“This whole EP, the way I made it, the energy behind it, the release, the visuals – it’s all very much driven by me and coming from a place where I have the control in my hands,” Tei Shi tells HollywoodLife when discussing her new ep, Die 4 Ur Love. Released on July 17, the 5-track project is her first since going independent as an artist, and it’s a chance to showcase a new side of her, artistically. It’s also a chance for her to have a whole lot of fun without having to ‘wait around for approvals,” and that can be seen in the video for the title track.
In “Die 4 Ur Love,” out today (July 28), Tei lives her full glamorous quarantine fantasy. From lounging around in her underwear to scrubbing her kitchen to eating pasta on the toilet, “Die 4 Ur Love” is the mood of the moment. Paired with an undeniable banger of a dance track, the video is a mix of sexy and goofy. “This EP,” she tells HollywoodLife, “was all about having fun, doing something quick and easy, and not putting too much thought into it. I also think the nature of what’s going on in the world, lockdown, and quarantine really influenced the DIY energy behind the EP – I’ve had limited tools, and that in a way has brought me back to a very DIY place.
Tei has spoken about how the music has come from a dark place (“Right at the beginning of the year, I had a couple things happen that fucked me up on a personal and emotional level,” she said in a previous interview), she tells HollywoodLife how these new songs represent a type of music she’s been wanting to do for a while. She also shares one of her favorite moments on Die 4 Ur Love, if she’s found a “dancefloor” in quarantine, and more.
HollywoodLife: What would you say is one of your favorite moments on Die 4 Ur Love? Was there a moment when you pushed your voice in a new direction, or a line you’re particularly fond of?
There are a lot of moments that stand out to me, especially since the whole EP was written in the span of 6 days so it’s all just sort of one big snapshot in time. I think a big one is the song ‘Goodbye’ though – I really got some things I needed to say out and I’m really happy I was able to put it into words the way I did. I remember when I wrote the lines “Also I’m sick of your sh-t, you’ve been officially noticed, I quit, got my freedom. Also, I’m making a hit, you better listen now sit down, kick your feet up” — that was a really fun moment for me!
You’re a recently independent artist. Would you say that’s reflected in the music on your new EP?
Definitely. This whole EP, the way I made it, the energy behind it, the release, the visuals – it’s all very much driven by me and coming from a place where I have the control in my hands. Not that I ever relinquished creative control before, but it’s more the ability to do things when and how I want, and not having to wait around for approvals and support which in the past led to my albums taking way too long to get finished and come out. This EP was all about having fun, doing something quick and easy, and not putting too much thought into it. I also think the nature of what’s going on in the world, lockdown, and quarantine really influenced the DIY energy behind the EP – I’ve had limited tools, and that in a way has brought me back to a very DIY place.
You’ve said that the song “Die 4 Ur Love” came from a “dark, negative place.” Has this EP changed any perceptions of what your music can and cannot be? For instance, would you avoid writing about such a “dark” subject matter in the past? Or, are you more of an “intimate” songwriter that you needed to experience these “negative spaces” before you could put them in song?
Not at all, I don’t think I ever put a limit on what I can make or write about. That I think is really the essence behind my music so far, that I always feel like I have to keep exploring new ideas or ways of doing things. I’ve definitely written about some darker emotional states before, and then also some very beautiful and idyllic moments. One thing this EP has done though is helped me tap into something I’ve wanted to do as a writer for some time which is to write from a more story-like or character-driven standpoint rather than purely personal. A couple of the songs were written more from perspectives that were outside of what I was experiencing literally…but in a way, they took on an even broader meaning if that makes sense.
You’ve done “sprawling” projects that have spanned years, and you’ve said this new EP is a “snapshot of a few months.” Having done both, do you have a preference when it comes to songwriting/recording? Do you like it better when you have a while to stew over a song, or do you find yourself enjoying a more “wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am” pace?
I like working within a more condensed time frame for sure. There’s nothing more frustrating for me than being excited about something and then, having to sit around and wait for a multitude of reasons – my goal is to keep making music this way and hopefully make a whole album in a few weeks, that type of thing. But who knows…maybe that will change?
If you could go back to 2017 and give one piece of advice to yourself right after you recorded Crawl Space, what would you say?
Stop overthinking everything and trying to be everything! [laughs] I think I put WAY too much pressure on myself at that time and was setting huge expectations for myself. I forgot to have fun along the way and I drove myself crazy over tiny things. I learned a lot after Crawl Space though, and I don’t think I’d be where I am without that.
I know that things are still not open due to COVID, but have you found a “dance floor” somewhere? Even if it’s in your kitchen?
Oh, the dance floor is literally everywhere in my house. Pretty much anywhere I’m alone. My back yard especially though – making this EP in quarantine had me pacing and thrashing in my yard every day.
Die 4 Ur Love – both the video and the EP – are out now.