The sound of Kpop has changed over the years with new sounds and styles which has become a beacon of success throughout the world. It is no wonder producers have flocked to London for new sounds to take over the Korean Kpop wave. One producer did just that. A.Y.U an established music producer moved to London to learn and discover new sounds. As someone who is an avid follower of UnitedKpop and having known A.Y.U for a number of years, I felt that an interview with him would inspire others to understand how different sounds from the UK has gone on to influence Korean music.

You studied music production in London did you feel this experience has changed your style and also what do you feel of the about the heightened interest in Korean culture.

Yes, I studied electronic music composition in London and got the opportunity to discuss composition skills in classes and to read books on music technology and production in English which gave me a new perspective on western music. Although I am not able to understand the terminologies 100%, I could learn a lot of useful things for music production. Thanks to the heightened interest in K-culture, luckily I made global friends who are interested in Kpop while studying in the UK which I did not expect it at all and it was surprising.

How did you start producing?

I have been playing the piano since the age of 6 and started playing the guitar when I turned into 13 as a hobby. Then me and my friends created a rock band and wrote our own songs just for fun. One day my friend (who played guitar in the group) suggested we record a song so we rented a studio, which was really fun but while the band did not take off as we hoped, it made me develop an interest in music production. Not long after that, I bought a very old Macintos, Performa 1996 with Logic Audio 4 for cheap, and I started to produce my own music. When I turned 21, I got the chance to work as a piano player in a studio. It was my first experience in a professional setting and with a professional Kpop team.

What producers, songwriters and artists do you see as your inspiration?

Among many producers I admire, I respect Brian Eno, a British musician, who I think always explores something new whether in programming or interactive art, he always creates incredible music. Within the Kpop scene, recently, I have enjoyed music from Hitchhiker, TAK, LDN Noise who have all produced for Kpop artists. I think The Hitchhiker’s sound is very unique and is unlike any other Korean producers out there now. As for an artist that inspires me, I would say The Weeknd as he has an amazing voice! Someday I would like to remix one of his songs with his acapella.

Who would you say are the biggest Kpop song of the moment which you feel the producers have done extremely well?

Well, I would like to choose the track Red Velvet‘s Red Flavor I felt it was a well-produced summer song. Its lyrics, melody, dance, rhythm and even the music video fit perfectly for a summer vibe. In regards to a whole album, I think f(x)’s Pink Tape is one of the best Kpop dance album, fully consisting of experimental, unique sounds and I felt it told a story.

Do you have any dream artist you would love to produce for?

Of course, there are so many artists I want to produce for from Kpop stars to Western pop stars. If I got a chance to send my demo to anyone of my choice without hesitation, I would send it to The Weeknd. (Laughs)

You have worked on many Kdramas how was that experience for you and is it easier or harder in creating music for an artist.

It is hard to say which is easier or harder both sides have their ups and downs in terms of televisions shows. It is a very fast-paced production environment. We have to compose music very quickly and sometimes face extremely long nights working. Working on a show also requires you to understand the story as a whole in which I had to watch closely to match the emotions within the music. Whereas producing a Kpop track could be done in a short amount of time since most pop songs are around 3-4 minutes long. However, selling the track to Kpop label such as SM, YG, and JYP could be extremely difficult. So, what I’m saying is we have to produce music constantly whatever project. The more you produce, the more opportunities.

What inspires you when creating music?

Mainly, as an electronic music producer, the most inspiring thing is watching movies or Netflix. I am fond of Sci-Fi, fantasy and futuristic stories as a whole, which inspired my sound. I also take inspiration from social issues from around the world, for example, one of my tracks is called #Freedom (feat. 캐리). When I heard the news about people not having their freedom, I felt inspired to write and produce the song.

If you would like to hear and see more A.Y.U, you can follow him on Instagram and check out his YouTube channel.

Leeta loves Korean culture and has frequently attended Kpop concerts around the world. She also loves K-cinema and K-dramas and can watch them all day.

You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter where she posts reviews on Korean cinema and dramas.

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