The first time we’ve heard about ANDR was when we joined LUCFest in Tainan, Taiwan, and witnessed her first-ever show as a solo artist. The young and talented alternative pop star then bewitched us with her captivating voice, electronic beats, r&b elements with her goofy, playful vibes through the whole show. And this February, she performed at Bangkok Design Week and just released first collaboration with Thai artist mindfreakkk in the song ‘Swapping Socks’. So here, we invited ANDR to talk a bit about herself and this overseas experience in this edition of Space Invader.
When did you start playing music?
What do you find the most difficult when you first start making music as Andr?
I spent a whole lot of time trying to figure out how other people do it, their creative process, so I searched on the internet, watched tons of interviews. I love watching interviews by the way. And then the only answer is just ‘Do whatever you like.’. It’s different between people to people, and still even the same person would do a hundred different ways creating. So that really made me more relaxed when creating my own.
In your artist profile, it says you’re graduated from engineering science and ocean engineering? Wow.
I know it’s a weird thing to add to my profile cus I’m a newbie in the industry. So it’s a little bit about myself I guess.
How could you find time to make music? From my understanding, students in this field of study mostly spend their time on textbooks and labs?
I’d say… it’s because I sucked at what I studied so that’s not really a problem. But I have to work hard to keep up with school and stuff. And as soon as I’m done, like when I finished school, all the rest of my time I would want to focus on music, go to the show as much as possible.
So the school is more like expectation from parents?
Yeah, a bit. From myself a little bit. As we worked hard to get into the university so I really tried to finish it and get the diploma, and just… ‘I’m done with school’. Oh my god, I hate it.
Does music help you go through hard times in the uni?
Yeah, I feel like while studying I don’t really listen to music that much. It’s more like background sound kinda thing. But I do find… if I’m trying to capture a specific moment in my life, I’d try to find music to accompany that. So every time I listen to that music, it will bring back the memories. It’s more like a special storage in life. Cool thing.
How did you get signed by the label?
I was still in the uni. I competed in the pretty big composing competition in Taiwan, and I wrote this song that got a little tropical groove to it. Kain, my producer, came to see the contest and he likes the performance so we talked. That’s how it’s started. That’s still very strange to me, the whole thing. Seems like a dream to me.
What would you describe Andr music?
I can’t really explain. Instead I’d ask people what does my music sound like, what genre would you put them in. For me I’d just say alternative, r&b, bedroom pop, indie pop-influenced. Indie rock a bit, pop rock, I don’t know. I’m currently making my album right now. It will be released in the middle of this year. I’m very excited, I haven’t finished everything yet. So stressful, but these are the genres I try to blend in this project. So the released songs will probably be included.
Can you give us a little spoiler about your full album?
Do you know Pokemon cards? I enjoyed collecting these toys, small coins, and cards when I was a kid. Since this album is gonna be across many genres, I figured out the best way to present it. Maybe to create like the monster or stuff like that that suits every single song. That’s what I can say for now. Long story short, if you like Pokemon, if you like collecting stuff, I think you’re gonna like my album.
What’s your favorite Pokemon?
Let’s talk about the released songs, start with ‘Night Lotion’. I found the tagline about this song on the website and it’s so weird. What’s going on?
“The human body is composed of fat, bones, muscles, and water. In order to get closer, closer, and closer to you, I can turn into lotion, cling tightly to your body, and melt into your back.”
Okay, the song itself is pretty pathetic, the mood is very pretty much like ‘You can melt me into anything you want. I will be there for you.’. So the feeling behind that song is pretty sad. I just realized ‘Night Lotion’ the title itself sounds intimate, like the lotion you put on your naked body. And so the tagline is just acting smart. I think that the human body is composed of water and stuff. I don’t know what’s going on with that but I love it.
For the music, the slow part is more like the lo-fi sound. I made that beat. It’s one of my first beats I made in my bedroom. Then when I presented the beat to Kain, he basically took the twist of the whole middle part of the song and turned it into this groovy sound. It’s not what I expected but I loved the way it turned out. I’ve also loved songs with more upbeat tempo with the sad message underneath. So this song has a lot of messages like that.
How about ‘i don’t lose sleep anymore’? I thought it was about your Uni time studying super hard.
A bit resonates with that. It’s actually about, as a human, we’re good, we’re nice people, but we may have urges to do evil things. We have bad thoughts coming up and I want to capture that, the picture like a fake scenario that you can do whatever you want. For me I want to mess shit up, like stepping on a clean dining table with my nasty foot. Something like the weird stuff to release the anger, and yeah that’s the idea behind that. But I didn’t focus on why this protagonist is angry. I feel like it’s whatever those scenarios wanna project.
The bassline in here, I cannot recall how we got it. I can’t play bass, but sometimes I do have a strong preference or inspiration about the bass I want, the certain riff, sort of bassline. But the tone it’s purely just Kain’s magic, he does all crazy shit on my shitty beats and makes it so polished. I love it. He’s a magician.
The music video is very reminiscent of the early 2000s indie cut and paste editing.
The director (Kya HUANG) is my high school friend. We’re the same age. She directed this and the ‘Swapping Socks’ music video, so I like that. She’s very talented.
What’s the inspiration to add those weird sounds you make into your music, for example, blowing the raspberries?
