N: So, Ko.
Ko: It’s so funny that you are interviewing me. It’s so weird.
N: You’ve been in Beijing for how long?
Ko: Like a year and five months.
N: What brought you here to Beijing and what were you doing while here?
Ko: Well, so I was living in Chicago before I got here and my friend who I was in this cult with back in 2005-2009, he opened up a performing arts school in Yizhuang and he wanted me to, kinda, oversee the performing arts so I came out here to help him. I was only gonna stay for about 6 months but I ended up staying longer.
N: Why did you stay longer?
Ko: I really liked Beijing and China is very interesting because it’s like a weird sitcom everyday. Weird stuff happens.
N: What were some of you favorite spots and interests in Beijing?
Ko: All the different people. Everyone acts very different here than they do in America so that in itself is super entertaining. And then obviously going out to shows in the Guloudajie area is always fun. The nightlife here is completely different that in the States.
N: Any favorite spots?
Ko: Obviously like Temple Bar has always been great. School Bar is really cool, and Modernista, DDC, and Yue Space.
N: Have you been playing shows the whole time you’ve been here?
Ko: When I first moved out here I was really excited to play shows. I did my Yes Mistress project two weeks from moving to Beijing. It’s my weirdo electronic project and I did that at Temple Bar. That was my first show here. I think it was a Wednesday night or something like that. The first show I saw was at School Bar, Round Eye, and some old punk rock band from the 80’s and a couple other local Chinese bands. It was all original music and it was such a high energy show. And then I saw Chui Wan, who I had never heard a sound like that.
N: And so what have you been doing since your Yes Mistress electronic project?
Ko: So I’ve been playing solo, as Ko, for months, doing loop pedal stuff. I have a Boss RC-30 and a couple of effect pedals for my vocals and stuff. It was hard for me to find people to play with as a band. It had never taken me that long to find people to play with as a band. Like, if I move to a new city I find people to play with in a couple weeks and in Beijing took me a year. Now I’m playing with you, Daniel from Boss Cuts and Frankie on drums, who’s mostly in the Wudaokou scene. It’s nice to have a full band and I feel really bad leaving as soon as we are starting to get things going, but, I gotta do what I gotta do.
N: You gotta do what you gotta do. Can you tell us some reasons why you are going back to the states?
Ko: I came from a very very lush music scene where you can go to 50 million music shows a night and there is a huge D.I.Y. scene. You can go see a band in a basement and then go see a band in a really amazing venue right after it. The scene for female artists is such a booming thing right now, and really inspiring. So I think it’s best for me to go and be a part of that and be part of the ever-growing music scene. I miss it a lot.
N: What were some bands and stuff you did over there?
Ko: I had two bands and was touring and played SXSW. I was doing a lot and my bands back home were really good at kicking my butt and getting me to do shows and I’m always glad after playing the shows. And another thing why I’m excited to move back was recording other artists. I have a couple 7-inch recordings on Joyful Noise Recordings and those were all done in my apartment, mixed and recorded by me.
N: Who have you recorded?
Ko: I discovered enjoying recording in Beijing so I recorded my friend, Jordan Darling. And I had the best time ever and realized this is what I wanna do, so I got a music residency back home so I’m going to be curating shows and also saving money to go to school for audio engineering. Honestly, there is not a lot of women out there, and if there are I never really see them out there, I always see males running sound and doing shows and recording. I think it would be really good to be aggressive in getting my foot in the door to be a female audio engineer. Who cares if I have a vagina? I am good at what I do and passionate. That’s all anyone needs anyway.
N: So you are planning to ultimately go back to school?
Ko: Yeah, go back to school, but might be a thing where I do an internship in a studio and might fall into a job that way. But I really don’t know other than the residency, everything is up in the air. But that’s the fun in it, trying to find what I’m gonna do next. I’m not really scared anymore, now I’m just excited to see the next step.
N: So do you have a last show before you leave?
Ko: Yeah, the last show is January 20th with a full band playing at Yue Space (Beijing Underground’s Sweet Winter Music Days and Loreli has a market before and we are the first band, starting at 8pm. It’s early for most people, but it’s a Saturday so I think people will come early. My last show in Beijing.
Joyful Noise : https://www.joyfulnoiserecordings.com/Ko
White Moms : https://whitemoms.bandcamp.com/
Beijing Underground : https://www.facebook.com/groups/beijingunderground/
Loreli : https://www.facebook.com/Lorelichina/