In a country where house music is deemed heavy and unfamiliar, South Korean DJ Suman has defied the odds to become one of Seoul’s most respected DJs. Having displayed a penchant for house and techno from a young age, he has also proved himself to be a credible producer, using an assortment of instruments to make an addictive rhythmical sound that can only be described as his. Suman is now the resident DJ at FAUST, and has played alongside greats like Dorisburg, Alex Smoke, Bryan Kasenic, and Don Williams.
Hi Suman! What’s your background like? How long have you been doing music?
Hi guys, this is Suman from Seoul. It has been about four years now. I was much into fashion shows when I was younger, and they were playing a lot of deep house and house music, which got me interested in it.
Did you start DJing or making your own music first?
I started my career as a producer. It is quite common that most DJs in Korea start as a DJ, however I decided to present myself to people as a producer from the very beginning.
Can you describe your own style?
I am very much an open-minded and cheerful person, so naturally my music takes after my personality. I prefer bright and happy music rather than deep and dark ones, so I put my hands towards house and melodic tunes. Oh, can’t miss the vocal tracks too!
What kind of sound is big in Seoul right now?
Techno is quite popular nowadays in Seoul, though it was not so long ago that people loved EDM or hip-hop. There are often some techno-dedicated stages at massive festivals in Seoul, and you can easily see that there are many techno artists visiting the city.
In a city so saturated with K-Pop, where does electronic music fit?
I do not enjoy K-Pop, but recent K-Pop songs use a lot of electronic sounds in their production. I guess most tracks are not targeting only Korean market, so that’s why they also use house or techno sound elements. In fact, you can listen to a K-Pop style disco track in my mix.
Is it difficult for Korean artists to get booked overseas?
Korea has a lot of talented artists, but we don’t have many organisations and companies to promote them. Our label Ameniia has been working to make some kind of system to help communicate and collaborate with other artists, labels, and clubs around the world.
Who are some talented Korean artists and producers whose music you like to use?
Like I’ve mentioned, there are many gifted ones, but among them I would like to mention Marcus L and Polarfront. Marcus L knows the waves of the scene with his long years of experiences, and he mixes his sounds and productions and makes them his own. Polarfront majored in music, so his productions are very delicate and fully functional in sound. I get to learn a lot from these two artists.
What are some equipments you can’t do without, whether when DJing or producing?
I’m more focused on themes and sounds during production rather than tools and hardware, so I am not so obsessed with equipment. I often use plugin such as WAVES, and I prefer to DJ with a simple set-up. But recently, I’ve been thinking to get some ‘TEIL1’ effectors for my DJ sets.
Share with us some of your favourite party spots in Seoul at the moment.
Many people are now looking into underground venues, especially newcomers in the scene. I recommend visiting FAUST / Tanz Bar, which relocated recently and has big rooms with unbelievably good sound. They even thought about how to make comfortable for newcomers. My own friends are also always at FAUST especially for the quality of the music, which differs from other venues in town.