Surrrp R Weng!
Excited for your set next week. Anyone else on the bill you’re particularly psyched to be playing along side?
Hello! I’m pretty excited, I’m actually writing all the music for it in the next two weeks. Always more fun that way :). Glad I get to play with Jaclyn, her sound is full of energy, so pure!
Your mixes have ranged rom ambient to electro - what can we expect from your live set? Chill out room or bouncy palace?
I honestly don’t quite know at the moment, probably more on the chill side of things, sparse and jammed out, some quiet talking. Definitely not dance music, though feel free to dance if you wanna!
Temple records released your 12” “life principles”. Can you give me a little background on that label / how you met them?
I run Temple with three of my closest friends- Matt Salaciak, Adam Feingold (aka Ex-Terrestrial), and Max Segal (aka Nightmaster). We’ve all been best friends for like 15 years. Matt, Adam and I have been in bands since high school and we all got deep into electronic music at the beginning of the decade. Matt and Max jammed one weekend in 2014 and came up with some incredible music, so we decided to put it out as Variant and Temple was born! We’re now on our 5th record, with a 6th out by the summer. Having a label with friends is really great, nothing better!
I don’t know if we’ve ever met - I may have caught you play at The Hive one summer. It’s hard to remember as that summer Durcher was swamped with parties. I remember weekends you could just walk down there and check out like, 3 or 4 raves that you didn’t even know where happening, all in those industrial buildings. Drones Club, Poisson Noir, The Basement, The Hive, the Arbutus space and SLAB . . . crazy times. A lot of diverse different crowds coming out. I really liked seeing that, like techo kids and oogles and Haitian parties all spilling into each other. I think the cops have basically shut it all down by now, but thats part of the ephemera of Temporary Autonomous Zones, right? Did you play those spots / did inform your sets in some ways?
It’s definitely possible that we’ve met, I’m pretty sure I have a very forgettable face! Yes the summers of 2015 and 2016 were quite something; it got to a point where people were complaining that there were too many parties. These are some of my fondest memories and I developed a lot as a DJ in those days, focusing extra hard on doing super long blends between strange styles and taking a lot of chances. Harder to do in a club. As fun as it often was, I think our current scene is a lot more diverse and more focused on making sure parties are safe and the feeling is right, so when some new spots open up it will be fantastic.
Where are you from? What were some seminal records or shows that sent you down the path to making the kind of music you do?
I’m born and raised in Montreal, as was all of Temple. I’ve gone through a lot of different musical phases; my tastes are forever shifting. As corny as it sounds, getting into analog synthesizers as a teen probably had the biggest impact on the music I make currently. Another major influence was the Forbidden Planet parties of 2012/2013. In those days the only people I knew who were doing this kind of stuff were Booma Collective, Jurg, and Paul. I became obsessed and was given the curse!
Regarding my sound, I’m highly influenced by Susumu Yokota, especially his album Zen under his Ebi moniker. Ambient, repetitive, sparse, and shimmering with beauty- one of those records that’s so deadly simple that you wonder why nothing can ever come close. Other big influences have been Hallucinator, Joel Vandroogenbroeck, Chris and Cosey, K. Leimer, The Disciples, Pauline Anna Strom, Enno Velthuys, Kraftwerk (obviously), and a zillion others.
I’m also highly influenced by my girlfriend Yasmine (aka Yasmine Ixe), she is constantly exposing me to new sounds and has changed my approach to music dramatically. We have two projects together- Library L’Amour, which is on the softer side of experimental, and Science Friction (also with Emmanuel Thibau), which is more of a French pop thing.
A lot of your synth tones have a meditative feel to them, I’m hesitant to use the term ‘New Age’?? Maybe there’s a better umbrella to hang out under for that style. But what does new age mean to you?
When I was making Life Principles I was falling in love with Yas. Falling in love can feel very new agey – naïve and bursting with emotion, you feel like a child. I think this is why the record sounds this way. I am generally a big fan of naïve sounding music, things that sound homemade or overdramatic. Also, generally speaking, when I make music I am usually frustrated and distracted, but that 20% of the time that it works… I can’t contain my emotions. I dance through the room and sometimes burst into tears. Like a form of dynamic meditation or something.
The theme for the show next week is analog live electronics - is using hardware machines something that’s important to you or do you eff with the computer world when producing?
All my productions are made with hardware and mixed on the computer. I also have some ¼” tape decks so I do some bouncing down and tape delay sends. I think the computer is an amazing tool, but part of the reason I use a lot of analog stuff is because I can be very impatient when I produce music- it’s just easier to get sounds you like when the knobs are in front of you. For the set it’ll probably just be analog synths recorded into my MPC and a microphone. The only analog synth I have right now is a Korg Trident and its pretty big and heavy so I’m not sure it’s worth lugging over. I have an Arp Odyssey MK1 on loan from my roommate but don’t think he’d be ok with me bringing it out!
I noticed your moniker shifted from R WONG to R WENG, any particulars about that decision you wanted to share? Or just closer to your real name?
This was something I was thinking about for a long time. When I first started using the R Wong moniker I felt it was just a spin off of my name and didn’t think too much about it. I never intended to co-opt a Chinese persona, however I became increasingly uncomfortable with the name as I read more about issues concerning cultural appropriation in and outside of dance music. I began to really feel that I was part of the problem. After a series of long conversations with friends I thought changing my name was the right thing to do. I also like changing my name often and theres a good chance I won’t use R Weng after the next record.
Whats coming up this year that you’re excited about? New tracks?
I have 5 or 6 unfinished projects- a solo EP of minimal synth stuff, an experimental EP with Library L’Amour, an EP with Science Friction as well as a release on the next 00:AM V/A, a more experimental dub thing as Agitation, and a remix for my roommate’s band The Beat Escape. I have also slowly started to rekindle my love affair with techno and hope to make more dance-oriented music in the next little bit, so yeah I’m excited to make music. Will hopefully work on some videos for Science Friction as well! Pure pop!
I’m also looking forward to going to Europe for the first time with Yas and maybe even playing some shows!
My pleasure, thank you for having me and all the best!