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Flora Yin Wong （黃映彤）是來自倫敦的音樂人，DJ，作家，也是前Dazed雜誌音樂編輯。她的音樂及寫作作品發行和出版於廠牌Modern Love，PAN，Circadian Rhythms，以及雜誌zweikommasieben，Somesuch Stories等。我在曼徹斯特的The White Hotel觀看了她的演出，並邀請她為香港聯合電臺做一個電郵採訪。在這個採訪裡，我問了她各種問題，有跟音樂報導相關的，有跟她今年出版的書《Liturgy》相關的，有跟她寫作和音樂裡都出現的（東）亞洲元素及隨之而來的闡釋相關的，當然，也有跟香港—她母親的出生地—相關的。
訪問：梁安琳 Anlin Liang
問：能說一下你在The White Hotel演出時播放的錄影嗎？你為什麼選擇以它作為演出的視覺部分？
我在那場演出中使用的錄影視頻（之前在Kings’s Place和Kelly Moran一起演出時也用的是這個），大部分是我用GoPro時使用了錯誤的配置拍攝的隨機時刻。這些視頻大多來自我獨自在巴厘島的旅行，夜晚我在荒無人煙的地方跟計程車司機進行漫長的對話。這些錄影令人不悅的節奏，他講給我聽的那些鬼故事，我們偶爾路過的市場中使用的特別「亞洲」的燈帶，這些都讓我聯想到某種既現代又單調，然而卻古老又無法看見的事物。
問：你覺得自己對這個世界的看法是聽天由命的嗎？在讀你的文章「Into the Gorge」之前我沒聽說過奧杜瓦理論。你覺得人類是跟理論預測的一樣，要完蛋了嗎，還是說你覺得人們還是可以尋找出路的？
問：香港對你來說似乎是個非常靈性，甚至有些不真實的地方，至少這是在我讀過你發表在Some Such Stories上面的寫作後得出的感覺。不過當然了，靈性的東西是和實在的東西糾纏在一起的…你在「Time」一文中寫到「你從夢中覺醒過來」…是2014年的政治事件震撼了你嗎？現在你怎麼看待自己跟香港的連接？
重溫 Flora Yin Wong（黃映彤）先前在 HKCR 的客席混音。
Flora Yin Wong is a London-born musician, DJ, writer, and former music editor at Dazed; her music and writing works have been released/published via labels including Modern Love, PAN, Circadian Rhythms, and magazines and outlets such as zweikommasieben, Somesuch Stories. I caught up with her set at The White Hotel in Manchester in July and invited her to do an interview for Hong Kong Community Radio via email. In this interview I asked her about music journalism, about Liturgy, the book she released this year, about the (East) Asian elements in her music and writings and the interpretations that came with them and of course about Hong Kong, the birthplace of her mother. (Flora talked about some of her experience when she worked in Hong Kong in another interview and wrote stories that reflected her time sojourning in this city, and these are some good reads.)
Interviewed by Anlin Liang
Q: Would you say your years working in music journalism, interviewing artists, reviewing music, etc., has helped you in any way in materializing your music? What would you say is your biggest takeaway when your positionality switches from the interviewer to the interviewed?
I wouldn’t say the experience of being a journalist contributed to the work, but more just it was the result of me having different ways of engaging with music as it was always such a big part of my life but I wasn’t ‘able’ to produce anything at that stage. I fell out of love with music journalism when it felt like it became a very conveyor belt system for artists. Now it does make me curious on the other side, but also bear high expectations for interview questions and just try to answer as honestly and openly as possible.
Q: I read your interview about not going anywhere when making club music and I read something from an Laila Sakini in her interview (via zweikommasieben) which is a bit related to this—she talked about how she was really shy about the club music she made and she didn’t show them to many people. I find it pretty interesting that sometimes people want to make certain things but will end up making really different things. Is there anything you could say about the difference between making the kind of club music you wanted to make and making what you are making now?
