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Highlight Reel

【專訪 INTERVIEW】Hiro Kone

專訪別名 Hiro Kone 的紐約音樂人 Nicky Mao。Interview with New York based musician Nicky Mao aka Hiro Kone.

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Highlight Reel

Imryll

台灣製作人 Imryll 的首集節目。Taiwan based producer Imryll first residency episode.

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Highlight Reel

R000000M

30 分鐘的個人音樂創作。30min piece of original music.

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Highlight Reel

Oyubi

今集Footwork Programme 的客席主持。 Guest of the Footwork Programme.

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Highlight Reel

FLAU feat. Patrick Ellis

廠牌旗下的 Patrick Ellis 送上的1小時節目。 Patrick Ellis  whose release The Deserter was out on the label in August 2021.

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Highlight Reel

shimmer w/ blottir

邀請嘉賓 blottir 。shimmer winter edition with guest blottir.

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Shows

The Guestlist: MrKrstoffa w/ Tristan Myatt – 07/12/2021

Episode 2 of The Guestlist is full of Eastern and Arabic sample heavy beats for the first hour. The final hour sees UK Leeds based selector Tristan Myatt play a selection of chillers to soothe the soul.

Tracklist:

Restless Leg Syndrome – Jamal

Restless Leg Syndrome – Venom

El 3ou – Ardh Sabra

El 3ou -Manich Menra

Moulay Ahmed El Hassani – Ana Mazal Kanabghik

Ghoula – Ba 77it

KNMD – In Our Eyes

The Beast – Road Song

Invisible Roads – Common Path

Maurice Louca – The Leper

Dreamcastmoe – You had Better Deliver

Markus & Shahzad – Kala Kaba

Liluzu – Nano

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Shows

Harddance with us w/ My Cruelty – 07/12/2021

Tracklist:

ize – Ring Ring
Tinashe – I Can see the Future
Simo Cell – Short Leg
Glimmerman – Step mode
Anonymous Club – Permission (feat. Tama Gucci)
STILL, Biga Yut & Florence – Ntwala
STILL, Biga Yut – Plupawa
iTi – As Time Passes
Cortese – Abbey Park
Marc Brauner – Your Heart
Moktar – Blue
Tinashe – X (feat. Jeremih)
DJ Crisps – Dynamic Reflections
DJ Manny – Club Gta
Bakey – Bring it back
Mark Blair – Badman Acid
Tinashe – Die a little Bit (feat. Ms Banks)
UNIQU3 – Unavailable (feat. R3LL)
Cortese – Where you at?
Bakey & Slay – Vibing Season
BE3K – Turn it up
1-800 GIRLS – I want to know (Do you want it right now?)
DJ Heartstring – Endless Desire
STILL, Biga Yut – Tukoona Nalo
D.Dan – Post Kyiv
Yung Acid – Do U Wanna Bitch
Bolam – Hype Shifter
Paul & Shark – Selectavision
C O N T X T – Rise again
Bakongo – Level Cowbell
DJ Seinfeld – Someday

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Shows

Wikileaks w/ IRAQ – 07/12/2021

Tracklist:

Koreltsak – Shrike on a dead tree
Glossolalia – Gift of Tongues
Dystopia – Stress Builds Character
Premature Ejaculation – Partial And Complete
G.I.S.M – Fire
destroy 2 – life is eat & die
Pazuzelhomet – Winged shadows over the Sarcophagus of the lost Cowlcult
Coke Bust – Pain And Suffering
Drug Problem – Sexually Transmitted Text Message
Throneum – Godless Antihuman Evil
Azazel – Lord of Demons
Lurker of Chalice – Minions
Abigail – Sexual Metal Holocaust
Satanize – Hellish Vandalism
Warloghe – Corpse Altar Light

Categories
Editorial

【專訪 INTERVIEW】Hiro Kone

(Scroll down for English Version)



語言是Nicky Mao (毛恩馨) 談論音樂時常出現的主題。她在紐約學習創意寫作,但最終以Hiro Kone的名義憑藉音樂建立起自己的語言。從幼小時期開始,她就和音樂建立起深厚的連繫,不只因為她小時學過音樂—她的很多回憶都依附於某些家庭事件發生時,所播放的音樂;作為獨生小孩,她的孤單體驗也加深了她和音樂的聯繫。然而,直至在多年以後,她才發現,在自己感興趣的事情之中—包括寫作—音樂才是最自然的,最吸引她的東西。音樂才是她註定用於溝通的語言。

