Envy of the Asian Variety

So, what exactly is there to say about a couple of electronic nerds from Melbourne calling themselves Asian Envy?

After spending copious amounts of my past year at their modest beachside studio, I suppose you’d think I’d have a reasonable answer by now. Well, I don’t mean to sound completely trite, but it’s just not as straight forward as that.

What I do know is this:

As I’ve hung around the duo offering my opinions and advice; despite them rarely taking my suggestions on board, I’ve gradually grown fond of the guys I now know as Steve and Ross. But it took some time.

You wouldn’t pick it watching their outlandish videos, but in person, they emit a certain innocence. They’re insanely polite and unassuming but also a little intense and unconventionally weird.

You see, they don’t get out much. There’s not a whiff of the sex, drugs and rock n roll lifestyle one might assume synonymous with musicians. Although, computer generated electro heads are a far cry from traditional musos. Put it this way; they’re less likely than their rock predecessors to hang out in pubs on a diet of beer and pot, and more likely to hang out with their laptop on a diet of coffee and chips.

Asian Envy belong to a culture of quiet, geeky types who might not possess the greatest social skills, but can churn out the kind of sick tune you can’t resist. Think Moby and Justice. Think Junior Boys or PNAU.

But their vision has its own distinction. And that’s part of the attraction for me. Their sound and their image are so specific, yet not at all obvious. Everything is open to interpretation while gently steering you into their peculiar universe. I find myself intrigued as to, not only what’s coming next, but how on earth they’ll make the strangest ideas work.

In the beginning they’d pitch their ideas to me, like flying to New York to make a video with people dropping dead on the streets of Greenwich Village. And I’d generally look at them and ask if they were being serious, before quickly reassuring me they were indeed deadly serious. Any attempts to talk them out of such ludicrous ideas was a complete waste of breath. I had to learn that when Steve and Ross said something, no matter how absurd it seemed – they meant it. And before I knew it, we were filming their first video in Manhattan, complete with dropping corpses left, right and centre.

So I look forward to the next Asian Envy video shoot, for which I’m told consists of rabid animal heads and giant creatures. Well, I wouldn’t expect anything less.

Malcolm

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