Multi-genre international superstar, DJ, producer, Asian label founder, and queer/non-binary/BIPOC advocate Fei-Fei recently released her new acid, techno single, “MY BODY IS GOD ON ACID,” a track from her forthcoming EP.
Talking about the song, Fei-Fei shares, “This is my first song back as Fei-Fei. Her name is ‘MY BODY IS GOD ON ACID’ – and she’s a feminist acid techno banger. I hope she will empower you and give you weird, raw, and dirty urges until you are reborn in a euphoric haze of beauty.”
Fei-Fei’s sound is difficult to pigeonhole, ranging from euphoric trance hooks, dubstep, techno, and grunge-pop. At once genre-bending, Fei-Fei’s sound undeniably reflects her sui generis personality.
With releases on Toolroom, Vandit, and Armada, Fei-Fei has officially remixed BANKS, Basement Jaxx, K.Flay, and Tiesto, while her debut album, Pretty Girls Don’t Hallucinate, hit number 13 on iTunes.
Tattoo.com spoke with Fei-Fei to find out more about the inspiration for “MY BODY IS GOD ON ACID,” her hiatus from DJing and touring, and her creative process.
What three things can’t you live without?
Ableton, farmers’ markets, and my mom’s dumplings.
What inspired your new single, “MY BODY IS GOD ON ACID?”
She’s a journey back to my first love and how it all started. All the sleepless nights I danced and danced and danced until the sun came up. Losing myself in dark warehouse parties, abandoned roller rinks, laser tag arenas, and forest raves in the middle of nowhere. The music became a part of me. It did strange things to my body.
Last winter, I DJ’d a 5-hour set at Amazon re:Invent and I realized I MISS THIS. Dance music is still such a huge part of me. Shout out to the tech bros who raged their hearts out. But as I dropped tune after tune after tune, staring at a sea of men, playing bangers featuring vocals by men, produced by men, telling ME to shake my ass or work my pussy? Fuck that. I wanna see a sea of women, play more bangers produced by women, singing about our own damn bodies. I got back from Vegas and this song birthed out of me in a frenzy.”
Walk us through your mindset as you approached recording the track.
It was a trip, I felt possessed. Sometimes if you think too hard, you can’t get into that flow state. I didn’t have a concrete idea of what the vocals would be, but as soon as I started recording and messing with the vocals, I went for it. The weirder the better.
You took a break from music for several years. Why?
I didn’t take a break from music; I took a break from DJing and touring. In fact, I took a break to become a better producer, singer, songwriter, and performer. I started making new music, this time completely engineered by myself. I took singing lessons and guitar lessons; I studied all my favorite pop songs to learn how to write a bop. I tapped into emotions that I’d spent years clutching and hiding inside me. Eventually, I found my voice. That voice became THRILL YOU KILL YOU, my alt/pop/punk band.
Now, I’m more confident as a producer. TYKY pushed my boundaries in so many ways. I never sang on any of my old Fei-Fei songs – I didn’t think I could, was too afraid that I’d suck, or worried about what people would think. But now, I could truly not give a fuck. I’m making music I want to make on my terms. And I’m back to do it all.
What motivated you to return at this particular time?
It just feels right. I’m comfortable in my body, and I have something to say. I have a whole new perspective and skill set and I want to be a role model for other Asian women to pursue their dreams in music.
How did you get started in music?
I played classical piano for 13 years when I was growing up. My Dad played clarinet and oboe and my mom used to sing in the Chinese opera.
Where are you from?
Born in Beijing, and grew up in Madison, WI.
Did your hometown impact your sound?
The Midwest underground rave scene was going off. Chicago house, Detroit techno, dirty warehouse parties, forest raves, you name it. It was a magical time to fall in love with dance music.
Which artists influenced you the most?
Garbage, Richie Hawtin, Grimes.
What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, TV, or other media?
I get inspired by so much – Films, books, and other artists. I go to as many art shows as I can – PippiLotti Rist’s exhibition at the Geffen MOCA recently blew my mind. I’m fascinated by the feminine body and the grotesque – women artists that are reclaiming power by owning their flesh. It’s subverting the male gaze (stereotype of woman as sexual object) by turning into something unexpected. Artists like Louise Bourgeois, Trulee Hall, Emma Stern, Pippilotte Rist, Casey Kauffman, and Julia Ducournau’s films Raw and Titane. They explore similar themes and do some crazy shit.
What can you share about your creative process?
For the vocal bops, a big part of the process is the songwriting. I keep a daily journal and refer to it for lyric ideas. Sometimes it’s effortless, inspired by a recent experience that I’ll emotionally exorcise. Other times it takes a little more headbanging aka banging my head on the wall till I figure it out. Choruses come easily; hooks are my jam. But verses are the bane of my existence.
I also use my voice as an instrument – a tripped-out percussive vocal chop, haunting synth line, or warm pads. It’s all a part of this chaotic and dreamy-drenched journey that I want the listener to experience.
And I love my OB6 (RIP Dave Smith). Sometimes I’ll start there, record a riff and build a song around that. Other times I’ll use it to replace soft synths I’ve already written in a song.
Do you have any ink? If so, how many, and which is your favorite?
I don’t but have always wanted to.
What can your fans look forward to over the next six months? Live gigs? New music?
More music for sure, the return of the Pussy Pop parties, and tour, I hope! I miss playing and meeting so many amazing people around the world and can’t wait to get back to it.