonated and stuck with me. I have had a problem with patriarchal society and macho-ness since I could first remember. ‘東方不敗’ subverts the stereotypical image of strength and power”. It is a deeply personal work, and sees Tzusing drop subtle references amid the low-slung EBM techno grooves for kids “with a similar past as me”.
“We are into a subculture that isn’t popular within our demographic,” he says. “I remember going to parties in Chicago, around 2001 to 2006, and there being at most one or two Asian people in the room. The people that made underground electronic music don’t reference the stuff I grew up with. I can just imagine a young Tzusing finding a record like mine, I would have freaked the fuck out. I did it for the Asian kids that have found themselves stuck between these cultures.”
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