Radiant Dragon : Q&A

Radiant Dragon's EP has been on heavy rotation on the Proper Songs hi-fi for a few weeks, so it was about time his self described "Chinese-kraut electro spacerock" was unleashed on the blog.

PS. Tell us a bit about yourself and what you're up to.

Radiant Dragon is my first project and I'm trying to make music about journeys and travelogues evoking places I've been or dream about going to. I was born in Germany to Malaysian-Chinese parents, raised overseas and am based in London now - I suppose a lot of my songs stem from being an outsider and trying to connect with people, cultures and places I feel a need to be with. It's pretty cathartic when music becomes this alternate world where boundaries that keep people apart don't exist.

PS. What was the inspiration to start Radiant Dragon?

For years I thought way too much about conflicting ideas for music that I wanted to create, whether it should be deliberately abrasive textures and rhythms or story-driven electronic folk songs. Another experience I kept going back to was of listening to music on the plane - where the air pressure and speed means you hear this constant background hum as an ambient layer to what you're listening to. I always hear this in-between atmosphere from my favourite music - an underlying strangeness which gets stronger the more you listen. It's something more elusive and subtle than catchy melodies and harmonies, the right production or loud-quiet dynamics, although those all can play a part.

Luckily last summer I met an amazing girl and felt I had nothing to lose by starting something - so I went to America to visit her, took my recording gear with me and spent a while trying to construct a wall of sound out of my suitcase. That didn't exactly work out as planned, but I did end up with about ten demos that I took back to London and developed further.

PS. What are your plans for the rest of '09?

Working a lot on the live show and trying to make it a big contrast to the recorded songs - it took a while to get some critical distance and realize some things just work much better recorded than live. It's amazing to have even just half an hour of an audience's ear-time so the flow of a set is just as important as the songs within it. It's tempting to just play along with a laptop but it's much more exciting to have the freedom to improvise with sounds and structures. I've just started playing shows with my best friend Joe on drums and samples, and that's about a thousand times more exciting than following a backing track.

Meanwhile I'm trying to write better music that works out some of my ideas more fully, and releases-wise I'm trying to put out my first EP myself, produce a few tracks with Late of the Pier/Zarcorp, do some remixes and hopefully another EP!

PS. Give us a top 5 of something.

Five Songs with 'Year' that make you think of years that just passed.
1. Fennesz - A Year in a Minute
2. David Bowie - Five Years
3. Autechre - Acroyear 2
4. Sufjan Stevens - Year of the Monkey
5. Bjork - 5 Years

Download 'Cloud Seeding'. 'Oysters' is in this months podcast.