- Name: Kwon Hyuk / 혁권
- Other stage name: Deanfluenza / Deantrbl / DEAN
- Date of birth: 10/11/1992
- Status: in activity
- Starting career: 2013
- Genre: Compositor, Songwriter, Hip-Hop, Alternative R&B, Rap, Pop
- Label / Agency: Joombas Music Group (2013), Universal Music (2016)
- Belongs to: CLUB ESKIMO (in activity) (2016), FANXY CHILD (in activity) (2016)
Artist’s Social Networks
Kwon Hyuk aka Dean is a Korean musician who had especially made a name for himself in the urban scene. Since 2013, he has signed in Joombas Music Group as a compositor and songwriter.
It’s only in 2015 that he really started his career as a singer with three collaborations rather targeting the American market.
People have to wait until 2016 for the solo debut of the artist in South Korea who also signed with Universal Music group. The same year he joined the crew FANXY CHILD and with his friend MILLIC they create the collective CLUB ESKIMO.
The singer quickly established himself on the Korean R&B scene and did a series of collaborations allowing him to go from the Rookie status to the “New R&B prince of Asia” one as the media 88rising called him. In short, a key artist on the Korean urban scene.
A deep-rooted passion for the urban culture…
Kwon Hyuk was born in November 10th, 1992, in the Hongeun-dong’s neighbourhood in Seoul, at the North of the Han River. Unlike what people might think because of the ease in English he shows in his tracks or because he had started his career in the United States; he is not Korean American. Kwon Hyuk spent the first twenty years of his life in Seoul with his parents and his little brother Kwon Hyuk-Beom. He is, for that matter, still in contact with them.
Like a lot of teenagers, Kwon Hyuk had an eclectic musical taste but, at the age of 16 he developped a true passion for Hip-Hop to the extent that he copied the rappers’ style and wore shoes and clothes too loose for him. Back at this time while the people around him were mostly interested by gaming, Kwon Hyuk was him looking for another way to relax and it’s through Hip-Hop that he found it. However, if, once again this goes for a lot of teenager, in Kwon Hyuk’s case, this new enthusiasm took a singular turn.
In interviews, Dean explained that what attracted him first in hip-hop was how it enabled to deliver strong messages. Tracks by Epik High especially had a huge impact on him. He related that he was really impressed by the fact that the group was able to convey such a relevant message through a three-minute song.
In this way, while before the teenager had only tried out writing through short stories about the martial arts; with the Hip-Hop now in his life he began to write his own songs. But through Hip-Hop and especially R&B he also widened his musical culture.
From his first compositions, there is for instance his collaboration with Keith Ape when they respectively were 15 for the It G Ma’s rapper and 16 for Dean (N.d You can find most of all the songs in his discography below).
Even though the artist had that growing passion he hid from his parents or the fact that he didn’t chose to major in music ; he however used to spend time on the Jungle Radio community, an online platform where amateurs could meet and perform. It’s on that platform that, at the age of 17, he met MILLIC. To be more precise, it would have been Millic who would have contacted him first, sharing with him his wish to become a rapper as well.
…which will be materialised, firstly, through composition
However, despite some beginning as a rapper and his already-existing dream to develop his own career, it’s first into composition that things took a quite serious turn for him. Inspired by Pharell Williams which takes on the artist status as much as the compositor one, at the age of 19 Dean composed a demo and got himself noticed by the CEO of Joombas Music group (JMB) founded in 2012 by Shin Kyuk (producer for instance of, One Less Lonely Girl by Justin Bieber with Sen Hamilton under the duo A-Rex) where he signed as compositor and songwriter at the age of 20. The label is also known for its involvement in the Kpop industry because of its regular collaborations with the agency SM Entertainment. For Growl performed by the boysband Exo for instance, but also with Girls’ Generation, SHINee and F(x) or even some other groups from other agencies such as VIXX.
Integrating JMB had a huge impact on his vision of music. Rubbing shoulders with professional compositors, he realized the difficulty of doing music professionally, to make a living from it. This transition didn’t happen without some efforts but is today an asset as he said it during a Facebook live in 2016:
« There’s a difference between interest and work so initially it was tough but now I feel that I had to go through that process ».
