How Yunsae Became a Triple Threat
Yunsae breaks down her varied approaches to making music!
For those who have never heard your music before, how would you describe it to them? How would you finish the sentence, “Yunsae is ____” or “Yunsae’s music is ___”?
[Yunsae’s music is] popping like candy! I always include that kind of expression whenever I need to explain my music. My songs are fresh and lively. I try to use different sources and sounds from other people’s songs. Music insiders say [my songs] resemble either [an] idol band’s songs or pop songs. I really like that, because it means people can feel something new listening to my songs.
What inspires your music the most?
I definitely can say good songs inspire me. Whenever I get to know good music, especially songs with beautiful melody lines, I feel jealous. I continuously think, “This song has to be mine,” and soon I can think of better ideas than before.
What are the biggest pros and cons of being an independent artist?
Being an independent artist for three years, I can now easily answer this question. I can make my own plans, choose who to work with, and [keep] costs low. I [have been] enjoying these huge benefits since 2019, but sometimes I feel down too. Especially when I think of promotions and marketing, it seems like I am floating on the surface of an ocean. Artists assigned to big labels have more opportunities to be seen by the public. They have more chances to appear on TV or radio. I sometimes wish I had a company, and I believe someday in the future I will. [I’ll see] what happens.
Please describe two of your newest singles and compare and contrast them, “Second Date” and “Call This Love.”
Both songs are good to listen to when you drive or walk. They have fresh and lively feels, the same as my other songs, as well as pleasant lyrics. However, my intentions for the moods of these two songs are totally different. For “Second Date,” I intended for it to be breezy, and I tried to make it spring-like. It has many real instruments, like acoustic guitars and bass, so it sounds a bit different from typical Yunsae songs. “Call This Love” is more like what I [have done] before. This song can immediately bring you to summertime from the [beginning], and the track is more EDM-like, full of ear candy and joy.
Are there certain situations that are the best for listening to your new songs? For example, does one of your new singles sound the best when listening to it at a certain time of the day, or in a specific place?
Listen to my songs during lunchtime! I believe the energy level between you and my songs [will] be similar during the daytime. A lot of people say they listen to my songs while they drive. I don’t have a car, so I’m not sure, but maybe you can try and tell me how it is.
From the very beginning until the release date, how long does it take you to make a new song? Does it vary a lot? What does the speed of putting together the song depend on?
The duration of work depends on the songs. Sometimes I write songs in an hour, but sometimes it takes years and years. Creation is always difficult, because you can’t expect what will come out. As a songwriter and producer, I need to write the melodies as well as the tracks, and usually beat-making takes more time. First, I need to find sources and choose which sounds to use, then I start layering them, chopping them, [and] putting them together. Another difficulty is writing the lyrics. Korean words are usually difficult for singing because of the final consonants, and refining the words usually takes a long time for me.
You have always been very hands-on in every part of the song-making process. Is that something you had always planned to do, or did that happen naturally? In other words, did you dream of becoming a singer and just naturally ended up becoming a producer and a writer too, or did you always dream of doing all of these things together?
When I was young, I played piano and dreamed of becoming a singer. Later in [my teenage years, my dream] changed to a composer. However, my parents wanted me to study. That’s why I majored in English language and literature in college, because languages are my second interest. I started music again as a vocalist of the band club. I got to know about electro-pop after listening to the song “YOUTH” by Troye Sivan, by chance. Then, I started to learn how to make music with Ableton Live. Beat-making basically requires you to do everything [related to] production. I didn’t dream of doing all of these things on my own, but things just became like this.
What is something about the process of making music that people misunderstand or might otherwise be surprised to learn?
For electronic music, playing instruments is optional. You can even create tracks with a Mac, meaning you only need a mouse and a keyboard. In the past, people who couldn't play instruments couldn’t make music, but it’s possible today. I hope everybody writes a song at one time or another.
You have a lot of cute cartoons for album covers! How do you choose your cover art?
I usually search Instagram to find painters or designers. Hashtags are always a big help. I search for stuff like “albumartwork,” “graphicdesign,” “illustration,” [and] “oilpainting,” [depending on] the mood of the song. If I can’t find good candidates on Instagram, I move on to searching the portfolio sites [of] designers. The album cover for my single “rainbow promises” was drawn by an artist who paints in acrylics, and I found her on a website where people sell their own paintings. I was lucky.
If you could go back in time and give some advice to a pre-debut Yunsae, what would you say to her?
You’re doing great. Always take care and focus not only on the music but also on the promotion [of it].
What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
I’m preparing for an EP once again, which should be better than flowerain. My short-term goal is to complete writing this in six months. For [my] long-term goal, I want to be an irreplaceable singer, songwriter, and producer. My melodies and tracks have their own mood that should be what only I can do. And maybe live in a more spacious house than [I do] now? [Laughs]
Lastly, do you have a message for your fans or anything else you want to say about your new music?
My new single, “Paradise,” is out. I don’t have any songs left for this season, so please enjoy this for a long time. Your thoughts and feelings always give me inspiration, so please let me know your opinion. Lastly, please spread my songs all over the world, so that I can continuously work on them. Thanks!
Check out Yunsae’s newest single here!
Answers have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.