潘PAN releases ‘Ghosts’ EP with an otherworldly video

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Once again defying genre and classification with her boundary pushing artistry, 潘PAN (real name Pan Wei Ju), today releases her second EP in as many months, via her new label home Transgressive Records. With her latest, four track EP ‘Ghosts’, Pan continues to test limits with her art, demonstrating she’s a true pioneer of sonic diversity and range. The title track, produced by Clams Casino and mixed by David Wrench (Sampha, FKA Twigs, The xx), is accompanied by an otherworldly official music video

The Taiwanese artist who previously released under the moniker Aristophanes, for which she received global recognition, discusses the meaning behind her track ‘Ghosts’; “it’s a song about domestic violence in the Asian household. It talks about how a certain notion of ‘family’ has caused a dark impact on individual life experiences, and how trauma has been passed down for several generations”.

Elsewhere the EP is produced by Bon Music Vision (Kojey Radical, Lucinda Chau, Tsunaina, Gaika); a renowned duo who are also regarded for their forward-thinking approach to sound. Across a constantly morphing sonic palette that moves from metallic, apocalyptic beats to delicate nods to the traditional music of her Asian heritage, via heavy, industrial moments, spacious soundscapes and much more, the thread in Pan’s music is utterly mesmeric vocal. Performing in a mix of Mandarin and English, she says having the two languages to play with is “like featuring another artist who has a different way of describing things”.

Following her recent ‘Reborn’ EP, which saw support from Tara Kumar on BBC Radio 1’s Future Artists show, an X-POSURE playlist add from John Kennedy on Radio X and further spins from Matt Wilkinson on Apple Music 1, ‘Ghosts’ is described as the “darker twin sister” of her two releases. Pan explains, “each is connected with some very intimate moments and poems. Lyrically they explore domestic violence in the Asian household, the relationship between bodies and feminine identity, along with a hopeless human-made wasteland.” Both EPs were written in Hong Kong, Berlin and Taipei and recorded/produced in London and Melbourne, representing an emotional and physical journey across cultures and identities.

Though Pan Wei Ju is an entirely new artist – new outlook, new message, new material and name – you may have met the woman herself before. Back in the mid-’10s, the Taipei-born rapper went by the moniker Aristophanes. After performing a career-changing feature on ‘SCREAM’, taken from Grimes’ celebrated NME Album of 2015 ‘Art Angels’, Aristophanes went on to build a cult fanbase, releasing her debut mixtape ‘Humans Become Machines’.

“Aristophanes was me writing in my bedroom and doing my own thing, whereas now after years of travelling around, what I want to do is more about connection,” Pan says. “As an artist I’m more mature. This new music is bigger and it has a stronger message.” It’s perhaps no surprise that Pan needed a little more time to settle into herself and her art. Raised by a mother who “hated music” and refused to have it in the house, she recalls
having almost zero access to pop culture until she moved out of the family home. Inspired by the storytelling of the Taiwanese rappers that she then began to listen to, the heavily male-dominated scene at the time, however, made it almost impossible for Pan to broach. Undeterred, she turned to the internet, reaching out to producers on Soundcloud and collaborating with artists across the globe and outside of her bubble.

Working with Grimes – a fellow self-taught female artist who produces and engineers everything herself – was the confidence booster that Pan needed. “If you’ve got ears and you’ve got a desire to express, then you can learn all the things from Youtube – it’s not just limited to men,” she says. “I can learn that and I can do what I want, I just need to do the work.” And so, for the past half decade, Pan has been doing exactly that. She’s moved to Lisbon, where she lives with her recently-adopted cat Truffle; she’s been working with other people and most importantly, she’s been writing. A lot.

And so arrives the long-awaited rebirth of Pan Wei Ju. Stay tuned for even more new music to follow.