Born in the Bay Area and now based in Los Angeles, Daehan has managed to build a following that flows from California to South Korea, where his parents hail from. Prolific on SoundCloud and now also working as a producer for Korean hit factory Joombas Music Group, Daehan’s fresh, summery sound is perfectly suited to both sides of the Pacific.
We asked the producer to tell us a bit more about his journey so far…
Tell us about your name Daehan and how it relates to your music…
Daehan is my Korean name! I have a twin brother and his name is Mingook, and together our names are Daehan Mingook which means the Republic of Korea. My grandpa gave us the names, he’s super patriotic. I couldn’t think of a name to use for my music so I thought I would use my Korean name since it’s not such a common name anyway.
When did you first start exploring the world of music production?
My first attempt at ‘music production’ was in my first year of college. I didn’t know what a DAW was then but I did know how to play a bit of piano and read music, so I started using this website called Noteflight. I was really into a Japanese house group called freeTEMPO so the first song I created was inspired by them. On my birthday in that same year, my friend got me a launchpad that came out with Ableton Lite, and from there the rest is history.
You’ve said your ‘sounds from space’ EP was inspired by Daft Punk, Stein’s Gate and space. In what ways do you think those inspirations are visible/audible?
The illustration of the EP is one of the characters from Stein’s Gate, Makise Kurisu, except her hair is colored as space which was a real genius move by the person who made it (s/o David Choi! he’s only 14). The overall feel I wanted to go for was that spacey anime vibe, and I couldn’t help but think of Daft Punk’s Discovery, especially along with the spacey musical-anime Interstella 5555 that featured on that album. I didn’t exactly know how to tie the two different things together, but I really liked the vibes I got from watching both Stein’s Gate and Interstella so I tried to recapture them. The song ‘’Scuse Me Miss’, especially the bass line, is inspired by Daft Punk’s ‘Voyager’. And the last song ‘Digi Luv’ is obviously a cover of Daft Punk’s ‘Digital Love’. I wanted to throw in some lines from Stein’s Gate in one of the songs, and I thought ‘Digi Luv’ would be the perfect one to throw some weird Mayuri quotes into.
As for the other songs, I feel it’s the chords and the use of ducking-reverbed synths that make them feel spacey. Overall, this was the first time I had a specific feeling I wanted to capture with my music VS just diving in and creating a song without knowing how it’ll end up. Since I was close to 2000 followers that time and had some news about going full-time music to share, I decided ‘hey I’ll drop a lil EP thing once I hit 2000 as well as announce the news in its description’.
How would you define your music to someone without musical knowledge?
Vibey, dancey, futuristic music for da soul~~~~
What do you think you offer to your listeners?
I try to make my songs melodically pleasing more than anything. And on top of that, I introduce the trendier elements of Trap, Future Bass, etc. More than just beats, I hope I’m offering my listeners good MUSIC.
What is your relationship with South Korea. How do you think it influences your music?
I wasn’t born in Korea though my parents were and emigrated to California. I’m born and raised in the Bay Area, but culturally I think I’m pretty Korean: Korean was my first language, Korean music was my first exposure to music, I grew up eating mostly Korean food, etc. I’ve done some flips of Korean songs, but besides that, I’m not exactly sure how me being Korean influences my music haha. But with my fairly new job as a producer with 153 Ent. Creative / Joombas Music Group, I’m making music directly for the Korean listener, and I’m sure that creating music for the Korean market will def have an impact on my own sound as well.
Your music resonates with South Korea’s scene. How does this music style work in California?
I didn’t plan for it to happen, but I feel like more than anything my username along with its Korean characters in parentheses helped Seoul become my number one listener out of all the cities in the world. But then again, the future-beats scene is pretty big in Korea! I see a lot of the artists that I follow perform there from time to time + there are some amazing producers in Korea. Future-beats is pretty huge in California, especially with Soulection being based in LA. I also met and befriended A LOT of local people who are into this style of music.
Unlike other musical styles, in the electronic music world it’s really common to release singles rather than albums. In your case, during 2017 you released 6 singles on Spotify. Why do you think this different way of working exists in the electronic music world, and why do you release singles and not an album? What does this way of sharing your music offer you?
I never thought about this! But it’s definitely a lot easier to create one song than a whole album. An album obviously requires many songs and a lot more thought + preparation cuz there’s usually some concept connecting all the songs. But with a single, it could be whatever you end up making. And I think a lot of electronic music producers today, even the bigger ones, are bedroom producers like me who are just experimenting and having fun with their craft and end up making a single in that way.
I personally feel I’m not ready to release an album, an album is a huge statement and I think it makes sense to release one when people are familiar with your style. I don’t think I’ve exactly found my sound yet but I hope that time comes soon! Also, singles are much easier to listen to than a whole album, an album could be like 10 songs. I personally don’t go through a whole album of an artist unless I REALLY like that artist.
What are the ideal conditions for you to be able to compose at ease?
Being by myself in my bedroom. I feel like I perform best when I’m not feeling watched or pressured. The minute I feel these things, I get super self-conscious, slow and too critical. When I’m by myself I have no one to please, so I can just have fun and allow the creation process to happen rather than force it.
Can you show us the view from your window?
Interview by Benet Serra