One of the things the pandemic put a stop to was travelling. For the electronic artist, multi-instrumentalist, and experimental producer Kristian Wang, aka, Didi + Ping, this put a halt to a major inspiration and part of his life.
Following the release of his single “Take Flight” and the release of his new single “Rings of Saturn,” we sat down and had a chat with Kristian about how important travel is to him, his favourite places to travel, and the one place he would have chosen to spend the entire lockdown given the chance.
Thanks for your time, how is life treating you today?
Kristian Wang: “Life’s good all things considered!”
So, Kristian, can you tell us a bit about yourself and the journey that brought you to this point?
“I was born and raised in Canada and grew up in a musical family. I started learning piano at the age of 5. After years of experimenting and heavy practice, I’m finally sharing my music with the world!”
Didi + Ping, how did the name come about, and what is its relevance to you?
“‘Ping’ is my Chinese name. My ‘Didi’ (younger brother) and I loved epic music growing up, so that’s what inspires a lot of my style.”
You’ve just put out your new single “Take Flight.” Can you talk us through what inspired it?
“Flying! It’s an ability I wish I naturally had. There’s a freedom associated with it like no other. Imagine that feeling, to be able to soar upwards and defy gravity!
It deals with about two inspirations, music and natural surroundings. Firstly music, do you remember your introduction to music as a child?
Yes! My mom forced me to learn classical piano, and I have memories of practicing, playing live, and learning. While I didn’t necessarily always enjoy my time playing keys as a child, I’ve since grown an immense appreciation for what it’s allowed me to accomplish in music.”
We all have that one album or song that changed our lives, what was yours?
“Tough to say. Off the top of my head: OK Computer by Radiohead, The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, and Los Angeles by Flying Lotus. Madvillainy by Madvillain, Sunshine on Leith by The Proclaimers, there’re plenty more, but I’ve tried giving you a variety! These albums and others changed my view on life.”
Onto your natural surroundings, where does Kristian Wang feel most at peace with himself?
“On the top of a mountain.”
If you could have spent lockdown in any one place on earth, where would you have chosen and why?
“A remote cabin on a mountain, in the woods. With all my musical instruments.”
On the other hand, we all have that one place we dread going to. Where is that place for you and why? (Can be a humorous or serious choice).
“I definitely dread going to the city after spending a lot of time out of it. Not that I dislike cities, I find them incredibly exciting in their own way! But they’re also a sensory overload for me sometimes.”
Ok, so the new single is out, what is next musically for you?
“I’m going to be exploring all kinds of different aesthetics within my dance music. At one point I really want to do a straight percussive song, with no melodies or harmonies! I think a raw drum track but would be really interesting!”
Given the vast array of influences in your music, has the lockdown given you the chance to explore avenues you would not have normally explored and where do you see your sound going in the future?
“Not particularly; I’ve always explored some of the strangest musical avenues. Lockdown has allowed me to spend time learning the technicalities required to properly mix and master my music, though, so I’m incredibly thankful for that time. I’m not sure where my music will go, I hope it continues to strike a fair balance of experimentation, as well as the familiar.”
We’ve talked about travel and surroundings, once travel restrictions are lifted, where is the one place you can’t wait to get back to?
“China! I want to visit my grandparents there!”
Thanks again for your time and good luck with the album. Over to you to wrap things up…
“Thank you for listening, and I hope you continue to enjoy and explore new music! Keep your ears to the ground for my upcoming song! I’ll be announcing it soon…”