There’s no subject quite off limits with pop-alchemist Pyra, her six-track EP, fkn bad pt.1, is the first of her two-part project. Rife with comments on consumerism, political mishandling and her disdain of overplayed Asian stereotypes: the avant-garde musician addresses global issues with a powerful punch of politics and pop. In an exciting projection of what’s to come Pyra now showcases her new single can’t keep running away – out via Warner Music. She tells METAL first: she's moving to London!
Your music has previously been categorised as genre-bending and dystopian pop. How would you best describe your sound?
I’m actually the one who coined the term dystopian pop for myself since there’s no other genre box that fits. It, sonically, touches upon pop, electronic, hiphop, rock, and world combined but weaved together with a dystopian theme championing the concept of equality.
You’ve sonically been compared to the likes of Grimes and Ashnikko, do you find comparisons to other artists tiresome?
It was really tiresome in the beginning but somehow I got used to it and over it. But it wasn’t as tiresome as being categorised in the wrong genre. I guess this is how humanity is wired. In order to understand a concept, our brain categorises things in boxes to simplify what’s going on around us, unfortunately.
The tracks from fkn bad Pt.1 EP address major socio-cultural issues: from the condemning consequences of rife consumerism in Plastic World to the exhausted stereotypes and sexualisation of Asian women explored in Yellow Fever. Why do you feel music is an important medium for channelling these statements?
Just like everyone else, I question my existence: why am I here on earth? What’s the purpose of life? These are the questions we can never agree on one single answer. Honestly, I still haven't figured out the answers to these questions but human life seems really insignificant to me when looking at the galactic big picture. To me, creating positive change and impact on the world makes my little insignificant life more meaningful. At the very least, I want to die being remembered (in a good way). I didn’t quite choose music as a medium, but music is what I do, so I automatically integrated these topics into my music.
The visionary and innovative way in which you deliver powerful statements within your music is a source of inspiration for many. Where do you, yourself, find inspiration?
Everything I experience in myself is the input of my work, what you hear and see is just the output of these experiences. Pain, suffering and the stories I can’t share with people are told in my music. I get to express whatever the hell is bottled up in me in my music and sugar glaze it with loads of visual rainbow sprinkles so it’d still be easy for people to swallow the red pill. Like Julie Andrew in Mary Poppins sang, “with a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down”.
You’ve often been named a cultural leader for equality and empowerment. Does the role as a pioneer for Thai women in the industry ever feel like it comes with the duty of expectation, or is it a purely empowering position?
For me, it’s about not giving a fuck. I’m done with doing what people want and expect of me. I’m going to do what’s true to me. I’m going to speak the truth and often - truth hurts. Asia is a collectivist society which shapes you to conform to a lot of norms in the society. For Asian women, it’s even worse. You’re expected to be polite, to smile, to dress and act in a certain way to be appreciated. To have a character like me emerge from this region is quite a shock for people and there are mixed responses. People who love me put me on a pedestal and haters gonna hate. What I know is that we really need this type of character in our society. I know a lot of people think like me but they are hesitant to share it fearing the backlash. There needs to be someone that takes up this role and it happens to be me.
Do you find the union and amplified voice of performing your music live draws any parallels to that of protesting? In the sense that your message is being delivered to a large number of individuals.
Definitely. My music is played in the rally for democracy in Thailand to the #StopAsianHate rally in London. I guess I’m very closely linked to these resistance groups now. Protest leaders from around the world reached out to me for consultancy on amplifying their message.
The track Paper Promises divulges a charged pop masterpiece commenting on the Thai government’s unfavourable handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Did you find the pandemic restricted your creative process as an up-and-coming artist?
Oh lord, it’s the absolute cockblocker. I see loads of artists writing albums in their quarantine but for me I can’t really do that since there’s hardly any input. Being stuck in my house for 2 years isn’t so inspirational. All the travel and world tour plans are postponed to 2022. But it gave me a lot of time to retrospect. My conclusion is that I can't live in this oppressed country any longer. It’s unhealthy for my artistic soul. I’m moving to London next year!
Following on from this, you described the track as “a look into how easy it is to trample upon others for personal gain… particularly among politicians and authoritative figures,” is this a trope you can also recognise within the music and creative industries?
For sure, this is what happens in a capitalist society. I don’t really know how artists deals with this. We’re the symbol of freedom, yet the money that funds our art came from mega-corporations and multi-billionaires. It’s a joke. But to the very least, I could be sarcastic using the capitalist fund to fight against capitalism itself. Shh..they’re secretly funding my resistance unit underground.
Your talent is evidently multifaceted: you self produced and directed the video for track Paper Promises, successfully crafting an encapsulating visual masterpiece. Are there any other creative avenues you wish to pursue more in the future?
I want to build an installation art experience, somewhat like TeamLabs, where people can go into a space and be totally out of our mundane reality. I’m going to manifest this here so someone can hit me up to make this happen.
 As with your music, your fashion is bold and unapologetic. Do you view fashion as a way to further channel your creative expression?
Yep. Everything that’s coming out of me is an artistic expression. From fashion, cooking, or interior design - all is art to me. I think it’s important for artists to create something new - something nobody has seen before. At least, that’s my artistic way.
Yayoi Daimon and Ramengvrl are just two of the acclaimed artists you've worked with previously – are there any other artists you’d like to work with in upcoming projects?
Too many. Tyler the Creator, Rina Sawayama and Doja Cat to name a few.
This EP is the first half of the Fkn Bad Project – and we’re already left eager for more. What can we expect from Pyra in the following year?
The first track from fkn bad pt.2 is out, it’s called can’t keep running away. There’ll be another single coming out in October and we’ll drop the fkn bad pt.2 EP in November!

Pyra Metalmagazine 4.jpg