This week, Inbox gets chummy with Germany-based nu-disco DJ and producer Daniel Wang. The right-handed East Berliner, who has also lived in places such as Taiwan and New York, designs his ideal college course, noshes on meat-centric German grub, grooves to Canadian disco, and sports sweaters that would make Bill Cosby jealous. The Best of Balihu 1993-2008, a two-disc compilation culling offerings from Wang’s independent label, is out now on Rush Hour. You can also get a taste of what's good with Wang here with a track from our downloads section.
XLR8R: What is the last song you listened to?
Daniel Wang: Patsy Gallant—"It’s Gotta Be You," from 1979, a Canadian disco hit.
What's the weirdest story you have ever heard about yourself?
Except the bit about being born in Tibet, all the stories I’ve heard about me are true. I should be glad that the weirdest parts of my life have not yet been made public. Poor Tiger Woods!
What was the first concert you ever attended?
As a child I went to a lot of "serious" concerts at the annual cultural festival in Taipei—Japanese taiko, Viennese opera, Marcel Marceau pantomime... I didn’t go to my first "pop music" concert until high school, though. That was Erasure. It was okay.
Of the cities you’ve lived in, which has had the greatest influence on your
New York, undoubtedly!
Favorite studio toy?
Korg vintage delay, SDD 1000. Synths sound best with a little echo!
What is your favorite item of clothing?
Oh, jeez. Recently, my "1980s suburban dad sweater" with heather and navy woven textures?
Righty or lefty?
Right hand. I’m sure lefties are superior.
If your music were given its own radio station, what would your station’s name be (i.e., Foxy 97.5 FM or Grimey 103.9 FM)?
98.3 Groooovy FM.
What is your favorite German food?
I think kohlrouladen (meat rolls in cabbage leaves). I actually find German sausages too salty and rather unhealthy, as well.
If you were to teach a college class of your own design, what would the name of the course be?
Oooh, that’s a good question! Serious, now! I think it would be "Intercultural Meanings of Music and Language"—something that connects the meanings of all these things we [sense] through our ears. I think it is actually one big continuum. From phonemes and accents down to microtonal scales and, of course, rhythms. The difference between a tonal language without articles and conjugations, like Chinese, and the European languages, is so huge; yet, humans often express the same thought in similar ways, despite these differences. The ancient Chinese and ancient Europeans both arrived at Pythagorean and, eventually, equal temperament tone scales, apparently independently. How and why?
What's the last book you read?
Classic Bonsai of Japan, published by the Japanese National Bonsai Society. I bought a load of Bonsai books last week in San Francisco.
Complete this sentence: In life, one must _________.
Uh-oh, that’s hard. Honest response: my brain said, Enjoy life fully, and, Find love. But sometimes your brain spits out a cliché when confronted with such questions.
What is the strangest advice you’ve received in the last year?
I can’t remember any really strange advice!!
What's next on your agenda?
Renovate my Plattenbau apartment in East Berlin!