In Conversation with Red Pig Flower

Over the past decade, Red Pig Flower has been leaving an indelible mark on the contemporary electronic music scene through her dynamic productions, extensive DJ sets across the globe, and her co-founded imprint, Sound Of Vast.

Originating from South Korea and journeying through Japan, Germany, the UK, and now based in Italy, Red Pig Flower has honed her skill and knowledge of igniting dance floors while crafting intricate, emotive, and mind-bending electronic compositions. Her first gig at the renowned Panorama, alongside Hor, significantly elevated her career,
solidifying her position as a rising star in the industry. As a DJ, her sonic landscape spans a diverse spectrum, ranging from trippy Micro House to pulsating dance floor-oriented House, Techno, and beyond. Audiences frequently express the uniqueness of experiencing her taking them on a sonic voyage through the club.We recently caught up with her to dive deep into her musical world..

Hi Red Pig Flower, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. We’ve been listening to your new EP ‘We Need Space’ coming on Switzerland based label Adam’s Bite. For those who are yet to hear it, could you tell us about this release, its inspirations and when and where you made these tracks?

Hey, thanks for having me. Adam’s Bite is a Basel-based minimal label that I've been a huge fan of. When they asked me to send demos for a release, I was genuinely surprised. We had a long discussion about which tracks would fit perfectly for the label, as my sound has evolved more towards house than minimal.

One thing I've always been passionate about is my love for jazz music. I recorded a bass sample from a jazz bar a while ago, trimmed it, and crafted a jazzy analogue bassline. The vocal comes from an old Björk interview where she mentioned, "As a musician, we need space," and I agreed with her sentiment, so I used it as the main vocal line and built the track around it.

The other two tracks on the EP are punchier but still in line with the theme of "separation" and "the feeling." I wanted a combination of these three titles to create an engaging storyline. When I create an EP, I treat it like editing a short storybook; I see myself as a storyteller before a musician or artist.

You’re originally from Asia with roots in Korea and Japan but have been based in Europe for some time now. Could you please share with us your journey in electronic music, when you first began discovering it and what your initial introduction to it was?

Believe it or not, I came from a punk rock background. I was in a band for a few years as a teenager, but band dynamics and teamwork weren't for me at the time. Soon after, I discovered the joy of electronic music, and I loved the idea of making music on my own without the drama of dealing with bandmates.

My first electronic music love was Moby's ambient album, which drew me into electronica. I remember being hypnotized by his track "Dog," with its repetitive and dreamy sound. I used to listen to that album until I got sick of it.

I used to go to after-parties at Rooty Club in Shibuya, where I was the youngest at just 19, surrounded by DJs mostly in their mid-40s who still played vinyl. They took me under their wing, and while I wasn't a fan of their music (I leaned more towards minimal and techno), I appreciated how friendly and accepting they were. Rooty was my introduction to house music, and it was heartbreaking when the club closed down.

Ever since I was 19, my love for dance music has continued to grow and evolve, and I'm still on that journey.

You recently toured Asia, debuted at Panorama Bar and performed as part of Honey Dijon’s Southbank Centre takeover in London, it seems things are really picking up for you as a DJ. Could you share with those of us who haven’t managed to see you DJ yet what your style is and what people can expect when they come to see you spin? Also, are there any major highlights from recent shows?

My DJ style has changed significantly since COVID. As the owner of Sound of Vast, a house music-based label, my DJ set has evolved in parallel with the label. We used to release minimal house and disco, but gradually, we refined our label's sound to focus more strictly on dancefloor-oriented house tracks.

Since COVID restrictions lifted, I've gained a profound appreciation for the energy of the crowd and the emotions on the dance floor. I aim to express the joy of being alive and dancing together again, so my performances have changed. I'm fully immersed in the dance floor, singing, dancing with people, shaking my body, and connecting with the crowd.

A major highlight was definitely playing at Panorama Bar and the Southbank Centre. Not only were these dream venues for me as a DJ, but the crowds that Honey Dijon brings are incredibly LGBTQ+ friendly. While I don't promote myself as a representative of the LGBTQ+ community, it's true that some of the most loving and supportive friends I've had are from the LGBTQ+ community. Their energy and support, especially during tough times, have been amazing. House music has deep roots in the LGBTQ+ community, and I love everything about the dance, energy, and community it brings. These two gigs had incredible support and energy on the dance floor, allowing me to express myself without fear.

