5 Questions: Jett Kwong

What is the inspiration behind the track “Cream?”

Cream is my third collaboration with producer LMNOP. On one hand it’s my wistful ode to summer, to a time passed, to lusting after someone.. but ultimately I am lusting after an idealized version of a person or of the past itself. I was inspired by the realization that we all, including myself, fall prey to the romanticization of history, and the exoticism of Asia and Asian people. This to me is a legacy of colonialism, and that lens is particularly interesting when I apply them to my own family’s stories of surviving war, flourishing in post WWII Hong Kong, and immigrating to the US.

You mention that you draw a lot on the effects of colonialism, particularly in Hong Kong. Can you tell us more about that?

Hong Kong was ruled by the British until 1997; in fact Hong Kong was “leased”. I’ve always been interested in colonial history throughout the world, and each incident of colonization is unique. Being a mixed child of a Cantonese person (the colonized) and an American of European descent (the colonizer) ties me into the legacy of colonialism in a direct way. It’s one of those things that not everyone feels or considers – though certainly some may experience it every day – but the colonization of “ethnic” people has many lasting effects today.

“Cream” is audibly a very complex track. Was it hard working with such a diverse array of sounds?

The hardest challenge with “Cream” was the time changes. I imagined it that way, but organizing sounds and instruments to fit took some finessing.

What was is like playing in Carnegie Hall? Can you tell us a bit about that experience and what you played?

It was pretty unreal… I was performing with a choir conducted by Eric Whitacre. Unfortunately, I was extremely sick and lost my voice! I’m very much looking forward to the next time when I can produce more than squeak..!

What do you have planned for the rest of the year?

I have a few music and film projects in the works, and another single and an EP can be expected in the next few months! Follow me @JettKwong for all the updates.