Get To Know Emerging South Korean Talent, Kevin Sihwan
Jun 7, 2022
Having started playing the piano at age 6, and later moving on to learn music production at 16, Kevin Sihwan has been immersed in music throughout his entire life. Growing up in South Korea and moving to the US at 21 to study music composition and technology, Kevin Sihwan is now based in New York and is working towards establishing his footing as an exciting up-and-comer within dance music.
Kevin Sihwan’s talents extend to multiple house music genres, with his latest release “Ping Pong Flow” making up for a stunning showcase of his unique style. The talented artist has been supported by Tiësto, KSHMR, Timmy Trumpet, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Nicky Romero, Lucas & Steve, Dannic, and many more, and it’s not hard to see why. Fresh off the release of “Ping Pong Flow,” we had the chance to catch up with Kevin Sihwan and learn more about the song, his live performances, and his future plans.
Popular TV: Hey Kevin Sihwan! Talk to us about your latest single “Ping Pong Flow.” How did it come about and what was the most fun part about producing it?
Kevin: Of course! First, I just would like to ask you guys when you imagine the title, “Ping Pong Flow”, what do you imagine & what it is going to sound like? Maybe, the old EDM generation already caught the idea from Ping Pong from Armin Van Buuren. But yes, I came up with this idea by getting inspiration from his track too! I believe that my signature sound, for now, is pluck sounds with some added shuffle future house music style.
The fun & interesting challenge while making this song was to what extent can I make a pluck sound addictive? To what extent can we make a story using vocal samples? Also, I usually have put a lot of instruments in the drop part so far in other tracks that I have released before, but this song specifically uses a few instruments in the drops. Like giving people ear candy, and following the trend of using only a few instruments I believe.
Popular TV: Talk to us a bit about your record label Exclamation Recordings. Why did you decide to launch it and where do you want to take it in the future?
Kevin: Thank you for asking me this first, Ben. First of all, Exclamation Recordings was created in 2019 by Kevin Sihwan, myself, and so far the label has released only my own songs. I hope that once the tracks that I’ve made are ever-growing, these good tracks will be released to other record labels, but on the other hand, I feel that they’re right for the purpose of boosting the brand of my music, so that I can provide better content through them. So far, this label is small, but my goal is to find potential, promising producers after I engage with more fans and producers this year, and to create the biggest exchange of Dance Music beyond Electronic Dance Music.
Popular TV: You’ve received support from some of dance music’s biggest names. Tell us about one of your favorite moments when you found out that one of your idols supported you.
Kevin: It’s always nice to be supported by the DJs or producers I respect, and it feels like I’ve solved my old homework. The fact that famous DJs supported your song means that the song is good, and it evokes excitement in fans, right? It may be called a career, but I’m satisfied that my song is simply considered a good song, and I think it contributes to increasing productivity so that I can make more songs for my fans.
Popular TV: You moved to the US when you were 21 in order to go to college. How did living in the US over the past years shape you as an artist?
Kevin: I always think that America was the perfect place for me as an environmental condition for me to do music and become a formal and professional musician. Korea, where I grew up until now, was not a time when EDM was so big before coming to the United States. Now, Korea has a very big music culture. The EDM industry there has many good artists, good clubs, and Dance Music festivals. When I first came to the United States at the age of 21, I came as an international student, and I came to learn more about music and the culture of American music. When first arriving, I was not good at English, so the language barrier prevented me from becoming a musician, and I had difficulty adjusting to the difference between American and Korean cultures. However, these problems helped me a lot to grow into the musician I am now. The more I solved the difficult problems, the more I compared myself to myself in the past, and then now, I saw myself growing mentally and physically. So I welcome them because I think I’ll take the opportunity to grow through them, no matter what the problems are going to be.
To sum up, my life here didn’t just make me an artist through music.The process of trial and error, life experiences, and the environment of doing what I wanted to do made me a musician.
Popular TV: Your fans call you Korean Steve Aoki due to your energy on stage. How does a Kevin Sihwan live show look like?
Kevin: Good question. First of all, I think each DJ has his or her own secret weapon to show off his or her philosophy and personality when they have their own performances. Among the DJs, first of all, I don’t play if I don’t have music that I can’t dance to. So you’ll be able to see me dancing and acting crazy on stage often. When I dance and have crazy fun like this, the audience automatically dances and approaches me more. That’s why they called me this nickname. Actually, there are few Korean DJs like me, so I think that’s why they call me this nickname. I had long hair before then so this could be a small reason too I guess.
Popular TV: What are your music plans for the summer and the rest of the year? Do you have any releases lined up that we should look forward to?
Kevin: First of all, I’m going to release a song that I wrote two years ago at the end of this month. I played this song as a teaser for my fans on an Instagram story, and I got surprised that they were enthusiastic on this track, and I actually sent this demo to Atlantic Records. One of A&Rs liked it a lot and asked if there were other similar songs to me, and I said nope! And they didn’t answer me anymore lol. (laughs)
The song that will be released at the end of this month has a different overall feeling than the songs I’ve been making, so I think it’ll come out fresh to fans and audiences. The genre is house with a pop vibe. Please look forward to it.
And this summer, the exact release date has not been set, but I will release a single in collaboration with another promising producer at a record label that everyone who likes EDM knows. I hope we can have an interview again through this song.
After that, when the summer is over, we will release the song every month starting from August. I can’t even keep count of the songs I made. Fans will be curious, so I want to release them all.