Why Be (NON, HALCYON VEIL // COPENHAGEN)
Tobias Lee is a Korean-born, Danish-raised, and Berlin and Copenhagen-based producer and DJ. After intentionally spending years on the fringes of experimental dance music, 2015 saw Lee embracing the conventional release format for the very first time, accordingly establishing himself as a formidable emergent voice in dance music's larger conversation.
The resulting Snipestreet EP on Rabit's Halcyon Veil label notably found the artist exercising a newfound mastery over original productions, in lieu of his usual, unruly approach to bootlegs and edits. Upon release it garnered widespread critical acclaim, with tracks and videos from it being premiered on DIS Magazine, a full-length interview appearing on The FADER, and Heroin Hat making it to FACT Magazine's best club tracks of the year list.
Following Snipestreet Why Be teamed up with his year long comrades Elysia Crampton, Chino Amobi, Lexxi & Rabit to join forces on the album Demon City released by Break World Records. Same year he soundtracked Stephanie Comilang's sci-fi docu Lumapit Sa Akin, Paraiso about filipina migrant workers in Hong Kong. The soundtrack featured collaborations with Sky H1 and Elysia Crampton and was released via Chino Amobi's NON records.
Most recently Janus released a collaborative 15 minute piece that Why Be and Backtearer recorded between Hong Kong, Copenhagen and Berlin.
Lee's sound both on record and behind the CD-Rs defies easy compartmentalization: if anything, it is defined by its visceral uncategorizability. He's as likely to draw on ballroom and rap as instrumental grime, but it's Lee's radically singular approach to putting it all together that makes him so exciting. Even if the ingredients are familiar, the end product never is: his hectic, cathartic, and uncompromising style of club music ultimately stands completely in its own lane.