Nicky知道實打實的詞語留下的影響是深刻而永恆的。『儘管我上學學的是寫作,我能看到詞語的力量有多麼強大。我非常敬仰作家,但於我而言,我更能自在地在音樂中表達自我…我感興趣的是詞句外的語言,是詞句間的空隙,是沉默,我對我們沒說出口和說出口的東西同樣感興趣,還有我們為何重複訴說某些東西。』Nicky感興趣的事物存在於聲音之中,而她可以通過自己的方式做出這些東西來。

雕塑則是另一個持續的參照點—音樂不只是在聲的層面上吸引她,音樂同樣是有形的,有著視覺的層面。形狀,質感,顏色,物件…這些東西存在於音樂裡;音樂是啞光的,或是閃亮的,又或是疏鬆的。

在成長過程中她彈奏的都是絃樂器—孩童時期彈奏小提琴,青少年時期在朋克樂隊裡彈奏吉他。而現在的她主要使用的是模組合成器。這樣的工作過程非常耗時。『我並不常知道音樂會如何成型,得花上一段時間我才能看到整個生態系統會是怎樣的。』她會在模組上構思出一段較長的(聲音)材料,然後對其進行雕刻,加入新的東西,減去某些東西—最主要的還是做減法—給予這塊材料清晰的輪廓。『這樣做對我來說是相當耗時的,思考要往哪個方向處理材料也是挺花時間的。』

在疫情下,空間成了Nicky思考的非常重要的問題。她思考音樂所存在的空間:封城期間,空間的缺失使她沒法說服自己做線上直播表演—『(在現場演出時)空間裡的聲音,聲音的震盪和混響,這些東西全都非常重要。』但也不止是物理空間。Nicky留意到這股把全套生活搬到線上的勢頭,她卻選擇後退一步進行觀察,而非欣然地加入這場派對。她對資本主義,科技法西斯主義,對不斷取得「進步」的科技與及許多人糟糕的物質條件所形成的極端反差…關於這些事情的思考(而其中的很多她在疫情前已有進行探索),最終匯合成了『拒絕填充空間的衝動』這一直覺指引。在這條指引下,她寫出了第四張全長專輯,Silvercoat the throng。我跟Nicky聊了無常、寂靜、陰影和空間—這些事情大多指向我們所缺乏,而且在主動逃避的一種空虛。

訪問:梁安琳 Anlin Liang



對我來說,當我聽你的音樂時,我看到的更多是電影般的場面。好像有別的人寫過你的音樂可以做佐杜洛夫斯基版本的《沙丘》配樂。

是的,很多人會聯想到科幻電影,完全可以。我想到的更多是…我特別喜歡的導演之一,賈樟柯。我聯想到的是他做的慢電影。我愛他的作品。他使用音樂的方式也很有意思。

你最喜歡他的哪部電影?

我愛《江湖兒女》,這是最近出的一部。我這陣子還看了《三峽好人》,也很好。我現在正在讀一篇他的長篇採訪,出自我朋友出的一本書裡,挺有意思的。我很欽佩他。我還喜歡畢贛,還有蔡明亮。你大概能懂我會被怎樣的視覺吸引。







你如何與他們的電影產生連結?

如果你在不同的地方之間生活,比方說,像我,一個移民後代,來到這裡,你總是會有一種渴望歸宿的感覺,以及無常的感覺。我在亞洲和美國之間來回,還感覺到自己介乎於兩個世界之間。賈樟柯電影有一套很好辨識的生態系統,人們的流離失所或遷移是其中的焦點。在中國各個地區的人因不同原因遷移到不同的地方,產生的動盪以及由此發生的種種事情。這當然跟我個人的經歷非常不同,但其中的某些氣氛和情感讓我感覺熟悉,也幫助我更好地理解周圍的世界。電影裡反映的這些東西—對無常感的表達,以及變遷的不同形式,深深吸引著我:有的人是被迫離家,被消滅,這是非常負面及悲傷的。但是當人們找到方法與彼此建立聯繫時,又是非常動人,也給人提供了慰藉。

你感覺自己像是一個流浪者嗎?

我的作品和我這個人身上都有這樣的遊蕩的特質,就像是一個混合體—這裡不是我的歸宿,那裡也不是我的家。然而當我在移動的時候,我常常會想,『這感覺就像回到家了。』

你跟香港的關係是怎樣的?

