My earliest memory of music was my mother’s vinyl collection, which comprised mostly classical composers like Chopin and Schubert. The underground music scene in Cologne, Germany—where I grew up—coupled with my classical piano training, shaped my taste in my music. To this day, when I rediscover music that I used to listen to, I get fascinated and re-influenced again. It’s like reading an old book you used to like and discovering things you never paid attention to before.
Becoming a DJ was pretty unexpected. I never planned on being a DJ, nor did I actively seek to be in music, but looking back, I was always in music. I trained to be a classical pianist at a conservatory for almost 10 years in Cologne. My mother was a great music and arts influence in my life—she plays several instruments and frequently took me to operas and philharmonics when I was younger. I also co-founded an indie rock pop band, which lasted for a year. About three years ago, I learnt how to use the DJ gear from a friend and little did I know, my manager booked me a gig at an event. I had to learn to DJ in two weeks—I sucked, but I did it. From then on, there was a lot of traction, and local clubs and people in fashion started booking me for parties. I play techno and house, although I’m mostly drawn to techno because the repetitiveness transports me into a trance-like state. I also love how the sounds are built up and I prefer tracks without lyrics, as they’re a lot more freeing. It’s meditative.
People are always surprised to find out that I’m completely German on the inside. I just look very Asian. My parents are Korean, but I was born and raised in Cologne. German is my first language, although I also speak Korean, English and French. I left Germany after high school and in the six years after that, lived for short periods in Seoul, Sydney, Varese (in Italy) and Los Angeles. It was a period of soul-searching, finding myself, and figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. I interned with fashion stylists, modelled, and studied interior design and architecture.
When I moved to Seoul in 2016, it took me some time to warm up to the city. But as of this year, Seoul has started to feel like home. My appreciation, pride and love for South Korea has increased since the global pandemic started and I’m so happy to be here.
Koreans are driven by passion. We are emotional, ambitious, excitable and genuine. Seoul is loud. Whether it’s the chatter of people on the streets, drivers honking on the roads or music blasting from stores, there’s an incredible energy which you’re only able to grasp when you’re here. I love the opportunity for innovation.
I live in Hannam-dong, which I adore because it is residential, yet has many cafes and restaurants. It is also a short walk from Itaewon, the party capital of Seoul, which is where I DJ the most. Admittedly, I’m quite introverted so I hibernate a lot at home, but when I do go out, I love to catch up with friends for food or drinks, and hang out at my local Seoul Community Radio. Join me as I take you through my well-loved spots in Seoul.
La Cruda, Hannam-Dong
I was over the moon when I first discovered this Mexican place—it’s literally a five-minute walk from my home. Pop by in the afternoons as there are fewer people then and is the perfect time to enjoy the space. Order Birria De Res—a Mexican beef stew—it’s hearty and zesty at the same time. Pair it with Grilled Mushrooms with Chorizo and Ceviche, add tacos and guacamole, and you’re in for a real treat.
638-68 2F, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu
Hoban is tucked away in an alley and only locals from the area typically know about this place, which serves mouth-watering Korean food. Try the original soon dae (Korean blood sausage)—you can find this in convenience stores but the one here is very traditional. I also love the kongbiji-jjigae (ground soybean stew) and butter fish stew—the food is always delectably authentic.
6-6, Bukchon-ro, Jongno-gu
Fortune Restaurant, Dongdaemun
It has to be a good sign when there are only Russians in this colourful hole in the wall. You might get looks when you first enter the Russian joint, but it’s absolutely worth it. I highly recommend coming here with a group ready to feast because there are so many delicious things to try. I tend to order a lot of food here—go for the golubtsy (Russian stuffed cabbage), uzbek plov (rice with beef and carrots), borscht (a beetroot soup), shashlik (skewered meat) and dumplings of your choice.
154 2F, Mareunnae-ro, Jung-gu
Pad Ka Paw, Haebangchon
I visited Thailand twice this past winter, and fell in love with the country and the food. It’s difficult to find authentic Thai food in Seoul, so it was like hitting the jackpot when my close friend introduced me to this place. My favourite dish here can’t be found on the menu, so please call a few days in advance to request the most delicious thing on the planet—khao kha mu (braised pork leg on rice). Their usual suspects, such as the pad pak boong, som tam and tom yam goong, are also must-tries. If you’re especially famished, add on the yam moo yang and pad kra pao.
