Daniel Wang- Tibet & the Dalia Lama are 'Over-rated'
Sunday, March 4, 2001"I feel that the whole interest in Tibet from today's society is pretty overrated I mean, the Dalai Lama is a celebrity and… he eats hamburgers." Tibetan-born Chinese American producer Daniel Wang spoke to Mezz this week about his excellent new disco-tech album 'Idealism' and growing up in America as a teenager. "I went back to California at 14 and had my first boyfriend, a classmate; in fact we used to kiss in the back of the classroom. Everybody was cool about it; California is a very open place."
Mezz: You've called a few tracks on your new album by planets' names, are you a big follower of astrology-
Daniel Wang: "I'm aware of it, yes, for example, I know that I'm Cancer and many of my friends are water signs too (Pisces and Scorpio) but I'm more interested in astronomy than astrology. The reason why I've used planet's names on a few tracks is that electronic music is often associated with space… It's a techno cliche I'm afraid."
Mezz: What were you trying to achieve with the record-
Daniel Wang: " It's a studio album but I'd like it if people would listen to the songs in a club environment, though my idea of dance music verges towards the early '70's early '80's classic kind of stuff, which is not really playable these days. It seems to me that what is fashionable right now is based on big sampled beats or something that has been programmed on a laptop. That actually is what I'm against. I'm more into real instruments. Computers have made the reproduction of real sounds possible, but it has taken away from the music the human essence, like interesting bass lines for instance. This album is about ideas with human nuances."
Mezz: It must have been interesting growing up in Tibet…
Daniel Wang: "True, but I don't remember much about it. My family was Chinese anyhow and we quickly moved to California. I'm not a Buddhist, if anything my Mum is a typical Californian Catholic and my education was very westernised. I feel that the whole interest in Tibet from today's society is pretty overrated I mean, the Dalai Lama is a celebrity and… he eats hamburgers. That hasn't got much to do with meditation, I reckon."
Mezz: You also lived in Taiwan…
Daniel Wang: "The Taiwan years were my formative period, because my parents wanted to bring me up as a proper Chinese person. I went to a Chinese school first, one of those 50-children-in-a-classroom type places, then I went to the American school, where kids were listening to Pink Floyd whilst I was more into Madonna and "Dance Fever", the American TV dance show. At the time there was martial law in Taiwan and dancing in nightclubs was forbidden. I only went to clubs a few times. You had to pass three rows of security to get in, then the police would raid it, it was pretty wild."
Mezz: Was moving to California a liberating experience-
Daniel Wang: "Absolutely. I went back to California at 14 and had my first boyfriend, a classmate; in fact we used to kiss in the back of the classroom. Everybody was cool about it; California is a very open place. I guess I was lucky to have moved to the west. Chinese culture is only being noticed now, but for a long time it has been little known because I feel China is culturally very bleak. Thankfully Chinese people are starting to accept themselves and come out more."
Mezz: Has America saved you then-
Daniel Wang: "America is a funny place. A segment of it belongs to the first world; it's high tech, money, and travel orientated. The rest of it is a dump; I feel it constantly whenever I come back from abroad. The level of crime is gigantic, the racist policies are crippling us, it's insane. Many people can't even speak English here. See, you may have a fascist in Europe but not someone who can't speak his or her own language."
Mezz: How does this dichotomy reflect on America musically-
Daniel Wang: "Musically speaking I think the lack< Tags