很奇怪,我有時會非常思念這座城市,儘管一直以來我都只算是個外人,因為我從來不是那裡的永久居民。但我對這座城市有著很深的認識,因為我在那裡獨自度過了很多的時光,四周圍探索。在香港我的感官似乎變敏銳得多。即便我已離開這個地方許久,我還是能很容易地回想起那裡潮濕的空氣,顏色,氣味,種種東西。我還記得自己在青少年時期發現了王家衛的電影,並為這座城市如此被展現在銀幕上激動不已。我不知該怎麼跟在加州的朋友分享我熟知和熱愛的另一座城市,因此當他的電影突然大受西方觀眾歡迎時,我感到十分開心。

我一直以來都想在香港待長點。我非常想念香港,比對加州的想念還更深。也許是因為我在此地來來去去,它的缺席使它在我心目中的地位更加特別了。它是我自身很重要的一個組成部分,然而對我在美國生活身邊那些從未去過香港的人來說,這個地方仍是個謎。在某些尷尬的瞬間,我會強烈意識到自己跟美式文化某些方面的脫節。香港聯合電台的Gavin上一年邀請我成為電台常駐主持,這件事對我來說意義深重。這是一種被認可的感覺,似乎過去在對我說『你也屬於此處。』

你有去過香港嗎?

有的,我一輩子都住在離它很近的地方。

你喜歡這座城市嗎?你感覺到跟它的連結嗎?

每次我去那裡的時候,我都會去表姐住的劏房那裡落腳。她曾是一名餐館員工,所以我知道擁有不多的人在那座城市是怎樣生存的。 

香港的貧富差距應該是在世界之巔,這是一座圍繞著由英國殖民統治所生出來的一個階級系統而運轉的城市。

我想問跟你的新專輯有關的問題。你的新專輯創作於全球疫情期間,圍繞的是『拒絕填充空間的衝動』這一想法。我可以很直接地將其跟很多人—至少是那些不需要做薪水低廉的「必要」工種的人—在大規模封鎖期間都抒發過的沮喪感聯繫起來:我們如今手頭上有這麼多的空閒,我們該做什麼呢?但你能告訴我這個想法源自哪裡嗎? 

我想的是…如果我們不後退一步,觀察我們前進的方向,我們怎麼能夠真正知道接下來該怎麼走?我表達的這個觀念在疫情期間變重要了許多。大家匆匆忙忙地將所有事情都轉移到網上。我的很多作品都是在講資本主義—這個系統裡各個部件的運轉就是要鼓勵人們匆忙地將每件事都挪到網上:zoom視頻通話,我們的日常鍛煉,教育,一切一切。我不是說這全都不好。我完全理解為什麼人們需要保持聯繫,我也理解為什麼人們要推動這樣的改變。我只是想要後退一步,想想這樣做意味著什麼—我們給這些公司提供了什麼,我們把自己的哪些資訊都拱手讓給了這些我們需要警惕的公司。還有,這持續的生產蒙蔽了我們對自身,對周遭世界的哪些認知。 

科技法西斯主義的威脅正籠罩在我們頭上,而我們對此並沒有充足的討論,我們也不談它是如何深深埋藏在我們生活的每個方面的。政府受惠於這些科技公司—只要看看那些減稅政策你就清楚政府是如何和大科技公司勾結的。我們作為消費者越是依賴科技,這些公司對我們生活就有越大的控制權…所以說,我們這麼快就全盤接受,把一切轉移到線上,這我認為是值得憂慮的。這對科技公司來說簡直就是一場完美的風暴,他們可喜歡極了。這是其中之一。還有很多其他的東西我覺得是可以放進「不想填充我們生活裡突然多出來的空間」這個概念裡的,我們也許可以思考不同的生存模式,不同的合作模式。

這和我的其他作品,以及我過去就我的作品談論過的事情都是有聯繫的,比方說我前一張專輯 A Fossil Begins to Bray。很多的這些想法都是連續的。如果我們不去思考我們進步的方向,這樣的進步並不是我想要的。要不然我們就只是一味地維持這個機器的運轉,然而我認為我們有重新想像事物的機會。



『科技法西斯主義的威脅正籠罩在我們頭上,而我們對此並沒有充足的討論,我們也不談它是如何深深埋藏在我們生活的每個方面的。』





我們要重新思考進步意味著什麼—進步就是「好」的嗎? 

