Interview: Jenny Choi on Asians in Rock

posted August 8, 2003

by Corinne

Jenny Choi on Asians in RockHow are you?
Frazzled but happy!

Why don't you introduce yourself and tell us a little about the Asians in Rock tour.
I am a singer-songwriter and will be coming out with my third record on Double Zero Records. I've put together the Asians In Rock tour to dispel stereotypes relegating Asians as the silent model minority. The tour features Asians in indie rock music.

Where'd you get the idea for the Asians in Rock tour?
I am very socially active as an Asian American artist ( and I'm a high school teacher so I totally live my personal politics), and I also love indie music. I saw that there seemed to be a lack of Asian American faces in the indie scene and wanted to put together an awareness tour to make the public aware of the Asian American presence (and influence) in indie rock music.

The line-up for the tour is rather large. Were all the bands and artists eager to participate or was there arm twisting involved?
Good question...for the most part, everyone on this tour really wanted to be a part of it. There were a few bigger bands that I kind of had to armtwist and they didn't even work out anyway, so as far as the actual tour itself, it features bands that are really into the purpose of the tour. Especially for our West Coast leg, all of the bands were super enthusiastic and helpful. If I was talking to a band that seemed iffy about everything, I wasn't so into it because I wanted the band to understand the importance of the tour. I was very lucky to meet such great bands.

With a variety of musical styles making up the tour, what sort of vibe do you think the shows will have?
I know that because the primary purpose of the show is to foster a feeling of connectedness with the communities we are visiting it will be very positive and pro-artists!

Now Jenny Choi and the Third Shift have a new CD coming out at the end of September, according to your website. What can we expect from the new album?
It's a strong album...we've garnered a lot of favorable feedback from the snobbiest of critics! It's an epic... there are many characters that are interconnected--it's almost like a fictional soundtrack! The songs are very melancholy in subject matter, but it's a pretty record. Piano-based indie pop.

Ok, so what are your favorite albums?
This changes all the time. Post and Homogenic (Bjork), Oregon (Kaia), OK Computer and The Bends (Radiohead), God there are so many.

Name an underrated band you think deserves more attention.
O my god, there are a zillion of these.... plus/minus kicks my ass, From Monument to Masses is going to be on this tour in Ann Arbor..they are from Dim Mak and they rock. I really like this Chicago based band called Light FM.

What have you been listening to recently?
Lots of Postal Service (ex-Death Cab for Cutie), Kaia, Radiohead, Modest Mouse, 90 Day Men, From Monument to Masses, Ida, and Seam!

Anything you'd like to add?
Please come to our shows and bring all of your friends! I can honestly say I am thrilled about ALL of the bands here and they are really awesome.... all of the bands do their own thing and are true to who they are... no cheesy fake bands!