As a consequence, Dean started to contribute to multiple projects under the name of Deanfluenza. The prefix Dean, or his artist stage name that he wanted to differentiate from his producer name and the radical -fluenza which comes from the word “influenza”. He said in an interview that the idea came from a time when he had to go to the hospital. He saw the word “influenza” shining, hence caughting his attention. Added to his artist stage name, he thought that it could also be a way to mean that the Dean virus was going to spread.
Among the more famous pieces he participated in, there is, for instance the tracks Voodoo Doll (2013) and Eternity (2014) performed by the Boysband VIXX. For Exo he had been called to contribute to the composition of the instrumental of the song Black Pearl (2013) and he’s also the composer of their single Unfair (2015). He was also involved both in the music and the songwritting of the tracks World Tour and Video in the album Seoulite by Lee Hi released in 2015 or even for the tracks Shut up & Groove and And July from the eponymous album by Heize in 2016 in which he’s also featured.
When he’s composing/writing for other artists, Dean isn’t in the same mind-set than when it’s for his own creations. He has to take their image into consideration, their voices too; he would put himself into their place, would try to understand at best who they are. About his work with Lee Hi, he said that for instance, it was really easy to work with her because she has her own musical identity and, above all a deep voice that makes her sound like she’s lived a lifetime, even though she’s still young. For World Tour, he wrote on his way to the airport, he pictured a wandering character, weary of life.
His work with Heize was different as she was just starting her career. Not only did he contributed on some tracks of her album, but he also helped her to find her own colour, to define her image. Nevertheless, Dean said himself that he had also been enriched through this collaboration because Heize is really talented and that he thought she would deserve more acknowledgment.
Prestigious collaborations for the beginning of his solo career
If Dean found some fulfillement into production, he yet didn’t forget his dream to spread his own songs.
“I wanted to become a singer when I was 20 and began writing music. It was a dream in a corner of my head that I could become an artist”
Words from an article dated of December 2015 in the web site koreatimesus.
In this way, while he was composing for other artists, he was at the same time thinking about his own music. But his experience in composition also allowed him to give an insight of his own singing skills and it’s thanks to this that he has been offered a featuring with the Motown’s artist Mila J in the track Here and Now. Released in June 2015, this track was already an opportunity for Dean to express his admiration for the musical universe of artists such as Michael Jackson, Aaliyah and more generally for the 90’s R&B thanks to all the work on the beat 2xxx! made (he then became a member of the CLUBESKIMO).
However, Mila J wasn’t the only one to notice the young prodigy, as Eric Bellinger also contacted him for a collaboration on I’m not sorry, whose audio version has been released in July 2015, meanwhile the M/V has only been released in April 2016. It’s this collaboration which signed his start in the label Universal Record, concurrently to his contract with Joombas.
Having his name alongside the ones of such reknown artists was already more than impressive for someone who only started, yet Dean kept on further establishing himself on the R&B scene as he unveiled a collaboration with Anderson .Paak on the track Put My Hands on You unveiled in September and whose M/V was revealed in April 2016 (Eli’s Ed: We already talked about him on Dumbfoundead’s article, and I will not repeat myself by saying that you have to listen to his music; it worth it, especially the album Malibu, a pure classic). Dean ceaselessly repeats in interview how much he had been marked by this collaboration. First of all because he deeply admires Anderson.Paak (Eli’s Ed: his favourite song from .Paak would be Silicon Valley, I pretty agree), for his unique voice tone, but also and foremost for the artist’s approach. Dean explained that he has been stricken by the almost animal, instinctive side that .Paak could show in his creative process.
« I felt that’s how an artist should make music. With Passion and Joy »
Dean in an Interview for sbspopasia, July 2016
It’s also worth noting that the track was produced by Mr Carmack and Esta, both signed at Soulection which is clearly a reference label when it comes to Beat Music. Where Esta is maybe more into Soulful/R&B sonorities, Mr Carmack is one of the figureheads of the Hip-Hop/House Trap scene (Eli’s Ed: well personally it’s on that scene that I known him!)
However, it’s also interesting to point out that where Dean differentiates himself as a Korean artist it’s in how he started his career on the American market with for primary aim to win that public. That way, it had been to his great surprise that his music earned the enthusiasm of the Korean public as well.
