Blurring the Boundaries: Le Fil

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It's difficult to be truly provocative in 2018. From Trump's tweets to the trashiest scenes on Love Island, it seems like everyone is trying to push our buttons. In one sense, British-Chinese pop-artist and self-styled provocateur, Le Fil, is no different, displaying a style that combines recognizable gimmicks: bold fashion, racy lyrics, and a hyper-sexualized androgyny. But unlike other high-profile millennials, Le Fil's performances on and off-stage are refreshingly devoid of cynicism. In the self-penned, upcoming Fringe show, 24/7 LIVE, it's the art that is taken seriously; the ego, not so much. Which isn't to say this artist avoids introspection, as Fringebiscuit discovered in a recent interview:

Fringebiscuit: What is 24/7 all about?

Le Fil: My show 24/7 LIVE is named after a song I wrote called 24/7 which uses our shopping culture as a metaphor for sex and love. It’s all about how we demand and supply, serve and consume! I loved the concept so explored it further in my show - like how we’re packaged up within our society and in our relationships. In particular, my relationships with shitty men!

FB: Who or what has inspired you recently?

LF: Beyonce is fabulous. I love her transformation into this auteur of her own biography and how she manifests it into her audiovisual albums and live shows. She’s literally turned elevator fights and threats of divorce into epic stadium shows where the whole audience stick their middle finger up at her husband, its insane and so surreal.

My own journey with music has also led me to explore the format of presentation - that’s how I came up with the term ‘pop gig with extras’!  A pop gig with a narrative sounds naff, but my show is also definitely not a musical. It’s very much a pop concert, and it’s got full out choreography, costumes and everything.

FB: As an artist, you work in a variety of media, including music, visual art, performance, etc. Where do you feel most at home?

LF: Ooh if we’re going a bit Grand Designs, I guess I like to create my own home. Each room would represent music or art, sculpture, ceramics, fashion or performance. I’m the hallway that connects all these rooms!  I feel at home with them all because I like to blur the boundaries of each genre so that they blend into each other - a bit like how artist Matthew Barney can make vaseline sculptures, gold-leaf poos and then a three-hour opera.

When I worked in ceramics, I made it performance ceramics. Now that I’m making music, I should be doing the traditional circuit of pub gigs but instead I’m taking my shows to Edinburgh Fringe and telling a story instead. I always like to be fluid with boundaries, even when it comes to how my identity and gender is seen. No one should ever feel restricted! Though if I had to choose, if you really squeezed me - music and singing has been a passion since before I could draw a picture. I sing every day and music is the one thing that allows me to do all my other creative things - I get to make the videos, create costumes, installations and performance art and be political.

FB: What were the biggest challenges in putting together 24/7 LIVE?

LF: Time! Every rhinestone, melody, extension lead, lyric, storyboard and more, comes directly from me. This show is a product of a few years worth of work from the songwriting to learning all the programs for video projections. I also love working with collaborators too so it takes time to nurture those [relationships] organically, and I’m super blessed to now be working with such wonderful people who believe in me and the project. 

FB: What gender constructs are you taking aim at in this show?

LF: In the show I look at binary constructs of gender and how that's impacted my relationships, especially with our outdated ideas of masculinity. I like to think I’m challenging this in my day to day life too. I like to re-address what it means to be a man, so I’m perfectly happy popping into the gents for a pee in my fishnets and heels and standing tall at the urinal. We all need to fuck things up more in our day to day too, and not just on stage. Take the stage to the streets!

FB: What's next after the Fringe?

LF: I’m writing new music! Also, I’ll be touring Europe with party troupe Sink The Pink and hopefully taking 24/7 LIVE to more cities and countries! Serving you any way, everyday!!!

You can catch 24/7 LIVE at C Royale, August 7-11.