IN CONVERSATION WITH JASPER WONG – “THE EMPEROR: PART ONE” AND “THE EMPEROR: PART TWO”

Jasper Wong is a singer, multi-instrumentalist and producer based in London, UK; he learned to play both guitar and bass by himself. Having grown up in Beijing, Singapore, Hong Kong and London, in his songs it is well perceived his eclecticism and versatility and his genre of reference ranges between indie rock with cinematic influences, all guided by the melody of the guitar. Jasper writes his songs by putting at the centre of his lyrics the memories, the feeling of loneliness and mental health; sometimes he refers to his own personal experiences or characters he meets or invents: the least common multiple, however, is the imperfection and complexity of gender and human interiority. In 2021, Jasper released two Eps titled ‘The Emperor: Part One” and “The Emperor: Part Two”. Both explore the theme of solitude with an approach sometimes autobiographic, sometimes metaphorical, sometimes telling stories of fictitious characters… Have good listening!


YMX: Hey JASPER WONG, thanks for sitting down with us. What would you say to all our readers new to your project?

JASPER WONG: A pleasure to be interviewed by YMX! For someone new to my music, I’d say that I’m a singer and multi-instrumentalist as well as a producer, and my music is guitar-driven alternative rock/indie with cinematic influences.

YMX: When did you know that music was something you wanted to pursue at an artistic level?

JASPER WONG: I’ve always felt the need to express myself creatively. I suppose that my music is often an interpretation of my surroundings and the product of the interplay between my inner world and my surroundings and external influences. Music has always been the most natural and spontaneous way of creative self-expression for me but it was when I first started using Cubase over ten years ago I found for the first time that I could really flesh out my creative ideas in a way that felt natural and straight-forward to me.

YMX: You recently released ‘The Emperor: Part One” and “The Emperor: Part Two”. Can you tell us how that project came about?

JASPER WONG: My two EP’s from 2021 are ‘The Emperor: Part One”, and ‘The Emperor: Part Two”. They’re meant to be one full-length, but I found it much easier to release them separately – I have problems finishing and releasing songs so it’s much easier to mix and master two EP’s in a row rather than preparing a whole album. I wanted to explore loneliness and disconnection from different perspectives – a more personal perspective, and through that of fictional characters: The overly idealistic and out of touch emperor character stars in the songs “Glimpses of the Flame”, “Dictator”, “The Emperor: Pt. 1”, and “The Emperor: Pt. 2”, for example.

YMX: What is the one thing you would like people to feel while listening to the EP?

JASPER WONG: I want them to be drawn into the world I’m trying to create through my music and my lyrics! I hope that with every release I get closer to achieving this consistently.

YMX: How did the recent pandemic influence your creative process? is remote collaboration easy for you?

JASPER WONG: Covid-19 has been a bit of a strange situation for me. Prior to Covid-19, I’d been working on music mostly alone for years, and I guess I’ve been working on being able to actually get out of my head and ‘out there for nearly as long! Last year has been completely unprecedented and so many things were out of my control. Part of what I did to regain and reassert a bit of control was to maximise the amount of time I spent writing, recording and mixing music and tried to treat making music like a job where I’d work with a pretty strict routine for a set amount of time (usually 9 to 4 or 5) every day. Remote collaborations have been pretty difficult. I worked with a couple of friends remotely on some unreleased music but it’s really not the same feeling as being in the same room making music and it’s just a lot harder to hit the same level of creative energy remotely.

YMX: Do you feel more confident writing music alone, or within a team?

JASPER WONG: I am more confident working on music alone. I’ve spent much more time over the last few years doing it all myself than with others! I do enjoy producing other musicians or artists, and miss making music with a band – it’s much harder to make music in a more spontaneous and reactive way completely solo.

YMX: Can you name the last gig you played? Would you consider doing a live stream concert?

JASPER WONG: My last gig was a charity night at Greenwich Picturehouse before the pandemic brought everything to a stop. I’d be down to do a Livestream concert in April – why not!

YMX: Finally, what are your plans for the future?

JASPER WONG: In terms of gigs I’m playing at Bloomsbury Lanes in London on the 22nd of May as part of a multi-lineup day of music, come on down and say hello! In terms of releases, I’m currently working on a full-length album under my name, and an EP for my production handle ‘FORTUNA’ that is going to be much more hip-hop and electronic-based. I’ve also wondered how putting the Jasper Wong and FORTUNA albums together into one big release would sound…