Seeing and experience Noodles this Saturday the Warm Up! Super excited. Listened to some of my favorite mixes by her to get amped up.
Hi, thanks for visiting my little home on the internet!
Below are the topic areas I’m actively updating:
Things to look at:
Nice Finds: Things I find online that I like such as music, podcasts, talks, quotes, articles, and more. Mostly external content that I just want to share.
Spaces: Beautiful spaces that I’ve visited such as restaurants, hotels, specific outdoor areas, and more. Mostly images taken on my phone.
Items Purchased: Honest reviews about things I buy online and offline.
Things to read:
Baseline: Starting points. Documenting my learnings and reflections on the things I’m continuing to build foundational knowledge about such as health, finances, career, and more.
Working Out Loud : Behind the scenes notes and thoughts on projects I’m working on.
Highlights: Exercises in focus. An archive of insightful digital articles and showcasing my actual highlights that I made while reading them. Might also include reflections.
Enjoyed hearing Dumb interview Paak about their friendship, memories, and individual journeys.
It was inspiring to hear the longer backstory behind how Joe Kay built Soulection.
This was so entertaining, educational, and hilariously painful.
Seoul Tribe is a creative podcast about Korean artists and their music.
As I mentioned in the first post, Seoul Tribe is definitely a project that I’m intrinsically motivated to make. It comes from an inner desire to craft something that I personally would’ve loved to be a part of when I was growing up. There have been three branded media platforms though that ultimately helped me “shape” the project:
Dissect: A serialized music podcast that picks one album per season and analyzes one song per episode measure by measure, word by word.
Brandbeats: An agency podcast by BASIC with views on design, technology, art, and culture.
Soulection: A radio show and borderless community that brings the “sound of tomorrow” to their loyal listeners. They’re also a music label and often host some of the best parties I’ve attended.
It’s been nearly three years since I knew that I wanted to “make something” for myself and for my close friends related to Korean music. During this time, I made a few random attempts to give it form: interviews, newsletters, playlists, etc. Ultimately, I had never gotten clear about what “it” exactly was and had naively hoped it would come alive somehow. I took a long break and over time, I found myself going back to these three media platforms over and over again.
I love Dissect for its deep focus, insights, and analysis. It’s definitely not for a lot of people. These days, Brandbeats is also one of my favorite podcasts because it’s a feed of casual yet relevant conversations about creative industry topics I think about on a daily basis. These podcasts have helped me to experience two different formats I now am incorporating into Seoul Tribe.
Soulection is a gift. It’s a very specific gift for a very specific group of music consumers. It’s also difficult to describe it to friends who’ve never heard of or experienced it. It’s one of the few communities left online where I feel it takes work to truly feel a part of it. The thing I love most about Soulection though is how every touchpoint of their brand makes sense and that they bring together people from all over the world with an experiential vibe they’ve crafted.
So, I had three sources of inspiration available at my fingertips. I could also somewhat visualize what the three put together might look like, but it was still too vague. Now what?
On top of countless hours of conversation with Kim, there were two other tools that helped me create form:
Bought on a whim, this beautiful black notebook served as my very first starting point for Seoul Tribe. I simply journaled my many thoughts into it and gave myself permission to get messy with it. I drew sketches, created potential outlines, and wrote random thoughts in it that were connected with the ethos of the project somehow. It’s light. It’s Japanese. It’s minimal. True to its name, it made me feel “very editorial” from the get go.
As a longtime reader of Seth’s work, I was delighted to find that he had turned his beloved Ship It Journal into a more well designed hardcover notebook in partnership with Moo. I hesitated for a bit due to the price, but like a gym membership I hoped paying for it would make me more inclined to use it. It worked! This focus journal was incredible. Its sole purpose is to help you ship a project and it contains the perfect exercises for it. It’s formulaic and the best of its kind I’ve ever seen.
With two pricey little notebooks, I sat myself down for hours on end until both were full with everything I could work through initially. I would simply take a break if I felt like I was stuck and would return the next day after thinking the problem over for 24 hours. The result of this analog yet incredibly effective process was nothing short of magical for me. It’s always cathartic when disparate dots in your head manage to come together and take form.
The good news at this point of the process was that I wasn’t afraid of making a podcast because I’ve had the professional experience with project managing one before at work. The bad news? I had no problem project managing it, but I knew it’d be a steep learning curve to learn how to be a full stack producer. I’ve always been a generalist and creating Seoul Tribe has been the best challenge in testing my abilities as not just a digital producer, but a producer in the more traditional sense.
I’m writing the script, recording my own voice, editing the audio, reviewing the designs, checking finances, and more. There have been two resources that were great starting points for me:
They helped me gain more confidence in knowing what kind of equipment I need and also just generally what to expect in diving into a project like this.
The biggest game changer has been simply getting in the habit of recording my own voice and thoughts. I did all the writing I could about what was in my head, but a podcast is a podcast. I’m regularly recording myself on my phone whenever an idea comes to my head or I need to figure out how to articulate it.
Since filling the journals, we’ve made a lot of progress in moving the project forward. Our little team is now made up Kim (a designer), Jerry (a frontend developer), Cam (a backend developer), and me! I’m so thankful for them.
