[한국어 인터뷰 읽기]
Hi, Shins. It’s nice to see you here.
Let us start from the question that we’ve always wanted to ask. How did you make your DJ Name?
It’s a kind of stupid story. I’m very tall and have very big legs so my friends called me ‘Big shins’. Then when I was thinking of a DJ name, I had to think of one quickly. I thought ‘Big Shins’ sounded too childish so I decided to shorten it to ‘Shins.’
How were your early days of DJing?
I started DJing during my first summer living in Korea, so it was 2011. I played music mainly in Hongdae at venues like Exit bar or Freebird. Then I met Rou Set who used to play for ‘Multi’. Multi was the promotion company that came before Cakeshop and I played some of the Multi parties. When Cakeshop opened, they asked me to play at their club so I learned to play on CDJs and improved a lot. I ran 2 or 3 parties at Cakeshop for a while and even played at their opening night.
You mainly play at Contra, Pistil, and Ain these days. Usually, what kind of music do you play?
Those early times, I played UK bass, UK garage and all that kind of stuff. From starting like that, I moved into playing more house, techno, acid and breakbeat stuff which is much more enjoyable to me. Actually like anyone, my music taste has developed and also my DJing style has matured.
Can you tell us how the change was?
I like thinking about long mixes and playing for 2 or 3 hours. It’s more like one musical journey than playing many genres and mixing frequently. In the past, I just wanted to play bangers all through my sets. When you are a young DJ, you want to play the best song that makes everyone dance every time. However, it’s boring for a DJ to repeat that and also for an audience because you easily get tired physically. In the sense of making it like a journey, the energy takes people up but also brings them down so that they can stop dancing and drink or be relaxed. It sounds more grandiose than it is, but it’s kind of simple.
You have seen the expansion and growth of the Korean music scene in recent years as an international one who plays in the local scene. We guess your perspective can be different from others.
It’s very strange to be a foreigner DJ living in Korea. I am very much a local DJ and just someone who supports local artists and touring artists. But many Koreans think of me as a foreign DJ so I don’t get approached as often. So I do sort of sit outside of the scene while being inside the scene. I’ve watched the scene grow but also shrink recently, going backwards a little bit. But what I have noticed is many more talented people coming out. Lots of producers, designers, singers, artists across many different media. While I think the clubbing scene is a little bit difficult right now, the creative scene is really vibrant. Being a sort of foreign DJ here means I am kind of just looking at it from outside all the time and have a slightly different perspective.
As a British, does your background influence your playing? How did it go?
100%. I am very much a British DJ. The music that has influenced me and the scene that I grew up in was of course British. Recently I’ve been exploring acid and breakbeat and it’s either from Britain or music which is directly influenced by the British genre itself. But of course, I am also influenced by the city I’ve lived in for the last 8 years. As you hear in the mix, there are two Korean tracks. Whereas England gives me a lot of influence and source materials, Korea is giving me a different way to DJ or perspective on it.
Can you describe it more in detail?
In Korea, the audience doesn’t come to the club with preconceived ideas of what songs they will hear. They often don’t have as much knowledge of the genres that are being played like the typical clubber in London. So it’s liberating to be able to play music to an audience just purely to make them dance and not to be worried by whether the music is ‘cool’ enough or ‘underground’ enough. It’s freeing and allows me to have more fun when I play.
I lived in London and it has this long history of electronic music and modern clubbing so that the British can be serious about clubbing. For example, My cousin⏤a London boy⏤was going to a real acid house raves in the 80s. When they used to wear one white glove and have a whistle, everybody was taking ecstasy. He would tell me what it was like to be going to these clubs, warehouses, and illegal raves. He inspired me to go clubbing and I understand that most Koreans don’t have access to those kinds of stories and histories and that makes a big difference. But from a different perspective, it is freer in that way.
Tell us about two local tracks in your mix.
The first Korean track in the mix is a track called ‘Helter Skelter’ by Two Tone Shape. Two Tone Shape is made up of two incredible young producers here in Seoul. I wanted to include their music because they are live producers. They can do a live show and they are making real club music. Not enough Korean producers have been making club music. They make nice music but not for the club whereas Two Tone Shape are doing that. This is one of my favorite tracks of this year without a doubt. This song, in particular, can be played in any type of set, regardless of genre. They have 4 or 5 good tracks that they have already released. I highly recommend them.
The second track is by one of my good friends V!SION who is a member of Circuit Seoul. Circuit Seoul also produce music which they can play live in clubs, and which DJs want to play in their sets. There are 3 members who are all great DJs separately and also a good crew together. All of them make ravey, acidy music inspired by British rave culture and music. I like V!SION’s track because it has a rough and retro sort of feel to it. I really enjoyed his track and other tracks he produced as well.
You are always saying you want to support local artists and underground scene. Your project ‘Nodaji’ is all about that kind of supports.
