Interview :: Rainbow Chan

January 16th 2012

Rainbow Chan talks ice cream and baby vomit, Chinese-folk-hip-hop, and turning her mum into a robot cow-man. Catch her at FBi Social this Friday for the start of her Sweet Tooth Tour.

FBi: How many instruments do you use during a live show?

Rainbow: I have a loop pedal, a sampler, glockenspiels, a mini keyboard from my childhood, kalimbas, a melodica, and various vintage toys and music boxes that I make live loops with.

Have you got your favourites?

I love the kalimbas! They sound like raindrops and have the most resonant, pure tone colours. I bought them in Iceland when FBi flew me over there. I like being able to sample them and glitch them up, as well as stripping it down and singing a cappella with them.??

What’s the newest addition to your instruments?

I got an amazing circuit-bent toy cow for a Christmas present so I’ve been experimenting and making loops with it. The inside of its ears are yellow and they even flash in time with the rhythms I make!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve made music with?

For a uni assignment, I composed a Chinese-folk-hip-hop piece that sampled my mum telling a folktale about a cowherd in Cantonese and also making cow noises. I manipulated her voice so she sounded like an alien robot cow-man, almost like my circuit-bent toy cow, in hindsight!??

Are there any instruments you’d kill to get your hands on?

I would love to own a harp. And the Croatian sea organ. And this beautiful rainbow-coloured circuit-bent synth would be awesome too!

What can we expect at the Sweet Tooth tour gigs?

You’ll probably see me looking like an octopus with my multi-tasking, making live loops while singing and playing instruments. You’ll most definitely see some nerdy dancing to pitch-bent beat-boxing. I will also be doing my cover of ‘Lovefool’. 90s pop revival? Yes, please.??

What’s to come for you in 2012?

I’ll be releasing my debut album, going on a tour, and according to my dad, will continue to have “lucky-chi”. Let’s hope he is right.??

What was it like making your new film clip?

Possibly the most fun and disgusting experience I’ve ever gone through. We poured 16 litres of melted ice cream and assorted lollies over my body. We had to do multiple takes as well so I became well acquainted with the smell of off ice cream. I didn’t realise that I would smell like baby vomit for the next week. But it was well worth it!??

What are your top 5 Sydney spots to cure a Sweet Tooth craving??

1. Roti Bom at Mamak

2. French toast at O cafe

3. Gelato Messina

4. Tom Waits at Falconer

5. Mum’s homemade Asian desserts


What: Sweet Tooth & Little Frog Double Single Launch

Who: Rainbow Chan, Sui Zhen & Moon Holiday

When: Friday 20 January, 8pm

Where: FBi Social

How Much: $10 on the door


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