Therefore, it’s already with a certain notoriety that Dean was officially making his first step on the Korean scene in October 2015 with the M/V of I love it in which the rapper Dok2 accompanies him. The bet wasn’t less meaningful though, and Dean made sure to stack all the odds in his favour by surrounding himself with the American producer B.A.M who had worked, among other, with Chris Brown and Ne-Yo. A few days later it was also possible to hear him on the track 242 by the singer Junggigo who personally invited him to join his project with Zion.T and Crush. Dean doesn’t hide his respect for those artists who for him would have opened the doors of the R&B in Korea, a true honour so.
Those successes are followed in November by the Pour Up M/V whose instrumental is, once again, made by a producer who had already collaborated with Chris Brown: Count Justice. This track also had a special meaning because it was the first of a long series of collaborations with the rapper and leader of the group Block B: Zico. But most and foremost the beginning of a real friendship.
The two-artist met through the producer Delly Boi also under Joombas. Delly Boi was indeed part of the crew working on the track Nalina by Block B and it’s him who suggested Dean to get in touch with Zico. Since then, both have started to frequently hang out together, just for the pleasure to spend some time together or to talk about music.
In Korea, Dean also captured the attention of the group Dynamic Duo. Gaeko and Choiza hence decided to invite Dean to join them on the track 요즘어때? (How You Doin’ ?) of their album Grand Carnival released on November 2015. This event is really symbolic for the artist as Dean really admired the two Dynamic Duo’s members and aspired to meet them when he was not yet part of the musical industry.
2016: More and more collaborations, 130 Mood: TRBL, Fanxy Child and the Club Eskimo
Thus, if the fortune seemed to have been in Dean’s favour in 2015, the artist was however just getting started.
He opened the year in January with the single What 2 do in collaboration once again with his friend Crush and the singer Jeff Bernat whose M/V is unveiled only in April the same year. We know that Jeff Bernat and Dean met several times to try some things out before finally offering us that song tinged with nostalgia.
That year is also a major one for Dean because of his participation to the SXSW festival from March 15th to the 20th in Austin, Texas. It’s impressive because the SXSW is more than 2.100 artists with this year to give you an idea: 21 Savage, 2 Chainz, Steve Aoki, Joey Bada$ and Denzel Curry, Desiigner, Dj Khaled, Flatbush Zombies, Kirk Knight, KOHH, Lil Uzi Vert, Metro Boomin, NxWorries, Open Mike Eagle, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Iggy Pop, Rich The Kid, SBTRKT, Travis Scott, Troye Sivan, Skepta, Rejjie Snow, Rae Sremmurd, Vince Staples, Stööki Sound, Stormzy, Suicide Boy$, or also Swizzymack, but also Korean artists like Deepflow, Keith Ape, Zion.T or the girlsband Mamamoo.
So yes, clearly, the SXSW is a pretty significant event for a first performance on the international scale. Funny and useless fact: to relax before a performance, Dean often explains in interviews that he drinks a shot, and more precisely a Whisky one!
More generally, Dean loves to be on stage and the SXSW gave him the opportunity to see different style of performances and also different stage configurations.
Nevertheless, in 2016, March 24th to be more precise, he also released his first album 130 Mood: TRBL. Dean also decided to follow the same principle than Lil Wayne and his Tha Carter’s series ; so here, the 130 Mood series, with once again references to James Dean.
Some clarifications are probably called for here. James Dean, indeed, had a 550 Spyder Porsche on which he added the number 130. The actor was deeply emotionally attached to his car to the extent that he used to call it “Little Bastarz”. However, according to several engineers the vehicle wasn’t reliable and even dangerous (Ed: after a few researches it looks like the Porsche was cursed by one of the ex-girlfriend of the singer and would be linked to multiples tragic events. But anyway if you are interested there is a lot of articles about that subject) but James Dean persisted to maintain the vehicle and to make some trials on it. To top it all, it’s actually in this car that he died in September 30th, 1955, during a race in North California.
If Dean also took the number 130, it’s not because he would have a consuming passion for cars but rather for the state of mind that one can find through James Dean’s approach with his car, his stubbornness. The common thread in the 130 Mood series is this desire for experimentation which bounded James Dean to his car.
