Home Series - Ellen Virgona

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In our collection, we explore the idea of Homeward — describing what it means to be in a state of movement and gravitating towards an original state of being. 

PSEUSHI: What does the concept of ‘Home’ remind you of or what memories or feelings does the subject evoke in you?

ELLEN: Home reminds me of living with my Mum and Dad. I'm an only child so we had a tight family unit living in a small house. It evokes feelings of warmth and love. My parents are definitely the coolest people I ever met and I cherish the memories I had with them in my home.

PSEUSHI: Is the idea of home more solidified as a memory / time capsule or is it ever evolving and undefined?

ELLEN: For me, it's a time capsule. I have essentially lived in the same house for 20 years of my short life. I have had stints of renting but always end up back at my home. I live in the house I grew up in with my Mum and Dad. Neither of them live there anymore but I feel safe in the fact that this house provides security, whether it be financial or emotional. In saying this, there are positives as I am immersed in my own memories but this can also be a negative. 
Sometimes I think I should just live elsewhere but there is something comforting in the fact it's truly my home and always will be. 

PSEUSH: First three positive words that come to mind when you try to describe ‘Home’ and three negative words?

ELLEN: Positive words: Security, Sanctuary, Safety
Negative: Isolation, Invasion, Investment

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PSE CONVERSATIONS - Amber Akilla

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Pseushi: Who are you what do you do?

Amber Akilla: hallo I’m Amber Akilla, I DJ and sometimes take photos but not enough to call myself a photographer. I visited shanghai for the first time a few years ago and then had another brief visit in 2016 to DJ while I was based in Beijing for uni. I think the way a Chinese city has embraced western culture while remaining true to its Chinese-ness is inspiring and good place for me to be for my ongoing identity crisis.

PSE: Having seen Shanghai and China from an outsider’s perspective and then being a part of the scene there, what would you say we are missing when we look from the outside?

AA: SO MUCH!!! I don’t blame anyone in Australia for not having any idea what’s going on in the creative scene in china because mainstream media only focuses on politics, economics and pollution. there’s so much talent, creativity and hustle and so much cultural exchange to be inspired by.

PSE: Who would be some people that you think we should research and know about?

AA: I’ve been reaaalllyyyyyy lucky to have connected with some very talented, very amazing, very nice people. Englesia and Lyzza are young producers based in London and Amsterdam, both also work hard to create safe club spaces and empower LGBTQI and PoC communities in music. Erika and Yuki are two creatives based in London who created the Sukeban platform to empower young PoC artists. Yeti are a collective based between Hong Kong and shanghai and throw parties all over the world!! mean Gurls Club party in Hong Kong. Shade, a drag and LGBTQI party based in Seoul, honestly I could go on…

PSE: Do you think DJ-ing has facilitated ability to travel and be involved in different scenes around the world, or has that been all you diving in and the gigs come later

AA: A bit of both I think! Dj-ing has always been a side thing for me and I think I lost my creative spark a bit in the last few years in Australia because in order to play regularly you have to play more for the crowd if you’re not making your own music. Social media and travel has played a huge part in connecting and staying connected with people through music. I’ve been lucky to play some cool gigs thanks to generous friends but I know I’ve barely scratched the surface, I’ll definitely have to work harder if I want to combine travel and gigs more.

 Photo by Amber Akilla for Pseushi Collection 5

Photo by Amber Akilla for Pseushi Collection 5

PSE: I think you played down your photographs a bit earlier, even if you aren’t a trained or highly accomplished photographer, your work definitely documents your experience travelling and also shows young people around the world in an authentic way, which is always important! Are you trying to push your photography to the forefront more in the future or are you going to let it be a natural part of your overall life, intertwined with travel and music?

AA: Thank you!!!! at the moment I like how photography fits in with the rest of my life and I’m open to it going any direction. photography has been a rewarding way to document my life and connect with others. I love it when people share photos I’ve taken of them or use them as their tinder profile picture, that’s when you know they think you’ve captured them well! its also fun to work with independent brands and trade photos for t-shirts.

PSE: Sick!! I think that’s it. Thanks!

AA: Thank YOOooooOOUUUU !!!

PSE CONVERSATIONS - Hyun Lee

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Pseushi: Who are you and how would you describe your work?

