Taiwanese MC and Grimes collaborator speaks to Clash...

At the tail end of 2015, like everyone else in the world with ears, Clash was busy devouring ‘Art Angels’, Grimes’ motley masterpiece, exploring its every nuance and being giddily enlightened by each fanciful layer uncovered. Her inquisitive and experimental palette most vividly shone as she introduced the western world to the vocal talents of Pan Wei Ju, AKA Taiwanese MC Aristophanes, on the growling metal track, ‘SCREAM’.

It served as the introduction to a similarly expressive creative soul, whose deliciously sinister Mandarin raps draw from the darker side of art and literature. Now, as Aristophanes prepares to drop her debut EP, ‘No Rush To Leave Dreams’, the Tapei-based artist is set to follow in the footsteps of her boundary-pushing pal. ‘No Rush To Leave Dreams’ calls upon the production skills of collaborators sourced from Soundcloud, including Tokyo-based producer Hamacide and New Yorker the range, and thrills with glitchy beats, warped industrial noise, and Pan’s foreboding spits.

Clash exclusively presents the premiere of ‘No Rush To Leave Dreams’, and invites you to dive headfirst into its wonderful, wicked ways, before scrolling down to learn more about its maker.

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Over the past three years I heave been collaborating with many producers from many countries whom I met on Soundcloud. On my ‘No Rush To Leave Dreams’ EP, there are producers from Taiwan, the U.S. and Japan, while the stunning David Kahne mixed and co-produced all the tracks, which makes things even more interesting to me. The difference of musical aesthetic between different countries became vivid to me after the mixing was finished. I also enjoyed the time I spent in David’s studio; he had a very clear vision even though he can’t understand Mandarin.

The title of this EP popped out when I was listening to ‘Rush’ by Kali Uchis. The synth line makes it lovely, dreamy and bright, which I love so much. The lyrics of my EP are dreamy but dark, so I was like: ‘Oh, I should put this word in the title and use it oppositely.’

The seven tracks all have something to do with the blurred line between reality and imagination. ‘If The Flowers Leave’ is dedicated to a high school student who committed suicide in protest against the wrong educational policy some months ago in Taiwan. The ruling party wants to edit the content in our history textbooks because they’re afraid of the next generation knowing some historical facts.

‘As You Want’ is about the love for depressed people, the love for someone making mistakes, someone who has been abandoned, and someone helpless.

‘I Am Not A Metaphor’ describes the very first moment a young girl finds herself suffering from the patriarchy system. Then she refuses to be the sweet girl and the naive angel anymore.

‘The Peach Blossom’ is about how human beings face the situation when their dreams and hopes are shattered. ‘The Mirror’ is the most poetic and abstract song on this EP, trying to capture the twilight reflecting on mirror and water.

‘Fly To The Moon’ is about chasing freedom, and the guilt of betraying the beloved. ‘Dreams Of Caves’ starts from the cave Pluto mentioned in his story, and then ventures to the unknown darkness in the outer space.

Zihling, the artist who made the artwork for this EP, is a Taiwanese painter I met at Mangasick. She brings a fantastic world to me by her art, which is dark and twisted. The girls in her artwork look like they’re rotting, but they’re not afraid of it. Mangasick is my favourite place in Taipei. A gallery and comic books store, it collects the most interesting subcultural art here.

I was attracted to books before I knew how to read. The first book I read was The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran when I was five-years-old. I didn’t understand it but I felt good pretending that I was reading, and building my own imagination with it.

After I learned how to read, I could even spend all my afternoon reading a dictionary. Literature is my first addiction and it builds most my points of view towards art.

Also, I have been a dancer for 10 years. I am into the art of performance. Pina Bausch, my favorite choreographer, inspires me a lot. The sorrow, loneliness, and the kind of human longing for love in her work always blows my mind. So I started to describe these themes in my music; I have been trying to ask my own questions and seek my own answers.

My identity matters as well. As an Asian, a female and a Taiwanese, things can be complicated and difficult sometimes. So I get used to changing my perspective often to tell my own story. Mostly it’s like an inner struggle in my life to recognise the real me in the huge image that the system is trying to persuade me to believe is who I am.

Ras G – ‘Back On The Planet’
Sainkho Namtchylak – ‘Stepmother City’
Erykah Badu – ‘Mama’s Gun’
Young Fathers – ‘White Men Are Black Men Too’
Miroslav Vitous – ‘Magical Shepherd’

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Catch Aristophanes on tour from later this month:

26 Tokyo Akasaka Blitz with Grimes
27 Osaka Big Cat with Grimes
30 Singapore Laneways Festival with Grimes

12 Taipei The Wall
15-20 Austin, Texas SXSW

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