Studio Session // A Conversation With Korea Town Acid
Born in Seoul, Korea, Korea Town Acid has been honing in on her craft in clubs for years. Whether she’s collaborating with rappers and singers or crafting experimental compositions informed by her classical music roots, the Toronto-based artist has a reputation for wowing the electronic music crowd. Using hardware, analogue and digital polysynths, drum machines and samplers, Korea Town Acid embraces improvisation, often dreaming up unpredictable soundscapes with moody textures on the spot.
Underneath her signature bucket hat is an artist who’s hard to define by one term alone, making her an exciting act to follow. This past year, she released two projects, received a nod from the Juno Awards and produced “Play No Games” off Cadence Weapon’s Polaris Music Prize-winning album, Parallel World.
Glossi Mag connected with Korea Town Acid to discuss her career, DAWS and VSTs, and what she’s up to next.
Congratulations on your recent Juno Awards nomination for Underground Dance Single of the Year with Sobriety! How does it feel to be recognized in that way?
It definitely gave me reassurance that I am on the right path [pursuing] music. Definitely feeling more inspired and grateful about everything that’s happening. Also the pressure to keep up the good work.
You released two projects in 2021. While Cosmos showcases your skill as an electronic musician, Metamorphosis highlights your producer abilities. What have you liked about collaborating with others in this role?
I love collaborating with rappers and vocalists because they contribute their own essence and vibe, utilize their voice as an instrument and elevate the entire track. It conveys more depth into the storyline and everybody loves vocals, it’s a proven fact!
What role do you think nightclubs play in building inclusive communities? How can club culture improve?
Keep trying new things and being open-minded, [have] diversity in bookings and make the environment [one where] people feel free and comfortable in their own skin.
Even as DAWs and VSTs have become the tool of choice for many, you’re known for using hardware. What do you like about keeping things analog?
I also use DAW and VST for post-production and editing tools for recordings. What I love about the hardware is that you are not looking at the computer screen, you are more directly engaged with the machine itself and learning about how certain different [pieces of] gear help you to navigate the destination of sound. It’s trial and error, and I love exploring different machines. It might sound odd but sometimes the limitation helps you to achieve your sound vision faster. Like cutting to the chase and working within the boundaries of the machines. Sometimes too many options make you struggle [to move] on quickly when it comes to decision-making. I am not biased about gear though — it’s all about the inspiration, idea and execution.
How does your classical musical foundation inform your work as a producer and electronic musician?
Because of my classical foundation, I have developed a big passion for polysynths [which] allow me to do different chord progressions and express emotions through the chords. A trained ear always helps [as does] intuition. With or without the classical background, it’s important to capture the feel and the groove.
You’ve performed in cities across the globe. What is a gig that stands out most to you?
One of the most special nights out from the tour was Helsinki, Finland — everything was done in the finest way. I also enjoyed visiting back in my hometown of Itaewon, Seoul. I hope to go back to perform this year.
What are you working on next?
Anticipating a new album to drop this summer with my label Urbnet. It’s called Elephant in the Room. I have been working on it for the last seven months. I believe the album is about growth and reflection. I can’t wait to share it with y’all. Some travelling is coming up — [I’m] playing a set in Brooklyn N.Y., Victoria, B.C. and [playing live] at Mutek Festival in Montreal at the end of August, as well as some local gigs like a live showcase set for Summer of Seoul at the TIFF Bell Lightbox opening.
Rachel Romu is a Glossi Mag contributor.
They are an advocate for disability visibility and inclusion in the entertainment industry, an ATV stunt-driver and a zealous reality TV fan. Rachel also works at Matte PR.