The inspiration behind that, I just mentioned like Frank Ocean or Tyler, the Creator. I find these artists use weird sounds, or they’re not actually pleasant sounds. Some of them actually scratch your ears, but it makes me feel high and like we’ve broken some rules in that sense. And other than that, playing with the texture of sounds makes the emotions broader. I can hide the sincere emotions in these crazy sounds, it would be the perfect balance between innovative and resonate with people, that’s what I’m trying to do. So yeah, they’re gonna be something weirder coming out.
Are you into club music too? I heard some elements in there.
I’m not an expert but I enjoy them a lot. I love Troye Sivan’s new album. The best. And after ‘Rush’ the music video came out, I stood at the screen straight for like and hour looping the video. It’s so awesome, and I really want to make club music like that. Maybe not this album, but I’m really trying to learn more about club music and stuff. But I don’t go to clubs a lot. I’m the mixture of shy and outgoing. And I feel like clubs make me anxious and happy at the same time. So I’m not like a regular clubgoer, just at times.
On ‘Swapping Socks’, how did you find mindfreakkk and decide to work together?
We started this collaboration cus my label in Taiwan, Fortune Coookie Records, trying to do an EP called ‘Oversea Calls’. The idea is to pair oversea artists with Taiwanese artists to see what we come up with. And we found mindfreakkk through our distributor Believe, and they suggested mindfreakkkk. I love her voice and her profile picture on Spotify. It looks like the Wii character, and this is the perfect amount of weirdness that I love. She’s quirky and I’m quirky, we match in that sense. So I reached out, and I’m so glad she said yes. It’s just amazing and very easy for us.
The story behind ‘Swapping Socks’
The Idea of the song is just about friendship. As we were writing more and more lyrics into the song, it appears to me that I and mindfreakkk have different ideas about our friends passing away or imagine ourselves passing away, and how our friends and family will react. So my main inspiration is my best friend, who is my younger sister, and she often says ‘I don’t know what I’d do if you died.’. It’s a dark subject but it’s also funny in the sense. My verse is mostly like ‘Don’t you dare friggin’ die.’ while Mind is the opposite perspective of that. She’s more like, ‘I feel like I’m gonna die first. I hope you’re not too sad for me.’. But the chorus is just about fun times with your besties against the world.
What is the #Dinosaurgames hashtag under Andr’s YouTube video?
Do you think you know the storyline in the music video? Cus I don’t. So the director has this whole storyline in her head. When she was filming, I didn’t think that apparent to me but also she pictured us like… mindfreakkk as a dinosaur character that followed me when I was in the game, and we were adventuring and stuff like that. But when we’re back to the real world, we’re separated so I can’t really recognize her at the fair or stuff like that. That’s the inspiration behind the music video. She’s weird, in a good way.
So that was your first time in Bangkok?
Yes it was last year we were shooting a music video for this song. It’s awesome. We shot half of the music video in Bangkok and the other part in Kaoshiung. Lovely.
Do you find Bangkok and Taipei are similar at some points?
Some parts, yeah, really. The roads, the streets, and with motorcycles everywhere. It looks exactly like Taiwan, but at the same time, I feel like Bangkok, the air, the vibe, the lights are immaculate. You can’t replace it. It’s very different. The lighting is always a bit orangey with a bit of a yellow tone. I love it. Just walking on the street makes me happy, just super hot. And some locations share a similar culture like Chinese letters. I’m not sure if it’s intentional, I feel like she just finds the places are pretty but it works very well, the Chinese area, the signs and everything.
And the Tuk Tuk, that was crazy. Because other than me, there were three other crew, so we have 4 in total. We had to shoot everything in Bangkok that day. And at night we just finished dinner, we tried to get back to the hotel, and the videographer asked us to take Tuk Tuk. I was in one car and other three in the other car, and we asked the drivers to stay as close as possible so we can shoot. And it was during the crazy traffic in Bangkok I felt like I was about to die every minute. But the result was good. Worth it. And the lights on the Tuk Tuk are so pretty. While we were choosing the thumbnail for the music video, and one of my friends she love the Tuk Tuk so she’s gonna choose that, but people gonna expect this music video to be cyberpunk-ish which is not. So we’re gonna lie to them, trick them to watch the music video.
So in the music video you also took the train, and coming to the COSMOS by taxi you experienced bad traffic. Now what is your favorite transportation here?
I’ll have to say Tuk Tuk is the best for me. It’s easier to get on and it’s dangerous in a fun way.
After the LUCFest performance, how do you feel?
It was my first show as a solo artist cus I had a school band we do like thirty gigs in Taiwan. But that time was my first time playing songs I wrote myself. So I just love it. I love performing. I love to see people grooving and enjoy my music. It’s a great experience. I hope I can do more and more shows everywhere around the world. That’s the main goal.
How about the show at Bangkok Design Week last Sunday?
Oh my god, Bangkok! You guys have the best audience. I’m 90% sure most of them don’t know who I am, but they’re still very supportive. They clap, they scream, they’re really cute. I enjoyed it a lot. Thank you guys. And the venue is so special. They told me the building upstairs is a library. I’d love to visit there but didn’t have time, I might go later. They organized the event very well, too, very flattered to be here.
Any message to give to your Thai fans?
Thank you guys for having me here in Bangkok. I had a lovely time. I would love to be back here very soon, I hope. And if you guys wanna see what I’m up to, when’s the next release, the next show, follow me on my instagram just search ANDR and it should come up.