Having released upbeat sugar-glossed satire of modern age consumerism, ‘plastic world’, to the menacing politically-charged rap ‘bangkok’ previously, Thai visionary singer-producer Pyra is determined to provoke thinking and drive positive social change through all aspects of her art. With crafting her own futuristic style, Dystopian Pop, the genre-bending mix embraces an extensive range of musical styles to address apocalyptic socio-issues head-on in a fresh, stout-hearted, and eccentric manner.
Pyra recently shuddered the world with her undaunted Asian Women Empowerment of a latest smash single, ‘yellow fever’ featuring Asia’s pre-eminent female Hip Hop figures, Ramengvrl (Indonesia) and Yayoi Daimon (Japan). The Asian-feminist anthem has proved Pyra’s unwavering valiant stance amongst the global issue of inequality.
Popwire had the pleasure of speaking with Pyra recently in line with the release of ‘yellow fever’.
Hi Pyra, how are you? Thanks for taking the time to do this!
‘yellow fever’ is the anthem of now and it couldn’t have come at a better time! While we know it’s all about rallying the world to see Asian women in a new light, could you share with us in your own words what the single is about?
The single is summed in one line quoted in the lyrics: Please stop fetishizing Asian bodies. Everything else, music and visual, is a fun and eccentric expression that supports the message. Hypersexualization of Asian women has always been here with us since forever but there’s not many people who speak up about it. There’s never a better time for us to do so than now.
We loved that you joined forces with heavy weight music champions of female empowerment. How did the collaboration of you, Ramengvrl and Yayoi Daimon come about for this track?
Ramen’s team reached out to me initially for a feature on her track ‘Foreign’. At that time, I was planning to reach out to her for a feature on ‘yellow fever’, so I guess this is the work of our manifestation. For Yayoi Daimon, I met her producer, Vivi, two years ago in Tokyo. Their all-female crew were making femme-focused content and Yayoi is a self-proclaimed feminist artist, so this is definitely a perfect fit. I asked Vivi to connect me to Daimon for the feature.
There are many elements to take in this one track that covers not just Asian fetishisation, but also racial blindness and cultural appropriation. What was the production process like for this, especially with how both Ramengvrl and Yayoi Daimon are based in different parts of Asia as well.
‘yellow fever’ was written and produced in Feb 2020 in Thailand with my Grammy-nominated team of producer and writers who flew in to finish my coming album. The track itself was written and recorded in a day. The team I got is mad crazy. There were some days where we finished 4 tracks. The efficiency and teamwork was beyond what you think is possible. I invited Ramengvrl and Yayoi Daimon for a feature later in Dec 2020. Ramengvrl wrote her own while my team and I wrote Daimon’s verse.
There’s also an accompanying video that’s so bold and unforgettable. We loved that it was full-on reigning female supremacy. Break it down for us what was going on in the music video?
It’s a parallel world dominated by women. Guess you can call it ‘matriarchy’. The VDO started off with me (as tour guide) leading tourists into a soap house in which I, secretly own (as mama-san). But instead of getting some asian happy endings, they get exactly the opposite. Let me explain no further. Watch it and leave a comment so I can know what you think!
Could you tell us what’s your definition of Dystopian Pop?
Dystopian Pop is the term I coined for the music I make. The reason why I choose to call my music “dystopian pop” is because:
1) It’s genre-defying (meaning there’s no particular genre this body of work could fit in)
2) What glues them all together is the message (of bettering the world) rather than sonic qualities.
Now that the world is opening up again soon, are you planning to start some form of an all-female empowerment riot (concert)?
I’m partnering up with ASAP Bangkok, a new hip-hop club in town, to host a fundraising event for the AAPI hate crime in the US.
As much as ‘Yellow Fever’ is about feminism, the overarching topic of my coming album is about equality. I believe change will only come when the world is more inclusive–a world where no one is left behind. It’s not just women who should be leading the movement, but it’s everyone including men and the LGBTQIA+ community as well. As long as we see eye-to-eye on the importance of promoting equality, everyone is more than welcome to join the force.
Change won’t come by me and a few of my friends acting on our own. We need everybody in and that includes you. I hear many people complaining about how their society sucks, but the truth is, we are THAT society. If you want change, you have to start from yourself and move on to empowering those around you. As cliché as this may sound: Be the change you want to see in the world.