DJ Soulscape is a wildly impressive Korean DJ and producer based out of Seoul. Deeply influenced by 80s hip-hop, his parents’ extensive collection of soul vinyl, and his engineering background, the musician is a culmination of diversity and contrast. Soulscape composes and arranges electronic symphonies reminiscent of K-pop, yet innovative in style and genre. The artist has been praised for his side project 360 Sound, a party series founded in 2005, that curates regular performances by influential Korean DJs.
For those who might not be so familiar with your work, could you briefly tell us a little bit about yourself?
DJ Soulscape: Sure, I go by the name DJ Soulscape, although my real name is Park Min Joon. I’m currently working as a DJ and a producer.
How did you get started in the music industry?
Well, growing up, I used to collect various records as a hobby. And my parents would play those records at home. As they were great fans of the Motown and soul genres, I got exposed to those kinds of music at a very young age. So it was through my parents’ influence that got me collecting various records, and in high school I bought a turntable and got myself into DJ-ing.
I understand you studied something completely different though.
Well, a lot of DJ’s have a background in engineering, like myself. I studied studio engineering at school and it does have a lot of relevance to what I do now. Having studied that actually helps me out a lot in terms of running my studio.
What kind of music most influences the music you produce?
The most influential music for me, when I began DJ-ing, was the hip-hop that came out in the mid-80’s. The kind of music that I listened to growing up was mostly soul, and I grew up listening to artists like Barry White and Smokey Robinson, who were very huge in Korea at the time. James Brown was also one of my favorite artists when I was a child.
Can you tell us a bit about 360 Sound?
It’s a party project that was started in 2005 by a bunch of us DJ’s who have been friends for more than 10 years. We are the generation that grew up with great influence of hip-hop and subcultures, but there weren’t any parties that allowed young people to enjoy various kinds of music at the time. So we came up with an idea of starting one where young people like us can come and enjoy and form a small circle of friends. In 2005, me, DJ Jinmo, and Plastic Kid finally put our plans together and launched it. It began with a small block party.
And now it's this massive thing! Who all is involved these days?
Besides the three of us who started it, two more DJ’s have joined. Because everything—from development and advertising to video and music contents—is planned and organized by ourselves, we each have different roles and responsibilities to keep the project going. For example, Jinmo is in charge of art directions, designs, and posters, while others work on promotion and video production and editing. Some friends who are in the entertainment scene--like dancers and skaters--all help us out with what they specialize in.
What do you think is the state of contemporary Korean music?
I think the flow of traditionally Korean pop somehow got disconnected in the mid-80’s. And now the trend is to bring back the music that had been flowing before then and renovate it to fit the tastes of today's generation. As a musician myself, that is also part of my goal: to let people relive the music scenes from the past.
Any predictions for the future of Korean music?
I understand that people like to follow trends and that’s why similar types of music can be heard all the time, but the problem we face now is that due to many countries and cultures being globalized--through the internet and media--we are losing the genuine and unique identity that each of our cultures represent. The sense of locality is disappearing. I cannot predict what will really happen in the Korean music industry after 20 years, but luckily we still have musicians who are striving to bring back the original Korean sounds to modern K-pop.