By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
During waking hours, she sends emails, reads, draws, cooks and watches a lot of The Simpsons. Various hobbies come and go — there was a brief period during which she made stuffed animals. "I'll read, like, 10 books in three weeks, and then I won't read for years. My friends think it's an addictive quality, but it's just a short attention span."
From this start-stop creative process comes the music. "Now that it's sort of a career," she says, "there are blocks where I don't feel as creative anymore. I feel like that happens to me more now than it did when it was just a hobby."
Half Shadows' lead single, "Go With It," a bright, hooky collaboration with New York City–based singer MNDR, is more accessible than much of Lee's previous work. "I like the fact that more people can understand it," she says of the album as a whole, "but not in the way that I'm trying to make my music too easy for people, either."
Initially, Lee didn't even want audiences to know she was female, hoping not to be fetishized as a function of her gender or for being Korean.
But Lee's online presence is a window to her world; her social media pages have a compelling balance between femininity and goofiness. The Instagram account she set up for her cat ("Isn't that embarrassing?") has nearly 600 followers. Also in the mix are pictures of her and Ellison, or her and the Gaslamp Killer, smiling and laughing.
"We don't talk about music together, to be honest," Lee says of her "beyond a label" Brainfeeder family, "but you'll be excited if someone puts out an album. We'll get stoned and barbecue and have a pool party."
Still, she's well aware that if she is to keep expanding, the time to leave the nest is now. "It's kind of growing up," she says of Half Shadows. "You have to progress."
Despite the big-league effort, Lee's long-term goals remain pragmatic. "I just want to be able to feed myself, listen to music and not have to wake up at 7 in the morning. I'll never be able to do that."
See also: TOKiMONSTA's Half Shadow Release Party