Meg Lee Chin
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Meg Lee Chin

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Dec
11
Meg Lee Chin @ Notting Hill Arts Club

London, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

London, Not Applicable, United Kingdom

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Ever since I heard that "Sexy Beat" comp from Invisible... actually, no, it's been since I saw Pigface live over a year ago, I've been in love with Meg Lee Chin & her vocal stylings. She easily had the best track on "A New High in Low" - nutopia - and the track from Chemical Warfare (mix mix bang bang) was orgasmic, IMO. Check my earlier review if you don't believe me, y0.
Now it's September and her full-length CD has finally been released. Did it live up to what I was hoping?
YES. and more.
The CD is 10 tracks of RAW attitude. Her energy live definitely translates well into an album form. Her track from "A New High in Low", nutopia, is on here. It's probably the most mellow one on the CD, but it's definitely a gem. The music styles? Hard to really nail down. I guess it could be likened to the direction of Rx, but not as polished. The production was mainly done in her London apartment by herself, with Atkins & Lee "Bagman" Fraser doing the final mix and basically smoothing (not too much though) it all out. What ends up is a very raw sound. This is very refreshing, actually. Her voice cuts through the mix with just a ripping quality...it's clear that this girl knows exactly what she's doing when she's engineering music.
A bit of background on Ms. Chin: She's been engineering and making music for a number of years. One of her former bands, "Crunch", holds the distinction of being the first Western band to play in the Ukraine after the Soviet Republic fell. Also, she was asked to be the lead singer of Garbage a year before Shirley Manson was chosen. She declined, since the band wanted her to basically follow their set rules. She's toured with Pigface for years, as a number of you know. As said before, for those of you who liked her raw styles on stage, here it is.
I wholeheartedly love this CD. The music is raw but very tight, the vocals send a refreshing jolt to the brain, and everything flows together very smooth. Stand out tracks? I'd have to go with track 1, "thing", track 2, "heavy scene"; and track 5, "swallowing you". Hopefully this CD gets more word of mouth - this is just good enough to really become popular, yet stay true to its roots.
- Last Sigh


When I listen to Meg Lee Chin's debut solo album "Piece and Love" I can't help but wonder why she hasn't ended up on record before, except for a few Pigface tracks. "Piece and Love" is namely an album that's pulsating with energy, humour, pop choruses and a production part industrial, part hip hop, part dub.
"I saw the best minds of my generation/Running on empty/Super glued to the TV" she sings in "Nutopia", and displays the same fear of wasting your life, of not achieving anything, that has fuelled the works of Trent Reznor, Alec Empire and Raymond Watts. Only a bit more cheerful. The absolutely incredible "Heavy Scene" sounds like something from Mark Stewart's "Control Data" album - a deep, funky bass line, squeaking synths and cool dub echoes - but minus the paranoia and plus a healty dose of sexiness.
The opening track "Thing" is equally fabulous. It's kickstarted by a fuzzy drum loop and has an amazing chorus, where Meg shouts a distorted "Helter skelter/Where's your shelter?". In the duet "Deeper" Jennie Bellestar from The Bellestars adds a cool, poisonous touch. "London" shows a calmer side, opening with a sad piano and evolving into a slow hip hop beat and sad harmonies. "Sweet Thing" is a hallucinatory track about the agonies of bad nights out, featuring the spoken word of Mel Palmer.
The only real flaw is the ending Subgenius mix of "Swallowing You", which is stretched out to over ten tedious minutes. Still, in a more fair world Meg Lee Chin would sell tons of records. She's funky, she's noisy, she's poppy. And she definitely kicks ass.
KRISTOFFER NOHEDEN
- Release Magazine



