(Music is Drugs… with Kerwin C from Taipei)

Nothing has the power to lift my mood more than music. That’s why the Elska Mixtape is so integral to the process of making Elska. This playlist of songs that I create before each making each issue and play over and over on my headphones during shoot week and the surrounding weeks does a lot for me. Every song lends a line from its lyrics to the title of each photospread, and sometimes the mood or style of the shoot is affected by it too. But more than that, these tunes are my motivation for the early mornings, long days, the fun and the bullshit of it all.  ​

Generally the Elska Mixtape is already made before I go to the city for shoot week, but on the day I shot Kerwin C, two songs were added, and they’re two of my favourites in the Taipei series. 

When I got to Kerwin’s place, a small studio apartment with a sort of green paradise of a kitchen on the terrace, in Songshan, he had his own mixtape on. I was enjoying his taste, but then something happened when “Maybe You” by Say Lou Lou came on. I sort of broke into pieces, but in the loveliest way, as if my body was ice and was shredding down as a snowstorm. I breathed in the cold, icy air and it filled me with immense energy. And that’s when I told him to pick up the beanbag, which I shot several frames of him with.

Sometimes music gives me this sort of maniacal feeling. I can’t say whether a beanbag was a good accompaniment or not, but it felt joyously right at the time. Nor would I normally talk in metaphors like the above snowstorm one, but music alters me. Music for me is like drugs – I don’t know really what I’m doing on it, but it feels really good. 

After the shoot, I asked for a decent coffee place nearby.  I ended up walking to Café Junkies. The music they played was epic. If I lived in Taipei, I’d be there every day. The track that hit me there was “Yours Forever” by Generationals, perhaps my favourite track of the Taipei Mixtape.

I wish I could afford to go back to Taipei just to alternate between music listening sessions with Kerwin C and coffee time at Café Junkies. I’d be devising every Elska Mixtape there, giving each upcoming issue a bit of a Taipei flavour. Go on, subscribe now and help contribute to the “buy Liam a flight to Taipei and some coffee money” fund. Cheers.

See more of Kerwin C and read his story in Elska Magazine issue (05) Taipei


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