DJ Jon the Reptilian recently spoke with Bay Area based singer-songwriter, THAO (formerly of Thao & The Get Down Stay Down), ahead of her upcoming show on Saturday, May 7th at The Fillmore in SF. Tune in on Friday, May 6th @ 10am to hear their conversation.
In the Fall of 2021, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down released Temple – Deluxe Edition via Ribbon Music. The LP is a digital deluxe version of her latest album, 2020’s Temple and features acoustic and string arrangement versions of the LP’s “How Could I,” “Marauders,” “Marrow,” and “Temple.”
The music takes on a symphonic quality with lush classical strings. It’s hard not to place yourself on the streets of Vietnam, where THAO’s mother is from, when hearing this operatic soundtrack, which serves to deepen the imagery of her mother’s journey, already present on every moment of the album.
As much as Temple is about being proudly Vietnamese, it is also the story of THAO’s coming out as queer. According to THAO, “One evening in Saigon, after a family gathering, my mother said to me, quite out of nowhere: ‘You have to understand for yourself what it means to be free. You have to learn for yourself why a million people would risk dying at sea. What is it about freedom. I can’t do that for you. You have to learn for yourself.’…I remember wondering what that would mean for me, if I’d ever have the occasion to truly consider and learn what it meant to be free. This moment, four years later, became the heart and bones of the lead single ‘Temple,’ and thus, the entire album.”
Photo Credit: Eric Einweiler