For her newest LP, Oasis Nocturno, Lee utilized these ideas in each means she may; it’s a extremely meticulous undertaking with many interconnected aesthetics and themes, and Lee made positive that she exercised her artistic company in all the things from the combo to the present’s lighting arrange. The result’s a transparent and centered album that displays all of Lee’s influences.
Lee’s sound is a nebulous mixture of hip hop, EDM, and oddly sufficient, classical music; she’s very a lot a product of her music library. Born and raised in LA to an immigrant household, her life at house was contrasted with what she encountered whereas frequenting the hip hop golf equipment in Central: Classical piano classes meet Westside Connection. She accepted and adopted all the things that caught her consideration with out judgment.
After the discharge of her newest undertaking, Lee hopped on the cellphone with workplace to speak in regards to the time she spent as a part of the Los Angeles “Beat Scene,” her narrative imaginative and prescient in the case of her dwell performances, and the methods during which she’s staying linked with followers throughout quarantine.
What was your expertise of the rave tradition within the early 2000s? I do know within the 90s, the scene exploded in LA—did you come on through the tail finish of that wave?
By the point I had began going to raves, it had already entered a section the place it had large festivals. It was totally different than the tradition within the 90s, from what I’ve heard from my buddies who have been round earlier. However very totally different than what it’s now, too. I believe it was form of on its solution to being as large as it’s now, however perhaps not as constructed into regular popular culture. Like now, what’s a rave? Is it a membership? Is it one thing you go on a Friday night time? Is it actually a “rave” rave like what you’ll’ve seen within the 90s in America, which might be extra akin to what a rave is in Europe.
I participated in it, however I really feel like I am extra energetic in it now as a musician. I used to be largely within the rap and hip hop scene in LA—a variety of digital and experimental rap and hip hop.
Proper. You have been a part of Mission Blowed for a bit. What have been a few of your first performances there like?
Mission Blowed has been round for a extremely very long time; it is form of the birthplace of freestyle rap, in that particular type. It was round many generations earlier than I began going. After I went, I had a buddy who introduced me there; it was round Limerick Park, which is Central LA, and never a spot the place there are a variety of younger asian women making an attempt to play beats, so I needed to actually earn the respect of the individuals who’ve been there for thus lengthy and who have been such part of this deep-rooted rap and hip hop tradition in LA. I bear in mind going, the primary time, and I had a CD with some beats on it that I used to be going to play at a beat cypher. Throughout a beat cypher you simply go up and play beats and everyone seems to be like, “Wow. That is a extremely fireplace beat.” You simply rise up there, bobbing your head, not likely doing something, as a result of another person is enjoying the CD together with your beat. So, I’m going there, and clearly I am a minority, however I begin enjoying these beats and folks begin giving me these sneers like, “What’s she going to do? That is going to be unhappy,” or no matter their expectations have been of me. However I performed some beats, and everybody was pleasantly shocked. You might see that shift of their facial expressions, from doubt to a humble nod that this is not utterly bullshit and he or she’s truly good at what she does.
From Mission Blowed, I began going to Low Finish Concept. They have been taking place across the identical time, however Low Finish Concept spoke to me extra. That was a membership night time that occurred each Wednesday that occurred in Lincoln Heights, simply north of Chinatown. That is actually the place my roots began. I received my chops at Low Finish Concept and actually turned a part of a group of different artists. In contrast to Mission Blowed, Low Finish Concept wasn’t rap-centric. Low Finish Concept was very a lot centered round producers and DJs. I believe one of the vital notable guys to come back out of the scene was most likely Flying Lotus. There was a bunch of us who made instrumental rap beats, and never typical ones. They tended to have much more digital components than conventional rap beats. That was what ended up being known as the “Beat Scene” of the late 2010s. That was actually the genesis of my profession as a musician.
However you went into video-game design first, proper?
Sure. So, proper after graduating school, I used to be like, “What’s a cool job that is respectable that my mother will likely be okay with?” So I went straight into this firm that printed video video games. I appreciated the surroundings, the stuff there was cool, and I may inform my mother, “Yeah, I work in enterprise,” but be round a variety of cool, chill, gamer-type individuals.
What was the second that you just determined to return to music?
Music was a passion this complete time, all through school, and even once I received a job. There was simply no a part of me that it was sensible by any means to really pursue music. I believe it was simply the way in which I used to be raised; I used to be raised in a fashion the place it was very clear to me that my mother got here to America and labored actually laborious to supply this life for me as an immigrant, in order that I may go and construct a greater life for myself, a steady profession that has longevity and safety—I am positive you’ve got heard this, with a number of youngsters of immigrants being a health care provider, a lawyer, an engineer, one thing like that. In order that was me being in an business that was form of cool, but in addition was enterprise improvement, licensing, and all of that. Although I all the time had music as a passion. I bear in mind I might come into work falling asleep at my desk as a result of I might be staying up so late going to those music nights, enjoying beats. Nevertheless it was once I received laid off from my job that I made a decision to pursue music full time. I may’ve most likely determined to pursue it sooner, however it simply appeared so dangerous to me, and I did not wish to put that a lot stress on a ardour of mine. I’ve seen it with others; as soon as their ardour turns into their paycheck, they turn into jaded and lose that love for it. And you recognize, I simply resisted it for thus lengthy. I make music in such a distinct segment scene, there wasn’t any “massive” but in my scene. Half the individuals on this planet do not know this style of music.
After I received laid off, I advised my mother, “Should you may simply give me a yr to see if this music factor works, in case you may simply give me your blessing, be cool and do not bitch at me for a yr about doing this, then if it really works, it really works. If it does not, I am going to return to grad college.” Nothing lights the fireplace beneath your ass greater than transferring again in together with your mother and father. I used to be very motivated to make it work. And inside that yr, I used to be in a position to do it full-time. I went from getting laid off to with the ability to maintain myself that following yr. Finally, individuals began asking me if I wished to go on tour. These small venues in Europe have been saying, “Please tell us in case you come to Europe. We might like to have you ever play our venue.” So I despatched myself to Europe. I had by no means been there—I had by no means been to a overseas nation earlier than—however I went and performed Greece, London, Amsterdam, all these locations by myself accord. It is loopy to consider it now. I do not assume I’ve the center to do it now, however I did then and it labored out very well.