Kristian J returns with highly addictive new single ‘Wipe It Off’, taken from new EP ‘YANG-A-CHI’. After living in South Korea for two years and independently releasing two albums, Kristian is now based in Mexico City, ready to further his music career in Latin America, while constantly honing his personal brand: sexy, smooth, camp, queer.
What’s your writing process like? Do you write the music or lyrics first?
I like to write pretty quickly. Sometimes I have a pre-existing idea for a melody, but usually I like to start with a beat, because that for me is the true backbone of a song. I try to improvise some melodies that I think match the beat well until I settle on something that I think is catchy and memorable. Then, I move onto the lyrics. I usually get ideas for these from my dreams or through meditation. If I have a solid concept, the lyrics all come quickly and effortlessly, but if I’m struggling to put things into words, it usually means my concept isn’t solid enough and I have to start over. Lyrics usually affect the flow and rhythm of your melodies, so the two kind of play off of each other. At this point, the writing process is pretty much done and I can move onto the vocal production.
If you could change about the music industry, what would it be?
Make exposure more accessible. As an independent artist, it’s a bit frustrating how much money I have to put into promotion in order to get just a few hundred streams. At this point, all independent artists have equal access to music distribution, and it’s great that that process has become so democratized. The problem is that now there’s just so much music being distributed every day, all varying in levels of quality, that people don’t even want to look through it, and rightfully so. They (and I) would rather stick to what we know, like radio stations, big playlists, and apps like TikTok. It’s much easier to consume music from a curated source, but we don’t have enough those that represent small artists like us and also have clout. The infrastructure of music consumption as it is now leaves artists without big budgets in the dark.
What’s the best advice you’d give to your younger self?
Love yourself. And if you think that’s corny or cliché, then you’re not truly grasping the essence of what it means. The greatest gift you can give yourself is self-love. It will steer you through life, solve your biggest problems, and bring you true happiness.
What’s the music scene like where you are from?
I grew up in a small suburb near Philadelphia, and most people there listened to indie, folk, and alternative rock. Pretty much everyone worshipped the Beatles and all the singers wanted to be like Jack Johnson, Michael Bublé, or Fiona Apple. Actually, the band Marian Hill went to the same high school as me. I also went to college in Manhattan, where there’s pretty much a little bit of everything, and I lived for a few years in Seoul, South Korea, which was the same case. In Seoul, I unforunately couldn’t experience too much of the music scene due to the virus, but usually you’d find plenty of buskers on the street singing covers, and a lot of people were into the K-hiphop sound of Jay Park and DPR Live. I’m now based in Mexico City where some of the biggest genres are reggaetón, banda, and cumbia.
Tell MoggBlog viewers about your latest release! What’s the inspiration behind that?
My latest EP titled YANG-A-CHI features a collection of pop/R&B tracks sung over hip hop beats. All the songs are lyrically very special to me, especially the song “ON&ON,” which is about trying to come to terms with what’s more important in your life: your career or your friends. I also have two music videos coming out for this EP, so keep your eyes peeled for those. The word “yang-a-chi” is Korean for “punk” or “gangster,” and it somehow became a kind of nickname for me while I was living in Korea. I think people saw me as different from everyone else, pursuing music, working odd jobs, and getting into trouble here and there. “Yang-a-chi” is actually seen as a compliment in the Korean gay community, because you’re like a “bad boy.” The overall concept of the EP is being a deviant and going against the grain. A lot of my songs are about paving your own path in love, sex, identity, and the masochistic torture of chasing after your dreams as an artist.