是的,人們真的是鍾情於進步。我愛賈樟柯的電影大概也有這樣的原因,回到這個話題上來。我感興趣的是這種自上而下帶來的連鎖影響,以及這類想法—對「進步」的看法—帶來的影響。這對人們的生活有著真切的影響。我還對如何與其抗爭感興趣—我們如何回應,如何對它說「不」。

你有看過紀錄片Summer of Soul嗎?這部影片紀錄的是1969年發生的哈萊姆文化節,同年還有人類歷史上的第一次登月。觀眾裡的一位黑人男性被採訪者問到他對此事件的看法。他說的大概是那些錢本該可以用來解決貧窮問題,住房問題等等。最近媒體不是在說現在沒人關心億萬富翁的太空競賽嗎,但我看到那個採訪我才意識到,這樣的感想其實並不是最近才產生的。 

你懂我的想法,舉的這個例子也很貼切。我感興趣的是真正的改變,而非為了進步而進步。這也是個非常西方的概念,但已經傳播到每個角落了。你知道哲學家韓炳哲(Byung Chul-han)嗎?

我有聽說過他。 

他說過同樣的東西,我之前也說過—每個人時時刻刻都在對著屏幕,就像是光不會滅。如果光不滅,我們就看不到陰影。我覺得我們需要看到陰影,這樣我們才能看到我們需要細細思考的事物的輪廓。如果我們一直住在這種積極的環境中,住在這透明的螢幕裡,我們看不到背後的東西。我常常思考這個,以及我們看事物的角度。我猜我對陰影,對後退一步留出空間如此感興趣,就是為了看得更清楚一些。

你前面有跟我說過你對「沉默」感興趣,對沒有說出口的東西感興趣,我覺得它們跟你剛說的「陰影」是相聯繫的—你能舉個例子,告訴我你經歷中的沉默嗎? 

當我還是個小孩子的時候,我和我的祖父母在一起度過了很多時間,尤其是和祖母。不幸的是,我不會講粵語,我知道一些詞彙,但不多。她不會講英文。我們的交流包含了沉默,還有將我破碎的粵語跟她破碎的英語拼湊起來。我們可以通過破碎的語言,面部,手勢,以及沉默進行交流。切身體會到各種不同的溝通方式及其潛能後,你會想要更進一步觀察。我還能想到的是跟我的家人坐在晚餐餐桌上,有的時候他們與我對話,有的時候他們談論關於我的事情,但用的是另一種語言,有的時候我會跟我的祖父談話,他說一口完美的英語。你會對各種不同的交流方式感到自在—你並不會總是知道人們在說什麼,有的時候你知道,有的時候你又聽到了別的東西,又或者有的時候餐桌上的人們突然都安靜下來,大家卻不會感到不適。這些對我而言都很有意思。我在那裡度過的夏天讓我學會了安靜獨處。我是獨生小孩,沒有兄弟姊妹,跟家裡人一起住時也沒有年紀相仿的朋友。我覺得這些經歷讓我成為了一個好的傾聽者。傾聽太被低估了。

我很高興你提及你想要真正的改變。我時不時在「欣賞藝術的自身與及「質問『藝術有什麼意義?』這兩種想法之間掙扎。 

正是。不論是怎樣小的平臺,我想要用來展開這樣的討論。我前面說過,談論音樂,談論我如何製作音樂,這些都很好,但我對我們現在討論的事情更感興趣。一個更大的圖景。對,我做電子音樂,我做了一個作品,出了黑膠,但在我的作品裡,我考慮的是更全面的東西。我感興趣的是分享想法如何能夠推動我們往更好的方向前進。假如我的音樂能通過某種方式參與到這樣的改變中,即使是很小很小的貢獻,這樣的人生就是有意義的。

你喜愛雕塑家豪爾赫·奧泰薩(Jorge Oteiza),還分享過他說過的一句話:『藝術不會改變任何事情,不會改變世界,不會改變現實。藝術真正改變的是藝術家自身,他在該過程中改進,轉變,完善他的語言。這個被藝術改變了的人,才能通過生活改變現實。』我本想問這句話如何應用到你自己作為藝術家的經歷上,不過我才你已經回答了。 

對的,我感興趣的是這個過程。我感興趣的是我們如何更好的社會一員,我們如何與我們的環境構建更好的親屬關係。我們現在活在一個特別自戀的時空裡,讓我們緊盯著內心,渴求持續卻空洞的認可。 

問自己想要如何跟這個世界相處是很重要的。如果我要做點什麼,不管是音樂還是截然不同的東西,這其中都要有對他人的關懷。



『我們現在活在一個特別自戀的時空裡,讓我們緊盯著內心,渴求持續卻空洞的認可。 

問自己想要如何跟這個世界相處是很重要的。如果我要做點什麼,不管是音樂還是截然不同的東西,這其中都要有對他人的關懷。』





你的想法受哪些書影響呢? 

