Deb Fan’s Debut EP 'Gemini Moon' Is a Haunting, Dark-Pop Triumph [Q&A]
Deb Fan’s debut EP Gemini Moon is a haunting project glistening with contrast in every form; genres find themselves at a divine crossroads, while Fan explores heartbreak, cultural identity, and femininity. Fan’s crisp vocals shimmer in waves of aching romanticism, while the production explores alternative influences, embodying a bit of pop-punk grittiness here, a smidge of dark-pop, synth bass rage there. Tying it all together are the R&B melodies that Fan winds her way through, lush and entrancing over the moody arrangement.
The artist and producer herself sat down with Ones To Watch to give us the inside scoop on the spiritual awakening behind Gemini Moon, her start in music, and the everlastingness of Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin candles.
Ones To Watch: How are you? Where in the world are you?
Deb Fan: I'm doing really well thank you! I'm based in LA right now, but I'm honestly feeling really homesick.
You’re about to release your debut EP, Gemini Moon, congrats! How do you feel?
I feel really good about the release. I've been emotional, but in a cathartic way—it's only normal since it's the biggest project I've ever done.
Gemini Moon is very cinematic; the title track itself feels like a James Bond intro. Walk us through the EP, was there a specific theme or vibe you were hoping to capture with the project?
Gemini Moon is an immersive listening project and was intended to be that way. My entire life revolved around going to the cinema and watching theatrical performances with my parents. I barely see my parents growing up, so watching movies and going to the theater holds a special place in my heart. Art is a privilege and, at the time, affording art was impossible for them especially where they came from, so I love that they wanted to share that with us. It was my introduction to art and I've grown a huge appreciation for it to this day.
What was your approach to writing the EP?
I told myself that it was time I wrote a cohesive project for myself and what it means to me following a spiritual awakening. I hosted a writing camp with my friends and just slapped a bunch of paint on the wall and saw what stuck. After the two-week writing camp, I had to go back to working my corporate job and finished the rest of the EP during my free time. This process took around two months before it was sent to the mixing engineer. I hosted the writing camp following a breakup, but the project ended up becoming much more than that as I had to deal with the duality of my life, culturally and socially.
What were you listening to, watching, inspired by while writing Gemini Moon?
I was really inspired by contrast since that reflects my life and how I've been misunderstood due to my contrasting character. Taking influences from modern R&B like "Streets" by Doja Cat to '70s blues rock like "In the Light" by Led Zeppelin, Gemini Moon is all in all a conglomerate piece of what makes me who I am.
If you could recommend us a cocktail pairing for Gemini Moon, what would it be?
Something sweet, but spicy like a ginger mule or a strawberry martini with jalapeño peppers instead of olives.
How did you get into music? Does your upbringing tie into your artistry?
I grew up playing classical piano and opera and was also playing trumpet for symphonic orchestra throughout high school and parts of college. Although I was forced into performing a lot, I grew to love music because of it. Earlier I said this project became more to me than just the breakup, I wanted to tell a story, my story, of how I had to come to terms with the differences between me and my partner, at the time, culturally. As an Asian woman coming to America on my own, I had to come to terms with my own culture and what that means to me and how I've been rejecting my own heritage and deep-rooted morals through the relationships I've built out here. As a person who grew up in a sensitive environment, I've learned to always adapt, but through music, I'm able to bridge the gap between where I came from and who I am today more and more.
What do you do to unwind outside of music?
Since I grew up mostly alone, I find comfort in doing immersive-like activities such as playing video games and watching movies by myself (with my cat).
Super important question, if you were a candle, what scent would you be?
I'm a girl of habit, so I only buy one type of candle and that is Lime Basil & Mandarin from Jo Malone. It's a strong scent and it's to be used everlastingly.
Who are your Ones To Watch?
Aisu, she's a Turkish singer/rapper and her music is HARD. Her outlook on life as a Turkish woman growing up in both Istanbul and LA is so similar to my own outlook. It's so unique in a sense where I haven't seen anyone come out of their shell and go against social and cultural norms like that considering that she has had a conservative upbringing. I also really like London Jehiah. He's an up-and-coming artist from Texas with so much talent at such a young age.
Deb Fan's Gemini Moon is available now.