South Korea and the Prominent Rise of House Music

By: Michael Kevin |

South Korean artists have become a global phenomenon with the emergence of K-Pop as a part of the Hallyu Wave from the early 2010s, and its movement for the past decade has been mindblowing, with the amount of fans of the genre has reached. K-Pop artists such as Blackpink, Twice, BTS, and EXO have been breaking YouTube and streaming records, blowing up charts around the world, and sold out every stadium and arena around countries such as USA, England, France, Japan, Australia, and more.

However, if K-Pop is not your cup of tea, there’s another rising movement that might suit you, which is Korean House. Generally known in countries such as France, Netherlands, and the USA, South Korea might not be the country you’d think of when talking about house music. But in recent years, Korean house music was starting to have an immense growth, with artists such as Peggy Gou, Yaeji, and Park Hye-Jin, representing their Korean origins, leading the genre’s prominent rise around the globe. The trio has started to bring interest from listeners of the House genre, playing their sets at nightclubs and even music festivals around the world, and also showcasing their mix. The three of them were included in the popular electronic music oriented YouTube channel Boiler Room.

Peggy Gou, the 28-year old DJ, singer and producer who is currently based in Berlin, Germany, has experienced such a meteoric rise for the last couple of years, playing at major music festivals almost everyday in European cities such as Milan, Ibiza, London, Barcelona, and her hometown Berlin. Initially popular at the underground scene of house music with the release of her 4 EPs back in 2016, most notably the EP “Art of War”, Peggy Gou plays rather in an old school way, relying on different vinyls and CDs, unlike other DJs who rely on digital music to play on their DJ sets. 2019 is notably Peggy Gou’s breakthrough year, with the release of her own label, Gudu Records, her own fashion line Kirin, and also the release of her DJ-Kicks showcase, which is an acclaimed mix series hosting among the best DJs and producers such as Four Tet and Nina Kraviz.

Similar to Peggy Gou, Brooklyn-based producer, singer, rapper, and DJ Kathy Yaeji Lee, better known as Yaeji, also experienced a prominent rise for the last couple of years. Starting her interest in DJing while studying at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and later learning how to use Ableton and other musical instruments, the 26-year old played at numerous sets around New York while also releasing her debut EP “New York 93” in 2016, her second EP “EP2” in 2018, consisting of tracks such as “raingurl”, “drink i’m sippin on”, and her own remix of one of the rapper Drake’s popular singles “passionfruit”, with few remixes throughout the year. Right now, Yaeji plays her sets throughout America, Europe, and Asia, including this year’s edition of We The Fest in Jakarta and also Lollapalooza in Chicago.

A rather underrated artist among the three, currently London-based producer, singer, and also rapper, Park Hye-Jin (박혜진), is just barely starting her career in the music scene. Her acclaimed debut EP “IF U WANT IT”, which was released at the end of last year, created buzz surrounding her in early 2019. She also had a collaboration in a track with New York-based DJ and producer Baltra in his single, “Ahead of Time”, which was released this July. Coming through Seoul’s underground acts, Park Hye-Jin clearly has shown promise onto the scene of house music, and bigger things are waiting for the former resident DJ at Seoul’s Pistil Dance Club, as she’s starting to play sets throughout Europe and Asia.

As all three of them are gaining their own popularity in the house music scene, great things are expected for South Korea as the country’s scene of house and techno music clearly shows promise for more South Korean DJs and producers to thrive like these three artists who have achieved their success.

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