By Jocelle Koh
Known for their searching, dreamy beats and sharp-shooting fusions of various electronic genres, Taiwanese electronic trio JADE EYES 孔雀眼 have recently stepped into their own in more ways than one. Returning with their first new single of 2020 ‘Schrodingers’ Call‘, the track and its tongue-in-cheek visuals are a yet another fresh experimentation for the band. Furthermore, the song marks the trio’s first completely independent release, and a widening of possibilities for their future undertakings.
Friends since their student days before becoming musical partners in crime, the three bonded over their shared tastes in music to become one of the most unique female electronic trios on the Taiwanese music scene. Trawling the vast depths of the electronic music genre, the band have dredged up elements from some of the most interesting niches; trying everything from post-punk and new wave electronic music to Deep House; always versatile, but unique in their approach.
‘Schrodinger’s Call‘ in particular sees Jade Eyes taking risks like never before; delving headfirst into a lo-fi mood and taking full creative control on the entire production process for both music and visuals.
“We were so eager to share it with everyone immediately that we attended to every detail of the new single. From songwriting, recording and mixing, arranging and producing to MV planning and coordination, visual design, directing and screenwriting, we carried out everything with our intuitive ideas. Every one of us made every effort to contribute to the completeness of our first work as an independent group, which made it quite passionate and touching. We are all ecstatic about this unforgettable experience.”
The advent of this new, independent stage in their careers seems to be a particularly thrilling one for the band, composed of vocalist/bassist/keyboardist Ling Chin, guitarist Yi Hsuan and programmer Yu Hsin. Completely immersing themselves in the creative process, we see them emerge like a phoenix from the ashes, even with a completely new aesthetic that they embody completely.
This is most clear in the music video for ‘Schrodinger’s Call‘ directed by the trio which reminds us of the tongue-in-cheek quality of Rina Sawayama‘s ‘XS‘ music video, combined with a few darker, playfully broody elements thrown into the mix.
“Ling Chin and Yi Hsuan have always been artists with great insights into creative visuals. Ling Chin has all kinds of amazing ideas and the ability to connect the structure, while Yi Hsuan specialises in the concretisation of their thoughts through the production of art. It was the chemistry between us that completed the offbeat visuals. Sometimes the tension is demonstrated better in the opposite way. For instance, “Schrodinger’s Call” is a bitter love song, and we deliberately presented the sadness using humorous and witty methods to strengthen the sorrow.”
Taking apart complex concepts and putting them back together in musical form, the band have expanded into the realm of physics where they draw on the famous Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment and discuss it in the context of relationships.
“We intended to express the mixed feelings of loneliness, longing and hesitation in a relationship. Our new song is based on the unsettling uncertainty of whether to make the phone call or not and the conjecture on unknown answers, which coincides with the concept of Schrodinger’s Cat.”
Concisely summed up by the clever trio, the track is deliciously layered and full of conflicting, opposing situations that mess with the fabric of reality. Mirroring the effects of the paradox in the human condition, the lyrics detail a call that may or may not happen against a dreamlike sonic atmosphere which further causes confusion as to which of the following situations have actually occurred. Both playful and awfully clever, it’s clear that the band have had a lot of fun with this new single.
This balance between work and play is best reflected in the band’s work ethic and principles, which push them to constantly communicate while broadening their musical horizons. While the three have different methods of creating, their shared zest for listening widely unites them as a band.
“It is necessary to listen to a broad range of music and exchange opinions with other members frequently. Yu Hsin is very technical – she always notes down the excellent elements and practices of new music and learns from new online videos. Ling Chin and Yi Hsuan, on the other hand, are more sentimental – they record music like a diary of sounds whenever they feel something.”
Along with different modes of creation, the three musicians also glean inspiration in a variety of ways, further lending to the diverse, fluid, yet always intelligent sound that comes from JADE EYES’ music.
“As the mixing engineer of the new single, Yu Hsin used some favourite songs as references and learned a lot of different production methods, which inspires her to balance the hardness of techniques with the softness of emotions, like the principle of Yin and Yang. Yi Hsuan finds that all the music vibes come from life, so living a good life and creating rich and memorable life experiences is her source of inspiration. Ling Chin changes the genres she listens to constantly, and has been into Space Pop, Lo-Fi House and Alternative Jazz Lounge recently.”
Throughout our interview, the three musicians showed exactly why they make a good team, and an unconventional one at that. In the male-dominated space that is the Taiwanese music industry, it is rare to see an indie all-female group move outside stereotypical tropes to forge their own path, but this is exactly what Ling Chin, Yi Hsuan and Yu Hsin have done. Complementary in their different approaches and clearly respectful of each others’ inputs, the trio are united in their constant quest for innovation. Both analytical and sentimental, clever and emotionally intelligent, these ladies have only continued to level up after going indie, leaving much room for imagining what they’ll do next. Whatever it may be, you can be sure they’ll be forging that path their own way.