The arrival of London-based chanteuse and songwriter Meg Lee Chin to the testosterone-heavy world of industrial music is a welcome event. Best known for her work with industrial supergroup Pigface, Chin's full-length debut Piece And Love is a sexy affair that creeps into your consciousness like a virus, infecting your senses with an alluring mix of pop melody, gruff industrial noise and sassy trip-hop rhythms.
- M. Tye Comer
- CMJ


http://www.megleechin.com/webpages/eq.html - EQ Magazine


http://www.megleechin.com/webpages/tapeop.html - Tape OP Magazine


http://www.megleechin.com/webpages/em.html - Electronic Musician


One of the more exciting releases I've received as of late, Meg Lee Chin is a surprise breaking aggressively and heavily into the hard techno electronic scene. It's hard to peg her down somewhere - she's been around the world beginning her younger years as an Airforce brat and this seems to have produced in her an eclectic style and personality from the bombardment of various cultures. She auditioned once for Garbage, toured with Pigface and at one time fronted a hardcore all-girl troupe called Crunch. She's got an almost mysterious background both in and out of music - only adding to her appeal to me of course. Recently canceling a tour due to immigration troubles, Chin is planning one this summer with the classic troupe My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult. At the time of this writing, that tour should have just ended, the last dating being August 5th in Detroit.

Piece and Love was released on Invisible Records in 1999. Her debut solo album, it is a hard techno, trip-hop and electronic mix. Meg's masterful at complicated rhythm and wraps up all her work in sublime techno riffs, heavy breakthrough percussion and injects into it both soft and high-hard vocal work. It's truly refreshing. Currently on my favorites list, Piece and Love is a remarkable body of work. Helping her with some of the guitar and percussion you'll find Steve Crittall, Martin Atkins, Lee Fraser among others. Martin Atkins also does a wonderful job with the mixing for most tracks.

Opening with Thing, immediately you are thrust into a beat-laden, guitar-riff driven track with amazing rhythms and complicated arrangement. A powerful sound but remaining well defined throughout, Thing shakes you out of your stasis to prepare you for the funk, trip-hop and increasingly complicating arrangements that occur throughout the rest of Piece and Love.

Heavy Scene is one of the highlight tracks here. Everything but mixing performed by Meg, Heavy Scene is virtually indescribable. Again, complicated yet clean, funky yet heavy, excellent guitar work, amazing rhythmic movements. Synthetics fill in space between other instruments, carrying you from movement to movement with speed and precision. I am consistently amazed by the fact that everything you hear is Meg and only Meg.

Moving on to Nutopia, an eclectic collection of piano, guitar whines and spoken word vocals. Meg's lyrics are witty, ironic and refreshing, paradoxes of modern life and pairing up words and statements of clashing definition. Drum beats later are riveting and punctuating. Some of my favorite lines: "Flashing memberships to clubs so exclusive that nobody belongs," Her alliteration work further in the song are poetic yet surreal. A statement of modern life is Nutopia, with concentration on the hypocritical, spitting the word "utopia" like it was rotten to the taste. And the scenes of the "nutty utopia" i.e. Nutopia that she brings forth here are quite rotten indeed.

Slowing it down a bit. Track five, Swallowing You, begins with an acoustic sound. Just past 1:10 in the track it breaks into a noise-laden chorus. But the synth-noise used is still controlled under the manipulations of Meg. The final track, the Subgenius Mix of this song, adds keys and programming by Martin King. Keeping the acoustic feel, toning the rhythm down so vocals and acoustic guitars take the lead, King removes the noise areas to give us a cleaner, more serene version of Swallowing You. I can't say whether either of the two tracks are better than the other - instead they're like complimenting versions of the song for different sets of moods. Indeed, I've liked either or moreso than the other on given days.

So we'll stop here. There's still plenty for you to discover on Piece and Love that I haven't covered in detail. The heavy handed and cleanly laid basslines and swirly vocals of Sweat. Sweet Thing which opens with the line, "I got drugged into going out," and then proceeds to drag you unwittingly along with it. And more.

Meg Lee Chin's work is new, exciting and refreshing. A hard combination of techno, trance, electronic, trip-hop and only Meg knows what else, it is truly a remarkable body of work and I am seriously looking forward to hearing more of what Meg Lee Chin can do in the future. With a debut this remarkable and such mastering of complicated rhythms and musical arrangements, I'm happy to say that this is one of the first debut releases I've heard with such a remarkable level of refinement and skill.

