When we talk about K-Pop stars, there is a lot of emphasis on their debut. Their careers seem to manifest themselves from that point onwards, as they create an identity and listeners and fans expect more or less the same things from them as they grow their fan base. Samuel Seo doesn’t fit into this norm. His career has spanned through a carousel of genres, and his appearance morphs as he deliberately changes his own identity. Evolving from Hip-Hop star to plugged-in electro funk and soul heart throb. His signature blue hair, nerd, casual samurai look of the title song “Blue” on his album Ego Expand (100%), was a great look to a great album, leading him to win the best R&B and SOUL album at the 14th Korean Music Awards.
We managed to catch up with Sam while he was in London for 2 days attending the Burberry show this past London Fashion Week. We were lucky to get some 1 on 1 time with him to draw out a little bit of a image of who he is and where he’s come from as a musician and style icon.
WAO: Your music has a distinctly 90’s feel to it, is that an era you draw inspiration from? What era do you think was the best time for music?
Definitely 90’s of course!. I spent my whole youth during the 90’s and what I love about my generation is that we had the privilege to experience both analog and digital sound through our life. I prefer the 90’s though. Unlike these days, they had more warm touch to the sound they created back then. Not that I don’t enjoy the music these days but they just feel so cold sometimes.
WAO: Having lived in the Western and Eastern hemisphere, where do you think you matured as a songwriter?
I haven’t really thought of that. While growing up, I got to experience a lot of different cultures throughout the world so I would just say I am the mixture of those cultures.
WAO: Where do your songs start? Is it always born from your mind, or do the musicians you play with play a role in the writing process?
I either walk or drive around places and try to bump into new situations to get the ingredients to write a song about first, start writing lyrics, and then think of the sound which might suit well with the words, make a different version of the songs at least 5 of them. decide where to go. and send it over to studio for mix session.
The next part is the hardest part among the entire process because this is the part where I have to decide who I am going to work with to visualise my music. I don’t want my music to be misguided by the visual or be talking about different things so I have to find the right person to work with. I intend to keep on working with new creators rather than working with one person holding position which makes it harder to move on because it usually takes forever to find a new guy in the scene.
WAO: Analogue or digital?
“75% analog and a little touch of digital”
WAO: Where do you find yourself most comfortable? On stage or in the studio and why?
Studio. I wish I had my personal studio setup for every place I visit, because music is literally everything for me. Trust me I’ve been through all the so-called “good stuffs” that people agree on but none of those matched my preference, but music. Playing instruments, recording them, laying down vocals on top. Irreplaceable.
WAO: You use the line ‘i was young’ in a lot of your songs. Is that because you feel like you have now matured as an artist? What do you feel like has changed since you debuted?
it is because my youth was just BEAUTIFUL, don’t want to go back tho, not willing to re do all the life process all over again. I used that phrase often because it was THAT memorable. But the things I am going to drop from 2019, is going to be a huge turning point for myself as a musician, as a person. Now I just have so much more things to talk about in my music.
WAO: Has fashion always played an important role in your creative life? Do you feel like you are able to express yourself through the clothes you wear?
Of course. And what I love about the fashion industry is that they are keep changing and there are so much more left to experience yet, I want to enjoy what the modern society can offer me as long as it’s keep changing.
WAO: When you’re in the studio and NOT in the public eye what do you wear?
pretty much the same, because what I wear affects the attitude of my workflow. Want to keep it fresh except the time I go to sleep.
WAO: What designers in the past few years do you feel has been the most influential to you and your fashion sense?
people should follow @_gangmin_kim on instagram because this guy is just amazing. This dude is a Korean hardcore amekaji look adapter who usually mixes bit of this and that. Love his lifestyle I even asked him to be my visual director and I’m so glad he accepted my offer.
WAO: Can you recommend some must-visit stores for people visiting your city of Seoul?
in Seoul, I recommend @someone.life located in Moon Rae area.
WAO: What are we expecting to hear with you new album release?
I’m planning to release my third full length album and it will be the new start of my career. I’m putting so much effort into it. When it’s out, make sure you check it out.
WAO: Can you leak a bit of a preview into what we can expect to see from you in 2019?
I’m working really hard on my third full length album at this moment. Whenever the album drops, my dream now is to go everywhere around the world possible, to spread my music as wide as possible because I believe that my music career will face a turning point with that album. feel free to come through my shows if I ever get to your neighborhood.
Samuel is eager to come back to London when his album launches in 2019, and we look forward to catching up with him then. In the meantime we recommend that you try to catch up with him as his career unfolds globally. Seamlessly attacking any genre, he resembles a young Pharrell Williams during the hey day of N.E.R.D. and the birth of his solo career. We envision big things for Sam Seo!