Last year, I reviewed min.a’s glitch EP and it quickly rose towards the top of my list for the entire year. With her second EP having dropped just last week, when our Editor-at-Large pitched the idea of interviewing her, I gladly jumped on the opportunity. Her self-produced glittery electro-pop continues to get more and more polished, and she’s definitely an emerging artist I’ve got my eye on.

Shot by Josefine Cardoni
Styled by Jenny Tarbell
Assisted by Grace Zhang

For starters, could you introduce yourself?

Hi! I’m min.a, a Korean-American self-produced artist based in New York City. I make experimental/electro-pop. My favorite thing to consume is boba and I’m allergic to my own dog and cat. Lots of allergy medication.

How did you get started in music?

My grandpa was my favorite person in the entire world growing up. He was an incredibly passionate violinist and as a young kiddo, I watched, wanting to be just like him. So I started getting involved in any possible form of music I could; violin, piano, and guitar lessons, singing in choirs and participating in musicals, etc.

My parents couldn’t ever get me to shut up! Freshman year of high school I decided to audition for this Korean televised singing competition called KPOPStar. I had only auditioned for shits and giggles, but I ended up making it to the Top 8. When it was all over, my parents and I decided that instead of signing to a Korean label, I’d go to a music college.

So! Here I am, a junior at NYU Tisch’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music. My grandpa actually passed away last summer, and losing someone who was especially supportive of my music has pushed me to work even harder. I don’t want to let him down. I hope he’s watching me with the biggest smile on his face.

You’ve written, produced, mixed, mastered, and sung every track on your new EP. What is the process of song making like for you?

When I start a song, I can usually tell within the first 15 minutes whether or not I’m going to make something I like. I’ll either scrap the idea and start over, or lose track of time and end up finishing an entire demo in a day. I start with production (I actually mix as I’m producing) then lyrics and recording vocals and finally mastering.

How would you describe your style?

I have artists that I look up to, like Billie Eilish, Mitski, Rina Sawayama, and BTS, but I guess I’d say that I kind of just…do whatever the fuck I want. I spent so long being told what to do as a contestant on KPOPStar that I want to explore different types of production techniques without being pigeon-holed into one wave of music! I think this has resulted in a glitchy and harsh, yet soft and glittery sort of electronic pop.

What kickstarted “Hi-Fi”? Did you have any particular inspirations during the process (other artists, certain events or places)?

Last semester, I actually studied abroad in Berlin! Living without everything you’ve ever known in a foreign country made me really lonely.

I had friends who went with me, but there was an overwhelming amount of time where I was just sitting with myself. I guess I made this EP to distract myself and to process how lonely I felt.

What would you like listeners to take away from your work — either this EP specifically, or more broadly?

Sometimes I get lovely DMs from listeners telling me that my songs have helped them, and those sorts of messages inspire me to continue making music. While it may not be possible for everyone, I hope that people can connect with my music to this level.

I want it to mean more than a passive listen, and for it to have a special place in their hearts.

Do you have a favorite song off of your new EP?

“Get It Now” was the most fun to produce. It was difficult vocally because I’m belting for a lot of it, but it’s the first of my music to have such an elaborate drum section, and every time I listen to it I like the feeling of power the drums give.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to our Korean Indie readers?

With everything that’s going on, make sure to quarantine and socially distance yourself! Even if you’re asymptomatic, you could still pass it onto someone more vulnerable, like immuno-compromised, disabled, and elderly groups. Stay safe (both mentally and physically) and take care of yourself 🙂

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aspiring museum professional, avid lover of music