I never finished any tracks myself that might be considered as ‘club/techno music’, but do feel like it crosses over more in my earlier releases… the album was a deeply insular experience and probably translates as such. Laila is a good friend of mine and we’re actually working on a collaboration together for the traditionally very techno Atonal this year so will see where we get with that too ha.
Q: Care to talk more about the video footages you used during The White Hotel set? Why do you choose such visuals to accompany your set?
The footage I used for that show (and previously at King’s Place with Kelly Moran), are predominantly GoPro shots where I filmed random moments on the wrong setting. These were mostly from when I went to Bali alone and was having long chats with the taxi driver in the middle of nowhere at night. The jarring pace of the footage, the ghost stories he was telling me, and the typical ‘Asian’ strip lighting of the occasional markets we passed were really evocative to me of something modern and mundane, yet ancient and unseeable.
Q: I want to also ask you about Liturgy, your book that was originally intended to be released along with Holy Palm, but now published as a stand-alone project (if I didn’t get it wrong!). I have read it and a large part of it reads to me like a catalogue, or a documentation of things, including tales, places, sounds, animals, mental health conditions, that ‘carried latent potential prophecy’. How did you do your research for this book? I wonder what kind of connection do you see in these different pieces you wrote in Liturgy?
Yeah they were written in tandem, and is more like a short encyclopaedia or compilation of assorted tales and histories. Most of them are just ongoing ideas or interests in my head, and then solidified or explored further on paper. They’re all very connected in a universal sense, all the terms, stories, living creatures, unreal creatures, human beliefs etc.
Q: I have seen people using languages like east vs west, or (East) Asian culture, or even ‘going back to the root’ when describing your music, and I know you talked about in other interviews that this is others’ interpretation of something you didn’t really intend to do. But after reading your book Liturgy, and also reading your interviews where you talked about using traditional Chinese instruments, I still want to ask, when you approach such things as ‘eastern’ philosophy or ‘eastern’ sounds—to put it very crudely—do you look for this “going back to the root” kind of feeling, as in you feel more grounded or connected with yourself, in these stories, symbols, and sounds; or do you approach these things with the kind of curiosity just as you approach anything else?
It’s maybe not intentional and not used as if I feel like it represents me – it’s more that they are in fact ‘foreign’ yet somehow familiar to me and therefore appear interesting. I like feeling like I’m perhaps connected to something physically and spiritually in a darker, insidious way that goes back generations even if I don’t understand it. The specific instruments are just a phase and I’m craving the access to touch and explore new ones all the time.
Q: Would you say you have a fatalistic outlook for the world? I didn’t know anything about the Olduvai theory until I read your essay ‘Into the Gorge’ . Do you think human beings are quite doomed like the theory predicts, or do you think people could work their way out?
In this respect, I don’t think people should ‘work their way out’ of anything. I detest the idea of prolonging life because of the ability to, and this overarching obsession with immortality. There’s obviously something liberating and idealistic about the drama of a conceivable ‘apocalypse’, but fundamentally it’s just another event on the timeline.
Q: Hong Kong seems to be a very spiritual and also somewhat unreal place for you, at least that’s how I feel when I read your writings on Some Such Stories. But of course, the spiritual is entangled with the real…you said you were ‘awakening from the dream’ in ‘Time’—did the political event in 2014 shake you up? How do you feel about your connection with Hong Kong now?
The political events of 2014 in Hong Kong were an awakening for many I think, even for me and my ex-pat peers who lived a very different and privileged life there. I was missing my (supposedly) ’democratic’ albeit flawed home in the UK, and I was in a very different mindset which was more about ‘awakening’ from a brief and fortune-filled respite in a foreign land. I haven’t been back to Hong Kong in several years now, and I found the last trip really sad. Whitewashed gentrified areas were much more extreme and boring, and it just seemed really jarring. There’s still a mentality of idealising the West and also at the same time the overbearing feeling of the mainland encroaching – in terms of language, culture and rules.
(Anlin Liang is a translator and a training anthropologist).
Revisit the guest mix she made for us earlier this year.