When I found OOHYO on bandcamp, I gave the first song “This Is Why We’re Breaking Up” a listen and I was hooked. I’ve listened to her EP a bunch of times and thought it would be great for her to introduce herself considering Girl Sense is her first release.
After a message through Facebook, OOHYO agreed to answer some questions.
Can you introduce yourself?
Hi I’m singer songwriter OOHYO. I’m 21 years old and I live in Seoul, South Korea.
Girl Sense is centered in electronic and synthpop, but there are indie pop elements in the album. How did you decide to create music within these genres?
I didn’t start out with specific genres in mind making the songs for this album but synth pop style indie rock/pop have been my favorite kinds of music over the recent years so many of my songs happen to be of these genres as well.
There’s a mix of English and Korean vocals on the album, but the English is sung with no accent. Did you move to South Korea before you made music?
I’ve lived in the states for six and a half years; a few years in California, a year in Arizona, and a few in New Jersey. But I also lived in Seoul in between those years so I’m guessing I never got to stay in one area long enough to develop a clear accent. I’m moving to London soon so hopefully I’ll get a nice British accent there.
Where did the idea to record the EP start? How long did it take?
I started writing songs in high school as a hobby; I’d simply sit on the piano, record songs on a small recorder and share them with friends. By the time I got into university I’d gotten good reactions from some indie labels about the songs I sent them and that gave me the idea that I could make my own album.
The actual development of the songs for this EP started last fall so it took about 7 months. It took longer than expected because I had to rerecord the vocal so many times to make it come out like the vocals of my very first recordings yet still sound appropriate for how the songs were rearranged.
Are there influences that guided the composition of songs?
I was listening to a lot of Phoenix, Mamas Gun, Manceau, Elton John and Blossom Dearie when I wrote the songs and I’ve been a fan of Neon Bunny since she debuted. I don’t know if people can see the direct influence these artists had on my music but they definitely inspired me in terms of the overall texture, instrumentals or the vocal style of my songs.
What tools do you use to compose music?
Logic and a keyboard.
Do you have a favorite song on the EP?
“Vineyard.” I feel like I’ve succeeded in expressing a lot of things in the most natural way possible for me. First, I didn’t think mixing English and Korean lyrics would ever work well in my songs but it worked for this one. Second, the song is reminiscent of things I’ve experienced but future-oriented and imaginative at the same time. I like songs that seem like a simple thread at first but gradually give people the impression that it’s actually interwoven with various emotions.
How did Eniac help with the production of Girl Sense?
He helped me rearrange 5 of my songs in the style I wanted. I wasn’t all that trained in describing sounds through words so it was quite difficult to paint a clear picture for him but he was really patient with me and turned the songs around in ways I wanted but never thought possible. It was really fun and I learned a lot.
Since this is your first EP, what is your opinion of the result? Is the finished product exactly what you wanted or are there still improvements you see possible with the songs?
It’s better than what I’d believed would become of my songs when I first wrote them. I’m not technically skilled at all yet and this is only my first album so my goal for it was more about carving out a clear identity out of all the songs I’d written than about going all out to be creative with them.
How did you get involved with Musicabal to release the EP?
I sent Musicabal my demos, they liked my songs and offered to help me develop them for an album as I’d wished.
Is there a message you want people to get after listening?
Beyond confused emotions of a teenager, what I want to highlight in this album is a longing for real freedom and happiness that anyone at any age can have in life. What should we run from and what should we give into for these values? Those were the kinds of questions I was asking myself at the time I wrote the songs.
Any musicians that you recommend people listen to?
Switchfoot and The Paper Kites.
Any musicians that you would like to collaborate with?
Peter Pan Complex, The Black Skirts, Relient K, Switchfoot
Anything to say to readers?
I think it’s great that there’s a website solely for the purpose of introducing Korean indie music. I hope you all find lots of good music here that inspire and encourage you to work hard for what matters to you. Thanks for listening to my music!