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WITH HIS SOFT TEMPO AND DOWN-TO-EARTH CHARM, YOU’D BE SURPRISED TO LEARN THAT OH HYUK IS THE FACE OF SOUTH KOREA’S BOURGEONING INDIE ROCK MOVEMENT.
Denoting a new wave of more organic cultural icons that part itself from mainstream confectionary-techno tunes and rhythmic dance beats, Oh’s emotionally raw vocals and unapologetic affability tells the story of his everyday struggles. He sings in a mix of both Korean and English, and as we learned in our conversation with him in Mandarin and English, it is something that adds to his charisma.

Who is this soft-spoken soul who has shot into stardom and is ready to take on the world one song at a time?

I.T delves into a thoughtful conversation with frontman Oh Hyuk of the rising band Hyukoh.

I.T: What do you do when you hit a creative wall?

Oh: Can’t do anything about it. There was a time when I felt that way and I tried everything to change it, but I just couldn’t. I’ve come to learn that there are two situations in life: ones that I can change, and ones that are out of my control. When you can’t change it, just wait it out.

“WHEN YOU CANNOT CHANGE IT,
JUST WAIT IT OUT.”

I.T: Where do you find inspiration? Can you tell us about your creative process?

Oh: Most recently, I’m inspired when I’m eating. I’m inspired by food – fruit in particular – fruit is my favourite food apart from cooked dishes. I’ve also been listening to classical music. My parents introduced me to classical music when I was a child. They had hopes for me to become a violinist, but back in the time, I wasn’t that interested in it. These days I’m listening to Bach and Mozart, and I’m finding their work very much like electronic music.

I.T: Your albums often capture emotions felt and lesson learnt at each stage in your life. It is as if you’re writing a personal diary with your music. What stood out for you in 2018 as a theme you’d like to shed light on in your upcoming creations?

Oh: Our albums are indeed like a diary. It consolidates my thoughts and the messages I want to convey at a certain age so that our audience can think about it too. Last year, we released an album called 24: How to find true love and happiness. I think this year’s going to be the same – 25: How to find true love and happiness.

I still haven’t found true love and happiness yet, so I want to document this continual quest – my journey to this destination. True love and happiness are most important to me at this stage of my life. Obviously, money is important; family is important; my career is important… all these things add up to happiness.

“TRUE LOVE AND HAPPINESS ARE MOST IMPORTANT TO ME AT THIS STAGE OF MY LIFE.”

I.T: How does growing up in China and moving back to Korea influence your worldview and your music?

Oh: It has a huge influence on me – I’m still taking it in and savouring this experience – because it’s part of my journey.

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I.T: Performing at international music festivals and gaining international recognition will come with its consequences. How do you feel about that? Does it overwhelm you?

Oh: I definitely felt the pressure a few years ago, because it was all so new to me. My entire world had changed completely. But again, you cannot change what’s out of your control, so you’ll have to face it.

The collection is pre-launched exclusively in Asia at I.T stores across China and Hong Kong starting from January 18.

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