Xosar's new EP is all about letting out your inner beast. Following releases on labels like L.I.E.S. and Opal Tapes, and most recently the gnarly free album she released on Bandcamp right at the end of 2015, the Berlin-based, San Jose-raised techno expert is playing no games with the launch of her new label GYROCYRE. The imprint itself is named after a pretty terrifying mythical creature of her own invention—read more below—and the Show Yourself EP takes the concept to another level by imagining how it feels to let that creature, a representation of all your inner frustrations, burst out of you.
What that translates into musically is the fragmented, metallic pulse of "Skin Hammer," or the dizzying, cavernous lurch of "Manmeat PCP"—beats to throw furniture around to. The FADER spoke to Xosar over email to get more of an insight into her occult-loving, technology-smashing world; read on as you listen to the EP exclusively below.
Tell us about GYROCYRE; what does that name mean to you, and what's the philosophy behind the label?
XOSAR: A creature called a GYROCYRE: a tyrannical fractal-based entity that comes in many forms, often resembling a black romanesco (the vegetable) with some tiny, sharp teeth.
Imagine a romanesco's fractal form composed of a series of coiled-up mini-TVs. Each TV is playing a looped video of every negative incident, habit, or thought one experiences over a lifetime. Each large TV spawns a series of smaller TVs, spiraling out ad infinitum.
The nature of a GYROCYRE is to expand and enhance its power and control over its host by generating more TVs of its kind.
The only way to turn off the TVs is to vigilantly watch each looped video, one at a time, from start to finish, experiencing fully whatever emotion comes with it. This is the hardest part for most people. Doing this will weaken and eventually expel the GYROCYRE from your auric field, allowing you to take your power back.
If you are really strong and courageous, you could also take a hammer and bash the TVs (each snare on the record represents a new opportunity to visualize yourself bashing a TV).
This EP is themed around confrontation. What kind of headspace were you in when you were making it?
A TV-bashing headspace.
What was it like growing up in San Jose?
Capri-Sun, walks in the Vietnamese strip mall, teen dads with strollers, TLC in my CD walkman. Aqua Net, lipliner, and a spaghetti strap (to change into after my parents dropped me off) in my backpack. I've got a high ponytail in back and two strands of Aqua Net-ed bang in front, arranged in a symmetrical dangle over each eye. I waltz into the almighty mall to buy more colors of spaghetti straps and take wallet-size photos (sepia color to further obscure the already brittle chola-scaped arches I had for eyebrows).
In the evening, dancing, alone in my room (dreaming of escaping this psychic prison, so sick of being stuck in San Jose).
Where did your earliest musical education come from?
VH1 Pop-Up Video. I took piano lessons in the Vietnamese strip mall. Then, I went on to take violin lessons at a nearby music school. One day...I begged my parents to let me attend DJ lessons and to buy me the latest Numark “DJ in a box” set. They made that happen for my 15th birthday.
The teachers at the DJ school were members of a Bay Area DMC-battling turntablist crew called the Fingerbangerz. They'd all lost their index fingers up to the knuckle in disciplinary amputations by local Viet mafia poker gamers, so they asked that we students be their fingers for them, feel our way through their vinyl collections now that they could not. Through this surrogate fingering I learned the basics of "turntablism." The experience of mashing different musics (rap to soul to aggressive acid psy-trance to My Bloody Valentine to Ravi Shankar to Tears for Fears to Yanni) without regard to context, creating sudden shifts in emotion and association, alerted me to the manipulative mood power of music in a way I was convinced I'd someday earnestly describe in an interview.
Being a graphic designer as well as a producer, how do the visual and musical sides of your mind intersect?
The marriage of those elements is different for each release. Sometimes one spouse is dominant, holding the reigns, while the other washes the dishes. Sometimes it’s a two-sided give and take relationship, where both partners have equal holding on the relationship, making decisions together. That is the ideal scenario, both elements speaking a language capable of conceiving fantastic creatures and atmospheres.
What's next for Xosar and GYROCYRE?
We are going to get some pho.