我最近讀了魯哈·本傑明(Ruha Benjamin)的Race after Technology,感覺非常貼合當下—考慮到我們對科技的依賴越來越深。她寫的是新興科技如何鞏固白人至上主義。我還提到了韓炳哲(Byung Chul-han)。我也喜歡唐娜·哈拉維(Donna Haraway), (她寫的是)我們和周遭世界的關係,而不只是人類之間的關係。但其實我今年讀的大部分是詩歌—又回到需要空間的這個話題上。我在過去讀了很多的批判理論,然而過去的兩年裡我沒法讀太多理論。我要暫停一下,開始讀詩歌。在詩歌裡有給我大腦的空間,給我呼吸的空間。

你最喜愛的詩人有哪些? 

我很喜歡雪萊﹙Percy Shelley)。我拜訪過他隱藏在羅馬的墳墓,那個墓園裡住著很多貓,感覺是一個很合適的地點。我最近還發現了一個名為Garous Abdolmalekian的伊朗詩人,他的詩最近才第一次被翻譯為英文。我真心推薦Lean Against This Late Hour這個系列。



Lean Against This Late Hour (Penguin Poets): Abdolmalekian, Garous, Novey,  Idra, Nadalizadeh, Ahmad: 9780143134930: Amazon.com: Books
Lean Against This Late Hour – Garous Abdolmalekian





最後,可以談談你對抵制、撤資、制裁運動(BDS Movement)的支持嗎?你已經支持這個運動相當長一段時間了。 

對我來說解放巴勒斯坦該是不容置疑的,在巴勒斯坦發生的事情是一項由幾個西方強國安排的殖民工程。以色列政府全副武裝,而弱勢的巴勒斯坦人民要麼活在佔領之下,要麼在逃亡。他們之間不是勢均力敵的。熟悉二戰後歷史事件的人應該清楚這是對壓迫和消除的延續。在被佔領的巴勒斯坦,人們的家常被奪去或是鏟倒。這樣反復出現的事情再直觀不過—這是在磨滅巴勒斯坦存在的歷史印記。因此我們不能保持沉默。

 2019年我去巴勒斯坦的時候,我先去了約旦。我在安曼的許多朋友是巴勒斯坦人,但是他們不能和我一起進入巴勒斯坦參加在拉馬拉舉行的一個音樂節。那說明了什麼?他們是巴勒斯坦人,我是美國人,為什麼我能進,他們卻不能。就因為我有美國護照。我的朋友沒有「正確」的文件,就不能自由地移動,然而其他有著以色列,英國或美國護照的人卻可以。這個世界的懸殊,以及誰掌握著權力,不言而喻。

 我生活在一個給以色列「國防」軍 (Israel Defense Forces, IDF)資助上百億美元的國家,但實際上他們是「佔領(occupation)」軍,壓迫巴勒斯坦人民,讓他們活在恐懼中。我曾跟希伯倫的一個年輕人談話,他告訴我在他還是個青少年時,IOF曾試圖在他身上栽贓一把刀,若不是他的鄰居及時望出窗外,他就會被他們射殺了。美國對那裡發生的事情有很大的干涉權力。我們與其息息相關,是需要負責任的。因此我支持我的朋友及他們回歸家園的權利。






Hiro Kone 於Dais Records推出的第四張全長專輯 Silvercoat the throng 現已推出,連結收聽





Language is a recurring theme when Nicky Mao talks about music. She studied Creative Writing in New York, but eventually came to build her language through music, under the alias Hiro Kone. She had a strong connection with music since she was very young, but not just because she played it as a kid—a lot of her memories are attached to songs her family were playing when something happened; the solitariness she experienced growing up as an only child also deepened her engagement with music. It took her years, however, before she discovered that out of everything she had been interested in, including writing, that music most appealed to her and made sense for her. Music was the language she was meant to use for communication.

Actual words could be intense and permanent, and Nicky knows that. “Even though I went to school for writing and even though I studied it, I saw how words are so extremely powerful. I have so much admiration for writers but music just felt more like a comfortable place for me to express myself…because I’m interested in language outside of words, I’m interested in like the space between words, I’m interested in silence, I’m interested in the things that we don’t say as much as the things we do say, or why we repeat certain things.” Things Nicky is interested in exist within sounds, and she could achieve them with sounds, in her own way.

Sculpture is another constant reference point—music doesn’t just sonically appeal to her, it’s also physical and visual. Shapes, texture, colour, objects…these things also exist in music for her; music is matte, or shiny, or porous.