To get back further on that album, in the titel 130 Mood: TRBL there is nuance “Trouble”. If we’ll go back more precisely on this album and all its M/Vs (Eli’s Ed: I hope in a close future and with even a surprise as a bonus!) it is interesting to underline that Dean wanted to give to that album a B movie atmosphere. A B movie is none other than a full length feature film with a low production budget which can gather different genre such as western or sci-fi. The B movie term is also used in a pejorative way to talk about a film without a great artistic ambition (Ed: this information comes overall from Wikipedia). In this way, here he more specifically wanted a dark, melancholic, sorrowful and inspired by European art films atmosphere. This album narrates the story of a deteriorating love relationship. However, Dean caught us on the hop and inverted the classic order. He chose to open the album with the Outro And You which he describes as an open ending while the album closing track 21 might illustrate this moment when people are falling in love. This track is, indeed, really fresh with funky and pop influences and also some rock notes.
Deantrbl is another name of the artist (Ed: we can find him under this name on some of his social networks) and if he decided to build this album upside down, it’s simply because he is aiming to do thing upside down, to be at odds with the norm, to make his own way and as a consequence he is trying to deliver at best this feeling through his music.
More generally, there are seven tracks in this album. Some were already existing collaborations. For instance, Pour Up featuring Zico or I Love It featuring Dok2 which had already been online since 2015. But there are also two new collaborations: What 2 do with Crush and Jeff Bernat, but also D (Half Moon) with Gaeko from Dynamic Duo with who he had already worked in the past. People had, nevertheless, to wait until April to see the M/Vs. D (Half Moon) conveys a melancholic atmosphere because it tackles the moment in a relationship where it starts to have an empty space in the love. When the love which was uniting people doesn’t have the same intensity anymore. The feelings emanating from the song are directly linked to Dean’s state of mind when he composed it. He explained that he wrote D (Half Moon) when he was in the USA for music but started to feel homesick.
And, indeed, this dual interpretation goes on in the track What 2 Do: this emptiness which is as much present in the relationship as in the artist’s homesickness now turns into weariness, a love weariness, a weariness of the USA.
The album clearly had a great resonance in Korea. 130 Mood: TRBL was nominated in the “Best R&B and Soul Album 2017” category of the Korean Music Award. And also, for the “Album Of The Year 2017” of the Korean Hip-Hop Awards. His song 21 was also nominated for the “Best R&B and Soul Song 2017” of the Korean Music Awards; even himself entered the fray for the “Best Vocal Performance Male Solo 2016” of the Mnet Asian Music Awards, also for the “Artist of the Year 2017” of the Korean Hip-Hop Awards. However, if D (Half Moon) is only nominated for the “Song Of The Year 2016” of the Mnet Music Award, the track was awarded by the “R&B Track of the Year 2017” title during the Korean Hip-Hop Music Awards. Pour Up also stood out for the “Best R&B and Soul song 2016” for the Korean Music Award.
In short, during the years 2016/2017 Dean had three nominations and among them an award at the Korean Music Awards. It’s the same for the Korean Hip-Hop Music Awards and finally he was nominated twice at the Mnet Music Awards.
Let’s also add that the EP was ranked 10th at the Gaon Album Chart, 3rd at the Billboard World Album chart and 22nd at the Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart.
Besides his solo project Dean has also been invited in some tracks. For instance, he was contacted by the management team of Taeyeon from the SM’s girlsband : Girls Generation upon the M/V Starlight released in June 2016. For that matter, the track is nominated at the Gaon Chart Music Awards for the “Song of the Year – June 2016” category. Regarding his collaboration with the female singer Heize previously mentioned, it’s the track And July which was nominated at the Gaon Chart Music Awards for the “Song Of the Year – July 2016” titel, but also at the Korean Hip-Hop Awards for the “Collaboration of The Year 2017” one.
It’s also worth noting that Bermuda Triangle by Zico and also with Crush whose M/V was unveiled in November 2016 was nominated in the same category but also at the MelOn Music Awards for the “Best Rap/Hip-Hop Award 2017”. Dean, as often happens, did not only sing but had once again contributed to the production of the track which is now considered as one of the Khip-hop scene classic.
We’ll not talk again about his work as composer that year, except for the fact that he also contributed to the mini album WELCOME 2 BASTARZ from the sub-unit BASTARZ of the group Block B. Within the scope of the show Two Yoo Project Sugar Man in which he appeared as a producer, he contributed to the arrangement of the song It’s Love performed by Ikon and Je T’aime performed by Winner. He also prepared two tracks for the candidates of the show Unpretty Rapstar season 3.