- Legends Magazine


Meg Lee Chin is one of the most dynamic vocalists in the realm of
popular music.
Unfortunately, most music fans haven't heard her sing, mostly due to her
status as something of a renegade. She has had several close passes to fame.
She produced the first demo tape of Faith No More. Her own first band,
Crunch, was the first western rock band to play in the Ukraine after the
dissolution of the USSR. She was briefly the front person for Garbage, but
parted company with them before recording anything.
Where she did eventually find a home was as one of several front
people/lead vocalists for the indefinable musical project known as Pigface.
Her voice powers some of Pigface's most memorable tracks. Of course, Pigface
is a renegade band, opposing every ideal of "music industry" wisdom, composed
of renegades from a slew of industrial bands.
Now, however, Meg Lee Chin is about to release her first solo album,
"Piece and Love." Mark it on your calendars, folks, you read it here first.
Chin's debut is a near-masterpiece of power rock, industrial rhythms, poetry,
and technological music. The album was mostly recorded in Chin's London
living room, featuring mostly her on vocals, guitars, keyboards, and
programming. The recording was then mixed and packaged as a CD by Pigface
founder Martin Atkins. Her voice growls, chants, soars, and howls through ten
tracks dense with heavy rhythms and memorable riffs.
Chin experiments with a variety of different musical forms, including
hip-hop rhythms, out-and-out rock'n'roll, a bit of reggae, a lot of
industrial, and some really mind-bending low-end sound. Pigface fans will
delight in a remix of her neo-beat poetry "Nutopia" track. Newcomers to
Chin's music (which most listeners will be) will find this to be utterly
fresh and quite different from pop-music-as-usual.
This album will likely take an honored position in many record
collections, but since Invisible Records is somewhere off the map for most
radio stations, Chin will probably not find her way to superstardom with this
effort (though she probably deserves it more than any number of artists who
get there via big record company money). For the musically adventurous who
wants to add a great album to their collection, you may have to get your
record store to order it for you, or visit www.invisiblerecords.com on the
web.
-- Philip H. Farber - Daily Freeman Kingston


a few questions by zuzu, a few answers by meg lee chin

The thrust of this new series, called Innerview 15, is to ask 15 questions with people you know, about things that don't have much to do with why they're known. No opining by the interviewer, just pure subject. Our first subject is sick poet, singer, musician and all around amazing talent Meg Lee Chin.



zuzu: Do you consider yourself a religious or spiritual person? Who or what is god to you?

meg: I run a mile when people claim to be "spiritual". I have had spiritual moments with music whether it be listening or playing. I think this is the main attraction for me. I don't think I'm a "spiritual" person. I think I''m able to tap into the spirit via music, but I don't think this originates with me. God to me, is a mystery which I'm always trying to get closer to.

z: Do you ever plan to have children? What would be the most important thing to teach your child?

m: If I had kids I would try to do my best to pass on the benefit of what I've learned in my time on this planet. I would try to teach them tolerance by example, but I'm no expert..

z: Do you read or listen to stories involving celebrity gossip? What do you feel about the tabloid culture? Do you believe that where there's smoke, there's fire, or do you think those stories are all a load of rubbish?

m: The modern phenomena I refer to as the "Cult of Celebrity" is fascinating to me. Andy Warhol was right when he said "In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes". It's happening now... In the future people will stop pursuing fame cuz it'll be boring and pointless. People will pursue privacy and introspection. Are the stories a load of rubbish? I think so. Public image is an illusion....

z: Name a film and a book that were influential to you... not necessarily your favourites, but ones that made an impact on your life in some way, be it superficial or deeply affecting.

m: The Wizard of Oz is the perfect existential fairy tale. Dorothy and her mates sought an all powerful Wizard to solve their problems. But he was just a wimp with MTV type pyrotechnics- Just like modern celebrities!. The truth was, Dot & co. had the power all along.

z: Let's say you're a budding journalist. What 3 people would you choose to interview to launch your career and why?

m: 1- Henry Ford- (Can I choose him even though he's dead?) I don't like him. I'd like to give him a hard time. He turned people into machines.

2- George Bush- He's a creep. I don't like him. I'd like to give him a hard time. That goes for his son too.

3- Any tobacco company executive with the power to spend money on advertising budgets.- I'd ask them how they felt knowing that with one stroke of a pen, people will die. FACT- Advertising works. I don't like them. I'd like to give them a hard time.