How is your approach in the studio, for example what was the process in creating the title track from your new ‘We Need Space’ release, this track has many elements from dynamic drums to multilayered synths and vocal samples. How did this track come together and what machines or software did you make it with?

In general, I start with digital synths and use Ableton Live for its practicality. However, I also deeply appreciate the touch of analog sounds. That's why I incorporate many samples from artist interviews or field recordings. You might see me recording random conversations or unusual sounds during my travels. These recordings serve as my archive, and I bring them into my productions.

I begin with the kicks, place my recorded samples strategically, and experiment until I find the best match. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I fail miserably, but that's the creative process. For "We Need Space," the vocal and basslines seemed to naturally match, and then I focused on synth and arrangement, which typically take up most of my time. I mostly use Arturia's Analog Room for synths because it has almost every synth you need.

As for delay, I use FabFilter extensively. One of my production tricks is to record samples with heavy filters and delay, chop them up, and reuse them as secondary samples. I love the unpredictable sounds that filters and weird delays can generate.

You’ve spent some time living in London, Berlin and Brussels, where in Europe are you living these days, and would you say that each of the places you’ve lived have been influential in your progression as a DJ and producer?

Every place I've lived has had a significant influence on me. Interestingly, people often say, "You have a typical [city's name] sound." I lived in London, and when I played in Berlin, people would say, "You have a typical London sound." Even now, years after leaving Berlin, I still get comments like, "Your sound is so Berlin!" Haha.

I have a strong passion for anthropology, and club culture is my main area of research. Even when I'm on tour, it's important for me to not just perform but also observe how people dance, behave, how club policies work, and the challenges organizers face. I believe that clubbing isn't just about the music; it's about society, culture, and even politics. After or before my sets, I often engage in discussions with organizers and the crowd about culture and policies for hours.

Returning to your question, Berlin has probably had the most significant influence on me since I lived there the longest. It used to be a DJ and producer's paradise.

What’s next for Red Pig Flower other than this upcoming EP, are there any other projects on the horizon or any other major shows?

I've been talking about making my album for almost a year, but it's still a work in progress. Every time I try to produce music for it, I feel like it doesn't quite match my concept, which can be frustrating. However, I know it'll come together when the time is right; I just need to keep going.

Next year, I'm planning another Asian tour and a South African tour. I'm eager to explore and connect with the music scenes in these countries. Specific plans still need to be scheduled with my agency, but anyone following me on Instagram will be updated.

Lastly, could you please share with us something else you’ve been doing in your life these days outside of music, a passion of yours or something else that’s been special to you in your life right now? Maybe a book, a movie, a place to eat, a person or anything else that you’d like to share? Thanks for talking with us…

I'm a very curious person, so I like to explore various tools. During the COVID lockdown when I was in Brussels, I delved into information design, which got me into a bit of coding and AI. I even collaborated with SFU Vancouver on their PhD research team for AI generative music, which was a lot of fun.

However, I've always believed that without human touch, AI generative results can be repetitive and boring. So, I'm highly interested in how things will evolve in the realm of AI and music. After COVID, I've noticed that many metaverse DJ gigs and live streaming NFT events have become somewhat mundane and boring, and people are getting more excited about real-life live events. It's an intriguing shift.

I'm also a huge film and book enthusiast, but sadly, this year, I haven't had as much time to watch movies or read books as I'd like. My nomadic lifestyle has led me to discover the joy of trying local foods wherever I travel. During my Asian tour this summer, I learned about Indonesian cuisine, which was a delightful experience. In Bali, I had the chance to experience proper Indonesian cuisine at "Home by Chef Wayan." In London, my friends took me to the Indian restaurant "Dishoom," where not only was the food fantastic, but the atmosphere was heartwarming.

I could talk about food and drinks for hours; in fact, I have a dedicated "foodie" folder on my phone that I don't share with anyone. Maybe one day I'll start my own food blog!

Keep it up with Red Pig Flower on the links below.