monday mixtape: BÉZIER
'Pathways and Coordinates'
Bézier, do we have to introduce Bézier? Not really. So we decided to have a little chit chat accompanying his superb and versatile mix...
Hi, Robert! How was your weekend?
Every weekend seems to be a variation on a recurring theme: lowkey or chill. I’ve spent a lot of time catching up on all the shows I never got around to seeing. I did manage to finish all of The Expanse from start to finish. For what it’s worth, I am a huge space opera queen.
How have you been in general?
Generally, I’d say good. I’ve had the apartment to myself for a good 6 months and was pretty surprised I haven’t been thrashing about with demons the whole time.
There are moments I am uncomfortably restless but I feel like I’m accomplishing a lot. Though the state of a lot of things right now is particularly grim, as we have seen with sustained anti-Asian hate in the US. I’m processing and figuring out what choices I need to make to better society if even in increments. I find myself building things and starting projects for these ends that people might one day find useful.
With all the music you’re releasing this year, it looks like you’ve been busy the past months and turned the current situation into an opportunity. How do you stay productive and where are you getting the inspiration?
I completed a lot of music before all this lockdown happened. Only now am I getting the chance to present them to a wider audience. I think my main inspiration and raison d’être is a longing for the wider fam across borders and oceans. They motivate me and push me to do things I couldn’t achieve alone. To add, I think visibility is important especially being queer and a physically visible minority in the music scene. There hasn’t really been a lot of people I could look up to and identify with so I’ve had to carve out a specific path. The labels I started at the beginning of the pandemic helped me navigate this landscape a bit. And pre-pandemic, in the past I’ve had people come up to me after shows telling me seeing me in such a way made them feel hopeful. In addition, working and collaborating with a diverse group of friends keeps me highly disciplined and present.
Can you tell us more about your new labels and your releases this year?
These were all ideas I’ve been tossing around in my head these past 2-3 years. I sort of had a light bulb turn on somewhere in Pennsylvania at a queer rave festival (Campout) in 2018. In between ego-deaths, I thought perhaps, dividing up my concept across a few threads can help me decide what I need out of life. Bodyzone is an artist / label that pays homage to the midwest sound and is named after a gay bathhouse in Detroit. It’s the soundtrack for steam rooms popping off and discreet dads raging in the wet maze. ‘miv.’ continues on themes I’ve built as Bézier and mainly helps me organize my thoughts better. And lastly, Piece of Work, I would say is a bit of an outlier. It’s my sandbox to develop new methodology in music and art making while attempting to address the questions of politics in music and queer identity.
Bodyzone, miv. and Piece of Work have a very clear visual direction. Who did you work with and how did you come to the visual identities?
Arnau Pi who is well known for his work with Hivern Discs came up with the initial logo and identity for ‘Bodyzone’. I sort of thought that ‘Bodyzone’ would have a similar vibe as a surf and skate apparel company from the mid to late 80s. I’ve worked with Nam Phung out of Hanoi to extend the concepts along with those of ‘Piece of Work’. The logo for ‘PoW’ was created by Taiwanese designer Ralph Kuo Chiang Wu based on sketches I provided. Related to this, the artwork for the LP ‘Heirloom’ was a collaboration of many friends in San Francisco who came together with a statement piece on: generation, immigration and assimilation. Finally, for ‘miv.’ I worked with Benedikt Rugar and Diego Scaro to come up with a whole identity based on the concept of involuntary memory (mémoire involontaire), fluidity and continuity.
How do you approach making music for your different aliases? Why do you work under different aliases?
Growing up in Southern California to parents of immigrants there was always the necessity (out of survival) to assume different forms and identity. My mind has been wired to think in these patterns and so the music must also follow the same tendencies. Ideas and personas can be malleable and exploratory and ultimately can be deprogrammed.
Your music is very diverse but always has a signature sound. How do you accomplish this and where do you get your inspiration from?
Again, life in Southern California has a lot to do with this. There are a lot of nonlinear routes that take you to one destination. Sometimes a longer route saves you more time. Once, I memorized all the different routes between Orange County and LA working at an entry level job before we had apps and navigation. My musical ideas do represent a sprawl or a mix of coordinates and intersections. I’m always avidly seeking openings that take me to another plateau in terms of what I can do.
Tell us a bit about your mix.
It’s a blazed road trip. I’m longing for the great expanse and daydreaming about taking a long drive down the I-5 freeway from SF to LA. There’s a few twists, some dramatic shifts but ultimately a safe landing.
Finally, what is the first thing you’d like to do when everything ‘gets back to normal’?
Of course I want to see friends again and maybe hop on a plane somewhere. But I’m gonna be real honest, you’d probably find me a few blocks down my apartment, crawling around the dark basement of Ficken3000.
Answer Code Request - Thu
newworldaquarium - Levels Halo
Seekersinternational meet Om Unit - Krnch
Auton - Without Hindrance (Andrew Nolan Remix)
Niklas Wandt - Rausfarn
Hoshina Anniversary - Michinoku
Olorun - Yuki
Magnus II - Rocktronic
Facets - Sailed Away
YuSu - Gleam
Cheryl Lynn - Give My Love To You
Dax Pierson - For 2_24
Basic Spirit - Heart Sphere - E. R. (Emergency Relief) (Piano Mix)
Roisin Murphy - Something More (Extended Mix)
Seekersinternational meet Om Unit - .Check One
Wardown - Sussuration
Check out Bézier’s latest release on miv records:
…and his sites: