[Indie Spotlight] Interview with Lethal Princess and One Chill

What does your name mean?

"Lethal Princess" started as a nickname given to me by a group of friends who were discussing how I am both the nicest person they've ever met, as well as the meanest person they've ever met. I can be compassionate and incredibly kind, yet just as easily be as scathing as lava. The nickname Lethal Princess stuck with me when I was a manager for professional MMA fighters from 2008 to 2014. When I started producing electronic music, it simply made sense to keep the name by which I was already known.

I'm also part of a duo called "One Chill" (1•7). The "One" refers to the main vocalist (Yeji) because her life path is number 1, and the "Chill" refers to me because my life path is 7. (chill=칠=7)  In One Chill I'm known as 미평온 (Mipyeongon). Mi is "my" in Spanish, and 평온 means "serenity". Writing songs in Korean is "my serenity".

When did you start music?

I started producing electronic music in 2017 to use for my art videos. (I paint.) I started with dubstep in 2017, then added trap in 2019, and now I'm working on pop on my own, and as part of One Chill (1•7). 

What's your inspiration?

Up until now, I didn't sing much. I didn't like the sound of my own voice. I didn't want to ruin my music I love so much with a voice I couldn't stand. Both of my Korean language tutors told me that I sound "more Korean" when I sing than when I speak. I thought about what they said, and decided to start using my songwriting as a method of learning Korean more efficiently, and singing in Korean as a means of improving my pronunciation. So, it's fair to say my two Korean language tutors, Kim Jin-gyu (김진규) and Yeji Jeon (전예지) both inspired me to explore this path. I appreciate them so much! To understand the specific inspiration behind my lyrics though, you'll first need to know what inspired me to learn Korean in the first place. (It's a bit of a long story so you might want to get a snack.) What I am about to share with you, led me to learn Korean, but is also the inspiration behind my 7 minute homage of a ballad to Kim Jong-wan (김종완), titled "김종완이 마이크에 대고 소리를 질렀을 때 내 목숨을 구했어". ("When Kim Jong-wan Screamed into a Microphone it Saved My Life")

At 11pm on November 11, 2016, I kissed my boyfriend goodbye as he prepared to board a Greyhound bus bound for a two year rehab center in another state. December 24, 2016 at 3:05 am, I found out he had been cheating on me since four hours into our relationship. What in the actual....? Wow. Can you break up with someone over the phone on Christmas Day? Absolutely yes. In 2017, I went to a psychiatrist to ask exactly what my malfunction is, that causes me to only ever have dumpster-fire relationships with toxic people. He said due to experiencing abuse, neglect, torture, and abandonment prior to the age of three, the emotional part of my brain didn't properly develop. He went on to tell me that my "relationships will always be toxic" and there is "no hope" of my situation ever improving. He actually told me, "you are empty, and nothing you do will change that fact". Well, damn. When I returned home, I felt numb, and was uncharacteristically calm. I stood in my living room feeling like my entire life was a huge waste, and I thought, "am I really empty?"

(I wasn't joking about this being a long story.)

I laid down on the floor, pulled a pillow under my head, pulled a blanket over top of me, and silently decided to stay there until I didn't exist anymore. After way too many days languishing on the floor, I must have rolled around on my phone while fading in and out of sleep, because a random video started playing, and was looping. Near the end of the song, the singer (김종완 Kim Jong-wan) let out a scream for 4 seconds, that reverberated throughout me. That's the first time I felt anything that resembles "alive" since I had left the doctor's office. I realized that I wasn't so empty after all. I was full of unpleasant, unresolved, negative emotions and unexpressed thoughts. That event was the inspiration for the song, "김종완이 마이크에 대고 소리를 질렀을 때 내 목숨을 구했어". ...but wait, there's more. The next morning I decide to get up off the floor and give this whole living life thing another try. I was so weak from malnutrition and dehydration, that I only got as far as sitting up, leaned against the wall. I pulled the blanket over myself, and the phone fell out of the blanket. There was a guy wearing sunglasses singing into a microphone. I didn't speak Korean back then, so I had no idea what he was singing about, or even who he was. Since he was wearing sunglasses, my focus went to his mouth. For one split second, I felt jealous of anyone who'd ever kissed that mouth. I immediately felt stupid for having that ridiculous thought, and promptly burst into a flood of tears,... the mouth-wide-open-wailing-bawling-my-eyes-out until I tipped over on the floor type of crying. I'm sure it's because I hadn't cried since this whole thing started. Two years later, I had the courage to contact the guy who owns that mouth, and asked him if I could paint his portrait. He turned out to be a really nice guy, and sent me a photo to paint his portrait. Unfortunately, due to Grave's Ophthalmopathy, my vision became so poor that I can no longer paint hyper-realism, and couldn't finish his portrait. I kept the photo he sent me in case I'm ever able to start painting portraits again. In 2019 I was inspired to learn Korean, for the sole purpose of being able to speak to him without the inaccuracy of translator apps. He has become my muse for some of the songs I write.