It’s only a little project. There is a small team of us. Myself, JNS, Apromani and a designer called Jaegal Sun. We want to support local artists. I am thinking what would help the scene here is to have more friendly interactions amongst creatives. I feel there are a lot of groups of people separated by geography, personality or feelings. There’s a lot of protection. ‘I don’t want to help you because I want to help myself’. So I think if the younger generation meets regularly at parties or events like our Nodaji Show or something else, they can hear other people playing music that they’ve made. They can play their music. Designers or clothing labels can exhibit their works. So that people have an artistic community. It sounds utopian but I think it’s nothing big. Just trying to foster some community spirit.
So we are gonna record the Nodaji Show once a month on Youtube playing Korean music, produced in Korea. We’re going to do a party or event once a month in different locations around the city. Cafe Idaho, possibly The Edge, Willoughby in Sangsu or Hannam or any different areas but just to highlight different parts of music or creativity in Korea.
Supporting DJs and creators means a lot for us. However, sometimes we feel that it is hard to maintain the energy and keep doing supporting while we do our profit-making jobs so that we are amazed by your work. Why do you keep supporting in this scene? What makes you keep doing that?
I really want to see the Korean music scene developing. There’re so much energy and fun to be had here. And young Korean artists should be looking to travel outside of Korea. For too long it seems that we invite internationals to Korea all the time to show Koreans how good clubbing is. But Korean artists are also great so we need to send them other places, to show those places how good Korea’s clubbing scene is.
With the goal of expanding the scene here and increasing awareness of it globally, we can make it more professional so creatives can make a living doing what they love. Then in turn, just makes the scene better and more fun in that way. I just like doing it. I am not going to be making money so I am might as well just try and have fun with it.
We asked you to make a mix because we have enjoyed your work all the times. How was the process of making the very first mix of The Intl. Mix series?
I was extremely happy and honored that you asked me to do it. It was coincidently right as I am playing a lot more acid, breakbeat, and sort of music which fits with your brand. At recent parties, I’ve played more of it. You asked me at the perfect time. I had recently played at Contra with Airbear. We talked about the party before we played back to back. We both agreed we wanted to play breakbeat, acid, and techno. So I made a big folder, did lots of digging through my old collections, found new music and looked for stuff. I had a huge folder of relevant materials. It was such a fun party to play. Then, you asked me to make the mix. It was really fun to make.
You changed the name of mix from ‘Welcome to acid house’ to ‘Welcome to(breakbeat &) acid house’.
Yes. Of course, your slogan is ‘Welcome to acid house’ which made you guys famous but I think the mix series doesn’t have to be about purely acid music. My mix is not only acid but all sorts of rave music. Mainly, it is a lot of house, techno, breakbeat, and acid. So the name was the bit of a joke.
I had a lot of fun recording it. To me, listening and dancing to acid and breakbeat music is the most fun that you can have in a club. Because it is not super serious, not so aggressive, not challenging for people. It is hard to make people dance but I have had some of my best parties with this style of music. Whether I am DJ or at a party, it makes me want to dance. If you see me around, I don’t dance often. But If I am dancing, it is something that really got me.
The samples in the mix are interesting. Would you explain why did you use those in the mix?
The samples at the beginning and end of the mix are from a British TV documentary called <World in Action : A trip Around Acid House> from 1988. I wanted to try to show the hysteria around the acid house scene when it came out. None of the music I play is particularly old but it is influenced by the 80s, the original sound.
If you listen all the way to the end, there’s my favorite sample. A young girl says that their parents were all taking drugs as mods and rockers but now they are parents so they ban their children from going to acid house raves because of the drugs. But the acid house wasn’t called acid house because of the drugs, it was called acid house because of a method of copying samples from other records called acid sampling, which is not about drugs at all.
Yes, many people took drugs at acid raves. But it wasn’t called acid because of the drug ‘acid.’ People just went ‘Oh, it’s drugs thing?’ like they always do. I thought that was kind of funny. Korea has a big clubbing scene these days and all without drugs being prevalent. That’s surprising to some people. I kind of see a parallel between the kids who were told they can’t go clubbing to acid house and Koreans in a way. They just wanted to have fun and not be told what to do. People look at the Korean scene and how crazy the parties are, and they can’t believe that there aren’t drugs involved.
Thank you so much, Shins. It was nice to have you.
2 AM/FM - Passion Of A Night
Makoto Murakami - Mountain Skins
Unknown Artist - Estate of Mind (Fantastic Man Edit)
Levon Vincent - These Games We Play
Two Tone Shape - Helter Skelter
Fabio Monesi - Ozyork
Matthew Styles - Montana
Eddie And The Eggs - Take Advantage Please
Luca Lozano - Calling All Dancers
John Heckle - 4am Chord
Fantastic Man - Acid Martin
V!SION - Paranoia
Tracey - Sidekick
Roy of the Ravers - Emotinium
Plant43 - Tongues of Fire
Lake Haze - Into The Unknown
Luca Lozano - Outer Space