issue 13 - a bit of a (throwback) shakeup
shakeup season, new grooves, pop up raves, vegan food discoveries and a special GUESTFRESH from Sophia Tan
welcome back to FRESH! find us on insta @freshbywing ♡ close your eyes and take a deep breath before getting into this issue.
an edit from current wing - the contents of this issue were written sometime during August earlier this year, and weren’t published in time due to needing to prepare for a long trip. many things have happened since then!
there has finally been a breather to edit this issue and feel like i’ve been able to get back into the swing of writing - very much needed. please enjoy this belated issue, it’s a long one so do click to expand it if you are reading in your email!
it’s been a rollercoaster recently over at FRESH HQ. perhaps something is in the air, perhaps it’s just coincidence, either way things around me have been changing and breaking down left and right. camera, computer, hard drive, flight reservations - you name it. i do think i’ve been making the process more stressful and anxiety-filled than it had to be, by being reluctant to detach from attachments and to embrace newness. this is the first FRESH issue i’m writing from a new computer - it feels a little new, a little foreign. maybe that’s the kind of shake up i’m due for.
i’ve been unpacking a lot of inner thoughts and core beliefs i have as they appear, and some of them aren’t pretty. i find myself doubting whether i am worthy of good things in my life, and struggling to invest in and justify life improvements for myself. they’re scary realizations to have, and even scarier to realize that they’ve been embedded in my subconscious for a long time. it comes down to me fighting against my (old) self, and fighting for what i know i deserve, and who i know i deserve to be. it’s one complicated battle at a time, but i think they’re worth seeing through to the end.
FRESH: new music
Never Seen You Dance - Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
summer’s not over until the summer bangers stop, and they don’t show sign of stopping yet! TEED delivers all the deliciously feel-good beats you need on Never Seen You Dance, a cut off his upcoming album (edit: now released) When The Lights Go. it’s quite impossible to put this on and not immediately want to get up and dance, tried and tested.
Happiness - The 1975
Happiness is the second single off The 1975’s upcoming album (edit: now released!) Being Funny In A Foreign Language, and it’s everything i’ve been craving from a new The 1975 song. truly groove-filled pop at its finest, with a generous side of lyrical sweet nothings. it’s giving Girls and This Must Be My Dream vibes (two of my all-time favorite The 1975 songs, mind you), with a noticeably more refined and mature touch, fitting for this new era and album. FRESH’s chef kiss.
Let Me Love U - Baauer
Baauer makes a surprise single drop with Let Me Love U, marking his first release of 2022! complete with cheeky yet intriguing cover art, the track is a serving of sample-infused disco grooves, with a little Baauer twist. incredibly wholesome, and an instant mood-lifter.
FRESH: live sets
Fred Again.. NYC Pop Up
Fred Again.. strikes, yet again! the hottest name in dance music right now announced a secret NYC pop up rave (exclusive email invite only, of course) a few weeks ago with some special guests - namely none other than Swedish House Mafia, with a quick appearance from Four Tet as well. it’s thankfully been recorded in full from right in front of the DJ booth, in case you missed out - enjoy the full 3 hours of goodness in here. some surprises for sure - namely Axwell whipping out that throwback Eric Prydz Private Remix of Midnight City, some MSBWY, and my two beloved tracks Greyhound and Billie (Loving Arms) dropping back to back!
Eli & Fur live from Skyway Monte Bianco for Cercle
Cercle never fails to deliver on the stunning scenic locations for their music livestreams - this time it’s sunrise on the peaks of snowy Italian mountains! Eli & Fur’s new live setup and dreamy downtempo set is the perfect audio complement to the chilly surroundings - what a pleasant surprise to hear some (of my personal favorite) lesser-heard songs played from their discography, like Don’t Say and Walk The Line, and that unreleased (edit: now released!) remix of Le Youth and OCULA’s If Only (You Could Be Here)!
SAMBAZON Acai Bowl
i happened across this little store of health foods one day and almost (definitely) hyperventilated when i walked in - full of vegan alternatives, snacks, frozen foods that are extremely hard to find in HK! i first happened upon SAMBAZON’s energy drinks in the grab-and-go fridge at Whole Foods back in NYC, and was super surprised to see the brand here too. been really enjoying this acai bowl they make, which comes with a very generous helping of frozen acai and a side of granola. i can also confirm the container is indeed compostable as they claimed - quite impressed!
we’re very excited to have Sophia Tan in for this issue’s GUESTFRESH! Sophia is a recent grad living in Queens, New York. She is a passionate writer that is interested in analyzing music and other forms of popular art and culture. She also loves reading, drawing, running, drinking tea and petting cats. More than anything, she loves connecting with people through being vulnerable and embracing human emotions. You can find more of her work on her music blog, writing portfolio, or art Instagram.
FRESH: Hyperpop and Experimental Hip Hop Albums
Lately, I’ve been feeling heavily inspired by the broad realm of hard-hitting, fast-paced, experimental electronic music. While this description covers a lot, some specific genres may include hyperpop, drum and bass, cloud rap, experimental hip hop and more. I’ve known for years that I generally gravitate towards experimental music in my listening sphere, but recently, I’ve been opening up that box and embracing even more sounds and artists. It’s funny, because I don’t exactly look like the person that would so avidly consume this music. When I’m on the train going to work, I might exhibit a calm and collected demeanor, while in my headphones blasts a 180 bpm, raging electropop banger. I think I’ve been drawn to this music as of late for a few reasons: for one, it embodies my frequent state of mind. I’m always thinking about a million things; my head is screaming and exploding at all times. Having a sonic representation of this feeling almost allows me to turn that chaos into a tangible thing, so that I can step back from it and enjoy it rather than be lost in or consumed by it.
The next reason is that I’ve been more consistently exercising (woo!), i.e. running and going to the gym. It’s crazy how much I have become incredibly reliant on music these days to get me through a workout or 5 mile run. Whenever I’m feeling like I can’t go on any longer, the most reinvigorating song comes on, and my entire body and mindset changes so that I can keep pushing. On that note, I’ve noticed that as much as I flaunt being such an open-minded music listener with a vast taste, I truly do most often listen to music that fits seamlessly into my daily life (makes sense, right?). While I still often make conscious efforts to listen to things out of my comfort zone, I’m usually listening to things that I really want to hear when I’m out and about living my life. Recently, most of this has consisted of these hardcore electronic and trap albums to keep me energized and on my toes throughout the day.
Finally, the last reason I’ve been obsessing over this music lately is because I’m so fascinated by the culture that permeates the scene and its artists. A lot of them have usually developed a cult following on the Internet, as well as choose to keep their appearances pretty hidden and anonymous, placing a greater emphasis on the music itself. Many of these artists even employ distortions to their vocals, resulting in almost androgynous persona. Visuals-wise, so much of the imagery that these artists showcase include bright neon colors, fantastical elements, cartoon and video game aesthetics, and overall very digital-inspired imagery that could only be born out of a heavily-immersed Internet age. I’m just forever intrigued and floored by the talent saturating this alternate universe, and can’t get enough of the music. More than anything, it makes me unafraid to express and be myself in whatever context I’m in. Here are a few albums I think you should check out:
FRESH: An Ode to Rituals
Remember all those cheesy Tumblr quotes that preached about how it’s the “little things” that matter? Well… they may have had a point. These days, I’ve been turning to what I call my “rituals,” or small pockets of relief I carve out of each day, to attempt to step away from all the chaos and just be present with myself. Not only are they grounding in the moment, but they ensure that I always feel in touch with my sense of self, and are my foundations for staying focused and inspired to pursue my creative goals. I’ve found that if I can squeeze in any one of these things into a given day, the chances of it being a good day automatically increase tenfold. These are just a few of my most valued ones.
While I know this may be a luxury to practice every morning since we’re busy people, I think that setting aside 10 minutes when you’re able makes an indescribable difference in starting the day off on the right tone. I’ve been using a YouTube guided meditation that helps me stabilize my breathing and emphasizes setting intentions for the day. No matter how anxiety-ridden I was after waking up, I always feel better and more clear-headed after this.
When I’m feeling panicked or overwhelmed, putting my thoughts on paper gives me a sense of control, and often shows me that things are not as bad as they seem. It also allows me to wholly disconnect from the world and sort through my thoughts in peace. Sometimes, I also use a gratitude journal, which helps me realize how fortunate I am even on my worst days, and appreciate things like a filling meal or being able to watch the sunset from my window.
Recently, I picked up an old drawing I started about a year ago, and working on this a few times a week has been an unmatched way to escape from whatever else is going on and just focus on what’s in front of me. It feels a bit indulgent because it’s not work that I’m producing for anyone else – but I think that’s okay, because it reminds me why I fell in love with art in the first place.
Tea every night
I find a lot (maybe a little too much) of comfort in winding down with a cup of tea every night. The act of boiling water, picking out the tea, letting it steep and fill the air, and adding milk/honey/etc. just brings me immense joy. I find it to be a very meditative process that lets me fully embrace the day’s ending. One of my biggest goals in life is to embody the Sleepytime Tea Bear sitting in his rocking chair, so this is my little manifestation of that for now.
Decorating my planner
I swear by my planner to help me organize my to-do lists on a daily basis. While this might seem extra, I find endless satisfaction in filling up the pages with stickers, doodles, washi tape and any other supplies I have on hand. These little decorating sessions allow me to bask in the stationary nerd side of me, and spend more time reflecting on my goals each day. Special shout out to @blingbywing for hooking me up with all the best goods. <3
Stretching/some form of exercise
I’m not here to preach about how exercise improves mental health, because you’ve probably figured that out already (the IG fitness gurus were right smh). Yet, I’m still continually baffled by how the most life-threatening existential crises can be quieted just by taking a walk, feeling the sun on my skin, or stretching in an intentional way. It’s like everything disappears for a bit, and whatever problems I was dealing with beforehand seem infinitely less puzzling afterwards.
Maybe everyone’s heard the story about the boy who chops more wood than the guy next to him because he takes breaks to sharpen his axe, but as corny as it sounds, it’s a life hack I resonate with. Especially as an adult, where we’re often forced to define ourselves by the work we produce, it can be so easy to keep pushing yourself even when you’re completely at the edge of your limits. I truly believe that increased productivity comes naturally as a result of taking care of yourself first. I also believe that life is more than just work, and so much beauty can be found in the small ways we insert meaning, reflection, and solace into it everyday.
thank you sophia for the wonderful words! it’s been a joy to have you here. there’s so much to take from those insights on “little things” and rituals, it’s prompting me to take stock of my personal little rituals that i hold dear too. hope you enjoyed this issue as much as we both enjoyed writing it! i promise i haven’t forgotten that very belated issue of Sleepover Sundays - it’s sitting in the drafts to be finished, as is an actual real-time new issue. excited to get this show back on the road, thank you for your patience on being here for the ride!
love love love,
alright, over to you now! hit up the comments section with your thoughts, or if you enjoy a little prompting:
what in your life has been rapidly changing lately? how have you felt about it?
what’s been your go-to food recently?
what are the “little things” that matter a lot to you?