Earlier this year, Yaeji did a “visual episode” of her “Kraeji w/ Yaeji” radio show. In the YouTube clip, the NY-based, Korean-American electronic producer was sitting in a cloud-covered daylight-lit living room floor with scattered equipment, and her friend OHHYUK, the singer and driving force behind Seoul-based indie rock group HYUOKH. That session foreshadowed collaborations between the pair and what first started as a transoceanic beat exchange of ideas, soon saw the pair get into the studio together in Seoul for two new songs.
Out today on XL recordings with accompanying videos, “29” and “Year To Year” contain elements of what has made both artists stand out. Yaeji’s entrancing vocal hum, OHHYUK’s guitar, and diverse joint electronic production from both. The tropicalia-soaked rhyhtm of “29” is a step outside of the box for Yaeji, while the cinescapes of “Year To Year” represent new textures and vocal explorations for OHHYUK. Funny enough, both expressed that they were hitting a wall when it came to crafting new music, until they helped each other out. Yaeji shared her thoughts in a statement:
“When I was feeling a bit stuck and stagnant with music, Hyuk helped me find the joys of creating again, and this was my first time collaborating with someone so closely on music. We spent many days together in the studio in Seoul, sometimes not even making music but just chatting about how we grew up and sharing meals together, and our musical collaboration blossomed as our friendship grew.”
And OHHYUK offered his contrasting, but similarlu-spirited take:
“Yaeji and I first started to jam when Yaeji visited Seoul last summer. At that time, I was experiencing a kind of “musician’s block” and the jams with Yaeji acted as a catalyst for me and brought back the joy of working on music again. Through the jams we made many tracks, Yaeji soon began to plan the framework for “Year to Year” and I did the same for “29.” For the videos, we worked with Directors DQM and Nam Eunuk, who are both close friends of ours. It was the love and support of many friends that made the music videos come to life. I would like to send my undivided appreciation to them.”
Yaeji has quickly become one of the most visible Korean-American artists in Western indie music, and this collab is ultimately a welcome introduction to the sound of Korean indie from OHHYUK. Watch the video for “29” above and check out the “Year To Year” clip below.