NOTE- still trying to work on the tolerance, but it's damn hard!

z: How important do you think personal style is to well being? (Personal style meaning fashion, but unrelated to the 'next big thing')

m: Style is important to me. It's an expressive art and expression is strong in my nature. Aesthetics in general is important to me. I'm quite visual and when someone looks good, I appreciate it as an act of generosity from them.

z: If you had to choose between incredibly intelligent and vivacious but ugly or incredibly beautiful and fabulous but vapid, which would you choose?

m: This question is too easy! Intelligence over beauty any day. There's only so much you can look in a mirror, but you can amuse yourself forever with an ugly, but smart head on your shoulders.

z: Have you ever had any experiences that could be described as supernatural? If yes, what?

m: Too numerous to recount. For some reason, my mind picks up on a lot of strange weirdness. But I don't like supernatural experience. I prefer plain vanilla flavoured reality.

z: Choose one: worldwide fame and fortune (Madonna) or just respect from peers and some fans and the ability to eke out a living (Tony Visconti)?

m: Too easy. You know what I think about fame. I'm already doing what I want in life, so why should I change?

z: What are you afraid of?

m: My imagination.

z: What describes a perfect day for you?

m: A new song. A shag.

z: What's your workspace like?

m: At the moment it is my portable laptop. Small, compact, powerful.

z: What do you miss most about childhood?

m: Effortless good posture. Aside from that... I'm still living my childhood.

z: What book are you reading right now, if any, and how is it so far?

m: "The Easy Way to Stop Smoking"- by Alan Carr. It's one of the most intelligent books I've read in a long time.

z: Do you have any 'hidden' talents (drawing, body tricks, juggling, etc.)?

m: I'm an idiot savante when it comes to remembering people's astrology signs. Though, I think astrology may quite possibly be the work of the devil. Life is best without pre-conce - www.dangermedia.org


interviewed by Maren (& Ant) (proofreading by Maren)


Chain D.L.K.: What conditions are most conducive to working on your music?
Meg Lee Chin: I like working in London during the winter when it's grey and depressing. I was working in LA where it was warm and sunny every day. I didn't get as much done!

Chain D.L.K.: Where do you find inspiration? And do you write/ record music because you're pissed off, excited, or something like that?
Meg Lee Chin: I get a lot of inspiration from world events. I'm an info junkie. That's why I prefer living outside the US. The news in the United States is too censored. Whenever I'm there I rely on the internet. I get really fired up by things. It helps to be pissed off. Lucky for me, that's a normal state of being.

Chain D.L.K.: What's new in Meg Lee Chin world? And what are your plans, short- and long-term, for music and for everything else? When are you touring again, and where?
Meg Lee Chin: My new album is 3 mixes away from being finished. It's almost done! It's been a long, long road getting to this point - even harder than "Piece and Love". I was having nightmares with the label and trying against all odds to somehow produce an album. It felt pretty stifling - like trying to run with no legs! Now I am off the label and will be releasing it mostly through my own site: http://megleechin. com Everything feels right, now.

Chain D.L.K.: In all your collaborations, what would you say you've learned from working with other artists, if anything?
Meg Lee Chin: I find that the style of each musician's playing is a bit like a signature. No two people play the same. Though there are people that are good forgers, there is nothing like the original. I love working with people from all different backgrounds. They broaden the palette.

Chain D.L.K.: Suppose there was a "heaven", and you went there-- what music would be playing there? What would be playing in Hell?
Meg Lee Chin: I once had a dream of goldfish swimming on their sides at the surface of a flowing river. The were singing an unearthly song which was beautiful - I could never reproduce something like that - though I have tried. It was untouchable and elusive. This is the song I will expect in Heaven. In Hell I would expect a bunch of forgers pretending to be Nirvana.

Chain D.L.K.: What would you like to be asked, and what would be your answers?
Meg Lee Chin: What do you think about the origin of man?

I reckon the Gods in mythology and the Old Testament are spacemen. There's a a passage in the book of Ezekiel in the Bible which seems to describe a spacecraft. When the bible talks about the sons of Gods knowing the daughters of men, they weren't kidding! The Garden of Eden was probably a metaphor for this. Adam and Eve were probably just a couple of ignorant but blissful monkeys till Eve got off with a lusty spacegod.

