For our latest On The Radar exclusive, UnitedKpop has taken the opportunity to interview an upcoming British-Korean rap star, Pianwooo! The artist recently released his first single, Ninja Woo produced by Mac James on the 27th of June. The track was also a collaboration with the Manchester-based, Indonesian grime artist, NinjaTea! Check out our exclusive interview with Pianwooo below:
Q: So, if you don’t mind, please introduce yourself.
A: My name is Pianwooo and I am 21 years old. And I’m currently studying piano in a university in London.
Q: What made you decide to call yourself Pianwooo as your stage name?
A: It’s really simple I mean as I said just now I play the piano myself and my full name is Seungwoo Park. But my friends call me Woo. I thought it would be a bit of a wordplay if I just literally combine piano and woo, to create “Pianwooo”. I mean yeah that’s basically the gist of how I came up with the name. I already had my rap name before I thought of one. I thought Pianwooo was just right for me because it defines who I am.
Q: So, you recently released your first single, Ninja Woo featuring the British-Indonesian grime artist, NinjaTea. So how would you describe the track to our UnitedKpop readers?
A: It’s basically a song about grime music, it’s a grime tune. And it goes at 140BPM. So, it’s very fast dance music. We’re just doing a grime tune but in Indonesian, Korean and English. NinjaTea is from Indonesia and he does his bars in Indonesian and I do my part in Korean. So, it’s a bit of a bilingual kind of grime (note: he meant trilingual), a global grime kind of thing. Shout out to Global Grime! They have a Facebook, and he supports lots of cats out there who do grime outside of the U.K.
Q: What inspired you to choose grime as your choice of music genre?
A: I think it kinda naturally happened for me because you know growing up as a younger one I would always listen to hip-hop and rap music and as much as I love the idea of rap and everything. I was listening to a lot of Korean rap, I was listening to US rap but then you know I got to listen to UK rap eventually, of course, because this is the place I live, this is the country I live in and then naturally I got myself into grime and then it kinda happened. And I just wanted to make sure and when I wanted to produce my music and I want to show my creativity. It would be great if I could be able to express myself from the culture and the background that I came from. So even though I split bars in Korean, I have like a strong UK culture behind my back and that is how I feel.
Q: How did you go about formulating the composition of your first single?
A: It was a pure energy, no I have to say this because shout out to NinjaTea because that song was created on the first day that we met in real life. We were speaking on Instagram and that’s how we knew each other. Actually, there was my friend who’s like a journalist from Asians in Britain, shout out to Asians in Britain [laughs]and she wanted to interview other Asians from a variety of different backgrounds in the UK and I had NinjaTea in my mind, so I introduced them together and that was my first time meeting him. After the interview, we were just constantly talking about music and our passion and our career. Like how we wanted to go about it, or how far we wanted to go. And then we ended up coming all the way to my house which led to us creating a track. It was never expected, and everything was just so random and so unorganised yet everything was planned and was pure energy.
Q: So, it was just a spontaneous decision which actually led you to actually creating your first single?
A: Yes, it was, it was definitely for sure.
Q: So, I’ve heard that you can play the piano as you said, do you incorporate those skills into your music production?
A: Right now, I want to focus on my rap skills. I want to improve my technique on my rap and I want to keep on practising with it until I can get very comfortable with it because I feel right now I’m at the stage where I am not professionally spitting bars. Like I want to make sure my work is very refined and then afterwards I want to involve my pianist skills into the production.
Q: What made you start rapping since you said you didn’t have much of a basis and wanted to develop it?
A: I just really just simply enjoyed it like any other kids. Just like any other kids I had passion for it, I liked it. I listened to my first track, which was probably Dumbfoundead. After that, I got hooked up into rap music and hip-hop and then ever since I just stayed the same. I had all my other friends who had the same passion as I did but they kind of left. I just wanted to keep on going because this is something I’m passionate about and I wanted to do this properly and make sure it was going to happen.
Q: When did you start deciding you wanted to go into rapping?
A: That was probably about, not too long ago? About 7-8 months ago. I mean yeah, I was always writing, and I was always creating music but I never really like introduced myself as a rapper or like a hip-hop artist. But I was like kind of doing this in my bedroom and like you know keeping to myself and showing a couple of my friends, so yeah.
