By Arielle Lessard
CALGARY — Calgary resident Foon Yap possesses a particular blend of raw talent, poise and creative drive. Together with her violin and seamless ear for composition she is able to carefully wind through high and low tones, combining stimulating elements that elevate her work and help to navigate the purest form of self-exploration. Unafraid to pitch her sweet voice to anxious cashes in Bjork-inspired dynamism, her work as FOONYAP is unlike anything else. Palimpsest, the artist’s latest endeavour, is a project that expels and reflects all at once. Songs range from two to eight minutes, with every composition at a necessary length, building on themes at the inner core. “Gabriel Moody,” a song sang in French, uses careful plucks like the beginnings of a slow rain and is overlaid by beautifully rich strings. Other songs incorporate lullabies, synth, bass, and a range of delicate features.
An artist that has managed to collaborate on indie folk rock with Woodpidgeon, and explored “vampire sex metal disco” on FOONYAP and The Roar, Foon’s first independently released solo album is a further extension of self; a detailed blend of Asian folk electronica. Foon says, “genres can be really limiting, and I don’t like to make music to fit in a certain genre or appeal to a certain audience. Now that I’m looking back [on FOONYAP and The Roar], now that I’m older, I know what I was doing in that band. I was reacting to the male gaze, I was kind of putting on a show, I was making it as disgusting and sexual as possible so that you [couldn’t] look away, that was the energy behind that band and it was a very outward looking project, very loud and brash.”
She continues, “On Palimpsest, I [was] thinking deeply. In between that time and the release of this album I went through some major health issues and other events, and realized that I had to turn inwards.” Taking over a year to record and produce, and three years to idea and create a solid business plan to self-release the album and prepare for a Canada-wide tour with European dates to follow, Palimpsest is the product of discipline, patience and thorough growth.
“After FOONYAP and the Roar,” she says, “I knew very consciously that I’d missed a lot of opportunities because I hadn’t set myself up to capitalize on them. I never viewed it from the business perspective, so I knew that my next album I’d approach as a business. Palimpsest has existed for about two years, but it’s only now that my ‘business’ is where it needs to be that I’m able to release it. I spent the last three years saving to invest in this and took the last year to market the album.”
In a very conscious decision, Foon created a character for the front cover of Palimpsest, “I wanted to convey softness and sensuality as well as an idea of gentle movement that meant to reflect the kind of self-growth I’ve experienced over the last five years. [As] a person of contrast, the album is full of contrast [and], while I have this personality that’s extremely outgoing, assertive and aggressive, I’m also overwhelmingly fragile,” she reveals with a sweet laugh.
“If you take your time and are patient and really learn about the industry it is possible to do it. You really have to see it as a five-, 10-, 15-year thing. I would encourage people who are serious about becoming artist entrepreneurs to take that perspective, be patient and especially learn the legalities and be fluid, willing to change with the times.”
FOONYAP will release the stunning Palimpsest at The Ironwood on October 20th with support from the Hermitess. She has additional tour dates in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Fernie, and Montreal, and will be playing Femme Wave festival November 17-20th in Calgary.AB, Alberta, Femme Wave, Femme Wave 2016, Foon Yap, FOONYAP, Ironwood Stage & Grill, Palimpsest