Growing up playing string instruments—the violin as a kid and the guitar in a punk band as a teenager,  she now works mostly with modular synths. It’s a time consuming process to work this way. “I don’t always know the shape, it takes time for me to see what that ecosystem is going to be like,” Nicky says. She would start with sketching one long piece on the modular, and then start to chisel this piece of material, add stuff, take away stuff—mostly take away stuff—and start to give it its definition. “That takes time for me to do that, and to sit with it and know what direction I want to go with that.”

During the pandemic, space has also become an increasingly important topic that Nicky dwells on. On the space that music exists in: she couldn’t bring herself to do livestream performance in lockdown due to the absence of space—“The sound within that space (when playing music live) and the vibration and the reverb and all those things are extremely important.” But also beyond that physical space. Alerted to this momentum of moving our life online, Nicky took a step back and observed rather than joining the party unquestioningly. Her reflection on capitalism, techno-facism, the polarity between the rapid “progress” made in technology and the dire material reality of many people, a lot of which she had explored even pre-pandemic, culminated into the intuitive directive “resist the urge to fill the space”, under which she wrote her 4th full-length album, Silvercoat the throng. I talked to Nicky about the transience, silence, shadow and space—most of these things point to a void that we most likely lack and actively seek refuge from.

Interview by Anlin Liang


For me, when I listen to your music, I see something more cinematic. Someone else might have written that your music could be used to soundtrack Jorodowsky’s version of Dune.

Yeah a lot of people think of science fiction, which is totally fine. I think of more…one of the directors I really like, Jia Zhangke. That slow cinema he does, that to me is what I feel like. I love his work. He uses music in interesting ways, too.

What’s your favourite film of his?

I love Ash is Purest White, which is a more recent one. And recently I saw Still Life, which is really good too. I’m reading a quite long interview with him right now in a book my friend published, it’s really interesting. I admire him so much. And I like Bi Gan. And then Tsai Ming-liang. So this probably gives you a sense of some of the visual aspects I am drawn to.







How do you relate to their films?

If you live between worlds in a way, say, you’re a child of immigrant, for instance, like myself, who came here, there’s always this feeling of longing and transience. Because I went back and forth between Asia and the US, there’s this feeling of existing somewhere between both worlds. There’s a recognizable ecosystem to Jia Zhangke’s films, that centers a lot around the displacement or the migration of people. People within different regions of China moving to different places for different reasons, and the destabilization and things that happen as a result of this. It’s of course very different than my personal experience, but there are certain tones and emotions that feel familiar and help me understand the world around me better. There’s something striking and interesting to see these things reflected through those films—the expression of what that transience feels like, and how there’re different forms of it: some of it is just outright displacement and erasure, and it can be really negative and sad. At other times it can feel very touching and comforting as people find ways in which to relate to one another.

Do you feel like a nomad?

There’s a quality to my work and to who I am that feels very nomadic and feels like a hybrid—never quite felt like at home here, never quite felt at home there. However, often I think to myself when I’m in motion, “How at home I feel.”

What’s your relationship with Hong Kong like?

It’s strange but I get really homesick for the city, though in a way I’m always a bit of an outsider because I was never a permanent resident. But I know it in this really deep way because I spent so much time alone there, exploring the city. I feel as though my senses are heightened when I’m there. The humidity, the colors, the smell, all of it is really easy for me to visualize, even when I’ve been away for a long time. I remember when I was a teenager and discovered Wong Kar Wai it felt so exhilarating to see the city projected on the screen like that. I didn’t have any way of sharing with my friends in California this other city I knew and loved, so the sudden proliferation and popularity of his films with western audiences was kind of exciting for me.

I always want more time in Hong Kong. I miss it quite a lot, more so than I do California. Maybe there’s something about the coming and going, the absence of it that makes it more special to me. It’s a huge part of who I am, yet it remains a mystery I think to the people in my life here in the US who have never been. There are awkward moments where I feel really cognizant of how out of step I feel with certain aspects of American culture. It meant a lot to me when Gavin from HKCR reached out to ask me to be a resident last year. It felt a little like being recognized in some way, the past saying, “You belong here, too.”

Have you been to Hong Kong at all?

Yeah, I lived quite near there for my entire life.

Do you like it? Do you feel a connection to it?

Every time I went there I would stay with a cousin who live in a subdivided unit. She was a restaurant worker. So I know what it’s like if you don’t have much living in that city.

The disparity in wealth in Hong Kong has to be one of the worst in the world, it really is a city that caters to a class system which echos it’s British colonialist roots.

