The move to a foreign country can entail a stressful culture shock for the majority of people. Language barriers, climate change, homesickness- This was no exception for Korean sensation DJ Yup’s move from Seoul, Korea to the pacific northwest. Despite the move, Yup is able to find one common language between these two vastly different areas: music.
“Music is the international language.”
Although originally from Korea, Yup discovered his passion for music overseas when hip hop began to implode in the US. “In the early 90’s, everybody listened to K-pop and hip hop was still underground in Korea. I had cousins in LA. I asked them for new music. They would send me tapes of Dr. Dre and N.W.A.” After listening to those tapes over and over, Yup knew he wanted to spread his love of music. His reputation expanded quickly in Korea, playing at festivals, such as Yeosu Expo, Pentaport Rock festival, and Summer Wave festival, which gave him the chance to play along side with top talents like Chuckie, Basshunter, Taio Cruz, and T-Pain.
Branded as the #1 DJ in Korea might be enough for most, but Yup has an insatiable desire to expand his music repertoire. The growing EDM scene in Seattle presented a unique opportunity to explore different styles. “Playing in the states, I didn’t realize it at first, but I changed it up overtime to electro house, dutch house. I couldn’t play that kind of style in Korea. They didn’t like it.”
Despite reaching critical acclaim in Korea, Yup did find some resistance in the states. The sad truth is Asian DJs are few and far between in mainstream EDM. People were quick to write Yup off.
“People look at me and say ‘Oh he’s Asian, he doesn’t know this music’. They didn’t know me at first, but then they listen to my music and then they change and say ‘wow i’m really sharp.”
With the phenomenal success of Korean Singer Psy and his hit song Gangnam Style, new doors have been opened for aspiring Asian artists to make a splash in mainstream music.
“It’s something phenomenal for someone from a foreign country to not having to change lyrics to English. We didn’t know he was going to blow up. To see him on the main stage…its definitely given recognition to the Asian community.”
Yup wants to continue the perception that Asian artists can bring a lot to the table, especially in the EDM scene.
Recently, Yup has focused intently on producing the last couple months, releasing new tracks, such as Nail it to the Head, Turnt it Up, and A-Bomb. Make no mistake, his passion remains for spinning tracks.
“I want to destroy the dance floor, move the crowd, put my soul on the line and leave it there.”
Those opportunities will be plentiful, as he will tour in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, and many locations across the globe. Wherever he ends up traveling, Yup knows one thing for sure – he can speak that international language.
Interview & Article written by: Bron Fong