Luna Grey – Overboard

“Luna Grey’s first official visual of 2016 brings an eclectic nod to Chicago’s music scene. With emotional vocals and tongue twisting lyrics, “Overboard” is Luna’s refreshing debut to the silver screen. This creative collaboration, with Chicago music and video producer/rapper, Elitenment, is fresh with stunning cinematics, original concepts, and breathtaking scenery around downtown Chicago.”



Goodbye Tomorrow – Keep That ft. Lucki

So few musicians burst onto the scene with such a fully-fleshed out and original sound, but it seems like Chicago has a handful of such artists to offer. On this track new-comers Goodbye Tomorrow enlist Lucki Eck$, another young Chicagoan with more promise than he knows what to do with, and the result is an unbridled anthem of youth and disenchantment.

A short message from the artist:

“gods and kings made up titles to take your power / take your power back from them / count on this, this facelessness is the face of the rebellion” – xy

Existential Little Interviews Vol. 64: Contour

Photo is by Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay

What defines consciousness? Do you think other animals can be considered conscious creatures?

I personally define consciousness simply as the ability to experience. I believe that the majority, if not all animals are conscious, and we as humans often dismiss that idea because of our inability to perceive and understand the way in which animals communicate/express their consciousness. I think simply the amount of study done on the minds of animals is a major indication of the fact that animals are conscious creatures.

How do you create meaningful experience in your life?

The idea of creating meaningful experiences is interesting. Any experience can be meaningful if you focus your attention on the right things. Combining your inner dialogue with an active presence in whatever moment you’re currently experiencing is typically enough to make the experience meaningful in some way. On the other hand, you can also literally create meaningful experiences for yourself by spending the bulk of your time doing things that will move you towards the things you’re passionate about/the things that you find meaningful. By cultivating a lifestyle that’s in league with those things you’ll naturally come into contact with effortlessly meaningful experiences more often.

Donald Trump is a tangible example of increased absurdity (aka entropy) in the universe, can you name other examples?

This is going to sound funny, but I think memes are possibly the best example we have to date of increased entropy in the universe. We have this constantly expanding macrocosm of images that reference some sort of pop culture or some sort of joke, and jokes that reference themselves, and references that reference parodies of themselves. In a sense any individual’s ability to recognize and understand memes past a certain generation could be an indicator of said individual’s connection to the amount of absurdity in the world.

Sartre posits that the existence of desire is the best proof that humans are basically in a state of “lacking”, if man were “what he is(a being-in-itself)”, he would not need anything to complete him. Is there anything that can make a human complete?

Death is the only thing that can complete a human, as death is the completion of the human cycle.

In Albert Camus’ famous novel ‘The Stranger’ the central character, Mersault, is able to tolerate life in prison fairly well because of his general detachment. Is it fair to say that many people in our society “detach” as a way of coping with the violent unjust system that has been thrust upon us by history?

Yes. I think for all of history humans have sought detachment in order to cope with the cruelty of the reality that they live in. The most common ways historically have been through use of mind altering substances and through use of escapism via entertainment (social media today, roman coliseums centuries ago, etc.). In a sense, our emphasis on personal achievement and a dynamic life path is also sort of a means of detachment. We absorb ourselves in our own personal narrative, and at a point that narrative becomes the only connection we have to the outside world. This can be observed in the fact that as we get older, the amount of connections we have to others decreases, and the prevalence of dementia/insanity/senility in old age. You could even say existence a gradually increasing state of detachment until reaching a complete state of it in death.

JESSAUDREY – always //

JESSAUDREY produced this track, sang on it, and even designed the covert art -and she did all of these things with extreme proficiency. This is a musician and artist who should be on everyone’s radar. If you’d like to support JESSAUDREY financially you can purchase this track through Bandcamp.

Interview: Meishi Smile

I know you are reading “No Longer Human” right now. For those unfamiliar -this book is broken into three distinct parts, I am wondering what exact phase of the book are you finding your headspace in? 

I’ve only begun my second reading of No Longer Human, but I find myself in parallel to Yozo’s sense of having to constantly falsify himself. Throughout the beginning of the novel, this is often referred to as putting on an act of “buffoonery.” My childhood was much similar, except for humorous antics I often used kindness as a way to subvert the reality of who I was. In the namesake of my project, I chose the word “smile” for these reasons. My natural reaction towards my peers and adults was to always feign pleasantries for the sake of masking my own insecurities and depression.

How does this relate to your music, is Meishi Smile also a “facade” or does it have many functions? 

Much like the aforementioned work of Dazai, “Meishi Smile” is an interjection of my own personal experiences done to a fantastical degree, in an exchange that is often non-linear and dictates past, present and future points of my life. It is not as much of a facade as it is a struggle to come to terms with my own contradictory nature. The process of recording under “Meishi Smile” is therapy to that.

Can you expand on what personal experience you use as source material and what fantasies you tend to draw from and use in your own work? 

Thematically, LUST was much about my desire to feel something real in myself by way of projecting an idealism onto others. The “lust” of the album is not necessarily synonymous with any sort of sexuality or romanticism, moreso this false notion that others can save you from yourself. The inevitable disintegration of a temporary high, which becomes repetitive in nature due to its lack of introspection or self-awareness.

