Trace Repeat’s Indiegogo Soul Revival

After a month-long online campaign, Kollaboration finalists Trace Repeat recently finished crowdsourcing their debut EP with over $8,000. Along with meeting their initial $5,000 goal, the band will now perform at South By Southwest and produce a behind-the-scenes video of the recording process.


The six-piece Oakland, California band began two years ago by Zach Hing and Wesley Woo, and was originally a side project for all the members. What began as a cover band of Motown and classics like Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and James Brown, Woo said that Trace Repeat began to draw on those influences to write original songs, creating their own style of funk band. In May 2016, the band met Kollaboration San Francisco staff member Lauren Lee and last November, they represented SF as the city finalists at the Kollaboration STAR showcase. Representation in the arts is important to the band, and their multiethnic Asian American identities played a large part in the band’s Indiegogo story.

Zach and Wesley told much of their story in the campaign video, and on page they wrote, “We believe Trace Repeat can affect change in Asian American representation.” As one of the few— and often only— Asian American bands in the Bay Area, Trace Repeat recognizes how important it is to see accurate representation in the media. By focusing their campaign on the mission of empowering their communities, Hing said that this first record just happened to be about Asian American empowerment.

“Us being a practically Asian American band has kind of attracted certain negative connotations from people who see us on stage and don’t really get it,” Wesley said. “I don’t just want to ask people to give money for a record, I want to ask people to give money to a cause that really matters.”

Giving is not without its perks. To fit the band’s throwback aesthetic of older days filled with postcards, polaroids, and typewriters, Trace Repeat’s perks for donors featured a number of those very antiques. For $10 backers got a typewriter-written thank you note, $75 gets an engraved pocket watch, and $200 gets a vintage case made from repurposed suitcases and “comes fully loaded with CDs, stickers, flyers, and other Trace Repeat memorabilia.” And for $1,000 and the chance to “own a piece of the album,” Zach and Wesley are giving away their guitars and bass used to record the album (though no one has claimed it yet.) The band wants their debut EP to recall the days of finding an old-school vinyl gem, and they put a lot of thought into perks to reflect the band. The idea for the actual items came to the them on a road trip.

“We were in a very small car, with no air conditioning, driving through the hottest part of central California,” Wesley adds. “And I personally love collecting vintage things, just weird things no one wants anymore. We wanted to make interesting rewards, so why don’t we find really old stuff and turn it into new stuff.”

With less than 24 hours to go of the campaign and a fully funded studio album on the way, Trace Repeat is most excited for fans to hear the album. Their recording studio, Watershed Sound, has helped the band not feel stressed out about producing the album while they work on mixing the songs. The six songs on the EP are all Trace Repeat originals, familiar to fans who have seen the band perform before, but the EP won’t sound old hat.

“I feel like one thing that’s cool about the album is that the album really is going to be in itself something pretty new,” David Kaiser-Jones, Trace Repeat’s trombone player, said. “They’re going to be something that’s going to be really exciting to share with people.”


Along with the EP, Trace Repeat is taking their new songs on the road to Austin as one of the band’s stretch goals. David acted as one of the biggest cheerleaders for the band to accept an invitation to play at the Red Gorilla Stage at the Austin, Texas festival after they reached the first stretch goal of $6,000. During their four day stay in Texas they also plan to play for the first time in an Irish pub on St. Patricks Day.

“Guys, we’re gonna learn a Dropkick Murphy’s cover,” Zach said.

With Trace Repeat’s first EP is on the way, the band looks to set themselves apart as a funk band. Zach and Wesley agree that the main focus of the Indiegogo campaign isn’t to compare or compete Trace Repeat to other Asian American groups, but to add the band to the mix of Asian American artists. Wesley says that when Trace Repeats performs, he doesn’t think of the band as making a certain statement about Asian American empowerment when they get on stage. He only sees Trace Repeat as “a really awesome funk band.”

“All we’re saying, and this goes plain and simple in our Indiegogo campaign, is that there’s just not enough of us.” Zach said. “Bands like Run River North and Far East Movement are great; I really, really stand for what they do. It’s that key word— there’s not enough of it. We want it to become something that isn’t the anomaly anymore, we want adequate representation.”

Trace Repeat’s Indiegogo campaign ended February 11 with $8,165 from 194 backers. The album can be expected later in 2017, and Trace Repeat can be seen on their YouTube channel, Facebook, and Instagram.



SJ & Ginny and Kollaboration New York presents “Quiet Tiny Asian”

Being a Quiet Tiny Asian has never been easier, thanks to these 5 easy lessons. Join QTA as she teaches her baby niece (and you!) how to successfully to be Asian in America. And if you mess up, don’t worry, people will be sure to correct you!

