The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Stephen Choi, Duel Native is a sonic representation of his background and interests. As a half-Hong Kongese, half-Trinidadian, UK-born and Australia-based individual, there is a highly diverse culture pool from which to draw inspiration. Not only is this singer-songwriter a musician but also a renowned architect and social activist only enhancing his interesting perspective of the world. Needless to say, Stephen is an interesting lad.
While Duel Native is Stephen’s solo project, he has performed as part of the UK-based indie group Greyhound Green. Receiving mainstream media coverage and supporting bands like The Libertines, I’m guessing they were quite good at what they did; however, Stephen has moved on to share an individual sound. Despite only “forming” this year, Duel Native has already received airtime from radio stations and playlists across the globe. The latest addition to his repertoire is ‘Commodity’.
Following his debut track ‘Sacrosanct’, ‘Commodity’ adopts a folk-inspired sound with some underlying rock tones represented by Leong Chan’s electric guitar. While there is the “traditional” melodic arrangement with Jarrod Wolfe on drums, Leong Chan on lead guitar and Stephen Choi on bass, the track has a strong acoustic element finding the delicate line between organic and synthetic sounds. This is a sonic representation of the deeper meaning behind ‘Commodity’s melody.
Using a simplistic sound, Stephen deconstructs the existential concept of value and worth in modern-day society. He shares that “…we live in a society that sometimes forgets that not everything is a commodity, not everything can be traded; some things are just not for sale. This song is about realising our own value which makes us re-think our deeper identity represented in these objects. It’s also about the people we could call ‘mirrors’ in our lives – the people who help us to see ourselves more clearly.”
A unique feature to ‘Commodity’ to enhance the core message of the track was Stephen requesting fans send in pictures of something they own which they would never sell. Personally, I would send in a picture of my pointe slippers as they represent memories of my grace and elegance from childhood; but then again, that’s just me. Just thinking about this makes me understand the provocative message in ‘Commodity’ – we need to understand our self-worth and embrace people who help us “dig deeper” to rediscover these traits.
Brutally honest, raw, genuine, sentimental and sincere, Duel Native’s new track is an anthem for people looking (and finding) a sense of self-acceptance. I love the tune and feel a deep connection to its engaging sound; something I think all listeners will enjoy!