Every year, the ADE festival in Amsterdam brings together electronic musicians from around the world to show off the best beats, sweetest sounds, and newest technology in an ever-evolving genre – and this year, W was there to supply a sounding stage for the talent. A built-in, full-service recording studio right inside W Hotels around the world, the Sound Suite allows traveling musicians to record while on the road and get inspired by the city around them. At ADE’s W Sound Suite pop-up, musicians were able to turn their creative inspiration into a reality.
One of the young talents to visit the Sound Suite was Yousun Cho- aka CIFIKA– the Korean native who shocked the world with her bilingual EDM hits. Only two years since her hit song “Ritual” (which she recorded herself) went viral, the forward-thinking singer has embarked on the longest worldwide tour by a Korean musician, letting her fans from around the world get to know her IRL. Although the basement music producer turned EDM star was born in South Korea and currently lives in California, the internet is really her home.
We caught up with CIFIKA, the EDM queen, to talk about her style, her start in music, and her undying love for the world wide web.
What first influenced you to start making music?
CIFIKA: My talent in singing always made people to pay attention to me. I really liked that feeling and loved expressing my energy through signing. Three years ago, I didn’t even know how to produce music and I found out that with one laptop and a pair of speakers, you can make music by yourself. I started to make my own. My voice was the inspiration that got me to start making music.
How does your South Korean heritage influence your work? How does your new home of California influence you?
CIFIKA: I don’t think it’s really Korean and English thing that I got influenced by. Since I was a child, my mom played classical music, especially Operas and Concertos. That’s how I first got used to the music world and growing up listening to classical music on a daily basis really made my musical background. I do speak Korean and English, and I sing in both languages, but since I was born in the Internet era, there hardly is a barrier between regions. I think I’m influenced by the Internet and infinite information on the internet.
What’s the most important thing to you when you are performing?
CIFIKA: That I can truly enjoy the moment. I don’t really care about perfect pitch or perfect performance, those need to be nailed with many rehearsals and practices before the actual show. I only care how much fun I have at each show. Recently I did two shows with the house duo Two Town Shape and I had so much fun working with them. Their rearranged version of my songs are great, and I get so much more energy from them.
Your style is so unique. What or who inspires your looks in your videos and when you are performing?
CIFIKA: Everything around me can be an inspiration for me. I try not to reference any musical icons when it comes down to the image making of “CIFIKA” because I want to be the new icon. I always want to create something that’s never seen before. I work with Oojoo and Yabi as my visual directors. They make my style, and we research many different eras of art to come up with a new vision. Recently we started archiving our fashion and art direction 10 years from now. If people search my name after 10 years, we wanted these certain images to show up.
What’s your favorite way to relax and let loose when you are touring?
CIFIKA: Drink my honey water and talk about our next step with Oojoo and Yabi. I love to take a long bath with bath salts, but I had to share the room with other people, so I couldn’t really do that in my own time.
What surprised you the most about playing at the ADE festival?
CIFIKA: That I see so little Asians on the street. I’m from Los Angeles. And it’s basically half Asian. The good sound system really surprised me too. I had so much fun performing at the venue.
What was it like performing and creating a track at the W Hotel Sound Suite Pop-Up?
CIFIKA: It was very convenient and inspiring. After performing and meeting with other artists, ideas come through and I feel like I was back at my studio, so that I can throw out all of my new ideas. It was great to have everything ready for me to make a track, and I had a lot of fun building a song with recording engineer Steven.
What are the benefits of traveling around the world and being able to record at a full studio within the hotel?
CIFIKA: Fresh ideas can be executed right away, and a new environment with a good sound system and the staff is a boost to my creative process.
What were your highlights of ADE?
CIFIKA: Of course my gig at Melkweg, I want to come back next year with my new album that’s coming out soon. Against the clock by FACT Magazine was awesome. I got to see how other producers make their tracks and had much fun shooting my session.