GUJI is a synth pop duo created by Guizhou native Wang Zi Xiu – or Klaire – and her American boyfriend Chachy, a veteran of the Shanghai music scene who has fronted and been the guitarist of experimental punk rock band Round Eye since 2012.
They first created music during the initial Shanghai lockdown of 2020, which then went unreleased. Finding themselves locked down again in 2022, they dusted off the tunes and decided to take advantage of the downtime to release their first track, 'Build a Friend for Me,' with a video completely produced at home.
We caught up with them to find out more.
How did GUJI come about? And what are your influences?
Klaire: It started with being bored during quarantine in 2020. And after quarantine we kept postponing it... until now. Another quarantine happened, so this time we finally finished what we hadn’t before.
Chachy: Our influences are B-52s, Devo, The Go-Gos and Saturday morning cartoons.
What can people expect from GUJI?
Klaire: Sexual but cute; colorful images and simple but weird and crazy ideas.
Chachy: What she said.
How did the video come about, and how did you come up with the concept?
Chachy: We decided to go for it a little less than a week ago and just looked around and thought about what we could do with the extremely limited scenery and materials available to us.
I don’t have a nice camera, so I decided to just go with my phone. We’ve always had the concept ready to go.
Klaire: We always wanted a video for the song which we finished two years ago. And the quarantine gives us all the time in the world.
The concept is about someone wanting a perfect sex mate, but could not find one, so he/she decided to make one himself/herself with crazy materials.
What is actually going on in the video? And how did you compile it all?
Chachy: [Laughs] Honestly, simplicity is key. The upside down faces and use of footage from films The Holy Mountain, Temple of Doom and Naked Gun 2 1/2 were picked out because they could easily illustrate the lyrics to the song.
The Holy Mountain in particular was so beautifully shot – sexually explicit with such avant-garde insanity – that one scene was just crazy enough to fit in our project.
Klaire: The story is going on around the naked Barbie doll; she is the main character that is trying to build up her sex partner. On her part we did some stop motion.
We also have our neighbor Gu in the video (the cute elder lady) to make it look more lively and fun.
We finally decided to use the upside down face singing as the band to make it simpler and cuter as well.
Had you ever made your own video before?
Chachy: This was my first time making a video using DaVinci editing software, which I highly recommend.
I’ve collaborated with the always brilliant and missed Alessio Avezzano (of Mamahuhu fame) for many of Round Eye’s previous videos; he’s since moved back to Scotland and was actually the man who recommended I use this software for my silly ideas.
Klaire: Nope. I tried a lot of new things this time. Adobe Premiere!
How long did it take to make?
Klaire: The song was finished two years ago, and the video shooting and editing took three days. We tried to use everything we could find in the apartment since we could not leave. We also put in some of our favorite movie clips that fit the song.
Got more lined up?
Chachy & Klaire: Yep! We are working on three more songs of GUJI.
Any other musical projects you guys are working on?
Chachy: I’m working on some songs for a Round Eye EP and getting GUJI off the ground. Maybe even play a live show if things ever get back to normal.
Scan the QR to check out GUJI 'Build a Friend for Me':
[All images courtesy of GUJI]