Hyun Lee: Heya! I’m Hyun Lee and my work is photography / writing / film

Pseushi: Your work definitely has a signature aesthetic, at least the visual work, but its hard to put my finger on it, how would you describe how your photos and videos look?

Hyun Lee: I'm gonna be annoying and dodge the question cause I actually think the part where you can't put your finger on it is the point, so I try to avoid describing my own work. But I think the specific look of it comes down to certain technical things, eg. I shoot digital but edit in CMYK

Pseushi: I can get behind that, I think what drew me to your work originally is the suggested mystery, almost horror movie like aesthetic and my fascination with how the images were made. What are you working on currently, and how can people see your work in the near future?

Hyun Lee: That's interesting --- its always interesting for me to hear how other people describe my work cause its always unexpected, like I never expect people to find my work disturbing but apparently it happens from time to time.

At the moment I'm working on a film, though that's not going to be done for a long while. I work on 5 different projects at a time but there are no solid plans for exhibition/distribution. I honestly don't know how people can see my work in the near future, Instagram seems like the only reliable platform for that these days.. (100% not a plug) at the same time Instagram is so frustrating, its too fast and too small. I'm still figuring that one out I guess

Pseushi: Yeah its hard to work out a valid place for projects to live, it does suck that the most valid place these days is viewed on a tiny screen, your work would be so amazing to see on a large scale, whether that be a movie screen or large printed photographs.

Do you feel an affinity with Sydney at all? Or do you feel like you exist within an international space through the internet

Hyun Lee: I'm pretty attached to Sydney cause its the city I grew up in and live in. I don't really have any urges to live/work/travel/move overseas. I think its possible to exist in an international space, not just through the internet but through the culture you consume. Sometimes I feel a little provincial being so determined to stay in Australia but I like to think I'm cosmopolitan cause I read books and watch movies from lots of different countries and I hope the things I make have the same reach. Actually I wouldn't mind working overseas. I can't stand holidays though.

Pseushi: I feel the same way, I think there’s some weird romanticism people have to moving away from where they grew up, especially to a well renowned city or country, but I definitely am sticking it out in Sydney and I don't think there's anything wrong with it. If you want something I think staying in a place and building it for yourself is just as valid as travelling chasing it.

Hyun Lee: Yeah I honestly think the thing of moving to a bigger busier city etc. is the real provincial mindset: small town people moving to the big smoke to chase their dreams etc. I'm not really interested in my life playing out that narrative

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Pseushi: If it's interesting to you what others take from your work, what is it that you intend to say with it? Or do you leave it open for others to interpret as they will. Two schools of thought I guess

Hyun Lee: I think both sides are important - to have something to say but also to leave it open. I think its important for artists to meet the audience halfway, everyone needs to do a bit of work (like all relationships right?) or healthy relationships at least haha.

Pseushi: Definitely! a nice way of putting it. Finally, where can people find your work

Hyun Lee: http://www.hyunleee.com and @hyunleeee on Instagram.

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PSE CONVERSATIONS - Grasps

We spoke to GRASPS about his music and his approach to making it.

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PSEUSHI: WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU DO

GRASPS: I’M CHRISTIAN AKA GRASPS, I MAKE ELECTRONIC MUSIC WITHIN THE REALMS OF DECONSTRUCTED CLUB & BASS, WITH BIG INFLUENCES FROM HIP HOP & TRAP

PSEUSHI: ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM SYDNEY OR HAVE YOU RELOCATED HERE

GRASPS: YEP, I GREW UP LIVING BETWEEN KINGS CROSS & BLACKHEATH

PSEUSHI: DO YOU THINK YOUR GEOGRAPHIC LOCATION HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE SOUND OF THE MUSIC YOU SEEK TO CREATE? OR IS IT REVERSED, YOU WANT TO BRING A SOUND FROM THE INTERNET OR ELSEWHERE TO SYDNEY WHERE IT DOESN'T ALREADY EXIST.

GRASPS: I’M DEFINITELY DRAWING ON OTHER PLACES THAT AREN’T NECESSARILY MY IMMEDIATE ENVIRONMENT. MOSTLY MY SOUND IS INSPIRED BY MY OWN FEELINGS & THE PEOPLE THAT SURROUND ME. I DRAW A LOT OF INSPIRATION FROM PEOPLE & EVENTS THAT HAPPEN, POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE. THAT BEING SAID, THE INTERNET IS PRETTY CRUCIAL IN FINDING THINGS THAT MAKE ME WANNA WRITE.