In light of all of those events, 2016 is a confirmation of Dean’s recognition and the artist’s life has been kind of changed by it. For instance, Dean said in an interview that D (Half moon) success in particular had been a breaking point. He could pay back all his mom’s debts but also buy a new bigger studio, a better place to create. It was also a breaking point because he had the chance to create bonds with talented musicians as the previous-mentioned collaborations show it.
However, more than simple collaboration, those friendships also took the shape of collectives: the Fanxy Child and the CLUBESKIMO whose he’s especially proud of.
Indeed, it’s with the M/V of Bermuda Triangle released in November 2016 that the Fanxy Child made its first public appearance. But it’s in June 2017 with the track Paradise from MILLIC‘s album Vida that the collective was really complete. Fanxy child is not only a crew which consist in Zico, Crush, Penomeco, the producer Staytuned and Dean (Ed: all are 92s liner except maybe for Staytuned because we don’t have a lot of information on him), Fanxy Child is above all friends who meet as often as they can to spend some time together, to relax, to drink, to help each other out in their respective creative process.
Simultaneously Dean also dedicates himself to the CLUBESKIMO. And it seems that the CLUBESKIMO has been created before Fanxy Child.
If many are familiar about the Fanxy Child, some might only have a vague idea or even a complete lack of knowledge about the CLUBESKIMO. And for those who might know about it, there is probably a point which would required a correction.
What’s the CLUBESKIMO? It’s quite simply an artist collective which aims to bring a new momentum, a new color to the Korean urban scene. However, unlike the usual common belief, Dean is admittedly its founder, but not the only one. No, he didn’t found it alone. The CLUBESKIMO is an initiative from both Dean AND MILLIC. As previously mentioned, Dean and MILLIC met each other almost 10 years ago through an online music community. Yet, it turns out they might have met each other for the firt time in real life in L.A, California. While MILLIC just had turned 20 and was in the USA for his studies, Dean was working over there. It had probably been around 2013 and since then the idea of creating a collectif just grew up. As a consequence if there is a palm tree on the crew logo, it’s because both of them started to make music in L.A. It’s from then on that they began to recruit artists from various horizons with for now, Crush, OffonOff, Punchnello, 2xxx!, Campergraphic (or Rad Museum), Miso, Jusén and Chekparren but overall if we had to give a date for the crew creation it would be between 2015 and 2016 (Ed: if you’re interested by the Club Eskimo an article is coming soon).
2017: An artist assuring his presence on the Korean scene.
More concretely, it’s from 2017 that the CLUBESKIMO really started to stand out. First of all because some crew members (and therefore Dean) are in the track IGLOO from MILLIC’s album Vida released in July. But also, because the members did a lot of collaboration among themselves. The same month Dean could be heard with the duo OFFONOFF for the M/V of the song Gold from their album Boy. This groovy track allowed them to be rewarded for the “R&B Track of the Year” price in the Korean Hip-Hop Awards 2018. In October he accompanied Rad Museum on his track Tiny Little Boy from the album Scene. Both created an atmosphere tinged with some almost Latin influences and Dean’s voice is just heightening that paradoxical mix of serenity and melancholy already brought by the prevailing guitar in the track. Finally, with Punchnello they performed together in the mainly jazz track Piss on Me from 2xxx!‘s album Life released in November.
As for the Fanxy Child, people can once again listen to the crew in July for Zico’s EP Television with the eponymous track Fanxy Child.
However, Dean isn’t exclusive to those collectives as he also made a collaboration with the crew Dream Perfect Regime and their rapper LIVE on the sublime M/V Know Me released in March. In May people can listen to him on the M/V Too Much from Loco‘s album Bleached. Produced by Gray, the track is mainly groovy. Finally, he also accepted to take part in Suran’s album. Dean had already noticed the singer’s voice and her artistic vision during the third edition of Unpretty Rapstar in which he was a guest producer while she was a candidate. Hence, it’s quite naturally that he offered her the track 1 + 1 = 0 for her album Walkin’ released in June. Interesting fact, here 1 would be for work and as a consequence, the freshness of the track is supposed to remind that relentless work isn’t synonymous with personal development and then that dedicating his whole life to work is going against self-fulfilment.