I want to ask about your new album. It’s created during the pandemic and it comes from this idea “resist the urge to fill the space”. I could very straightforwardly relate it to a frustration a lot of people—at least people who don’t have to work the low paying “essential” jobs— have expressed during the massive lockdown: now we have all the time, what are we gonna do? But could you tell me where the idea comes from?

I think…If we don’t step back and observe the direction we are taking, how are we going to really know what steps need to be taken. This idea that I’m expressing was really heightened during the pandemic. There was a rush to move everything online. A lot of my works talk about capitalism—there was a rush because of the way that the machineries working to keep it going and there was a lot of promoting of that behaviour to move everything online: zoom calls, our exercise routines, education, everything. I’m not saying that all of this is necessarily bad. I also understand why people need contact with one another, and why people felt the propulsion towards this. But I just want also to take a step back and think about what that means though—what we are giving these companies, what information of ourselves more we are giving freely over to what I believe we have to be really wary of. Also what does this constant productivity keep us from learning about ourselves and the world around us.

I think that we are under threat of techno-fascism, and I think that is something we don’t talk about enough, and we don’t talk about how deeply embedded that is into all of this. We have governments who are now beholden to these technological companies—one can just see the tax breaks to understand how in bed Government is with Big Tech. And the more that we consumers become dependent on the technology, the more influence they have in control over our lives so…it feels like a concern about the fact that we were so quick to just accept this and move it all on to online. It’s like the perfect storm for them. They love it! That was one thing. There are a lot of things I think that fit into that whole idea of not wanting to fill the space that we suddenly had in our lives, to maybe consider other modes of existence, other modes of collaboration and working together.

It’s a correlation with other albums and things that I’ve been talking about in the past with my work, like the previous album A Fossil Begins to Bray. A lot of these ideas are sort of in continuation. Progress without thinking about what we’re progressing towards is not what I’m personally after. Or it’s just like feeding this machine when I feel like we have an opportunity to maybe reimagine things.



”I think that we are under threat of techno-fascism, and I think that is something we don’t talk about enough, and we don’t talk about how deeply embedded that is into all of this.”






We need to rethink what progress means—is progress necessarily “good”?

Yes. People get really enamoured with progress. I guess that’s part of why I love Zhangke’s films too, going back to that. I’m interested in the effects of that trickle down, the effects of this type of thinking—what progress is. It has real life effects on people. I’m interested in that and interested in how to fight that, or how we can respond to that, and say ”no”.

Have you seen Summer of Soul, the documentary? It was about Harlem Cultural Festival that happened in 1969, the same year when the first moon landing in human history happened. A black man in the audience was interviewed and he was asked what he thought of this event. He basically said all that money could have been used to fix poverty and housing problem and such. You know the media is talking about how no one is enthusiastic about all this billionaires space race recently, but when I saw that interview in the film I realized it was not a novel sentiment.

You know what I’m thinking about and really illustrated that. I’m interested in real transformation, and not just progress for the sake of progress. It’s a very Western idea, which has been indoctrinated everywhere. Do you know the philosopher Byung Chul-han?

Yes I heard of him.

He says the same, and I’ve said it before, too. Everyone’s on the screen all the time, it’s like the light doesn’t break. So if the light doesn’t break, we don’t see the shadows. I think we need to be able to see the shadows, in order to see the definition of the things that we need to consider and think about. And so if we’re just living constantly in the positive, this transparent screen constantly, we can’t see what’s behind it. It’s just something I think a lot about, and our perceptions of things. I guess that’s why I’m really interested in the shadow or taking that step back and allowing that space to be there—so that I can see better.

You told me earlier that you are interested in silence, in unsaid things, which I would relate to the shadow that you just talked about—could you give me an example of this silence in your experience?

When I was a kid I spent a lot of time with my grandparents, with my grandmother. Unfortunately, I didn’t speak Cantonese, I know some words but not a lot. And she didn’t speak English. Our way of communicating encompasses the silences as well as the piecing things together from my very broken Cantonese and her very broken English. We were able to communicate with our broken languages, our faces, with our gestures and our silences. You experience that range of communication first-hand, and it shows you potential, and so you want to observe more. And then I can also think of things like sitting at the dinner table with my family, sometimes they’re speaking to me, sometimes they’re speaking about me, but in another language, sometimes I’m talking to my grandfather who speaks perfect English; you just get comfortable with these different ways of communication—not always knowing what people are saying, and then knowing and then hearing something there, or suddenly there’s a silence that comes over the dinner table, and people are just comfortable. That’s all really interesting to me. I learned a lot about being alone and quiet during my summers there. Because I was an only child, I didn’t have siblings, I didn’t have a lot of young friends around when I was living with them. I think this experience made me a good listener. Listening is so undervalued.

