RUI HO’s music is a map of herself. Her two past EP:s are time capsules to the emotional state she was in at the time - they are rough, painful as well as reflective and bright. What unifies her sound is the melodic influences of her Chinese heritage.
In her upcoming EP ‘In Pursuit of the Sun逐日’, to be released on August 16th, the rave inspired tracks follow the narrative of a famous Chinese folklore where the giant Kua Fu is chasing the sun from East to West - which results in his death.
If you had to choose one adjective, verb and substantive that best described you as a person - what would they be?
Instinctive, move, passion.
What's your relationship to music?
I don't come from a musical background, but I have always enjoyed it and spent a lot of time listening to music. It was also an escape from reality when I was in school and was getting bullied and isolated because of being queer. I started doing music myself when I was in high school. Now it's my primary form of artistic expression.
Mixing current club sounds with traditional Chinese music is one of your trademarks, how did you find your sound and in what words would you describe it?
I'm interested in exploring all forms of electronic music with a Chinese sensibility in it. The Chinese melodic elements are the roots that keep me grounded, and then I can have fun with all these other interesting styles. Without the roots, I would be lost. I would describe my sound as melodic, emotional, current, rich and hybrid.
Compared to your debut EP 'Tales' your latest release 'Becoming is an Eventful Situation' is more melodic, what do these two EPs represent to you? Sound-wise and personally?
The EPs came from two different states of mind. Tales' Chinese title is戰記, which basically means "tales of wars". When I was writing that EP, I was going through a lot of transitions in life. I was disappointed with Paris after living and studying there for nearly four years, had recently moved to Berlin, had gotten in contact with the Shanghai scene and my amazing residency at Berlin Community Radio as well as the continuation of discovering of my sexuality and gender identity. There was a lot to process at that moment. So the EP was rough, smashing, painful, sad and bright - in a way very messy.'Becoming' is more of a reflective piece of work. I was going through the preparation of my transition at that time, so this EP is more introspective.Most of the drum structure was stripped to more simple ones, giving the melodies the leading role.
As a producer, what would you say defines a good track?
Anything that is emotional or has an opinion of its own. Personally, I prefer keeping the musicality even when it's very experimental but still innovative in its own way.
Could you tell me more about your alter-ego DJ Ruan?
It's a fun DJ moniker I created to do edits, mashups, remixes and mixes. RUI HO is going in the direction of a full stage performing experience, whereas DJ Ruan is going to be just fun, spontaneous and party-ready.
How would you describe the feeling you get when playing a gig?
I'm not really a party person, to be honest, but when I’m playing I get very excited. I can't stand a boring set, so I do all sort of extra shit like jumping genres, switching bpms and cutting tracks. I’m quite "naughty" behind the booth; I love seeing people getting surprised by my set. But when the magic didn't happen, I can feel quite down and guilty about it. But I know I can't do anything about it, so I let it go and enjoy the journey as it is.
What's your best DJ memory?
Hmmm, the most amazing moment would definitely be when I was touring with my Genome 6.66 Mbp fam in Barcelona, and Arca, who I've been a huge fan for ages, came through to my set! I only found out after the party and was honestly shocked. It was so nice meeting her and knowing that she had been having fun dancing to my set.
You’re based in Berlin - what do you think is the most exciting happening in the music scene there right now?
The fact that more and more people in Berlin started exploring different ways of performing and playing music other than just DJing. In the future, I think Berlin will develop quite a variety of different styles and types of artists.
courtesy RUI HO
words VERONICA JONSSON
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