A talk with Jane Penny, TOPS’s vocalist, at her home back in Montreal
Liyo Gong is a busy multi-skilled bee who is continuously expanding her horizons with multiple personas. You’re probably familiar with her thanks to the He4rtbroken parties she organises in Brussels with close friend Stef, and which Subba has helped promote in the past. But Liyo is foremost a freelance video editor with a master’s degree in politics who volunteers for the China Independent Film Archive, an organisation helping and curating Chinese independent filmmakers. With two years of experience with He4rtbroken, Liyo and Stef are now looking to take it to another level; more collaborations with like-minded organisations such as Kunstenfestivaldesarts and a compilation featuring new tracks from some of their favourite artists. Only a few more items to add to her infinite to-do list. Keep it going, Liyo, keep us hungry for more.
How did you begin doing your thing?
I actually started really late “doing my thing”. I first studied Politics for 5 years, then studied Mandarin for a year in Shanghai. It was only after I had a college master’s degree that my parents agreed for me to go to film school and study editing. I started playing music there on the side, and it became a big part of my life.
Two years ago we launched Heartbroken with Stephanie because at the time there wasn’t any place in Belgium where we could play the kind of dj sets we liked, and nobody was bringing the artists we wanted to hear to a club, so we figured we’d just create our own space.
Who or what are your role models/inspirations?
My wonderful friends, amazing boyfriend, and adorable family.
What’s your motto/mantra/idea that keeps you going?
I guess the constant fear of my never ending to-do-list keeps me going. Kind of a stressful/scary one but to be honest I’m a really anxious girl, trying to work on it!
What advice/lessons would you share with another young person in your field?
Work with ethics,
keep things fun for yourself,
never stop learning.