Chain D.L.K.: What musicians or artists (in any media), contemporary or not, do you think are underrated or underappreciated?
Meg Lee Chin: I think Kate Bush is a genius. Macho types are put off by her femininity. Once you get to know her music, you realize how mindblowing she is. "The Dreaming" is an incredible album.

Chain D.L.K.: You said in an interview with Ear Pollution in 2000 that you had an idea to bring a video camera with you on tour to document the people you saw-- what has come of this idea? Or what has this idea evolved into?
Meg Lee Chin: I'm still too poor to afford a video camera. Remember, I was signed to Invisible!

Chain D.L.K.: You've said in a number of interviews that you think of yourself as an observer of people, rather than belonging to any group. How would you feel about being called a voyeur? How well does this describe you? Give us some insight into The Mind of Meg.
Meg Lee Chin: Alien would be a better description. The Bible talks about Jesus's crown of thorns actually being a crown of jewels. I guess what it means, is that your hardships are sometimes gifts. I was a bit of misfit, but it gave me objectivity and the ability to see things from outside. So what at first seems a handicap, is actually a blessing.

Chain D.L.K.: What do you think would surprise people about you if they knew?
Meg Lee Chin: I'm a real girly-whirly. Yes, it's true. I'm a frothy, bubbleheaded giggler and a squealer. People sometimes have a hard time reconciling this with the other things I do. Girlies ain't supposed to like technology (or get into fistfights)!

Chain D.L.K.: What have you been listening to lately, both older and newer stuff?
Meg Lee Chin: Sugababes - Angels With Dirty Faces.

Chain D.L.K.: What do you see as trends for the future (or maybe already happening), for music or otherwise?
Meg Lee Chin: No more record labels! Ha ha ha!

Chain D.L.K.: What do you think of file-sharing?
Meg Lee Chin: It's the future. I love mp3s.

Chain D.L.K.: If you didn't do music, writing, or any other art, what would you do?
Meg Le - Chain D.L.K.


Discography

Piece and Love
Junkies and Snakes

http://www.myspace.com/megleechin

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

The onetime frontwoman for the all-female noise unit Crunch as well as a member of the notorious industrial supergroup Pigface, Meg Lee Chin has always been a byword for cutting edge, uncompromising and incendiary new music. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, she built her first radio at age ten. This developed into working as a sound engineer while studying experimental art and video production at San Francisco State University. Frustrated with American life, Meg spent the late 1980s living in London where she formed the all-female "Crunch". Crunch became one of the first western bands to play in the Ukraine after it's dissolution from the former USSR. As a subject of controversy, they performed at the Ms. Rock Europe festival at the Palace Ukraine in Kiev January 92, and in Kharkov Prison (near the infamous Chernobyl Nuclear Plant) at a time of social upheaval and unrest. Later, Meg built her own recording studio where she recorded her first album. She signed to Invisible Records headed by Martin Atkins, ex-drummer of PIL, Killing Joke and Ministry.

Signed to Invisible for 5 years, Meg is probably best known for her work with Martin Atkin's own pet project Pigface. Pigface membership at one time or another, reads like a who's who of the industrial scene. Bandmates included; Genesis P. Orridge (Psychic TV), Ogre (Skinny Puppy), Taime Downe (Faster Pussycat), Danny Carey (Tool), Chris Connelly (Ministry, Revolting Cocks), FM Einheit, (Einsturzende Neubauten), En Esch (KMFDM), Geordie Walker (Killing Joke), Jenny Bellestar(Bellestars), Charles Levi (TKK), Seibold (Hate Dept), Michelle Walters (VouDou), Siggy (Sugarcubes), Chris Haskett (Rollins Band), Mick Harris (Napalm Death), Lee Fraser (Sheep on Drugs), Martin King (Test Dept), Jared Louche (Chemlab), Slymenstra Hymen (Gwar) amongst others in the ever shifting line-up.

After appearing on Pigface's 1997 LP A New High in Low as well as its follow-up, Below the Belt, she released the solo debut "Piece and Love" in 1999 which was critically acclaimed as a forerunner in the home studio revolution. Meg became known as a prominent figure on the darkwave/industrial scene. Her second solo effort Junkies and Snakes was released in 2000. Meg Lee Chin now lives in London, England.