Anji Cheung Interview

Having seen Anji play early in 2016 after a recommendation from a mutual friend, we really felt an AB release would make perfect sense. Both in terms of sound and intent, Anji’s work resonates really well with where we’ve been for the last couple of years.

We caught up with Anji to find out some more about her work and life.

How did you start making music?

In its current solo form, it was simply following the flow of the stream. I never thought about going it alone but obstacles and opportunities mixed with intuition have led me this way. It’s better for me as I can work at my own pace (which tends to be full steam ahead) and without compromise. I do love collaborative projects these days though, having my own work to retreat in to has made collaborating a desired experience.

I was in my late teens when I first decided to get musically active and since then it’s been a series of events continuously guiding me this way even when I thought I’d quit.

How long have you been making music?

Again in current format about six years but I’d been in and out of projects for around 18 years beforehand.

How would you describe your music?

It’s me served up in audio.

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Can you say a little about your working method?

This changes depending on my mood and circumstances. Generally speaking I like to play around with stuff and just sit and record whatever happens. Then more often than not it gets chopped up, rearranged, added to and what not. Sometimes I’ll have the vaguest sense of a particular noise or pulse I want, so I start there or maybe it’s an atmosphere. Some things you write and other pieces make you write them.

One conscious decision with this album was to let the tracks repeat and not be reluctant to let them run. I love repetitive sounds and beats and yet I nearly always feel the need to meddle with things. Quite the opposite of what I chose to do with ‘Hypatia’ that was recently released on Audio.Visuals.Atmosphere, where I deliberately wrote tracks shorter than I normally would.

Please tell me about the themes on this recording.

All my usual suspects; magick, remembered dreams, sex, mythology, atmospheres, places, books and films. These are the dominant ongoing inspirations in my work.

This album was written over a beautiful Summer where I had plenty of time. I was consuming a feast of esoteric knowledge which was deepening and expanding my praxis and it collided with my meditation finally taking root. So this energy has the lion share of influence. ‘Daughter of Fortitude’ was a working title that popped in to my thoughts. I never intended to keep it. However, in retrospect despite not having worked directly with Babalon, it felt like she put it there for a reason.

‘Outside of Light’ is based on a dream I had about entering a temple full of people that had come to be healed, myself included. To cut a long dream short, it was a particular wall of the temple that was Divine and beds were cut in to the stone so people could lie within it. I just stood in front of it in Osiris slain pose, invoking. It had major Asclepeion overtones. There were also some challenging personal circumstances at the time and the sadness manifested itself in ‘The Nothing of Night’. That piece is an example of something that made me write it. It was one take, that’s how it came out and that’s how it’s stayed.

What’s the best thing about where you live?

Being on an island sandwiched between the Thames and the Grand Union canal. It’s very green and quiet (for London). I have a lovely view South from my living room, which is largely sky and treetops. That swathe of sky is priceless, it gives me a sense of freedom and I’ve sat and mused at sunrises, passing clouds and the path of the Moon and stars copious times.

Top five places to visit where you live?

I’m going to cheat here and give you my top five places to visit where I’m from. My home county of Shropshire is part of who I am, it’s in my DNA.

    •    Explore Carding Mill Valley and the Long Mynd
    •    Walk up The Stiperstones to see the Devil’s Chair
    •    Make the steep walk up to the Gaer Stones at Hope Bowdler and enjoy the views of Caer Caradoc and around
    •    Enjoy the views at Wenlock Edge (home to the late Robert Hart, father of Forest Gardening)
    •    13th century Stokesay Castle and the Norman church that sits beside it. Some of my ancestors rest there and it’s a very special place

Anji Cheung releases ‘Daughter of Fortitude’ via Aurora Borealis on December 21st 2016. It will be released as an edition of 30 cassettes and as digital.

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Photography: Agata Urbaniak
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