Interview: Alice Longyu Gao is making pop music fun again
On the lovably titled “I Want My Hoe Time Back,” one of Alice Longyu Gao’s first released songs as an artist, the Los Angeles-based musician goes on a cheerful tangent mid-song. “Girls, get your iPhones out / Take that selfie / Don’t care about other people’s opinion,” she pontificates. “You are a hoe / Be a proud hoe / Who feels proud of herself / Okay?”
Despite being one of the most iconic asides to ever grace a pop song, that segment gives a good glimpse into the type of music that Gao has made since then: wildly fun, unrestrained, and undoubtedly cheeky. That Gucci attitude has further translated extremely well to video, where the artist’s visual style (usually involving a green screen) makes her instantly recognizable as a Harajuku-inspired fashion figure who can make a mean beat. Take a look at the unforgettable maximalist video for “Karma is a Witch” in which Gao dances in front of pink-laced guns, grenades, polished bubbles, and heart-shaped jewels. Cheesy, fascinating, and over-the-top, subtlety doesn’t seem like it’s part of the agenda here. The same thing could be said about the Japanese-language single “Magnificrossaint,” which delves in similarly wild shenanigans. Gao tells it as it is, churns out delectable beats, and puts on an extravagant show.
But on her most recent singles, Gao has found her music shifting in further experimental directions. By collaborating with similar artists in the community (like Dylan Brady of 100 gecs), Gao’s sound has become more refined and delves even further into haute-couture-skewering meets hyperpop territory. “Rich Bitch Juice”/”Dumb Bitch Juice,” both singles released in December of last year, marked the first of several collaborations that found Gao trying out more left-field sounds while retaining similarly iconic lyricism (“Rich bitch juice is champagne and lime salt, get it? / I’m fucking tired, exhausted / I need my rich bitch juice”). Most recently, she’s dubbed a new genre in the form of “violent pop” as marked by hyper-aggressive dual singles “Yung Piece of Shit Shut Up” and the abrasive “U Think U Can Fuck With Me Dont U.”
We quickly caught up with Gao and asked her about the genre, what online concerts are like, and what 2020 has in store for the artist.
How would you describe your style of music?
I am just here to have fun be a boss and have a great laugh
What does the term violent pop mean to you?
The aggressiveness in music I was attracted to, I connect things that irritates or feels absurd to me when I was making my own music
Can you tell us a little bit about the project that you are currently working on? What does 2020 have in store for your fans?
Pick and develop old demos, write new songs, so i can put together an album thing. I have three more singles coming out in 2020. The upcoming one will be with Pussy Riot, as the last release of Violent Pop concept I am experimenting with
You’ve worked with, or in tangent to, quite a few people in the experimental pop music industry–Dylan Brady, Laura Les, Dorian Electra etc. Has working with them shaped your music at all?
Yes, 100 Gecs (aka Laura Les Dylan Brady) changed/saved my life. Dorian Electra changed my life more than just music, also Dorian impress me with how hard working and kind someone could be
Recently, you played the 100 gecs square garden festival that was hosted entirely online. What was it like playing for an online audience?
So much fun, will keep doing it via my own party brand @reallyliketoparty and my Youtube channel stream
Who inspires your work?
100 Gecs, Grimes, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, etc
How has the quarantine affected you as a musician? How can fans help out?
Tour and projects getting delayed. Party with me online
Li-Wei Chu is the chief editor of From the Intercom. When he’s not editing drafts and searching for new artists to cover for the website, he loves watching cult films, cooking, and listening to his ever-growing collection of vinyl records. You can follow him on LetterBoxd and make fun of his taste in movies here!