Expat brings edgy DJs
Seoul has established itself as a must-visit destination for the world’s most famous DJs, with thousands or even tens of thousands showing up for the industry’s hottest names. The world’s largest electronic music festivals such as Sensation and the Ultra Music Festival will make their respective debuts in the Korean capital next month and in August.
But for Samuel Swanson, a half-Canadian half-New Zealander expatriate in Seoul, the likes of Dutchman Tiesto or American Skrillex or the globally-recognized party brands are not enough.
Since 2009, he and his company Multi have worked with smaller, less commercial venues around the city to bring fresh new sounds to the public, presenting lesser-known DJs from around the country as well as Europe, North America and Japan.
“In Seoul, there’s a lot of luxury parties,” said Swanson. “We want it to make it more about music, not about radio. People don’t have to spend a fortune on tables. We want it to be young and current... go back to the roots, instead of mega clubs that are out of style in major cities around the world. (We want) small, intimate venues where you can talk and be comfortable.”
His most recent booking was a French DJ called College, the man behind the hypnotic track “A Real Hero” that accompanied the climax of the 2011 cult-hit movie “Drive,” directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Christina Hendricks. His session at the Globe Lounge in Itaewon, central Seoul, attracted so many people that the line extended out to the street.
Next in line is an Englishman Bok Bok, whose bass-heavy tracks have garnered rave reviews abroad and have been featured on BBC Radio One and Red Bull Music Academy. He will spin Saturday, also at the Globe Lounge, supported by local acts Rou Set and DJ Minii.
“Festivals are important,” said Swanson. “They are the introduction to people (for them) to like electronic music. It’s not the end point.”