“Instagram and Social media are part of our reality and therefore we need to find the right way to handle them.”
Love dressing up, your Dad’s vinyls and find social media a bit strange? Then we think you’ll get on just fine with Ay Wing…
After her fantastic single and video for ‘Strange,’ poking fun at the bizarre reality of social media and it’s effect on society, and with a new video set for release this month, we thought it was about time we sat down to chat with Swiss singer-songwriter and producer Ay Wing about the perils of Instagram, her musical influence, and what it’s like being a true solo artist in the music industry.
For those who don’t know, how would you describe yourself to someone who’s never heard of your music?
A bubbly orange cocktail that leaves you with a big hangover the next day.
First and foremost, you’re a solo artist. What’s it like to record, produce and mix your music by yourself? It seems like it’d be a lot of hard work!
To create an EP is always difficult and intensive – writing the songs, the recording-process, producing, mixing, mastering, cover artwork, promotion, video shoot, editing – it’s so much. But I have had help along the way by some amazing people, like René Flächsenhaar that came up with the bassline for „Ice Cream Dream“, Lewis Ralph Phillips who wrote with me LA and Strange my amazing live band that jammed those songs into their current form, Shuko (Christoph Bauss) and his mixing Engineer Benjamin Herrmann that helped to shape the sound and pimped those bedroom recordings into something awesome.
Do you feel like there’s more/less pressure on you being a female solo artist? (If so, how do you combat it?)
It used to bother me when people only saw the pretty blonde girl that sings and then be surprised once they figure out that I actually write and produce my own stuff. It felt like I needed to prove myself more so than my male counterparts, so yes I felt like I had more pressure. Nowadays I try not to be bothered too much by it and surround myself with people that remind me I don’t have to give into this type of thinking. First and foremost I’m an artist and keep demanding to be treated as such.
Let’s not forget about your live band – what’s it like to have your ideas and creations translate to the live setting? Are there any difficulties?
It’s an interesting process. I had to learn to let go of the recorded versions when working on a live set and find a way to make the songs interesting in a set up of two, three or four musicians. In the studio you can layer as many instruments as you want… and to reduce it so that it still works was a big challenge for me.
We’ve got to talk about your brilliant new video for ‘Strange?’ – where did the idea come from?
It was inspired by a friends Instagram account called Jojo Copeman. She dressed and transformed herself in various iconic characters. I thought this transformation fitted quite well to my song “Strange” as self identity played a big role in the song. And I needed a reason to dress up…
It looks like it was a blast to record – did you have fun doing it?
It was a lot of fun. We laughed a lot during the two days shoot. The crew was amazing. We were all dancing to the Pulp fiction Soundtrack when we were shooting the Mia Wallace scenes, we had a blast.
There’s also a definite political message behind it – do you think it’s important to talk about the ‘strangeness’ of social media?
Definitely. Strange’ tries to find humour in an age where many of our own identities seem based on insta-filters and the right angle. However Instagram and Social media are part of our reality and therefore we need to find the right way to handle them. Strange is my own personal take on how to navigate this very peculiar part of our existence.
Let’s chat about your new EP, Ice Cream Dream. It’s full of awesomely retro synths, bouncy riffs and heavy beats. We love it here at Born, were you pleased with how it turned out?
Thank you. It’s nice to hear that people like it. I’m quite pleased how it turned out although in my head I’m already thinking about the next step in terms of sounds and visuals. I guess it’s a never-ending process.
Are there any artists/people in particular that have influenced your sound?
So many. Growing up I’ve listened to a lot of my Dads Vinyls such as the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Eva Cassidy. In my teenage years Nirvana, Eminem, Lauryn Hill were spinning on my CD Walkman. Today I love the poetry of Elliott Smith, The soundscape of Massive Attack and Portishead and the playfulness of The Avalanches, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Tame Impala. There is so much good music out there and I’m sure I’m influenced unconsciously every time I listen to something.
Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?
That’s always very different. Sometimes it seems that I only have to put some chords or riffs together and I can write the main piece in half an hour effortlessly and other times a half written poem or an instrumental is lying around for months until I can finish it.
What’s your personal favourite track from the EP?
At the moment it’s definitely Ice Cream Dream. It’s the most playful and fun one. But it always changes. I do like all of them.
And finally, what’s next for Ay Wing?
The “Ice Cream Dream” music video will come out in June. There will be another EP out soon and more shows across Europe. Exciting times!