Where are you based?
Where do you work? What do you do?
I’m the woman behind alternative hip hop project Hua Li. I also program POP Symposium at POP Montreal Festival, make educational videos for Landr Audio and teach singing and piano. Sometimes I DJ, too!
What are you listening to?
Omodaka, Bilal, Kari Faux, Bbymutha, Remi Wolf, Deante’ Hitchcock & Moodymann are all high rotation these days.
How do you discover new music?
I love to dig for music, both IRL and online. I’ve made some beloved discoveries in record shops and I also love to follow the links of artists online – combing through label rosters, listening to collaborators of artists I like, checking out the artists that artists I like follow… Sometimes I hand over control to the algorithms. Especially when I am preparing for DJ sets, I’ll go through my Release Radar and the New Music Friday playlists. I like a lot of stuff on the Spotify Pollen playlist as well. Twitter is also a great resource for me – I follow a lot of publications and music journalists on there and artists also often tweet about stuff that they are passionate about.
What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services? Why?
When I’m at home I listen to my record collection a lot. I like the ritual of flipping the record over, it feels like this little interaction keeps me listening more actively. I recently moved into a new place and had to confront my CD collection that I had been dragging around from apartment to apartment for 13 years and just keeping in storage. I’ve since prominently displayed them and have been listening to those at home too, which has been so fun because it turns out I had great taste in the 90s and 00s. When I’m out and about I’ll reach for the streaming services.
“Sometimes I hand over control to the algorithms. Especially when I am preparing for DJ sets”
Where do you do most of your music listening?
I listen to music as much as I can! When I’m at home I listen to my records through my studio monitors and I have a little listening/reading chair that my dog and I snuggle up in. Sometimes I do very active listening and other times I just put stuff on in the background. Sometimes I do the incredibly dangerous thing of listening to music while I bike, which I do not recommend at all, stay safe kids! I am sad to say that now that I am 30, I have finally learned to drive and have lost some of my Montreal cred, but at the same time, I’ve discovered that listening to music while driving is one of my new passions.
How do you find and listen to pre-release music?
I don’t know that I listen to a lot of pre-release music intentionally. This happens for me mostly when my fellow artists share their tracks with me ahead of their releases. When I used to work at Art Not Love Records and editing for Bitchfork.ca I had a lot more opportunities to listen to things in advance than I do now.
What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
My main frustration is that I would like people to buy my records more! I admit that I indulge in the convenience of listening to music on streaming platforms and I actually kinda like it. I like that we can share music easily now – I share a lot of pre-release stuff on private Soundcloud links so people don’t have to download anything and I like that waveform thing that it has for pre-release stuff because I don’t feel like I have to leave the peaks and valleys as surprises for the people I send music to privately.
How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
The great thing about physical formats is that those records are always in your living room for future reference! I have a couple monstrously long playlists that I throw favourites that I come across into on Spotify and Apple Music, especially for things I want to download later for DJ sets.
Discover the #HowWeListen Playlist
Listen to the #HowWeListen 2021 Picks playlist. Curated by this year’s interviewees.
Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
I very rarely do this directly unless it’s an artist I’m working with, and even then, only if it comes up organically in a session. That said, I think I do this indirectly in my DJ sets.
Anything you want to “promote”?
Please do yourselves a favour and check out everyone on the Next Door Records roster! I’m signed to them, but that is only just the surface of the wonderful musical depths of that label. Some of my Montreal & Toronto favies include Janette King, Backxwash, Petra Glynt, Sydanie, TiKA & Baby Cages.
"I like the ritual of flipping the record over, it feels like this little interaction keeps me listening more actively."