“Ok-Pop Dreaming,” a brand new podcast sequence by LAist Studios that explores the rise of Ok-pop and the Korean diaspora in Los Angeles, launched its first two episodes on Thursday.
Listeners are guided by host, author and actor Vivian Yoon, a second-generation Korean American immigrant who spent her adolescence within the metropolis’s Koreatown. Yoon’s private narrative serves as a cornerstone memoir that blends the realms of popular culture and geopolitical historical past to kind a profound love letter to town of Los Angeles.
A mixtape and a secret
Episode 2, as an illustration, is framed round a mixtape that Yoon created with Ok-pop tracks starting from artists equivalent to SM Leisure boy group H.O.T. – thought of by many as the primary Ok-pop idol group – to Psy and his seminal 2012 music “Gangnam Fashion.” Every chosen observe is each an informative historic artifact and a key to a pivotal second in Yoon’s personal life.
“That episode was so onerous. That episode truly didn’t exist after we first got here up with the define for the sequence,” Yoon tells NextShark forward of the “Ok-Pop Dreaming” premiere.
A problem within the podcast was: how can we introduce all these ideas to listeners? In a approach that’s not overwhelming. We needed to introduce massive Ok-pop concepts so that everyone begins on the identical place, like whether or not you’re an excellent fan, or whether or not the one Ok-pop music is BTS’ ‘Dynamite.’ How can we get all people caught in control? The thought for Episode 2 was like a fast overview of Ok-pop. From the ‘90s to the current day.
In keeping with Yoon, Episode 2 took not less than 10 completely different rewrites to seem extra like a podcast episode and fewer like a prolonged article.
The quickest solution to get away from boring is to simply anchor it in one thing private. I then figured, why don’t we simply use the songs that knowledgeable my childhood and teenage years to get us into these greater ideas?
When it got here to choosing the songs, it was a no brainer: listed here are all of the songs that I do know have been necessary to me. From there, it was a matter of mapping it with what I used to be going via throughout that point. It simply occurred that I made the soundtrack to my life in a approach. There was a Ok-pop music current for each interval of my life rising up.”
Although Ok-pop was an ever-present pressure in Yoon’s life, the primary episode of her podcast opens together with her confessing that she saved her Ok-pop fandom a secret for years:
I don’t assume anybody truly made enjoyable of me for listening to Korean music. Trying again, I’m fairly certain my disgrace was fully internalized. … I assumed if individuals knew I used to be listening to Korean music, then the fastidiously crafted American picture I had made for myself would shatter.
I additionally felt like my tastes and music set me other than the opposite Korean American children in school. And that distinction, that’s what I needed. That’s what made me really feel cool and particular.
Historical past and her story
By means of creating “Ok-Pop Dreaming” – a course of which took round one 12 months of analysis – Yoon is now a unique particular person. She admits she shouldn’t be a Ok-pop professional, tutorial or historian, however she is now capable of finding energy in sharing her personal historical past and the historical past of the hometown that helped construct her.
I had no selection however to take heed to Ok-pop rising up as a result of all of the eating places and retailers in Koreatown performed Ok-pop in every single place. It has been fascinating to see individuals who don’t have those self same connections that I do actually falling in love with this style and resonating with it so deeply. I feel that’s one thing that I’ve realized via this journey, is simply how actual that love is, not simply from the followers to the artists within the music, but in addition the individuals who have been behind creating the music and behind creating the most important teams that everyone knows.
In later podcast episodes, Yoon shares her discoveries of how Ok-pop is intertwined with the shaping of her circle of relatives tree.
It gave me a solution to look at my total life and see the place I come from, see the place my mother and father come from, the place my grandma comes from, and see all these massive world forces that formed Korean historical past, those self same forces formed my grandparents and my mother and father. It’s the rationale why my grandmother emigrated to California within the Seventies. And it’s the rationale why my mother and father met in Taiwan. And it’s the rationale why I grew up in L.A.
New goals and NewJeans
Rising up watching kids’s exhibits and listening to completely different bands and public radio, Yoon had hassle discovering illustration in what she cherished.
This podcast made me understand [that] I don’t must strive to slot in the field of getting a totally American id, or being totally Korean, however occupying this third area as a Korean American particular person. Not simply being OK with that however seeing the contributions you can make and bringing all of the completely different components of your id and who you’re, bringing that to your work and letting that inform the way in which you see and work together with the world.
Now that “Ok-Pop Dreaming” is accessible for streaming, Yoon says she has a brand new dream.
The Asian American child listening who has their very own secret goals, issues that they really feel like they desperately need, they need it so unhealthy that they will’t even say it out loud. They’ll’t even admit it out loud. For them to really feel like they’ve permission and the power and the boldness to simply go for it. That’s my dream, for us to succeed in one particular person, no matter that particular person’s dream is.
As for what Yoon has on her not-so-secret Ok-pop playlist these days, it’s NewJeans. And when requested if she might pair one in every of her favourite non-Ok-pop artists with a Ok-pop group for a collaboration, Yoon contemplated what Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo might do within the Ok-pop area.
Extra data about “Ok-Pop Dreaming,” could be discovered right here.
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