Shinheung Market, #97-6 Sinheung-ro, Yongsan-gu
Pussyfoot Saloon, Hannam-Dong
Pussyfoot Saloon is completely unassuming from the outside, but take an elevator down and you’ll be blown away. The bar is reminiscent of an art deco-style speakeasy, with ornate, velvet furniture. Grab a seat and ask Dominic, their mixologist from Lithuania, to make you a rare cocktail. I showed him a photo of a Hugo (a spritzer with Prosecco, elderflower syrup, sparkling water and mint leaves) and he knew exactly how to make it by heart. Trust me, before this, I couldn’t find anyone in South Korea who knew what a Hugo was. The excellence of bartending at this place is completely underrated. I’m also all for the fact that the bartenders constantly refill truffle fries (all complimentary) as you sip on your drink.
7-8, Daesagwan-ro 31-gil, Yongsan-gu
Seoul Community Radio, Itaewon
This is where I spend most of my free time. It’s a laid-back place where people from all walks of life come by for a drink and listen to whoever is playing the livestream that evening. The sunsets are gorgeous, but so are the hours after dark. SCR streams everything live on their platforms from their studio in the back from Wednesdays to Sundays, although sometimes there’s even something happening here on Monday or Tuesday as well. SCR reminds me of Cologne and is where you’ll meet underground DJs, quirky creatives, expats, both young and old, and lots of dogs. I usually go for their pale ale on tap or the highball paired with mac and cheese balls. Richie at the bar is always up for a good chat, while DJ Bowlcut might teach you a thing or two on the deck. If you know how to DJ, and if you ask politely after the official programme for the night is over, they might even let you spin for a bit.
451-10 1F, Itaewon 2(i)-dong, Yongsan-gu
Casa Corona Seoul Rooftop Bar and Lounge, Itaewon
Casa Corona Seoul reminds me of warm summer nights in Europe. The relaxed atmosphere in this rooftop bar is a stark contrast to bustling Itaewon below and it’s the kind of place where good vibes will envelop you. Order the signature Casa Corona cocktails, which are classic drinks with a twist. Be it summer or winter, the rooftop is always open—when it gets cold, there’s nothing better than snuggling under the transparent igloos they set up. Make sure you catch one of their live jazz shows.
127-15 Itaewon 1(il)-dong, Yongsan-gu
The Blind Pig, Hannam-Dong
If you like the smell of cigars like I do, you are going to love it here in South Korea’s first official smoking bar. The Blind Pig has fine whiskies and classy cocktails. It’s a little hard to find in the beginning, you have to go into a tiny alley and then inside a building with a weird half floor down door. Get the cheese platter and the olives and have a cigar or cigarette with your drink.
62 Daesagwan-ro, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu
Hit up Volnost on the regular if you like industrial and ambient techno. It’s small, underground and the ideal locale if you want to let loose. My tip? Dim the light on your phone and abide by the house rules—do not take photos. I recommend getting a drink of your choice, closing your eyes and revelling in the techno music that is played here.
136-1 Itaewon-ro, Yongsan-gu
You’ll be ahead of the curve with this one. Moor has yet to have their official opening but it’s already one of my favourite places to go to in Seoul. I am such a fan of their artist curation and musical vision—they aim to build a bridge between commercial and underground music, and give the public an opportunity to access different kinds of genres. It’s a fabulous place for after after after hours.
68-3 B1, Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu
Club Modeci, Hongdae
Opened by the famed Henz apparel shop, the music here is a smooth blend of hip-hop, soul and funk. Ride the elevator up and you’re instantly greeted by retro lighting and Function 1 speakers on wood floors in the main area. If you need a break from it all, escape up the stairs to the rooftop for a hit of the cool night air and a stunning view of Hongdae.
5F 64, Wausan-ro, Mapo-gu
Deputy Editor: Amelia Chia
Stylist: Lee Jong Hyun
Hair Stylist: Gabe Sin
Makeup Artist: Bom Lee