Checking In: Shirley Zhu Gives A Fuvk

Hermitude has its advantages for Bandcamp introverts

“I answered these as best I could, but very sorry if it sounds like I’m filling out a college app,” emails Shirley Zhu of lush bedroom pop project Fuvk. “I have trouble with informal writing!” Actually, as Rachel Rascoe opined of recent, minute-long song “Will I See You Soon” from four-tune Bandcamp EP Singles, “As usual, Shirley Zhu knows just what to say.”

Say “Mask!”: Zhu (center) with friend Matt Larsen and occasional Fuvk violinist Jiyoung Min

Austin Chronicle: Where are you sheltering and under what circumstances? Who else is there and how’s that going?

Shirley Zhu: Sheltering here in Austin by myself! It’s been a learning experience being almost entirely alone for over three months now. The first few weeks were rough, but we adapt. I’m fairly introverted for the most part, but I severely underestimated the impact of quite literally not having any physical human interaction.

AC: At what point did C-19 shut down operations for you, and what went down with the ship, so to speak, both personally & professionally?

“I’m fairly introverted for the most part, but I severely underestimated the impact of quite literally not having any physical human interaction.”

SZ: My company mandated work from home starting March 13, so I’ve been very lucky to be able to do that. In terms of music, the SXSW showcase was just on the horizon, so that’s where the band drew a line. Social life has been in the gutter, of course, but I can’t see that changing any time soon, especially with the recent uptick.

AC: As a global culture, people employ music for every purpose imaginable, obviously spanning religion to entertainment and everything in between. What happens to communities like ours when people can no longer access it in person?

SZ: I think one of the wonderful things about the music community is that it’s so accessible online. Dropping tracks here and there on Bandcamp has always been my preferred method of participation, so I’m actually a little relieved to become a hermit and escape in-person obligations. I’ve also been really enjoying watching all of the creative and impromptu livestreams!

AC: Everyone’s had to shift or drastically alter their work situation. What does that look like for you?

SZ: Work is remote from home at the moment. It’s a jank setup with a laptop and external monitor residing permanently on my dining room table! And lots of Zoom meetings.

AC: What’s your soundtrack for the apocalypse and what role does music play for you as a fan and scholar of it in times of hardship?

SZ: Music has been a go-to outlet for me for as long as I can remember. I grew up super repressed, so I listened to a lot of music that expressed things that I couldn’t at the time. Now I can say whatever I want, so I put that to music for myself :)

Listen: “Apocalypse” playlist, Spotify.

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Fuvk, Shirley Zhu, Jiyoung Min, Bandcamp, Checking In 2020

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