Kollaboration New York is excited to announce our latest co-production partnership with comedic duo, SJ & Ginny, of Drive-by Street Harassment and “Urban Teach Now” fame.

Read the full interview with the creators at Kollab.NYC


Kollaboration is going to SXSW!

If you’ve been following Kollaboration in 2016, you’d know that we’re headed to this year’s South by Southwest Conference & Festival in Austin to host a social impact panel on Asian American representation in media! A massive 10-day multi-media event consisting of a music festival, film festival, and interactive conference, SXSW is where trends are launched and the next big thing is discovered, and we’re excited to be a part of it. Our panel, “Asian Americans Break the Silence & Stereotypes,” will take place during SXSW Interactive on Sunday, March 12 at 5pm and will feature a discussion between Kollaboration Executive Director Minji Chang and a panel made up of Phil Yu (Angry Asian Man), Jenny Yang (Disoriented Comedy), and Dante Basco (Hook, Avatar)!


And as if that wasn’t huge enough, we’re also excited to announce that Kollaboration will be producing the first ever official showcase of Asian American musical acts at this year’s SXSW Music Festival! Taking place on Thursday, March 16 at Lambert’s Downtown Barbeque, our 2017 lineup include Run River North, Megan Lee, Big Phony, and Melissa Polinar! Only about a fourth of acts who apply for the festival are granted a performance slot and Kollaboration is proud for the opportunity to showcase these amazing Asian American talents to the tens of thousands of festival attendees in Austin, “Live Music Capital of the Word!”


Whether you’ll be joining us in Austin or supporting us from home, help us spread the word that Asian Americans are bringing the noise to SXSW 2017! And for those of you interested in either covering our events, or sponsoring them, shoot us a message at

Haikus On Hotties Returns for Another Year of Asian American Hotness

The year is ending.

How will you mark the future?

Why not with hot men?

It’s almost the end of 2016, which means people can finally turn the calendar and bring in a new year. And there’s no better way to start 2017 than with over a dozen handsome Asian men with poetry written on them.


After the success of the original 2016 Haikus with Hotties calendar, creator Ada Tseng decided to bring the project back for a second year. This time Tseng funded the calendar through Kickstarter to meet the costs of printing, hiring production staff, and donating proceeds to the AngryAsianMan blog.

“Last time it started as a series, it was in each issue of Audrey Magazine. So when we started calendar we already had like eight people,” Tseng said. “So this time around, we kind of started with a clean slate, so I think we really made it a priority to get a nice mix of people.”

The 2016 edition featured many actors, along with comedians, chefs, and models. 2017 features such hotties as celebrity chef Ronnie Woo, cartoonist Vishavjit Singh, body builder Kenta Seki, singer Joseph Vincent, and many more. The diversity of artists for next year’s calendar expands how people think of Asian American men and success. Except this year, Tseng wanted to include a new take on the hot guy-plus-haiku formula.

“This time around, a pharmacist friend of ours suggested that the only thing Haikus With Hotties fans might like more than a haiku exchange WITH hotties, is if the haikus were actually ON the hotties.” the Kickstarter page says. “It was an intriguing challenge — one that we weren’t initially sure we could deliver. So, we went back to our unofficial Haikus With Hotties ambassadors Yoshi and Peter Sudarso to see whether this was even possible.”

Luckily it was very possible. Tseng said on the Kickstarter page that round two would include rules for the hotties’ poetry: “This time around, they write one haiku, and the only rule is that it has to be about hotness. And we have to figure out a way to get it on them — whether it’s on clothing, their bodies or some other creative interpretation of Haikus On Hotties.” So with some help from the unofficial ambassadors, Tseng and the Sudarso brothers geared up, got some paint, and stripped down to promote the second Haikus On Hotties calendar.


One of the risks Tseng listed on the Kickstarter page was “really wanting one of the hotties to do a photo spoof of those Carl’s Jr. burger commercials (sexily eating burgers at the beach or while sitting on a luxury car) but having failed to convince any of them so far — don’t worry, we’ll handle it.” That’s where ISA TV hotties Dan Matthews and Mike Bow come in.

“Mike is doing this interview topless,” Matthews wants everyone to know first thing. “How did Mike and I get involved? I’ve actually been friends with Ada for a little while, and I knew about this project last year and I thought it was a really clever and cool community project. When I heard she was doing it again this year, I kind of jokingly said ‘Hey, it would be fun to be a part of it.’ I didn’t expect her to actually ask us to do it.”

(Tseng, also at the photoshoot, said that she suggested and asked Matthews to do it.)



Bow, YouTuber MikeBowShow and ISA TV host,  heard about the calendar from the Sudarso brothers. He thought “it must be nice to be invited to this hot Asian guy calendar” and then found out Tseng already had him in mind. Bow and Matthews posing together brings the ISA TV element to the calendar, and when Ada emailed them saying no one wanted to do the Carl’s Jr spoof concept they signed up. Both have have done photoshoots before, but none shirtless, for a calendar.

