Betty Apple’s Taiwan Bay Be is a full-length album exploring Taiwanese identity, time travel, sound, and the cosmic. Released this year on our Establishment, Betty is now in Berlin for a live presentation on Wednesday – and she has a lot to say, from unpacking the mermaid fairy tail to imagining science fiction futures and sound’s relationship to “God” and life after death.

I don’t want to say too much more than that, as Betty’s answers stand on their own. They’re presented here in her native tongue and machine-human hybrid translations, unedited, which produces a rhythm of language only Betty and AI can achieve.

Here’s the full album, available to stream and download:

If you’re in Berlin, come listen to Betty Apple join Yoni, Adrienne Herr, sailormenx (VJ), and myself live at Studio dB Wednesday evening June 26:

Tickets and information at RA

photo credit, top (featured) and below:

AUSPIC PAPER and Chien Wen Lin


Betty Apple writes:

## 關於人魚的意涵
## On the Meaning of Mermaids


In my previous works, I have discussed the meaning of mermaids from various perspectives. Mermaids are a reflection on ideology. Firstly, examining the mermaid from the fairy tale, we see the themes of self-sacrifice for love and marriage as an economic community. The little mermaid is like an immigrant, respected in her own world but sacrificing everything for love. She loses her freedom of movement, her voice, and ultimately sees her beloved marry a princess from a neighboring country. Her sisters urge her to kill the prince to regain her tail, but the story ends with the little mermaid committing suicide, turning into foam, and ascending to heaven. This is a fairy tale I have never understood.

photo credit: Max J


She is reminiscent of how women in Chinese or Asian cultures are often taught to endure and sacrifice themselves. I believe the mermaid doesn’t need to kill the prince; she can realize that she doesn’t need the prince to live well in a foreign land. This can symbolize Taiwan as an island rich in immigrant and colonial cultures. Taiwan’s history began in the Paleolithic era, with 16 indigenous tribes. During the Ming Dynasty, Han Chinese migrated to Taiwan, and in the Qing Dynasty, Taiwan was incorporated into China’s territory. In 1895, Taiwan was ceded to Japan. After Japan’s defeat in 1945, Taiwan was returned to the Republic of China. In 1949, the Chinese Civil War led to a mass retreat of Nationalist troops and refugees to Taiwan, leading to a multicultural integration of immigrants.


But returning to the imagination of Taiwanese mermaids, primarily because Taiwan is surrounded by sea yet has few stories about the ocean due to historical discontinuities and Han Chinese colonization. I began to think about whether we might have mermaids based on my feelings of living on this island. Taipei, the current capital of Taiwan, was once a massive lake. I also use a near-future science fiction approach to imagine that after future global warming, people might combine with AI machines to become future mermaids living back under the sea.

I imagine that after future global warming, people might combine with AI machines to become future mermaids living back under the sea.


From the Chinese mythological story “The Classic of Mountains and Seas,” it is also mentioned that Taiwan might be an island where the inhabitants had scales on their feet. Some even say Taiwan could be the past “Atlantis” or the “Mu” continent. These online legends have become fantasies about whether the past history is different from the capitalized History we discuss today.

illustration from the Classic of Mountains and Seas (Shan Hai Jing) – colored edition from the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) / source

## 關於活火山的意象
## On the Imagery of Living with a Volcano


There are hot springs in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, which signifies the presence of active volcanoes, yet people live their lives as usual. For me, imagining a volcanic eruption is like a non-existent existence, much like facing death. We know we will all eventually face death, but we do not constantly think about it. Instead, it deepens the sense of being alive. Especially when soaking in a hot spring, you feel very close to the earth. Living on a dangerous bomb, you gamble on temporary peace. For me, it is a wonderful coexistence with danger.

photo credit: Max J

credit: Tom Hsu (writing in the back reads, “A calm and contented mind brings happiness.”)