In the next WOL post, I think I’ll talk more in detail about the challenges I’ve been tackling in the research and writing process specifically. Thanks for reading and taking a dive into my brain!
A lot of my close friends know that I’ve been fixated on data journalism and data’s relation to everything that we do in the creative industry today. Loved these two conversations about data from BASIC:
I’ve been bumping The Lost Boy Collection these past few days and wasn’t surprised to see YBN Cordae with Rob Markman. It’s been on repeat!
Season 3 of Brandbeats is so great. I especially enjoyed the first episode on the revival of analog.
Escaped the summer heat at the MET.
YES YES YES
Alongside legions of his fans, I’m about halfway through Bobby Hundreds’ book This Is Not a T-Shirt. I picked it up on a whim and it has been refreshingly inspiring to me. I never was a streetwear kid growing up, but I was definitely surrounded by friends who were. The fact that Bobby is Korean American and also grew up in the same hometown as me also drew me into his story. I had no idea there was someone as cool as Bobby that came from Riverside.
Working Out Loud is a way to build relationships that can help you in some way, like achieving a goal, developing a skill, or exploring a new topic. Instead of networking to get something, you invest in relationships by making contributions over time, including your work and experiences that you make visible.
The idea of sharing your work in the open (even in its early stages) really caught my attention. After a lot of reflection, I’ve decided to give it a shot. The funny thing about this is that I do have a weekly writing group and trusted circle of friends I regularly talk to about my side projects. The problem is that I tend to leave a lot of the details out because I don’t want to overwhelm people or our meetings simply don’t happen when I actually need to think things through.
So, what’s better than just writing and publishing the process here? I’m excited to start sharing the behind the scenes of a side project I’ve been working on for awhile now.
In 2017, I published several newsletters with the help of two friends. It was called Seoul Tribe and it curated links related to Korean music that we liked (music videos, social media posts, albums, etc.). It was super casual.
The project came from a longterm frustration I’ve had over the past six years: On Western music platforms, all genres of Korean music get lumped into a singular label. There is no elevated, well-branded space that highlights the Korean creative artists (especially in hip hop, R&B, and soul genres) whose work I personally love.
As a Korean American in Southern California, I grew up around a lot of hip hop, R&B, and soul music. The feel good tunes of Los Angeles hip hop were always playing in the ears of everyone around me. Of course, it wasn’t just us. I was in middle school in 2005 and the top artists of that year included people like Mariah Carey, Kanye West, The Pussycat Dolls, Missy Elliott, Rihanna, 50 Cent, The Black Eyed Peas, Bow Wow, Chris Brown, and Amerie.
While I was listening to Korean music at home or in private, listening to hip hop was the only way to fit in. I spent many years doing my best to hide the fact that I listened to non-American music. This is why it was shocking when I entered college and found dozens of individuals who looked nothing like me, who loved Korean music, even despite the language barrier. They were mostly fans of Korean pop music, but it made me realize the Internet had helped in spreading the word about what was happening in that scene.
Fast forward to the present, I’m still a bit surprised at how much hip hop and R&B as genres have taken off in Korea’s music scene. The artists I grew up on were people like Drunken Tiger, Yoon Mirae, Epik High, Lee Min Woo, Rain, and MC Mong. It was a pretty tight roster that actually made it to the charts. Today, obviously, it’s thriving and very much has become mainstream. This project is simply an expression of exploring this specific space from a creative and cultural perspective.
in the works
Seoul Tribe is a creative podcast about Korean artists and their music. Season One will highlight the artists I personally like, walk through their lives, and contextualize their best works. As of writing this post, the overall framework of the project has been set and I’m diving head first into writing. The next few WOL posts I write about Seoul Tribe will mostly likely be about the resources, research, and creative writing process.
Until next time x.
“Jimmy Lai is one of the richest people in Hong Kong. And in some ways, the story of his rise is the story of Hong Kong itself.
Jimmy was born in mainland China. In 1960, when he was 12 years old, he snuck out of China and into Hong Kong by hiding in the bottom of a fishing boat. The day he got to Hong Kong, he got a job in a factory. By the time he was 21, he was running a factory. Today, he’s one of the richest people in Hong Kong. He’s also one of the most vocal critics of the Chinese government, and a major figure in Hong Kong’s protest movement.
Jimmy Lai’s story is the story of Hong Kong. And Hong Kong’s story is the story of the 200-year-long history of China and with the West — a story of communism, colonialism, and capitalism.”
Really dug this episode of Planet Money!
When does something transcend and break out of hype and really become something else?
(22:16) “Pay attention to the people who have a pattern of creating or building things that connect with people. When it becomes a pattern, that’s when you know it’s genius and not hype. How regularly can they connect with you?”
(25:54) “We need the hype economy to carve out new sectors and push forward new things. From that, it’s on each one of us to mentally weed out what’s actually necessary for us to consume and what’s not necessary.”
(27:00) “In a world of social media, hype economy creates platforms. In turn, creates a place for more hype to begin. It gets weird. Hype doesn’t necessarily create anything of real value.”
Other compelling heat points: exclusivity, accessibility, hyper personalization, attention spans, create tactile experiences, people want to find themselves in brands, find your piece that spawns longevity;
This was such a delightful find.