#69 이상순(Lee Sang Soon)
이상순 – Soundcloud
“About 3 years ago I got into electronic music again and that’s when I started DJing. I learned a lot from Jinwook and Kim C. I actually really enjoy mixing by myself at home, so I think it would be more appropriate to say that I’m still in the progress of learning[laugh]“.
organized & edited by Spencer
Hello! Nice to meet you. Thank you for inviting me to such a charming place. Could you briefly explain this venue?
Hello. This is where I DJ from time to time. There aren’t many places to DJ here in Jeju, but the owner here wanted to hold a danceable event once or twice a week. So about a year ago, we brought my equipments and got started like that. There is almost no one who plays minimal beats in Jeju and people here also aren’t that familiar with this type of music either. So I thought I would like to create that atmosphere and vibe myself. To be honest, over half of the guests who attend our events are people who had already researched about it in advance or my friends. The rest are just curious tourists.
You are more known as the guitarist of Rollercoaster. But what made you start DJing all of the sudden?
So, around when we released our 2nd album in 2002, all of our members started getting into house music. The three of us used to go out to house music clubs like Club 108 in Hongdae. This is around when JINU started DJing and I got into collecting vinyls and learning how to DJ. During then I usually collected disco, house, Latin/Brazilian house vinyls. Frankly, there was a time when I sold all of my turntables and focused only on playing the guitar. Then about 3 years ago I got into electronic music again and that’s when I started DJing. I learned a lot from Jinwook(our #29 Guest) and Kim C(our #64 guest). I actually really enjoy mixing by myself at home, so I think it would be more appropriate to say that I’m still in the progress of learning.
When you play dance music, it would be inevitable to feel the immediate response and vibe of the dance floor. What do you pay attention to when you play focusing on the atmosphere of the crowd?
I especially pay attention to the type of music that the crowd prefers and responds to. Honestly, I appreciate music with almost no melody but instead with emphasized rhythms, like minimal techno. This would be enough for me to create a great atmosphere, if I’m playing at a venue with a good sound system. But when these systems are lacking, or even if they are available, the audience might not be so used to dancing to this kind of music. Actually the music that I want to play and have played is a genre that has to be on for about at least an hour and a half for people to really get into it. But circumstances don’t usually work in my favour, especially at venues like festivals. So from now on I plan on playing at underground clubs where the crowd is more used to this kind of genre. I think I’m more inclined towards forming groups of aficionados than having to adjust my preferences for the public. What I want to do is introducing good music to and playing better, danceable tunes for these people who can vibe with me to this genre. At the festivals where I have been DJing recently, I’ve been getting the feeling that not a lot of people are familiar with the type of music I play. But instead, what i noticed is that when I see even a small number of people being totally immersed, I have fun as well. I focus on those people and put on even deeper and harder sounds for them. It would be ideal for a larger number of people to appreciate my set, but if not, I tend to focus on the minority who can enjoy my set.
I definitely do see that there is a limit to create that danceable/techno vibe in Jeju.
For sure. Where we are right now is better because it is more comfortable to play, but when I go around Jeju to play music at different places, I often run into awkward situations. But I still really enjoy DJing, which is why I continue DJing despite all this. This is a necessary. If I’m not having fun, neither is the audience.
Where do you find your music? Do you have any special references?
I find almost all of them on deejay.de. Occasionally on juno.co.uk. as well, and when I need WAV files, I go on beatport.com. I also keep an eye on the updates on black.round.twelve, which is a record shop in Berlin. For references, I listen to the new releases of my favourite artists or just random ones too.
Vinyls can be uncomfortable, but they do have their own charms.
Yes. After I started listening to music on vinyl, I noticed an increase in the amount of the time I invest in listening to music. It’s the same quality-wise. I pay more attention to the music when I’m listening on vinyl. I think that kind of attitude positively influenced my overall ethics in doing music. Before I was used to doing everything fast and easy, so there clearly were times when I wouldn’t focus on as much or invest less time in listening to music. Ordering it, waiting for it, receiving it, opening the packaging, listening to it and then sharing with other people since I’m a DJ. It’s a media with collective fun.
Talking about medium, words have been spreading on online communities that “diggers who are in search of things that can become valuable – financially – should start buying tapes instead of vinyls”.
That’s true. In the U.S., an increasing number of artists have been releasing their albums in tapes. A majority of record shops have their tapes displayed on one side, too. I’m glad that things from the past are making their way back. I feel nostalgic, but this becomes an interesting and new media for the generations who haven’t experienced it. But I’m not much of a collector, so I’m not too eager to buy them myself. (laugh)
Since we met in Jeju, I would like to talk more about this island. Does this place give you musical inspirations?
I’m not sure. If you mean the nature in Jeju, it doesn’t. Instead, it’s more meaningful to live in a place that’s more isolated than it is in Seoul. It minimizes influences from other people and hence becomes a great place to be in your own world. I’m only focusing on what I like and blocking myself from external influences and trends, so I can say that I prefer here to Seoul.
I imagine you would feel a little restricted. Especially when you have to look for something new.
Right. It’s too bad that I can’t see other DJs play, which I can learn a lot from. So when I travel outside of the country, I’ve been checking the local events. I’ve been to a private 24 hour festival on some island in Japan once. They played really good minimal techno with fantastic sound system and a lot of my favourite DJs were there too. It was so impressive that it even made me change my collection and my mixing style. It’s sad that I can’t fully take advantage of these kinds of opportunities.
I’m going to give you a bit of a cruel question. If you were to listen to one song before you die, which one would it be?
“Bach: The Goldberg Variations (1981)” by Glenn Gould. Glenn Gould has a version that he played in 1956 as well but I prefer the one he did in 1981. They’re performed at different speeds. If it was just before my last breath, I would want to listen to this whole album.
Here comes the last question. What are your future plans?
Lately, I’ve become more known because of a TV program. I’ve been getting invited to lots of different events as a DJ as well. But what I’ve realized is that the fame that I have right now is not that great when it comes to DJing. I feel like people are more interested in taking pictures of me than in the music that I’m playing. I mean I’m very thankful for that kind of attention as well… But as a DJ, I hope they would focus more on the music. So I hope to concentrate more on playing at underground clubs. I felt truly happy when I was invited to play at the Lazy Citizens party at Faust. It was also a lot of fun. If I have the chance to, I would want to play at underground clubs more often. G
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