Sound Source: Deep Dive: Joy Fu’s album “Impromptu Sailing”

Laura Simmons, Reporter

Joy Fu released her first album this past August. We took a deep dive into the album to learn about Joy’s inspirations. Learn how coffee and the SAT influenced “Impromptu Sailing.”

[music: Joy Fu “99 million”]

LAURA SIMMONS: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Laura Simmons and this is Deep Dive — a Sound Source series where we hear the stories behind the music on or around campus. Weinberg junior Joy Fu released her first album last August. Fu joins us in walking us through her album, “Impromptu Sailing,” with sounds of water, low-fi, jazz and classical music.

[music: Joy Fu “99 million”]

LAURA SIMMONS: Fu said “Impromptu Sailing” is meant to be a metaphor for life.

JOY FU: I was born in northeast China. And then at the age of three, we moved to Shanghai. It was a very big move. The language was very different, the culture was very different. So I had to sort of make myself adjust to it in a way. And, then for high school, I decided to apply to this international school where people literally come from like more than 100 countries. It was such an adventure. And the application itself was kind of an impromptu choice.

LAURA SIMMONS: In the beginning, the album is somber and dissonant, while later on the songs become happier and harmonious. The second piece of “Impromptu Sailing” is called “12:28,” named after the time when Fu wrote the piece — the night before her SAT scores came out.

[music: “12:28” by Joy Fu]

JOY FU: I have no idea where I would end up, and probably my SAT result coming out tomorrow will completely change my life. So my dorm was next to the library. So I was just looking at the lights of the library and thinking what if I can escape from here to this open sea where I don’t have to worry about anything and possibly save more people in my situation and we can just have fun on this island.

[music: “coffee cage” by Joy Yu ]

LAURA SIMMONS: “coffee cage” is the third piece on Impromptu Sailing, but it almost didn’t make it onto the album because Fu thought it might be “too dissonant” or unharmonious. Fu wrote the song based on her uncaffeinated college experience.

JOY FU: I am personally allergic to caffeine. Coffee is sort of a social cage for me because everyone drinks coffee. It sort of feels like a social stigma because everyone loves coffee. Especially my roommate — during freshman and sophomore year, she would get up at seven and make coffee.

LAURA SIMMONS: Fu used a sample sound of her roommate making coffee in “coffee cage.”

[sample of coffee sound in “coffee cage”]

LAURA SIMMONS: Fu then reached out to her musician friends, asking them to send her recordings based on unique and loose parameters.

JOY FU: I just put everything together, and the end product was very dissonant because they didn’t know what other musicians were playing. So I was the only person who had control over the end product. It also sounded very mysterious, which I would say reflects the concept of “coffee cage” and how it’s a social stigma.

[music: “coffee cage”]

LAURA SIMMONS: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Laura Simmons. Thanks for listening to another episode of Sound Source’s Deep Dive series. This episode was reported and produced by me. The Audio Editor of The Daily Northwestern is Lawrence Price, the Digital Managing Editor is Angeli Mittal and the Editor-in-chief is Jacob Fulton. Make sure to subscribe to The Daily Northwestern’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud to hear more episodes like this.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @LauraS237

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