Last month we interviewed Xiu Xiu. Jamie Stewart left these queries behind for Dirty Beaches.



As the creative core of Xiu Xiu, the ever-confessional Jamie Stewart has become known for creating harrowingly personal music, but also for having a dark and surreal sense of humor. Last month, for example, we met him to discuss his latest album, ‘Always’ – a record made up of tracks entitled ‘I Love Abortion’ and ‘Born To Suffer’ – but he seemed most interested in discussing his favourite fruit, watermelon.

For this month’s Leftovers, he chose to quizz Alex Zhang Hungtai aka Dirty Beaches; a man with whom Xiu Xiu recently shared a Record Store Day release with. Needless to say, Stewart’s questions weren’t quite of your usual ‘so who inspires you’ nature.

JAMIE STEWART: If you were arrested and convicted for arson and made to serve 15 years, how would you conduct yourself in prison?

ALEX ZHANG HUNGTAI: “I’d ask my best friends to beat the shit out of me and ruin my face and shave my head.  Realistically, I’d probably align myself with whatever group would take me in for protection.  I can’t survive alone in there.”

When you stroke your magnificent head of hair, what song of praise do you whisper to the ghost of [Grimm fairytale] Rapunzel?

“I just think of Bloodshot Bill, whom I stole the move from. He’s a one man band act in Montreal that is absolutely amazing live, and extremely fun to watch. Another person I tried to emulate was Tony Leung (actor) from the film Days of Being Wild by Wong Kar Wai. He was in the last sequence of the film.”

When you think about Belgium singer/songwriter Jacques Brel, an inspiration, do you imagine him in black and white or colour?

“Definitely black and white.”

If you were in a knife fight, what kind if knife would you want to have and would you cut yourself on purpose to freak out your opponent?

“I’d have a meat cleaver.  Chinatown style!  I would not cut myself, though. I’d just mince the other dude who’s trying to start shit.”

When you dance, what dance do you do?

“I sway. Slow dances with a partner are always nice. Big fan of slow dances.”

If you had a direct channel to Santa Muerte [commonly know as Death outside of Mexico], what would you ask her to do for you?

“If I did see the Grim Reaper, I’d say: “don’t take my wife, take me instead.”  And if I was alone, I’d try to run away. I want to live as long as I can to experience all the things life has to offer.”

If you were on a roof top and there was a military parade rolling past, what would you hurl down at them: fried chicken legs, wet rolls of toilet paper, chunks of marble from the headstones of the people they’ve killed, pollen or your own entire body?

“I’d find out if they have an anti-aircraft gun on site first, before I throw anything at them.  Just trying to be reasonable.”

What do you do to stay fit?

“I eat chilli dogs. Losing weight is not really my forte. But I am incredibly gifted in putting weight on.”

What makes you feel bad?

“Guilt is the sole emotion that plants seeds in your mind that corrodes everything in its path until there’s nothing left in you.”

If you were to be depicted in a piece by contemporary silhouette artist Kara Walker, what would you like to be doing?

“Doing laundry or anything that is stereotypically categorized as Asian behaviour in North America.”

What is your favourite echo device?

“Space echo! (This is actually an inside joke for those wondering why Jamie asked me this question. If you listen to our split 7″ you can hear that we both used the same echo effects in our songs, without each other knowing. It was uncanny).

What is the best way to kill yourself?

“Break off all ties with family & friends so they won’t miss me. Die alone, somewhere close to an ocean if possible. If I were to off myself, I’d like to make sure that those that are close to me won’t be hurt by this decision.”

Originally published in issue 38 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. May 2012

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