I’m glad that you mentioned you wanted real transformation. I struggle sometimes to reconcile the thoughts of loving art for art’s sake and questioning “what is this for?”

Yeah exactly. Whatever small platform I have, I want to use it to have discussions like this. I was saying earlier—it’s nice to talk about music and how we made it, but I’m more interested in what you and I are talking about. A bigger picture. Yeah, I make electronic music, I made a piece, it came out on vinyl, but it’s a more holistic thing that I’m considering in my work. I’m interested in how sharing ideas can move us in a better direction, and if my music in some way can be a part of that movement, in a very small way, then that feels like a life well-lived.

You love sculptor Jorge Oteiza and once shared this quote by him: “Art does not transform anything, it does not alter the world, it does not change reality. What the artist really transforms, as he evolves, transforms and completes his languages, is himself. And it is that man, transformed by art, who can, through life, transform reality.”

I was meant to ask how that applied to your own experience as an artist but I guessed you just answered.

Yeah it’s that process that I’m interested in. How we become better members of society and how we build better kinship with our environment. We’re living in an increasingly narcissistic time, one that focuses us inwards and necessitates constant empty affirmation.

Asking yourself what kind of relationship you want to have with the world is really crucial. If I’m going to do anything in my life, music, or something entirely different, it has to have a quality of care for others.



”We’re living in an increasingly narcissistic time, one that focuses us inwards and necessitates constant empty affirmation.

Asking yourself what kind of relationship you want to have with the world is really crucial. If I’m going to do anything in my life, music, or something entirely different, it has to have a quality of care for others.”





What books have informed you on your views?

I recently read Ruha Benjamin’s Race after Technology, and felt it was very timely—given our increasing reliance on technology. She writes about how emerging technology reinforces white supremacy. I also mentioned Byung Chul-Han. I love some Donna Haraway as well, (she writes about) our relationship with the world around us, not just human relationships. But this year I actually read mostly poetry—going back to this thing of needing space. In the past I’d read a lot of critical theory, and I just couldn’t bring myself to do much of that over the past two years. I took a break and started reading poetry. Because there was space there for my brain, and space to breathe, too.

Who are your favourite poets?

I love Percy Shelley a lot. I visited his grave which is tucked away in Rome, in a small cemetery where dozens of cats live. It felt like a really fitting spot. I recently discovered this Iranian poet Garous Abdolmalekian, he was just translated to English for the first time. I really recommend this collection Lean Against This Late Hour.




Lean Against This Late Hour (Penguin Poets): Abdolmalekian, Garous, Novey,  Idra, Nadalizadeh, Ahmad: 9780143134930: Amazon.com: Books
Lean Against This Late Hour – Garous Abdolmalekian





Finally, can we talk about your support for the BDS Movement? You have been a supporter for quite a long time.

For me it has never been a question whether Palestine should be free and that what was taking place there was a colonial project, orchestrated by a number of western powers. You have a state government (Israel) that is armed to the teeth and then you have a vulnerable population either living under occupation or exile. These are not equal players. Anyone who familiarizes themselves with the history of the events following World War II should see clearly this is a continuation of oppression and erasure. Homes are taken or razed to the ground all the time in occupied Palestine. The practice is plain and simple – to erase any historical evidence that is Palestine. That’s why we cannot remain silent.

When I visited Palestine in 2019, I visited Jordan first. Many of my friends in Amman are Palestinian and could not travel with me into Palestine to the festival I was attending in Ramallah. What does that say? They’re Palestinian, I’m American – how does it work that I’m allowed and they are not. Because I have this US passport. My friends who do not hold the “right” documentation cannot move freely while others with Israeli, British or American passports can. That says a lot about the disparity of the world and who maintains power.

I reside in a country that pours billions of dollars into the Israeli “defense” forces. Really they are “occupation” forces, used to repress the Palestinian people and keep them living in terror. I spoke with a young man in Hebron who told me the story of how the IOF tried to plant a knife on him when he was teenager and if it weren’t for his neighbor looking out the window at the right time, they would have shot him. The US plays such a large role in what is taking place there. We are so entwined and responsible for what is taking place. This is why I support my Palestinian friends and their right to return





Hiro Kone’s 4th LP Silvercoat the throng is out now on Dais Records, listen.