## 關於隨機聲音與“神”的聯繫
## On the Connection Between Random Sound and “God”


God, to me, is a kind of “existence.” Recognizing the rules of existence is to feel before thinking. Thinking leads us within the ego, causing us to interpret existence as chaos. True existence is organic randomness that can create diversity. Life comes from the symbiosis of diversity. Just like I said, Taiwan’s history is full of discontinuities, yet I have grown out of these discontinuities.

Taiwan’s history is full of discontinuities, yet I have grown out of these discontinuities.

## 關於作為藝術家的背景
## On My Background as an Artist


My background is in theater, performance, film, and multimedia. I try to use my own body politics to feel and create a worldview that is not from the perspective of capitalized History.

## 關於音樂製作工具
## On the Tools I Use for Music Production


Most of my music is created using computer music software and recorded sound files. Some VSTs I have used for ten years. My approach to electronic music creation is punk. Because my resources were very limited when I first started creating electronic music, I got used to expressing music in a minimalistic and direct way, treating digital music like abstract painting. I play with their tonal and depth and rhythm to freely present more non-verbal abstract emotions.

## 關於時空穿越的敘事
## On the Time-Traveling Narrative



This is from 2020 when I was researching time travelers on the internet. A time traveler claimed to be from 2060 and had predicted many events that would happen in the world. He could time travel back to 2019 through signals when he wanted to find someone he was looking for. When people asked about his gender, he said there is no gender during time travel. This made a deep impression on me, so I created a feeling of time travel inspired by this.

## 關於Techno音樂的意涵
## On the Meaning of Techno Music


I am very sensitive to sounds. To me, many sounds have musicality. In contrast, melodies within rules make me feel lifeless. I don’t like repetitive, doctrinal music; I prefer repetitive yet complex sounds like waves. Techno gives me this feeling. Its repetition and variation feel like the sea or the universe to me.


Techno, to me, creates a non-material space through frequencies, a trans-dimensional journey for body, mind, and spirit. In Taiwan, Taoist beliefs often use repetitive drum beats and gongs, along with repetitive verses, to construct the process of Taoist gods descending into mediums. This often makes me feel a similar method of dialogue in Techno clubs, as if I can connect to a cosmology of the non-material world.

## 關於台灣身份的意義
## On the Significance of Taiwanese Identity


This, I want to leave for the listeners to understand from this album.

phoro credit, from top: TheCube Project Space, Yao Xiang

## 關於舞台角色與音樂製作
## On Stage Persona and Music Production


Before I was 25, I studied drama performance. However, at the beginning of my life, I loved music very much but lost the means to study due to my family’s financial situation. It wasn’t until I had my first laptop that its built-in software allowed me to not only play music but also piece together the world and emotions I felt. When I had no acting roles, I played with those signals, creating electronic music, which made me very happy because it had no fixed logic. The randomness and abstraction of creation brought me closer to the indescribable realism I felt, like a montage of the soul.


Because I lost the means to study in the past, I believe that creating music without a theoretical basis can better showcase a person’s frequency, personality, and even rhythm. I believe that after physical death, there is another kind of existence, maybe becoming an alien (a person not on the planet), but they can see frequencies. In my music, I create the texture of my soul. It may not be the best-sounding, but they exist as de-musicalized music. On the contrary, you can feel the soul.

I believe that creating music without a theoretical basis can better showcase a person’s frequency, personality, and even rhythm. I believe that after physical death, there is another kind of existence.

photo credit: Lexi Laphor

photo: Chien Wen Lin

## 關於“Alien Lovers”
## On “Alien Lovers”


When creating this song, I felt like I was an alien full of love coming to Earth to understand the world, and I dedicate it to those aliens who understand frequencies.

## 關於“Making Love in Taipei”
## On “Making Love in Taipei”


This is a sound movie of deep love and a dark night of the soul that I experienced at that time.

This is a sound movie of deep love and a dark night of the soul that I experienced at that time.


Taiwan Bay Be

by B e T T y A P P l e