“This is literally about attractive Asian males,” Bow said. “So this is a lot hinging on it, that’s a lot of pressure. It’s not about the clothes, it’s about your body, your hotness.”

At the shoot, the haiku still needed to be written, but given Matthews is known as the rapper DANakaDAN, 5-7-5 syllables on hotness shouldn’t be too difficult. He also wanted to define Asian male hotness outside physical appearance.

“Even more though, I think one of the most important key things to take away from this is hotness in general, female or male, shouldn’t just be defined as what you look like,” Matthews said. “Being clever is hot, confidence is hot. I think people who can take off their shirts are confident in some ways, but I think there’s other ways you can be hot.”

The Kickstarter campaign lasted one month from September 8th to October 8th, and met its goal of $6,780. Over 200 people backed the calendar, including international donations from Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Singapore, and more. The campaign promised quite a few different perks for higher backers including the 2016 calendar, posters, special photos, stickers of the hotties, and shipping “a SECOND calendar to a Hollywood casting agency with a note telling them to cast these hot Asian American men in their upcoming projects.”

Shipping out all the perks begins just before the holidays, the perfect time before the start of the new year. For those who missed the Kickstarter, the 2017 and 2016 Haikus With Hotties calendars are available today at


Melissa Polinar Loves to Collaborate – Coffee Break w/ Minji Chang

Singer-song writer, Melissa Polinar stops by to tell us some of her fun stories about her spontaneous collaboration and jam session with fellow singer-songwriter, Indie Arie. Her stories continue as she mentions how she got her foot in the business by an unexpected turn in her career.

Hear more from Melissa at

Like what you hear? subscribe to our channel for more live sessions from the Kollaboration Movement!

Producers: Minji Chang & Marvin Yueh
Director: Dennis Chang
Camera Operator: Westley Kang & Andrew Kim
Editor: Aubrey Magalang


Asian Americans Share Their Experiences With #BeingAsian

In this year alone, I’ve seen Asian Twitter blowing up my feed with different hashtag conversations including: #OscarsSoWhite, #PraisinTheAsian, #StarringJohnCho and #WhitewashedOUT. To continue the conversation, we saw another hashtag spark more tweets about the Asian American experience.

On Tuesday, 17-year-old Michael Tarui sent out the following tweet: “I’m in a group chat and we’ve decided we should start a conversation of what it’s like #BeingAsian and the racism that comes with it.”

The hashtag spread like wildfire in the Twitter-sphere as many people used it to share their experience of what it’s like to be Asian American. Many tweeted about the struggles of being profiled and/or not fitting the profile of what is perceived as “Asian,” as well as the the perpetuation of insensitive stereotypes like the Model Minority.

While the hashtag was meant to point out racism towards Asians, some also used it to hash out grievances within the Asian American community, specifically racism within the community towards other people of color.

Even with its serious purpose, the hashtag has also been used to spread humor and positivity.

While #BeginAsian has added more key points to the conversation within the Twitter-verse, I hope that we can keep the it going. In the meantime, we should all just follow the words of immigration activist and journalist Jose Antonio Vargas:


Melissa Polinar – The Green Room

We’re very excited to share with you this special Green Room live music session with the amazing Melissa Polinar! One of the OGs of the YouTube creator revolution, Melissa stopped by the Green Room while in town for a few shows in LA and San Diego to sing a few of her originals for us. Please enjoy!

“Meant to Be”
“Feel’s Like Home”

Hear more from Melissa on her YouTube channel:


Big Phony – The Green Room

Big Phony has been busy the last few years living in South Korea, but the singer-songwriter, & K-Town Cowboys star, took some time during his last trip to LA to stop by the Kollaboration Green Room to play a few tunes for us. If you haven’t heard of Big Phony before, you’re in for a treat! Please enjoy as he shares his melancholy songs about loneliness, love, and hope. (warning, some lyrics NSFW)

“Shoot the Sh*t”
“I am F***ed Without You”

Hear more from Big Phony at


Megan Lee is Stronger than Ever – Coffee Break w/ Minji Chang

Megan Lee, star of Nickelodeon’s Make it Pop and Kollaboration alum, joins Minji Chang for a Coffee Break to talk about what she’s been up to. Megan shares about her busy schedule shooting Make it Pop in Toronto, making new original music (and her new single Stronger), and her origins in Kollaboration. We love Megan and you will too after this interview!

Check out Megan’s live music performance in the Kollaboration Green Room

Producers: Minji Chang & Marvin Yueh
Director: Dennis Chang
Camera Operator: Emily Koh
Editor: Brianna Kim