Fei-Fei’s new project THRILL YOU KILL YOU
TYKY debuts her second single Riding On Your Misery
THRILL YOU KILL YOU is a testament to the strength of one woman, defiant. The entire project is written, produced, and engineered solely by Fei-Fei. Her latest single “Riding On Your Misery” just dropped today. vōx sits down with Fei-Fei to discuss her affinity to house music, a need for more women in music, and the importance of vulnerability.
Where did the name THRILL YOU KILL YOU come from?
It’s about falling in love, falling out of love and saying fuck you.
Why did you decide to pursue music? Was it something you’ve always been interested in?
Music is in my blood. My mom used to sing in the Chinese opera and my dad played piano, clarinet, and oboe. And like every good Chinese kid, I played classical piano. I played diligently for thirteen years until I realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do. Then, I discovered dance music right before college. I was at a house party and they were playing Richie Hawtin’s X-Mix-3 CD. After that, I went to my first rave and that changed everything. I fell in love with the music and the DJ’s ability to enchant the room. Fast forward many years, I ended up touring internationally and releasing music as DJ Fei-Fei many years before TYKY came to be.
What’s your favorite song to dance all alone wildly in the dark to?
Teenage Dream by Katy Perry and Better Off Alone by Alice Deejay.
What was your inspiration for writing “Riding On Your Misery”?
Riding On Your Misery is a fuck-you to everyone who said I wasn’t good enough. It’s facing your demons, embracing your insecurities and imperfections, and realizing these qualities are your superpowers. I went through a difficult time a few years ago. I cycled incessantly between feelings of self doubt, broken relationships, anger, frustration and failure. Misery is how I took control and worked through all the weird twisted shit churning around in my head.
You produce all of your own songs. How did you get started?
I began working on TYKY 2 years ago when I decided to take a break from DJing. I reached a point in my practice where I felt like something was missing. Back then, I relied on other producers and engineers, so it always felt like I was expressing myself through someone else. It wasn’t satisfying — I felt inauthentic. I realized that deep down, I wanted to sing and make music on my own terms.
I remember watching a live performance of Grimes on KEXP doing trippy live vocals and playing her various synths. It blew me away. I felt frustrated and empowered at the same time. If she could do it, so could I. That day something shifted. I stopped caring what other people thought. I stopped being scared. I started making mistakes and being OK with that. It might be imperfect but it’s going to be me. I took singing lessons. I wrote lots of shitty songs and beats. I sucked. I asked my producer friends a million questions. I kept banging my head over and over with faith that eventually I would figure things out
It took me a few years and a lot of emotional exploration, but now I’m proud that I can honestly say that I write, produce and engineer my own songs. It’s weird, it’s raw and a little twisted, but it’s all me.
Since the Producer Of The Year category launched at The Grammy’s in 1975, there’s still never been a female winner. What do you think needs to change to support women who want to do production and help spotlight them?
The world needs more recognition for female producers, engineers and DIY role models. The industry needs to change. The more of us that can get out there to challenge the status quo, the better. But it’s also up to the gatekeepers to create a more equitable landscape. There’s plenty of us — empowered and ready to take an equal role, but there’s still many obstacles. Gender is not a genre.
For example, Liz Pelly wrote a fantastic article addressing sexism on Spotify. In it, she asks:
“Is streaming culture merely reflective or a relentlessly male-centric status quo, or is it shifting us back toward a more homogenous and overtly masculine pop music culture?”
Erin Barra-Jean, an associate professor at Berklee and board director of Women In Music, recently conducted a research project gathering the statistics of gender equity across a broad spectrum of women working in the U.S music industry.
We need more progressive organizations and institutions like Women Fuck Shit Up Fest, Play Like A Girl, FeM Synth Lab, Ableton’s Womxn meet-ups, Unspeakable Records, Sound Girls, Discwoman, She Said So, Gender Amplified, The 7% Series, Girls Rock Santa Barbara, Women in Music, Nap Girls, and Beats by Girlz that support the next generation of talented female artists.
I’ve recently become involved with several of these groups, and it’s incredibly inspiring to meet and support other like-minded women artists. We’re all in this together. I hope one day I can inspire other girls and women to just fucking go for it. Together, we can change the landscape.
What do you want to get across to women who listen to your music?
Be vulnerable yet fearless. Figure out what you’re most scared of and do that. Know when to stand your ground, and stay true to yourself.
What are you excited about in the TYKY world at the moment? What’s coming next?
I’m damn excited about ‘Riding On Your Misery’. Every new song feels like I’m giving a piece of myself away to the world. It’s extremely emotional. I’m also stoked to be playing a bunch of shows coming up. I’ve never felt more alive than when I’m up there baring my soul to a room full of hot, dancing, sweaty bodies. And most of all, I can’t wait to unleash the full EP later this fall.
Go see THRILL YOU KILL YOU live:
8.02 LA // The Satellite
8.10 SF // 1015 Folsom (dj set)
8.31 LA // The Smell