When I wrote …Belong, I wanted to detail the pain of acceptance in self, death and betrayal. During that time I realized I had empowered many people who were everything I was against, so I began to make a conscious decision to disrupt that or remove myself from certain associations completely. The album is essentially about realizing the importance and responsibility of doing what you can to try and love yourself more.

The project as a whole is much more political in a sense and I think any fantastical elements within it are simply dictated as a means to formulate an idealized reality. For marginalized groups of people especially, art is like a form of guerilla warfare that can disrupt thoughts of conservatism and assimilation when done in bold, or even subtle honesty. Live performance especially is a political process for me and it’s one of the reasons why they differ so much from my albums and I play so little “DJ” sets.

Tell us more about your live performance and what makes it politicized. 

Being born is in itself a political struggle. For myself, the aspect of emasculation of Asian men in Western society has often come into conflict with my identification of being non-binary and the need to display aggression on stage in a non-heteronormative fashion. This emasculation also effects the women in our community as well, and often leads to varying degrees of misogyny and entitlement. We are often pitted against ourselves and our own so we can never progress, and it is important that we turn that anger towards the ideas ingrained in us by society – not each other. Art can have a strong way to express that need for change. The music itself becomes politicized when you have these sects of electronic music who wholly promote a veil of positivity and social awareness, yet in action fail to live up to those standards – eventually it becomes a monopolization and commodification of youth culture. I refuse to accept the supposed “sincerity” of these certain groups. When you come on stage and play out certain music, I believe you are consciously associating yourself with a certain movement. By playing out your own music, I feel the only thing you associate with is yourself. I think that in itself is a statement, not just for myself, but for anyone who does. It’s not about entertainment for me.

How do you distinguish art and entertainment?

The way people can project whatever it is they’re going through onto a piece of work made by someone else is a beautiful thing. We can choose to take that positively or negatively, but the discussion should be alive. Art and entertainment will always be synonymous in some way, but what’s most important is allowing the room for expression. I’ve had people try to claim some sort of ownership of my artistic choices and tell me that once my art exists for others to hear, I am no longer just making it for myself. That’s when people subject you as just an entertainer and not a person, and I believe it to be highly reductive of the hurdles gone through of the creator. Ultimately, I’m making music for myself first and for those who can relate to the meaning I have, or that which they can find to change their lives in a positive manner.

Do you think trends are accelerating faster than ever?

The growing ease to articulate ideas and to have the access to those tools is breaking down the intersection of art and social class. We are no longer reserving art for the elite. That is why people are upset. However, we will always have the cultural gatekeepers, who we mistakingly place validation on. They give us the presence of indie credibility while giving us Uber ads and 4 articles on Drake per day. We already know those things exist. What we don’t know exists are the people who aren’t given a platform. Those people are angry and deserve to be. The acceleration of trends has increased, but so has the co-option. We’re only validated when it’s timely for them, not for us.

The faster the trends, the faster the deception. For that, we must be aware of who is behind the movement and for what reasons. Feigning self-awareness and exploiting vulnerability is the strongest marketing tactic. Every social media expert knows what the latest meme is, even before you do. They know how to feed off your emotions because we’ve made the mistake that the Internet is our safe haven from the outside world, but it does not matter if the lies are told to your face or through a screen. The greatest deception is that we think we have a choice about anything. So make your own choices through the face of your experiences.

What defines consciousness and what defines humanity?

A state of consciousness is being aware of our capabilities outside of the finite. Humanity is when we surpass that within ourselves and find the empathy to group the other conscious and help the unconscious.

What projects are you working on with your label Zooms Lens and as Meishi Smile? 

For Zoom Lens, the next release will be an EP by Xyloid coming June 10th. I’m also in the process of releasing more music by Yoshino Yoshikawa, yeule, Thought Tempo, yasumiyasumi and LLLL to name a few. We have a very solid roster at the moment, and I don’t think we’re currently looking to expand too much. I enjoy working alongside these people and having watched them develop from the beginning.

Meishi Smile, I plan on releasing a small collection of ambient works entitled (reclamation) on May 27th. Lately, I’ve been relating to the mental state of earlier material I had worked on and never released. (reclamation) is very brief and moreso just a simple statement of wanting to remember who I was during a certain time and finding purity and enjoyment of the creative process again. Due to this nature, it will be released on Zoom Lens. Although I play on consistently releasing my thoughts more often now. I’ve also been finishing other material, which I haven’t the intention to disclose much of yet. I’ve been getting increasingly more dysphoric in my approach, and my shows will be the best indicator of that. They’re either purely sweet or aggressive. I just put work into various “albums” depending on my mood at the moment.

Follow Meishi Smile.
Official Site:

Joey Purp – GIRLS @ (feat. Chance The Rapper)

I’ve personally heard this track about a hundred times (courtesy of Knox Fortune) and I couldn’t be more pleased that it is finally out for the world to enjoy.

Joey Purp returns for the third single from his iiiDrops project with one of the bounciest songs I’ve heard in years in “GIRLS @”. Featuring hometown hero Chance The Rapper, fresh off the release of his highly praised Coloring Book, the track plays fun at looking for all the girls who have the all finer things. The SaveMoney duo lace hot bars over the infectious beat produced by Knox Fortune, with additional production from Peter Cottontale. I’m making this claim right now: This is THE Chicago rap song for Summer ’16.

If you aren’t excited for iiiDrops after these 3 singles…WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU???