The music of Taipei’s Sonia Calico has always been thoughtful. It draws on various styles of urban club music from around the world, like grime and Jersey club, and then blends them with Asian references in an homage to her inspirations.
One genre that Sonia touches on is ballroom, a style with origins in black gay communities in New York that’s often the soundtrack to vogue dancing. A central element of this music is the “ha crash,” which is a cluttering and crashing snare explosion, often with the word “ha” mixed in. Sonia’s been partial to the sound for a while but only recently started working with Taipei’s vogue community after she met Slutty Pomi, a queer dance group, at a party she DJ’d.
Ballroom 是影响 Sonia 的风格之一，其是一种起源于纽约黑人同性恋社区的音乐。“ha crash” 是这种音乐风格的标志性元素，即繁复军鼓与名曲 “the Ha Dance” 人声部分采样的混搭，拥有爆炸的情绪和十足的冲击力。一直以来，Sonia 都对 ballroom 音乐情有独钟，最近，她担任台北 vogue 舞者和变装皇后派对的 DJ 时，认识了酷儿舞蹈团体波蜜坏女孩。而她最新作品的灵感，便是来自她在台北的 vogue 派对和变装社区经历。
Listen to to some of our favorite tracks by Sonia Calico below:
点击即可试听几首 Sonia Calico 的歌曲:
“When I started playing ballroom that night, people were surprised that someone in Taipei was making this kind of music, because other DJs only played tech house or house music,” Sonia says. “People jumped onto the stage and were doing death drops every time they heard the crash. They did like a hundred death drops! The energy was so good.” (In a death drop, a dancer flamboyantly drops to the floor as if suddenly struck dead.) Afterward, she met with Slutty Pomi, who wanted her to write some music for a performance of theirs. That song and dance were the prototypes for her new ballroom-inspired music video, “Hougong Crash.”
“当我在台上播放 ballroom 音乐时，大家都很意外，没想到在台北也有人制作这种音乐，因为其他 DJ 一般只会演奏 tech house 或 house 音乐。”她回忆道，“大家跳到台上，一听到 crash 就做 death drops 的舞步。他们做了上百次的 death drops! 气氛非常好。” （Death drops 是指舞者突然华丽地倒在地上，像是被击中后的瞬间倒地。）在那之后，波蜜坏女孩找到了 Sonia，他们希望 Sonia 可以为演出带来音乐创作。演出中的歌曲和舞蹈后来成为 “后宫乱斗” MV 的原型。
This video centers on vogue dancers, and it incorporates visuals from hougong soap operas, which are popular Chinese TV shows set in the palaces of imperial China and populated with concubines who plot against one another as they compete for power and influence. The experience has been rewarding for Sonia: “The dancers didn’t know too much about ballroom music producers, but they knew the famous dance houses. It was interesting to talk to them about it because we approach ballroom in totally different ways.”
MV 围绕 vogue 舞者们展开，将视觉与后宫类肥皂剧的画面结合在一起，这类剧集主要讲述古代皇宫中，一众嫔妃为争夺权力勾心斗角的故事。波蜜坏女孩负责了 MV 中的舞蹈的概念。这次的经历对 Sonia 获益匪浅，“舞者可能对 ballroom 音乐制作人不太了解，但他们熟悉经典的俱乐部舞蹈方式。这也让我们之间的话题变得很有意思，因为我们了解 ballroom 音乐的途径是截然不同的”。
This is the second music video Sonia has directed, after “Clutter Confines,” which was inspired by the struggle for same-sex marriage. Taiwan legalized it in May, but only after a pitched struggle. “The debate surrounding it was really depressing, so we tried to create something to heal ourselves,” she explains. “The four parts of the video are about different emotional stages. The first is very angry, because the whole society was split and arguing, both sides trying to hurt each other. It was really extreme. The second is very sudden, like I was speechless. Next is mutual understanding and communication. The finale is overcoming differences and celebrating life. This work is a tribute, because I got a lot of inspiration from my queer friends. I wanted to repay and support them.”
“后宫乱斗” 是 Sonia 的第二部 MV，上一部 “Clutter Confines” 的灵感来自同性婚姻平权运动，今年5月，台湾同性婚姻正式合法化。“有关这个问题的争议令人很沮丧，所以我们试图创作一些东西来安慰自己。”她坦述道，“MV 的四个部分展示了不同的情绪阶段。第一部分是愤怒，因为整个社会在分裂和争论，双方互相伤害，非常极端。第二部分是突如其来的冷静，令人哑口无言。接下来是相互理解和沟通。最后是克服分歧，享受生活。这部 MV其实是一种致敬，因为我从我的酷儿朋友那里获得了很多灵感。我想以此来回报和支持他们。”
As a straight woman, Sonia wasn’t sure how to properly address queer topics in her videos. But her choreographer, Jasmine Lin, who’s queer, suggested they seek out creatives from the community to work with—that way, the songs would connect more directly with the people they were honoring. In both her music and her videos, Sonia makes room for marginalized voices with a rare and welcome sensitivity.
作为一位直女，Sonia 并不确定如何将同性主题安排在自己的视频当中。但是她的编舞拍档 Jasmine Lin 是一位酷儿，在 Li 的建议下社区内的创作者参与其中，这也让歌曲本身与自豪的人们联系得更加紧密。在音乐和视频里，Sonia 能以亲密无间的珍贵姿态，去拥抱边缘化的声音。
9 月 27 日，Sonia Calico 所在的厂牌 UnderU 将在台北 Final 俱乐部举办最新的 “合集” 发行派对，届时 Sonia 也会参加演出。