Yet, when it comes to his personal projects, Dean isn’t one to be outdone. In February he released the EP Limbo inspired from the universe of the movie Inception with the track The Unknown Guest but also an M/V featuring Ye Rin-Baek called Come Over whose animation are bquite dreamlike but are also reminding of a painful return to reality.
In May, he signed his latest international collaboration with the single Love where Syd from the rap group The Internet did the artist honour by accompanying him. Dean said in an interview that he had been nervous about this collaboration since he admired The Internet as much as Syd a lot:
“I really love The Internet. I like Syd very much too. It’s a bit to the extent that I will have fanboy feeling for them. They are artistes that I really really like. […] I already have fanboy feeling for them before this”
Dean in an Interview with epopTV in July 2017
In another interview from 2017, Dean explained that Syd had already been a huge influence for him and the Club Eskimo before and finally they made the collaboration in a relaxed atmosphere.
” We basically just drink Jameson (Whisky) in the studio for two days and that song came out, at first I wanted to drink to relax but it was so confortable so we just kept drinking and having a good time and wrote a great song “
Dean in an interview for Beats1 Radio
As the title says, Dean wanted the song to tackle the topic of love or more precisely Youth and Love. From the fragility of this feeling but also the uncertainty that it can entail and even more for those young people who are yet confronted with a future full of uncertainty. It also tackles the paradox surrounding Love. This feeling can be diverting, exciting as much as dangerous and risky. It’s that ambiguity, by the way, that the artistic direction tried to convey throuhout the M/V. As a metaphor, both artists are dancing on the wings of a plane straight from the 20/30s which is in a complete harmony with the retro patina you can the instrumental.
That love topic can also be found in the M/V Instagram released by the end of December 2017. In an interview Dean tacitly admitted that the song would indeed talk about his ex-girlfriend by some point. Or, at least he realised that it’s really a commonplace for people to keep stalking on their ex on Instagram.
” We have to stop snooping around our ex’s instagram page “
Dean in an Interview with 1theK, December 2017
Overall, with that track both full of nostalgia and bitterness accompanied by a more than puzzling artistic direction, Dean, indeed, wanted to deliver a more intimate piece, a piece with which his generation could relate. He also explained that he would have really introspected himself and finally understand the unhealthy dimension of Instagram and the social networks. From the waste of time to the stress they induced.
” I follow people that I look up to and people that I like, compared to those people, I feel infinitely small and lacking and see how many pretty, handsome and cool people there are on Instagram, I kept compared myself to them, and my friends going to these cool places while I was worn out from working in the studio. It felt like I was a lonely island placed away from all those people “
Dean in an Interview with 1theK, December 2017
And actually, who never had a similar inferiority complex?
In this way, he wanted to write a song based on the imagery of an urban Robinson Crusoe.
Then, it’s not really surprising that his song was rewarded by the “Song of the Year – December” titel of the Gaon Chart Music Awards 2018.
Nevertheless, 2017 also meant Dean’s participation as a producer in Show Me The Money 6 along with Zico. Together, they led Hangzoo to victory. The artist only said good things about this experience, he just admitted that it had been a first for him to be that much under the limelight and thus that he had not really been at ease during the first episodes. Concerning the musical aspect, if Dean contributed to the composition of several tracks for the show, the song which stands out the most for him would be Where U At composed for Killagramz with Zico and Dean himself as features. He especially appreciates the Hip-Hop/Trap combination of the track but also the freshness it exudes.
His different experiences gave him the opportunity to participate to several ad campaigns that year: KOLON SPORT with the M/V FLOWER POWER, the application Kakaopay for the messaging service Kakaotalk with the M/V Get The Feeling and PUMA with the M/V Run The Street.
2018: A year dedicated to the production of an upcoming project
2018 had mostly been a year of collaboration for Dean
The Hispanic vibe track Francesca from Hash Swan‘s album Alexandrite released in February. The album Upgrade III by Swings unveiled in March with the almost mystical Jon Snow but also this same month his remix of the song Dante’s Creek from the artist THEY which also had its own M/V adaptation.
He is also the face of the What’s your favorite campaign from the beer brand Guinness.
The only exception had been dayfly release on November 9, 2018 with Sulli and his CLUB ESKIMO friend Rad Museum. This track, fascinating mix of softness and melancholy has been adaptated in a MV released in March 28th, 2019.
