In today’s interview I had the pleasure of speaking with upcoming singer/songwriter – SLCHLD. Personally, I’ve been listening to SLCHLD since the beginning of his career and over the last year he has grown into one of my favorite artists coming out of Canada. Originally from South Korea, he has been able to combine both his eastern and western influences and create a sound of his own. In this interview I got the chance to speak with him about the responsibilities of being an entertainer, his evolution as an artist, and much more…
Q: Before we start, would you like to introduce yourself?
A: Hello, my name is Doohyuk Jang, but I go by the alias Seoulchild (stylized as SLCHLD). I am a 22 year old vocalist based in Canada and Korea. I have yet to make an official release, but I am preparing to make a debut EP sometime soon.
Q: You’ve only been out a year but because of your work ethic SO much has happened. Is music a career you’ve always seen yourself being in?
A: Honestly I had no idea I would be where I am today back when I started. I originally just rapped with my friends for fun, but when I started singing, that’s when I took music seriously. I don’t know if I will be doing music forever because of how harsh the music industry is run today, but that is my goal as of right now.
Q: Is there anyone in your family also into music or are you the first?
A: I guess my whole family did music at some point. My dad often told me and my family about when he used to be in a rock band, and I thought that was cool. My mother used to do Traditional Korean Folk Music, which included instruments such as 장구 (Janggu) and 꽹과리 (Kkwaenggwari). As for my brother, he used to play the clarinet and the alto saxophone in school.
Q: What was their reaction when you decided to become a musician?
A: I used to work as a Graphic Designer at company before I started music. They were hesitant at first because I was just about to begin a legit career, but they were supportive later on when I showed how much music meant to me.
Q: You’ve made music in a list of genres, but often times record R&B records— I’m curious, who were some of your influences growing up?
A: Growing up I listened to a variety of music. My brother used to fill my MP3 up when I was little and it had some hits from the old days such as Britney Spears’ “Toxic”, Seotaeji’s ‘난 알아요’, and Chris Brown’s ‘Superhuman’. Back in middle school, Taylor Swift was the hot trend among friends so I listened to her a lot as well. I’d say Jason Mraz and Justin Timberlake were the two artists I adored the most back then.
Q: When you initially began looking into music were you already skilled in the writing/singing area or did you have to hone your craft?
A: Oh no, I was terrible when I started. When I first started making music, I thought that I had to make complex lyrics and rhyme schemes, and didn’t pay too much attention to how much soul I was putting into them. Writing songs was a huge, but fun learning curve for me to get better at and it still is today.
Q: Are there any tips you could give aspiring artists when it comes to developing their sound?
A: I know this might not apply for every aspiring artists, but I’d say you should make your art shine in a way you would like it to be. It’s okay to be influenced by the accomplished artists you look up to, but you should always put what you want first when shaping it. I used to think that I had to make hits and songs that the audience would for sure enjoy, but now I just make what I want and try to connect with fans who relate to them.
Q: In an interview with Inspire Me Korea, you mention that when you started out, several musicians gave you advice in terms of your music and artistry — is there any piece of advice that stuck out to you the most?
A: Some musicians that I got to meet that are in the mainstream often told me that I should incorporate more Korean lyrics to my music. That honestly stressed me out because I’m more a person who writes what I feel at that time and state, and I feel that I express those feelings better in English. I was stuck at one point due to this advice I received, but later realized that I shouldn’t box myself in a certain music industry. In more ways or another, I am thankful for this advice.
Q: Since your debut you’ve released music, several projects, and a couple of features — what’s been your “favorite responsibility” since transitioning into an artist (so far)?
A: It’s all about the vibes that are created in the process. I enjoy doing features when I’m with the artist I’m doing it with. We share ideas and brainstorm what we want to say and align each others directions towards the collaboration. When I made ‘when I leave’ with GILLA, oceanfromtheblue, and RNMK, we were just bouncing off ideas back and forth and it was so much fun. Same goes for when I work with producers. When I work on my personal projects I sometimes force myself into a state I don’t want to be in to draw out what I want to sing. It’s sometimes painful, fun, and sad, but that’s why I love music. I’d say my favorite responsibility since transitioning into an artist would be trying to satisfy myself with what I am doing to the fullest.
