Every edition of this season’s Long Winter, we’re releasing a free split seven-inch, each side featuring a song from one of the night’s featured artists. To compliment the releases, we’ve issued a seven-part questionnaire to each of the artists involved, giving the subjects an inch (about 85 words) of space to answer each of our questions.
As one of the owners leading Toronto’s Healing Power Records, Victoria Cheong has been responsible for releasing some of the most charmed and magnetic sounds the city has yielded since 2008. Creating music as New Chance, Cheong personally contributed to HPR’s orbit of compelling meditative atmospheres with the release of Ear Rationelle in March, and hasn’t stopped since, producing further work in collaboration with Dancemakers and Public Recordings before the year ended. In advance of New Chance’s inclusion on our December split with Nailbiter, we had Cheong fill out our seven-inch survey to help us catch up.
Long Winter: Who are you and how did New Chance come together?
Victoria Cheong: My name is Victoria Cheong and New Chance is my musical project. New Chance came about when I realized I could say everything I want to say and be heard through music. I was a DJ and a video artist and a label head for many years before I started making my own music. Timing was perfect though and New Chance is very much about the many lives we live in this life.
How about “It’s Not a Problem It’s a Situation” – what inspired that?
My friend Nick was telling me about his co-worker who says that there are no problems there are only situations- and this is a person who works in what most people would consider a fairly challenging environment. I just got really into the idea of the fluidity of perception and how to transform problems in the mind. So I thought to meditate on that phrase and on the notion of "situation" in general. The track sort of strikes a deal between optimism and paranoia, my current situation perhaps.
For lots of listeners, this will be their first point of access to your music. Where does this song fit into the rest of your catalog?
My recordings are kind of all over the place. The mixtape I released last year is really textured and atmospheric and spacious. The songs I currently perform live are quite direct and dancey. I have a lot of recorded bits and pieces that I use in different ways and nothing belongs to anything. I had the synth/beat track recorded and knew I wanted to use it for something. The chopped up vocal is a trick I worked out while DJing this summer. Even though I haven’t yet recorded the songs I do live – which are a lot more songish and vocally challenging- right now I am more excited about the power of a simple vocal in dance music.
Once they’re turned on to this, what releases (songs, EPs, albums, or otherwise) should people pursue as logical next steps to getting to know your music?
In the last year I released a mixtape called Ear Rationelle (HPR33). Otherwise a lot of the music I have made this year has been for contemporary dance works (Out of Season with Public Recordings and Rosé Porn at Dancemakers). You could follow me on Soundcloud where I envision releasing new material sometime soon. I also co-run the label Healing Power Records if you want to know what world I am coming from you could listen to anything we have released.
When you think of winter, what’s a memory that stands out for you?
One time I was at a cabin with friends and we got snowed in just like an episode of 90210. It started to get weird after a few days like shifting away from the 90210 vibes towards The Shining. On that trip I made a video called “Snowfall” where I just fall into the snow very slowly. When there’s that much snow you can’t deny how amazing it is. It becomes this very tactile environment.
How do you survive winters in Toronto?
I have a SAD light and listen to music from hot climates. Dancing also helps keep the spirits up. If you can be around fire it will warm you like nothing else. I find winter hard and depressing. I think it would be easier to survive if there was a bit more adjustment allowed in our society. When you look at nature and recognize the pace of the situation you should be allowed to live/work accordingly as the natural body that you are.
What are you most looking forward to for the Dec. 12 edition of Long Winter?
I’m hoping for a dance party. Dance parties can be delicate things but I have an experienced hype man (his name is Wolfgang) who helps me get the party started. I’ve actually never been to a Long Winter so I am excited to see what it is like. I am hoping it’s something like the Exclaim! parties of my youth…I think they were all ages (?) and there were different rooms with musical environments that were less like a concert and more like a curated feeling.