However, if the artist had not been so much present in 2018, He still has been nominated three times at the Seoul Music Awards 2018, for the Bonsang Award, the Popularity Award and the Hallyu Special Award.
But most of all, the artist has a lot of projects.
Those past few years he kept on sharing his desire to work with artists from really various musical universe like one of the references of the Korean musical scene: Kim Gun-Mo or artists he admired when he was a child such as Music Soulchild. He’s also really interested by the musical universe of Woo Wonjae and would like to make a collaboration with Hyukoh Oh Hyuk or even PARTYNEXTDOOR and KAYTRANADA. He would have made several sessions as well with the artist Gallant who released in 2017 a song featuring Tablo and Eric Nam. Let’s see now if something will come out from those sessions since Dean already talked about it in 2016!
In 2015/2016, Dean was also talking about an album project 130 Mood: JNGL, it seems that he would have gave it up or put it aside, anyway he doesn’t talk about it anymore but would rather be on another project: 130 Mood: RVNG.
The storytelling concept should even be reinforced. That album is taking some time because he would have decided to write all the stories scenarios before getting into composition and actually making the songs. With that album he is aiming to truly follow the process of a movie original creation. Unlike with his latest album, he has today a true experience of the scene. As a consequence he decided that this album would be less based on the vocal technique, he is lowering the vocal range. Dean’s songs are, indeed, really demanding when it comes to vocal, only a few singers are able to reach those notes and 130 Mood: TRBL is more suitable for a studio performance rather than a live one. Yet, if Dean loves to compose, he admitted that what he likes the most is to perform. For him there is nothing better than the excitation and energy an artist can feel during a live performance. He loves to express his feelings on stage and to feel a connexion with the public. It’s in taking all of this into account that he would have produce this new album, he would be already thinking about the stage direction and really would like to offer an unforgettable experience.
Dean, an artist with an insatiable curiosity…
If you’re familiar with our work, you should have noticed that yes, clearly, for now it’s one of our longest article even though Dean isn’t really an old hand of the Korean scene. However, he’s an artist who is fluttering around influences and is constantly looking for a new way to improve his work. Consequences? Eli who thought that she would die under the weight of all these information.
More seriously, Dean’s references are really interesting so much they are diverse. If he wishes that everyone could live is own experience through his music, he thinks at the same time that people would enjoy his music a lot more if they have in mind all of the influences that are at the root of is artistic colours, that are brightening his music up, every single detail he took the time to add.
Among those references, there is obviously the Afro-American urban music but also genres such as Punk, Rock or even House. More precisely Dean is listening to artists from really various background like Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Big Sean, Drake but also Zak Abel, Phony Ppl, Mild High Club, Cashmere Cat, Tom Mish, Bryson Tiller, Gallant, PARTYNEXTDOOR, KAYTRANADA and of course Syd, The Internet and Anderson .Paak.
Nevertheless, as other, Dean doesn’t restrict himself at the musical universe. Photography, drawing, painting and cinema are also for him a great source of inspiration. Concerning his artistic direction for instance, he uses to listen to movie dialogues through his earphones and then thinks about how he could express that atmosphere, these sounds/tones visually. He also did a reference to the French director Michel Gondry (Ed: among others Eternal Sunshine of Spotless Mind, The We and the I, Mood Indigo). He’s also thinking about getting trained in acting, not for being an actor but as a way of improving his musical expression!
Despite everything, Dean underlines that it’s above all from his own experiences, what he thinks and feels that his songs come.
A music which directly reflects who he is
Dean indeed, aims for his music to be in tune with who he is, a different music, a music breaking with what already exist and that is why he chose Dean as a stage name.
But more precisely, why Dean?
Sometimes, a stage name can bear a significant meaning for the artist and it’s the case for Dean. When Kwon Hyuk started to look for a stage name, he wanted to find something in tune with the music he was aiming to make. As luck would have it, his neighbours used to call him James Dean when he was a child because he would have share some physical resemblances with the American actor. Well, James Dean is actually a rebel icon who perfectly matched with Kwon Hyuk’s projection, the one of a new and experimental music.