Q: You told me that you have a Korean background, and I was wondering if you incorporated the Korean upbringing, or the music you listened to, or maybe just the Korean culture itself, into your music?
A: I’m not necessarily sure about the Korean culture but I feel like I was definitely influenced by British-Korean culture. So, even though I’m Korean and I am from Korea, I don’t really travel to Korea that often and I usually stick to this town where a lot of Koreans are. Whilst we have Koreans and Korean culture, within that, I feel like we have our own culture. And that I think is kind of like different compared to what we call the Korean culture from the motherland. So yeah, I mean, from there I think I was definitely inspired and definitely wanted to get my creativity going but I don’t know otherwise I’m not sure. I get inspired by everything around me, everything I do.
Q: So, right now you’re predominately focusing on grime but are there any genres you’d like to explore more in the future?
A: Yes, definitely I want to. I’m definitely going to try hip-hop and do trap and boom bap. After that maybe I’ll want to experiment on my music production such as afro swings or UK dancehall music. Because you know it’s nice and summery vibe and something I wanted to try and have a go at. An opportunity to explore myself. I feel like I’m at the stage where I’m exploring who I am, finding my own self.
Q: Ok, but as a performer if you had an opportunity to perform alongside anyone, who would it be?
A: NINJATEA! 0161 GANG GANG! Yeah Yeah! Nah it must be because we made the first track together. It was our first track and my first single, and it’s the first work I’ve done. NinjaTea was there for all! And I would like to do a performance with him with our tune. I’m sure this is going to happen very soon.
Q: So, you guys would consider performing around the UK and stuff live?
A: Yeah, I mean we haven’t planned things out but I’m sure this is going to happen though, sometime soon. Who knows I might go to Indonesia and then we might do a concert.
Q: Make it a worldwide thing!
A: Do a worldwide thing, yeah!
Q: As a rap artist, what makes you different from other Korean rap artists?
A: I don’t really feel like there is much difference between me and other Korean artists. When you’re talking about Korean artists, you’re referring to artists, rappers from Korea. We are all creatives and we want to produce music to please the audience and so in that kind of mindset, I don’t think we’re that much different. The only difference is where we live and the food that we eat and the area we breathe. That’s just the environment that differentiates me and the Korean artists. We have different stories to tell. I feel like that’s the only difference but otherwise, when it comes to it I don’t think I’m any better for living here as an artist than living in Korea or the other way around. I feel like we are just the same creatives, same artists in different environments.
Q: So, where do you aim to be within the next year of releasing your first single?
A: I’m not really planning on a big goal or anything but what I definitely want to do is make one mixtape or one EP at least by next year around this time. At least then I can kind of show who I am. Then, if people ask what kind of artist I am I can show them my mixtape or EP to show them what I can do and what I’m capable of. It’s like a name card but for my music.
Q: And lastly, do you have any inspirational words you have as an artist that you’d like to give to our UnitedKpop readers?
A: Yes, there’s this one quote that I got from Picasso’s exhibition in Tate Modern*. I don’t really remember the exact quote, but I think it’s like at the end of the day you realise how small the artist’s will matters. It kind of caught me off guard. Like, I want to plan things ahead but if I think about it at the end of the day, great art or creativity comes out from a place you never really expect to. So, it kind of changes my outlook on how I view my work and the things I do.
Q: I guess it’s just like going into something and wanting to do something, but you don’t really know the results. It’s kind of completely unpredictable. So, I guess it’s the feeling of wanting to go with the flow and just hoping that for the best result at the end of it.
A: Yeah, yeah, hopefully [laughs]
Q: Anyways, thank you for doing this interview with us.
A: No worries, it’s a pleasure to have UnitedKpop. Thank you for having me.
Q: Good luck with your single and upcoming EP.
A: Thank you very much!
*NOTE: The Picasso quote he was referring to was: “You start a painting and it becomes something altogether different. It’s strange how little the artist’s will matters.”
Don’t forget to check out Pianwooo‘s exclusive video interview featuring UnitedKpop here:
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