Many DJs have graced EAST PALACE WEST PALACE with their presence throughout the dozen of editions we've had the pleasure to have so far. Their energy and eclectic music choices have sparked lightning bolts on the dance floor and a plethora of emotions in our joyous ravers’ hearts.
Robert Yang, aka BÉZIER has been one of them and oh girl, did he make us dance to our hearts content in an edition that left a deep imprint on our party-going-minds.
He needs no introduction as his reputation precedes him: One of the founders of Honey Soundsystem, DJ and a music producer. His music brings together a wide range of influences, from new wave to industrial to synth punk, to sounds going back to the 90s Warp Records catalog—a major influence for him.
For our first Podcast series on BAIHUI he's bringing once more a tiny selection for us to experience some music bliss.
Hello, Bézier! How are you, and what are you up to at the moment?
I’m doing well. I started a new job here in Berlin and finally settled in a bit in my new home since the past 3 years.
How were your beginnings as a DJ? How was the scene back then and what elements have changed ever since for you?
When I started I was pretty fresh coming out gay. I was going out a lot to venues in LA and Southern California to experience music I enjoyed, but mostly alone. The audiences at these places didn’t have a lot of people I could noticeably identify with. I wanted to counteract this and not feel so lonely. I bought a pair of Technics 1200s in 2003 and started collecting records. Then I moved to San Francisco to find more people like me to build an environment that I could only at that point in time dream about.
How was the experience with Honey Soundsystem, could you tell us how this journey started? What motivated you to create a gig that resonated strong within the queer community? Would you go into a project of this kind again?
Honey was a great teacher for many things I never could have experienced had I tried to do this all by myself. We had all the hits: community building, set design, hosting, connecting, bringing people out of the woodwork, finding common ground in shared interests. I’ve been a part of HSS for 14 years now and I’d like to hold on to some of these memories as I direct my attention towards interesting things I could materialize in the future as an artist.
You define yourself like a bit of a music weirdo, what are the genres that you live for and what should we discover that is not out there having the moment it should?
I think the last few months I’ve been reassessing how I should relate to music that I enjoy. My tour from 2016 to 2019 never gave me a moment to sit and think about why I was playing this music. Now that I’m in a quieter place I can clearly think about how this relates to why I love this music: marginal experience leads us to identify with a certain stimulus and allows us to imagine a world in which we feel safe that can only be represented in a kind of sound that many people without this feeling of being ‘on edge’ cannot possibly identify with. I am not a straight man. I am effeminate-- ‘effanineffable’ of non-discernible Asian descent. The work being done by FuFu Record’s through their Double Happiness compilations has been a good starting point for me in this investigation as well as output from Siamese Twins particularly the Kāthā V.A. (ST๐๐๕๐๐๕) compilation. But we must also delve further and refocus this back to current and fresh US sounds by Black people that includes: Stefan Ringer, Jon Dixon, Patrice Scott, Jasmine Infiniti, AceMo and MoMA Ready and everyone who contributed to the Haus of ALTR compilation.
Which region of the world has most of your attention at the moment and why? (Despite the limitations the pandemic has brought along so far...)
I am always thinking about home, where my peace of mind has been at various points in my life and the US constantly gives me a refreshing outlook on life. From afar it does look like a massive dumpster fire when you think about politics and the issues the government is confronted with particularly in regards to history and facing all sorts of skeletons in their closets--in addition to the ones in broad daylight holding public offices. Even though I’m living in Berlin, getting settled here, a part of me still exists in the continuity of the American fabric if not for the fact alone that I’m still paying US taxes.
I imagine that being back in Asia for a while put you in touch with cool projects, and also allows you to plunge into your own projects inspired by the music ecosystem there. Would you like to share some of them or one that you consider we should definitely have a look at?
I have a lot of favorites but Yoshi from Taipei started a label called Jin and everything from packaging to sounds is super on point. Mogwaa from Seoul never ceases to amaze me with his talents. Sunju Hargun from Bangkok gives me the rush when you hear exciting new sounds. And Temple Rat from Shanghai, who my boyfriend introduced me to, is fast becoming an artist whose releases I anticipate will be ‘buy on sight’.
And what about your own projects in the region and at large?
It’s hard to say yet where and when new things will materialize but pieces are in the pipeline and that’s all I will say about that :)
And now, what should we expect from this playlist you've put together for EAST PALACE WEST PALACE? :)))
As per usual with all my playlists: it’s a cathartic purge, a meditative exorcism, a purification of the soul.
Thanks again, Robert.
Get ready to be electrified by a selection with a most eclectic and versatile DJ.