Isaac Hong Talks Inspiration, Differences Between Competition Shows, and the Role of OSTs
Isaac Hong shares the stories behind his songs and his broad views on inspiration and music’s purpose.
For those who have never heard your music before, how would you describe it to them?
Maybe my music is somewhere [between] pop, ballads, and a little bit of rock.
Please share some information about the songs on your new EP!
All of the songs’ musical texture were drafted with pianist Soo-young Chin. He didn’t want to touch the melodies and lyrics, so I sat in the studio by myself trying to figure out what the songs were really about. When we wrote the song “everland,” we didn’t have the lyrics or the right melodies, just the title for the demo.
“a bird” is one of the songs that I think really tells the story of how I feel, about my beliefs and my attitude towards music. It is basically a prayer towards a being I sometimes feel far away from. [I] don’t know how that will resonate [with] listeners, but hopefully someone will understand.
What were the biggest sources of inspiration for your new EP?
My inspiration came from time and endurance in my studio - haha, that was a half-joke! My inspiration was my own feelings. I know the answer seems obvious, but it took me a lot of time to sit [with] and figure out the things that I’m thinking. It was very educational for myself.
How did you first develop a passion for movies?
Who doesn’t? I think a lot of people love to watch movies. I am always fascinated by how inspiration for a story comes [into] real-life content, such as books, music, and movies.
What three words best describe your experience making Da Capo?
Endurance, endurance, endurance.
How did your time on the “Yoo-Jae Ha” music competition differ from your time on Super Band? What were your experiences like on both of those programs?
The two competitions were very different. The direction in which musicians were being viewed, the ways they were evaluated, and even the ways scores were given were all different. Both competitions were really fun, and I learned a lot from them. To put it a little more simply, in “Yoo-Jae Ha,” I had to show the inner side of me, while in Super Band, I had to work to show the outer side of me.
What has been the most fun OST to record, and why?
The most fun OST to record was The Uncanny Counter’s “Close Your Eyes.” The song has a superhero-like atmosphere. During the recording, there were moments of laughter that just wouldn't stop. I don't even remember what we were laughing about, but I remember that everyone was laughing from start to finish.
Is there any particular show you hope to record an OST for in the future that you haven’t yet?
OSTs can be somewhat unpredictable, since it's difficult to know which dramas will be successful and which stories will resonate with audiences. In Korea, successful dramas often boost the popularity of their soundtracks. As a musician, I believe that it's important to carefully consider which music directors to work with, as this can greatly impact the quality of the music produced. In the end, I’m open to any genre as long as it has a good story.
What are your goals for the rest of 2023?
I [will] be happy if I can create something that feels like who I am as a person. That [will] be enough for now.
Lastly, is there anything else you want to say about yourself or your music?
I live my life believing that creating something good is my greatest pleasure and mission. To achieve this, I think it's crucial to showcase my story and my true self through music. If there are people who have the time to listen to my ongoing life story, [isn’t] that enough?
Answers have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity. Photo credit: Instagram.