We constantly feature new & notable indie artists that drive innovation in all aspects of songwriting, production & performance. Meet this week’s featured artist in an exclusive interview. Introducing You To Your Next Favorite Artist: Weiyu Shen.
Weiyu Shen is a DJ/Producer born in Beijing China and, based in New York. He makes up half of the electropop duo known as Aarhus and is the co-founder of Dinosaur Hotpot Records. Currently, he is releasing singles under Ternary Recordings and Nuit Blanche Musique. His music explores different sounds within the electronic genre.
Comments from the Curating-Editor
Weiyu Shen creates well-layered and intelligently ornamented electronic music. Each of his tracks have an inviting openness to them, making for very emotion-driven soundscapes that are captivatingly cinematic. Let’s take some of his recent singles as examples: Honey (preview below) is smooth and sweet, but robust in its building layers, as a warm droning beat reminds us of where that honey came from. Morning Call seems to call on Chinese folk-song tradition in its melodic thought, but expands on that with soulful, texturally-stimulating elements in simulated piano, manipulated vocals, and plucked strings. Happy Adventure is one of Weiyu’s most interesting sonic stories, as the listener explores an 8-bit world that soon turns into a chill, soothing electronic jazz-horn rumination in its deconstructive breakdown, showcasing that every joyous journey has it’s pensive and reflective parts. Overall, Weiyu puts together unexpected sounds to form electronic music that feels very human.
What are your top 3 favorite albums that inspired you to get into music?
Group Therapy by Above & Beyond and Pure by Solarstone. These are my favorites because I constantly find myself drawn to these albums. Playing them over and over. Each time I always find something new within these tracks. Endroducing by DJ Shadow would be another one. The creativity in this album is mind blowing and shows me that anything is possible while producing music.
What are your fondest musical memories?
The first time my future wife listened to my music while we were out for a drive.
Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener?
I listen to all types of electronic music. Lately, I find myself mostly listening to techno. I consider techno to be a very imaginative genre, not only for artists but also for listeners.
We’re a firm believer that the cities that artists are based in helps craft their sound. How would you describe your city’s music scene? How has it inspired you into crafting your sound?
I was born and raised in Beijing, and the music in Beijing influenced me a lot. I am currently living in New York, and New York’s music scene is great.
What is your creative process like? How do you approach the writing process? Is there a particular message or theme central to your creative works?
I always get new musical ideas when I am doing something else. That’s why I always bring my laptop and headphones with me so that I can write down all the ideas when they come to me. When I write down these concepts in Ableton, I never judge them as a producer or sound engineer. I just want to capture my thoughts and emotions at that time. Later on, I will sit in my home studio and grab one or more of these and write a song based on it.
How would you describe your visual aesthetic, in terms of album artwork, music videos, and artistry? How does the music you create contribute to your visuals? Does this extend to your live show experience?
Visuals are very important to me as an artist. Important elements such as icons help describe the style of my music, especially when I’m working on multiple projects. Artwork is also significant because it’s what might initially get people interested in listening to the music in the first place. The Artwork makes them curious to what kind of music would be behind it. It also helps convey the feeling of the song such as the great artwork done by Nuit Blanche for all my releases, or the artwork done by Nami Travin for Aarhus’ Reality EP. When DJing or playing an Aarhus show, we always try to incorporate visuals because it helps draw the audience in and it definitely brings more energy to the shows.
As an indie artist in the digital age, social media and streaming are essential tools for marketing and promotion. What do you think about online music sharing, both as a music fan and as a musician? How do you think social media/music streaming services impacts the rising musician?
I love it both as a music fan and as a musician. I believe music is another way for people to communicate, and technology has been making it easier.
Now when artists hear something they like online, they can not only comment on the track, but also send a message to communicate. Lots of remixes and collaborations are started like this.
What is your dream collaboration and why?
All the people I am working with right now are my dream collaboration. Collaboration is the best part of making music.
Which songs are you currently obsessed with? What new acts do you recommend to our listeners? What bands do you believe are your best kept secret in the indie community?
My personal recommendation is The Journey EP by Shatadru Sensharma, it’s really something special. As you keep listening you really do find yourself going on a musical journey. It’s a great gem in the chill out genre.
You should also check out Ph.Dragon. He is a talented rapper rapping in both English and Chinese.
What are you currently working on? Any new projects?
I have multiple projects I’m excited to be working on, such as a theme song for a mental health app “KindMind”, which will be released soon.
Secondly, Aarhus–an electronic duo comprised of myself and Kelly Leprohon– is working on new songs, particularly a collaboration with Lee Edison (aka Ph.Dragon).
Additionally, following my most recent collaboration with Shatadru Sensharma “Glimpses” on Nuit Blanche, we are working on more stuff together. I am going to have a new single “Relics” with Shatadru on April 21st, released by Ternary Recordings. Also, there will be a remix of this song by Juren Vu coming out with the single.
You can listen to Weiyu Shen on all major streaming platforms.