Hip-House Champ Yaeji Talks Music, Seoul And Shares ‘Raingurl’ Clip

Make it raingurl.

Yaeji is a singer, rapper, producer, DJ and awesome human. She beats hip hop and house music together until something new altogether comes out the other side — something that’s grimy, a little sleazy, and heaps pumping.

Today she dropped a clip for ‘Raingurl’, a track of her forthcoming EP2. We took a break from stomping around our office to it just long enough to ask her a few important questions.

Yaeji! I’m so happy to talk to you. What are some of your favourite things to enjoy in life?
Aw thank you! Some of my favourite things in life are very basic. A long hot shower, being surrounded by friends, dog spotting… to name a few.

And what are your favourite things to make music about?
My music is mostly about emotions and memories. I’m particularly interested in ones that are temporary or fleeting because I think it’s beautiful.

Is the IRL you different to the performer? In what ways?
I would say in some ways yes. I am still myself, but channeling a different area of myself. It’s like clicking into a different mode. I become more in touch with my raw emotions and focus to perform/express it.

I want to get it right here: your music is pop with some house tendencies, but your vocals are kinda rap. How would you describe what you do?
It’s interesting because I never stopped to categorise my music or figure out what the tendencies are. So it’s always a pleasant surprise to hear this. To me, all of it’s just a way of getting my ideas across. All of it is like speaking with someone, like story time.

Who are some of your favourite musicians?
Too many for so many reasons to pick just a few! But at the moment I would say James Blake.

You spend half of your time in New York and half in Seoul, right?
In my lifetime, yes I have. Currently I’m based in New York and only go home to Seoul once a year.

I’ve always wanted to go to Seoul, what is it like?
Seoul is really incredible. Definitely worth a visit. I think it’s unlike anywhere else. The fast-paced nature of Korea keeps it really exciting and ever-changing. Every year when I visit it feels completely different, though also still the same in some ways. Seoul is also divided into North and South by a river, and the North is where the underground scene is popping and there’s still a lot of tradition in the art, architecture, food, among other things. In the South, you can see shiny skyscrapers and trendy stores. It’s a mix of different things that you can pick and choose to experience.

What do your parents think of the music you make?
My father has always been musical. I think that made him scared about me diving into music in the beginning, but now he’s really happy that I continued what he loves. My mum is really happy that she can replay my music video on loop (we don’t get to see each other that often) [laughs]. They’ve been very supportive which has been so important to me.

What do you do outside of music?
I have maybe a bit too many hobbies. I love painting, biking, cooking, going out to shows and galleries, modifying garments, bookbinding, playing video games, and the list goes on.

What song is soundtracking your life right now?
Currently I’ve been on a Jam City kick from listening to Kelela’s new album, and M-Flo which is a throwback j-pop artist from middle school! A ‘Walk Down Chapel’ – Jam City and ‘Miss You’ – M-Flo

Can you tell us about your new clip for ‘Raingurl’?
Yes! It’s for a track called ‘Raingurl’ that will be in my forthcoming EP2. It’s a track close to my heart and it’s been in the working for over a year now. It’s gone through so many versions and has meant something different for me at different times. I love where it ended up being, and I wanted to direct a music video myself that features my closest friends to encapsulate how special and personal this song feels.

Also on your twitter, your pinned tweet is “your life is a banger”. So funny, is this your mantra? Where does it come from?
Haha. It’s kind of a joke, kind of a mantra. It comes from a period in college when me and my friends used the word “banger” all the time. Like “I’m gonna make a banger today,” “Oof that track is a banger,” etcetera.

Photography: James J. Robinson