Hong Kong-born, U.S.-raised journeyman drummer/producer Ian Chang makes forward-looking experimental electronic music using technology that allows him to control samples directly from his kit. He started exploring this approach in 2015, but not before embedding himself into the Brooklyn indie electronic scene, becoming well-known as the drummer in Matthew Young and Grant Wheeler's Body Language and a founding member of Adam Schatz's Landlady. While those projects were song-driven, his involvement in post-rock act Son Lux -- with which he became a core member from 2015 onwards -- was much more organic and saw him contribute to soundscapes that founder Ryan Lott used to inspire his songwriting. Later in the decade, Chang moved to Dallas, but even outside of the above projects, he found time to record or perform with such luminaries as Matthew Dear, Joan as Policewoman, Frankie Rose, and Chvrches. By 2017, he was playing drums-only live sets inspired by Sunhouse's Sensory Percussion technology, in turn leading to the release of his debut EP, Spiritual Leader. 2020 saw City Slang issue Belonging, a full-length realization of Chang's vision, which incorporated vocals from Kiah Victoria, Kazu, and Hanna Benn. From age nine, Chang studied classical percussion and piano at Hong Kong's Academy for Performing Arts. His focus on music was divided between these formal studies and drumming in a friend's pop-punk act, before his family moved to New Jersey in 2007. Here he continued to study creative music-making, often traveling into New York to watch live jazz to observe the techniques of established drummers. By 2009, he could be seen on Brooklyn stages drumming for a pre-fame Theophilus London, and it was this role that connected him to Young and Wheeler, who were also part of that backing band. His subsequent work with Body Language brought him to the attention of Schatz, and by 2011 Chang was contributing drums and backing vocals to Schatz's Landlady project. That same year, Chang was awarded a degree in jazz drumming by NYU. After drumming on Dear's fifth album, Beams, he hooked up with Martin Crane's Brazos, appearing throughout his lushly produced second album, 2013's Saltwater. A busy 12 months also saw Chang contribute to 2014's Physiques, the second People Get Ready LP, and the first Landlady full-length, Upright Behavior. While the first three Son Lux albums were essentially Lott solo works, by 2015's Bones, Chang was a key member of the group. 2016 saw him perform European dates with jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas, and with Joan as Policewoman and Benjamin Lazar Davis on their joint tour and October album release. Chang's innovative 2017 solo EP Spiritual Leader was co-produced between New York and Dallas with Crane in single, unedited takes. Prior to its release, he could be seen performing it live as an opening act for Body Language. By January 2020, Chang was promoting the Lott-mixed Belonging with a more sophisticated setup, incorporating a drum-triggered light show, and that album saw release in April.
© James Wilkinson /TiVo
© James Wilkinson /TiVo
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