Didi Han makes state-of-the-art, impossible-to-dislike, terminally chill R&B soul-pop – and it’s exquisite. The South Korean sensation has blessed the dance floors of big name clubs such as Soap, Modeci, and Henz Club with her glowing charms, and this Wednesday, she’ll light up Singapore for the first time ever, where she’ll play at Peaches alongside some of ATTAGIRL!‘s deck-princesses and FFINN. Ahead of that big night, we speak to her about her sound and the pressing matter of K-pop, amongst other things.
Hey, Didi! How’s your 2018 going so far?
My 2018 is going well. I only made one New Year’s resolution this year – to stop smoking – and while it’s only been 12 days so far, it’s been successful up until now! On top of that, I have gigs coming up in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur this week, and Jakarta the week after. I already have a lot to look forward to so I’m really excited.
What song or album from 2017 do you think you’ll keep coming back to in the future and?
There are so many albums and songs that I think I’ll keep coming back to that it’s really difficult to just pick one. If I had to mention an album that stuck with me this year, I would say Ed Banger’s Ed Rec 100 compilation album. Some specific artists that I think I’ll always come back to are Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat and Hudson Alexander. There are so many more but it’s so difficult to list them all! Finally, if I was forced to pick one song, I’d go with “The Story of O.J.” by JAY-Z. For me, the lyrics, music video and everything that went into creating that piece, are perfect.
“When I’m alone and I have no energy, I think about the sounds that I want to hear. That’s my purpose. I want to give people energy from my mixes.”
You’ll be playing in Singapore for this first time ever. What are you expecting from the show? What do you know about the Singapore scene?
That’s right. This will be my first time playing a show in Singapore. I did come here once when I was really young with my family and the main things I can recall are the clean streets, Merlion Park and the street food. Because of my age, I didn’t experience the nightlife or the club culture, so I’m really excited to see what it’s like in person. Given the fact that we live in the Internet age, I’ve seen some things online and my thoughts are that it won’t be too different from the Korean nightlife culture. The main things I’ve seen/heard about are Moonbeats Asia and ATTAGIRL!.
I really like that they are creating their own thing, and paving their own way. Not to mention, they are all about girl power. There are also some similarities with Moonbeats Asia too, especially with the artists they have hosted in the past, like Ryan Hemsworth, Machinedrum and TOKiMONSTA. These are artists that I’ve also seen in Seoul, and I love the idea that music unites us across the world. I’m really hoping I can give the same good vibes to the people in Singapore, that the people in Seoul like.
You have a warm, lovely sound that blends hip-hop, soul, R&B, bass and house. What draws you towards this kind of music?
I make music that I want to listen to. When I’m alone and I have no energy, I think about the sounds that I want to hear. That’s my purpose. I want to give people energy from my mixes. I prefer summer over winter, and I think about palm trees, sunshine and happy vibes when I’m making music. I think that’s reflected in my sound.
What’s the underground scene in Korea like?
I feel like there are so many more people who are attending the shows and who are really enjoying the music and dancing. It’s a positive change for the underground music scene in Korea and it’s reflected in the fact that there are now many more underground clubs, which means an even bigger opportunity to enjoy more diverse music.
And what’s it like to be a DJ in a conservative society? Does the older generation understand what you do?
My parents understand me, but generally I think it’s depends on the individual. I imagine that if an old man or woman enjoyed music or clubbing when he or she were younger, naturally that person would understand and support. However, I think most of the older generation will try to dissuade someone from being a DJ as main career choice, mainly because they feel that it’s really difficult to earn a living.
When people think of Korean music, they instantly think of K-pop because it’s so universally popular. How do you feel about the K-pop world, personally?
I actually like some K-pop music, and I think that there are many good K-pop producers. I’m not really a fan of the K-pop industry itself though. I think at times it can feel more like the manufacturing industry than the music industry…
And lastly, what are your general plans for this year?
In the near future, I’m planning to release two mixes. One will be a Valentine’s mix and the second will be a Cuban music mix. The Cuban music mix was one that I had already planned last year. I’d even selected all the tracks for it, but unfortunately I lost my USB with all the files! My long-term plan is to continue making (what I hope will be) good music for people, and sharing my favourite sounds. Wish me luck! Thank you.
Catch Didi Han alongside ATTAGIRL!’s Jaydah and DuriO and FFIN on Wednesday, January 17 at Peaches. Admission is $15, inclusive of one drink.