South Korean K-pop singer-songwriter DEMIAN, who made his grand debut earlier this year, is already pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a conventional singer-songwriter; utilising many diverse concepts, while experimenting with genre and style, the South Korean superstar has gained global attention from both K-Pop fans and the general public.
Just last week, DEMIAN dropped his brand new single ‘YES’, the third and final part of his trilogy ; while his debut single ‘Cassette’ portrays the nostalgia of a romantic relationship, and ‘KARMA’ expresses the pain from breaking up with a lover, DEMIAN’s third release ‘YES’ explores the complexity of emotion felt at the beginning and the end of a relationship.
Hazy and dream-like, his honeyed voice swims in an arrangement of tinkering piano harmonies, wispy yet meditative drum beats, and a celestial roulade of guitar riffs. Performed mostly in English lyrics, the alternative-R&B-influenced single showcases DEMIAN’s new musical spectrum as a global artist.
Following the release of his latest single, Anastasia Giggins recently had the opportunity to ask DEMIAN some questions. Here he spoke about his creative process, the importance of balance, and his desire to be understood and understand others.
Congratulations on your new single, ‘YES’. Can you tell us a little about the song?
‘YES’ is a song about the beginning of a new love. I wanted to portray the complexity of feelings such as dreaminess, nervousness, foolishness, happiness, and the hesitation felt when in love.
For people who may not have listened to your music before, how would you describe yourself?
I write and sing music to be understood, and to understand others. I would have to say that I write songs in the genre of pop. Please give my music a listen, even just for a casual listening.
You made your debut with your song ‘Cassette’, and then followed that up with the release of ‘KARMA’. How does ‘YES’ fit within this trilogy of songs?
‘YES’ is the happiest song of the three, but at the same time, it portrays the most difficult moment of love. The trilogy expresses the train of thought of the narrator in his own room. The narrator reminisces the good memories to get closure, but ends up blaming the ex and himself for the karma. Finally, bringing up the brightest moment at the darkest hour is where ‘YES’ lies. That’s why a sound clip of a cassette tape rewinding back to the beginning can be heard in the intro of the song.
You are very involved in the production process of all of your music. Could you tell us what this looks like? Does this change over time?
It depends on the project. Sometimes I write the melodies and lyrics on top of simple chord progressions first, and at other times, I write the melody on a beat my producers send me. I usually write the melodies first, then the lyrics.
Have you always wanted to be a musician? Where does this passion for music and performing come from?
My passion comes from the gratefulness that I can continue making music to this day, and that there are people who pay attention to what I create. I started writing songs as a hobby, which then got more serious. When I was about to give up, I was lucky enough to meet with SONY Music Entertainment Korea. I got into music production because I did not have friends who make music around me, as I did not major in music. It wasn’t my intent to produce my own music at first. I now have talented staff and friends who listen to my music and make decisions with me. The desperation to keep making music is the root of my passion.
Who influences and inspires you? Why?
Everyone. I get inspired by not just one specific person, but things like looks of people who rant at the news, office workers commuting in the subway, a text message from an old friend lets me look back into myself. Those simple yet complex feelings influence and inspire me. It’s fun because we are different and similar at the same time.
What other concepts or genres would you like to try in the future?
I would want to talk about older generations in the society someday, for mutual understanding of generations. The young generation has more platforms to discuss and express their culture. As there are differences to the methods of expression among different generations, I would like to talk about the topic to help understand the sense of isolation and segmentation that people of older generation feel; it is just a thought that I have been having recently.
What does success mean to you? Has this changed since your debut?
I think success is having a good balance in life. I am hoping to not lose the balance in my life, and wish not to forget the importance of the balance.
What have been some of the proudest or most memorable moments since your debut?
The proudest moment was when my parents were very happy to see the positive reactions from the fans. The happiness of my family is not the main reason for me making music, but it still is one of the most meaningful things to me. I believe that they both deserve to be happy.
What can we expect from you in the future? What are your plans for the rest of 2020, going into 2021?
As it is a very difficult time to do concerts or shows, I want to release an album when the situation gets better and I can perform in front of my fans. Before then, I am trying to reach out to the fans as often as possible, so you won’t be able to take your eyes off of me.
Do you have a message for your fans?
Please don’t look anywhere else than me. Just kidding. Your happiness matters a lot to me. Thank you so much for being reason for me to make music. Stay healthy, and see you soon.