Q: Your debut came in January 2017 with the release of your first project Motel, do you remember the feeling you got once you released it?
A: That was a fun project. Takes me back haha. Back then I didn’t know what I was getting into, it was just a project I made for fun. When it got highlighted on popular YouTube Music Channels (shout out to my good friends over at WLK, and Daniel from Danielions music) everything felt surreal. I enjoyed every moment and sometimes I wish I could go back to enjoying music like that.
Q: What was it like for you to hear the finished project in its final form?
A: It was beautiful. My first ever project, so it had to feel amazing right? Haha. Although I didn’t have vast knowledge of mixing or mastering tracks back then, I tried to pay attention to detail to the best of my knowledge and I was satisfied when it was completed.
Q: Since Motel, you have released The Sadness Inside You, Wisdom & Prayer, and Emotions. How have you evolved as an artist with each project?
A: I sometimes forget I released that many projects wow.
The Sadness Inside You was my approach on the lo-fi genre and was an essential catalyst that helped me grow as a songwriter.
I consider Wisdom & Prayer as a letter to my future self, telling me that I shouldn’t get drunk in fame or money if I ever was to blow up.
Emotions was a painful, but fun project for me. It’s a project about stepping into the adult world, having responsibilities, and reflecting upon my mistakes and actions. The way I wrote most of my lyrics there are in riddles, something that many people might not have known.
Q: Do you have a favorite song off of each project? If so, which ones and why?
- The Sadness Inside You – “I Can’t Love You Anymore”
The whole process of making the song probably took no less than 30 minutes, and initially I was doubtful because I thought I didn’t put hard work into it. But I grew into loving it and realised that time is a subjective matter when it comes to making music.
- Wisdom & Prayer – “Prayer”
I don’t listen to my own songs a lot, but I still listen to this song because it’s a reminder for me to be a person who takes control of my responsibilities.
- Emotions – “Adulthood”
This is the outro track of the mixtape. I express that I shouldn’t give up on what I want to do or achieve, and if I face failures, I should grow from it. It’s a song that reminds you to love yourself.
Q: You took a short hiatus earlier in this year – were you able to relax and refocus? Why did you think you needed the break?
A: As I mentioned earlier, when I receive the advice of trying to incorporate Korean lyrics I was puzzled and was lost. I was never satisfied with what I was doing. I initially had a EP finished and ready to release it, but I eventually scrapped the whole project because I hated the fact that some of the tracks in it weren’t my real expressions.
Q: With every release, do you feel pressured to make every song as good as the last? Does it ever get difficult to remain creative?
A: I can’t lie about this and yes, the pressure is always there. However, there are times when I make a song and I feel that it was my best song so far. And whether that certain song or project blows up or not, I am satisfied.
Q: You’ve announced that you’re almost halfway finished with your latest project, do you have a name for it yet? What should we expect to hear on it?
A: There is a name planned, and I think it’s a great name (won’t spoil it just yet!). There aren’t a lot of features on the EP, mostly it’s just me and my producer GILLA. A lot of the topics I discuss on the project are my adventures this past year and how my view changed from then to now. I hope y’all enjoy it!
Q: What are some goals you are hoping to achieve by the end of 2018?
A: My goal last year was to hit a 1000 followers on Soundcloud, and now I’m somewhere between 10,000 or whatsoever. This year, I just want to put out the EP, with no regrets. I honestly don’t expect it to go big or anything, but nonetheless I want to release the project with me in it 100%.
Q: Lastly, is there anything you would like to tell your supporters?
A: I love all of you. Each and everyone that supports me. I apologize if I sometimes make abrupt decisions but I thank you for supporting me throughout this one hell of a ride of being a musician. I will hit you guys back with new updates soon!
To stay updated with SLCHLD make sure to follow him on Instagram!