Actually, if at the beginning of his career he adapted for instance, his creative process depending on his public, which means either American or Korean, like artists like CL or Keith Ape can do so. Quickly he realised that, more than income and ranking what mattered the most for him was to express his own colour, to focus on quality, on the expression of his own musical identity. For him, this is the key to success for an artist; to stay loyal to your universe, working hard and above all believe in yourself.
” Regardless of wether it is Korean or American, I believe good music will always connect “
Dean in an Interview for Hello Asia, March 2016
This musical identity is translated by an overwhelming influence of the cinematic process which is quite different from what we already discussed about. Dean doesn’t only draw his inspiration from visual imageries. What he wants, in fact, is to produce a music that can be visualised, that while listening to his tracks, people would be able to imagine their own representations in their heads. He wants to surprise, that his music would be like, to quote him:
“The creaking of some insects, which would make a sound like “beep” out of nowhere”
Dean for 101Kimchi Radio
For this purpose, he adds sounds effect like television interferences sounds, a knock at the door and so on.
In this way, Dean is exclusively dedicated to his music, it‘s really what motivates him and he would not see himself doing anything else. He wants to produce a music which reflects him, that he could listen with pleasure.
” I really like my own music, it’s not narcissist but I just want to make music that I like to listen to, like those music that will survive on my playlist. That has been my initial dream since I was young, I’ve been producing music in order to realise my initial dream. It must be song that I like too. If we were to compare this to food, it’s like selling my favourite food to people too. “
Dean in an Interview for Pikicast, March 2016
Thanks to all this artistic research, Dean wants to show that Hip-Hop doesn’t have to be all about dissing each others and being rough an tough, but that softness, gentleness also have all their place. It looks like the bet was won.
In spite of all the attention he gets, Dean is staying humble and shy and above all grateful for his success.
” I feel Shy that they call me the big trend, I’m just constantly doing what I like to do, I don’t really care much about other things, I’m shocked that everyone would like it too, and I’m thankful “
Dean in an Interview for Pikicast, March 2016
This feelings are also visible in his relationship with his fan, as we said earlier, with his need to be on stage. At the SWSX he even signed autograph to fans who were not old enough to go to the festival and were waiting outside on cars to steal some glances.
And if this interview and that event are a little bit old today, in an interview from December 2017 with 1theK for the release of his M/V Instagram he explained that he had removed all the pictures where he is acting handsome in order to favour those in which he’s natural. What does that have to do with Dean’s music approach? Well, for Dean what truly matter is above all his music hence this is what should come first. He doesn’t want to be liked for his appearance or his look but because of his work.
” I hate posing like how I know handsome I am, I erase photos that I get that vibe from them, It’s supposed to be a musician’s Instragram page, It feels degrading when there’s too much about my look “
Dean for 1theK December 2017
This is with the same mind-set that Dean is approaching collaboration. Like he explained it, if he had been able to create with so much different artists, this is mainly because his collaborations had always been based on a mutual respect of the creative process of the other. Because with all the artists he collaborated, they had been able to combine their musical colours and hence to compose tracks each one more interesting than the other.
So yes, more than a physique, Dean is first and foremost an artist who seems to be animated by an endless thirst for creation. One might appreciate or not his work but his projects are indubitably filled with ideas and he succeeded in developing a musical universe as much rich as various. In short, a musician who truly deserves all your attention, we are impatiently waiting for his next album!
Dean’s Live Facebook – Trad deanfluenza subs
Youngstreet – Trad deanfluenza subs
Valley Rock – Trad deanfluenza subs
Blue Night Radio – deanfluenza subs
Pikicast – trad deafluenza subs
LIFESTYLE TV – trad deanfluenza subs
3CTV – Trad deafluenza subs
IOA Cut on MTV Taiwan – Trad deanfluenza subs
WAVE 89.1 (Philippines) – Trad deanfluenza subs
106.7 EnergyFM (Philippines) – Trad deanfluenza subs
MYX – Trad DΞΔN Philippines
KBS World Radio – Backstage Chat – Trad deanfluenza subs
DEAN X NANA INTERVIEW – Trad deanfluenza subs
epop – Trad momokokazumi
Get the Feeling – DEAN 딘 X kakaopay – Trad momokokazumi
171018 Dean’s Instagram Live – Trad WIC Dean
TofuPopRadio – Trad Dean Thailand
The Seoul Story
The Icon TV – Trad deanfluenza subs