When a song engulfs you, grapples your very core, that is when a musician truly has done their job. Beijing-based solo artist SOURTOWER (酸塔 | suān tǎ) does just that. Our in-house musical flame Rochelle Beiersdorfer goes on a fiery journey to SOURTOWER’s “Strange Island.” Fact. Check!
Illustrator by day audio architect by night, Wang Xu (王旭｜wáng xù) is a solo artist who is best known throughout the underground music circuit as SOURTOWER (酸塔 | suān tǎ). A lover of fine art and music since childhood—even making silly ditties as a kid, SOURTOWER didn’t start to create music until college. “I started to be interested in making music when I went to college,” she explains, “…I played in a band as a drummer with some friends.”
Nevertheless, it wasn’t until entering the workforce that her signature sound and skills really came into their own. “After [college] I lived a life of going to work every day until 2017 when I started to compose complete songs…, that was also when I started to see my depression properly,” SOURTOWER tells Temper, “I had a lot of emotions that I wanted to express…”
Blending elements of synth pop, dark wave, dreampop, 80s disco and shoegaze, SOURTOWER’s music is an original take on indie electronica. With a voice that possesses an ethereal vibe, this artist creates hypnotic explorations into the labyrinth of human emotion. Lyrical concepts explore such bane-of-existence subjects as deep-seated, enigmatic anguish that only a severely broken heart can incite and pining for the past.
With every yin there is a yang, and the juxtaposition in SOURTOWER’s music is between the lyrics and the instrumental arrangements. The use of whimsical electronic melodies and catchy bridges transports the listener to a hazy, incandescent dance floor where their internal self can twirl away the turmoil. In other words, pure escapism to a sonic safe haven. “I think maybe SOURTOWER is a place where lonely people could hide for a while,” SOURTOWER explains when asked about the philosophy behind her music, “eventually we have to face our own problems. But anyways, it’s good to have a place to rest for a while, right?”
Started in 2017, SOURTOWER began as a trio and only became a one women show in 2019. Since becoming an independent musician, SOURTOWER has released an EP entitled “How Many Times?” on Nugget Records, an indie record label from Beijing.
MUSIC AND FASHION
With bleached blonde hair and a love for stripes, polka dots and quirky graphic tees, SOURTOWER’s fashion sense is all her own. And like the music she creates, clothing is another medium that is utilized for self-realization and expression. “Absolutely. I think trying different looks and dressing styles is the process of getting to know yourself,” she responds to a question about fashion as a means of self-expression, “through this process I can find out what I am most comfortable with and also how I want people to see me.”
Music and fashion have always been interrelated. Take heavy metal’s battle jackets, punk rock’s mohawks and rap’s baggy trousers. “I think both of them are very important parts of shaping a person’s style,” SOURTOWER concurs when asked to give her thoughts on music and fashion’s interconnectedness, “I believe that people’s behavior sometimes changes depending on what they are wearing and the music they are listening to. So, I think in a way their relationship is interpenetrating…”
Based in Beijing, SOURTOWER’s origins began in Inner Mongolia, and that includes the name. “I used to live in my grandparents’ house when I was a kid and there was a radio broadcasting tower nearby,” SOURTOWER explains, “when I started making my own music, there was also a radio tower near the apartment I was living in….it remind[ed] me of a lot of sweet memories from my childhood. So, I decided then to use the word ‘tower’ and add another word to it with the same ending, ‘sour.’ I thought this would also make the name [catchier]. The Chinese translation of [SOURTOWER] ‘suān tǎ’ is also a cute and memorable name.”
Yet like a bottle of wine, time brings out more complex flavors and profound significance. SOURTOWER’s name is no different. “As time passes, I think it also gives itself a deeper meaning: life is one sour thing after another piled on top of each other.”
*True-che is a neologism that Rochelle coined in 2019. Meaning that something is too spot-on, it can be used in any situation where you wholeheartedly agree and/or acknowledge the profound truth of something. #TemperTeachings
Ready to submit yourself to the bitter sweetness of sentiment and shuffle away the blues? Grab your dance shoes and head over to Beijing’s MCLAB on November 6.
Not in the mood? Keep an eye on SOURTOWER’s Instagram and Weibo for future shows’ information. #scrolldown
We all have the feels sometimes and, for whatever reason, need to marinate in misery. #correctamundo
SOURTOWER’s discography is a perfect companion when you need to wallow for a moment and then dance it out, feeling the sweet—yet sour—touch of serenity. So, without further ado…
Get swept away by sentiment and dance it out!
Listen to SOURTOWER’s EP “How Many Times?” on Apple Music:
Follow SOURTOWER on the social side via
ALL IMAGES COME COURTESY OF SOURTOWER
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