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PSEUSHI: WHEN YOU ARE TRYING TO CONVEY SOMETHING, WHETHER IT BE A FEELING, AND EVENT OR THE ENERGY OF SOMEONE, THROUGH A SONG, DO YOU FIND THE INDIVIDUAL SOUNDS YOU COMPOSE TOGETHER TO BE MOST IMPORTANT OR THE OVERALL COMPOSITION? DO YOU TRY TO FIND NEW SOUNDS TO USE ALL THE TIME OR ARE YOU MORE INTERESTED IN CREATING WITH WHAT YOU'VE GOT AND PROGRESSING YOUR CRAFT THROUGH ARRANGEMENT

GRASPS: I TEND TO FIND A PARTICULAR SOUND THAT I CAN BASE THE ENTIRE SONG OFF, OR BUILD THE REST OFF THAT ONE SOUND, HOWEVER SMALL IT MAY BE. LOOKING BACK ON IT, I THINK I START OUT CONSIDERING THE IMPORTANCE OF INDIVIDUAL SOUNDS TO BE RELATIVE TO HOW I FEEL AT THE TIME. I HAVEN’T GOT MUCH IN THE WAY OF ‘GEAR’ OR SOFTWARE, SO I USUALLY HAVE TO MAKE DO WITH WHAT I’VE ALREADY GOT & WHAT MY FRIEND’S ARE WILLING TO GIVE ME (SAMPLE-WISE). TO ME I THINK THAT MAKES THE PROCESS A LOT MORE PERSONAL IN A WEIRD WAY

PSEUSHI: WHY THE LACK OF GEAR AND SOFTWARE? IS THAT OUT OF NECCESITY OR IS IT ON PURPOSE?

GRASPS: I’VE NEVER REALLY USED ANY SINCE STARTING. ITS JUST BEEN A CASE OF ‘I HAVE EVERYTHING I NEED’. LATELY I’VE BEEN USING SOME SYNTHS THOUGH, WHICH HAS BEEN A COOL LEARNING EXPERIENCE

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PSEUSHI: I'M INTO THAT, IT'S EASY IN MANY DIFFERENT CREATIVE ENDEAVOURS TO GET BOGGED DOWN IN HAVING NEW GEAR AND SOFTWARE ALL THE TIME WHEN THAT'S NOT NECCESARILY HELPING OR HINDERING THE PROCESS, JUST MAKE SOMETHING WITH WHAT YOU'VE GOT, A NEW PIECE OF EQUIPMENT WON'T DO IT FOR YOU.

GRASPS: YEAH FOR CERTAIN. BEING SPOILT FOR CHOICE IS OFTEN A CURSE

PSEUSHI: THUS FAR WHAT'S BEEN A HIGHLIGHT FOR YOU IN MUSIC AND WHAT HAS KEPT YOU GOING WHEN YOU LOSE STEAM

GRASPS: A DEFINITE HIGHLIGHT FOR ME WAS RELEASING MY EP THROUGH TAR, & HOSTING THE LAUNCH PARTY WITH SIDECHAINS IN SYDNEY. BY FAR ONE OF THE FUNNEST SHOWS I’VE PLAYED IN A LONG TIME & TO THE BEST CREW OF PEOPLE. ALSO SUPPORTING FATIMA AL QADIRI, YUNG LEAN & CASHMERE CAT. DEFINITELY TIMES I WILL NEVER FORGET

THE PEOPLE AROUND ME ARE THE ONES THAT KEEP ME GOING. I HAVE A STUPIDLY INCREDIBLE GROUPS OF FRIENDS THAT MAKE ME FEEL REALLY COMFORTABLE, HAPPY & WORTHY TO CONTINUE DOING MUSIC.

PSEUSHI: WHAT'S NEXT FOR GRASPS

GRASPS: AT THE MOMENT PHOEBE (PTWIGGS) AND I ARE WORKING ON A COLLABORATIVE RELEASE, AS WELL AS CURATING OUR OWN LABEL & CLUB NIGHT IN SYDNEY ON THE 16TH OF DECEMBER (ETERNAL @ CLUB 77). I’VE ALSO GOT A COLLABORATION WITH DISTANCE DECAY WHICH I’M REALLY EXCITED ABOUT.