It's funny how such an unpleasant event led to such pleasant art. There's a saying amongst artists, "When someone says they like my art, I always say 'Thanks, it was the trauma'." Sometimes creative genius comes out of sheer madness. You never know which parts of life are going to end up being inspiration for the creative process. 

What is your creative process like?

When the creative tap is on full blast, I never know if it's going to be for creating music or writing lyrics. The creativity for composing music will overtake me for awhile, then when it ends, I don't get an impulse to write lyrics for that music right away. I just go on with other things in my daily life, and then I suddenly get inundated by a flood of song lyrics. It also works the other way around where I have pages of lyrics piled up, but then have to wait for the inspiration to work on music for those lyrics. Where it gets weird, is when the lyrics and the music match up perfectly in every way without much effort. The most effort I ever put into a song, would have to be the vocals for "김종완이 마이크에 대고 소리를 질렀을 때 내 목숨을 구했어". I needed to focus on my pronunciation, but I also needed to focus on singing well. I knew I'd have to be patient with myself, and work hard for the song to be worth creating. As far as the creative process for "김종완이 마이크에 대고 소리를 질렀을 때 내 목숨을 구했어",... well, I had felt depressed on Christmas Eve 2020. That night I figured I could either go cry myself to sleep, or grab my clipboard, a pen, and a box of tissues to sit down and write my story from 2017, just to vent some of the unpleasant emotions I was feeling. At that point I didn't know what type of song was going to come from it. Writing the music for it came weeks later. Learning the vocals for that song was a challenge for me, but I think it turned out pretty well. 

What is your favorite song that you have done?

My favorite music I have composed and produced is a tie between 함께 (Together), Wasted on You, or Brave Butterfly (coming out in June). My favorite song in its entirety is a tie between 고문이야 (It's Torture) and 김종완이 마이크에 대고 소리를 질렀을 때 내 목숨을 구했어. I love listening to 김종완이 마이크에 대고 소리를 질렀을 때 내 목숨을 구했어 because it represents overcoming a dark period of my life, as well as representing a few accomplishments that I wasn't so sure I would actually achieve. (I had to learn a lot of vocabulary and grammar in a short amount of time, find my singing voice, and improve my pronunciation as if I'd been speaking Korean longer than a few months. Even the fact that I finished it instead of giving up halfway through is a huge success for me, because it seemed so daunting in the beginning.  In regards to the song 고문이야, I'm wondering If I should be embarrassed to admit that I'm addicted to my own song? Haha! I really hope people like 고문이야 as much as I do! When I wrote it I thought I was going to have a hard time fitting it to a melody, but it actually all came together quite smoothly. Whew!

Do you have any other hobbies or non-music related talents?

I am an artist. I paint mostly abstract now, since it doesn't require such fine details and therefore I can actually see what I'm working on. I simply create a playlist of favorite songs to suit whatever mood I'm in at the time, and zone out on the music while I throw handfuls of paint at a 5'x7' canvas. Pure bliss. So therapeutic.

When I'm not working on music, writing, or art, I prefer to be outside. The beach is my happy place. It's about the only place I can go where anxiety won't follow me. When I'm not working on anything, and I can't be outside, I like to watch any Korean movies or shows involving time travel... and judge it for plausibility and paradoxes. Haha!

What's your life's motto?

"Music Saves Lives/음악은 생명을 구한다" is my life's motto, as well as the tagline for my company (Monster Legacy Music), and it's even on some of the Lethal Princess merch. I want my music to comfort and inspire people when they need it most. Our website www.monsterlegacymusic.com has a section devoted to suicide prevention around the world because mental health awareness and suicide prevention is probably the most important part in all of this for me. People don't want to die, they want to live without the unbearable suffering. 

What's next for Lethal Princess, and for One Chill?  

As Lethal Princess, I have a song titled, "Stay" that will be released later this month. "Stay" is a ballad where one person is talking another person out of suicide. I'm also working on an instrumental album.

In regards to One Chill, we have our debut album, "화이팅" coming out in June this year. A few songs are currently previewed on our website www.monsterlegacymusic.com. The songs on this album are all inspiring and encouraging except for 유령 (ghost). 유령 is about questioning if you still love someone who is no longer around, or if the image of them in your mind has you loving a ghost. The idea is to not be stuck on a relationship that no longer exists. Other than that, all the songs are meant to support people in having, being, or doing anything,... and to promote self-love. My favorites from the One Chill album, 화이팅, are Brave Butterfly, and Never Alone, which are both highly inspirational.  Brave Butterfly is also a bit sassy, like me. 

Thank you!


Thank you to Monster Legacy Music's  Lethal Princess and One Chill for introducting themselves to our audience and best wishes for their future endeavors!  

Ciera Reeves

Ciera is the founder of KpopWise. She has been a fan of Korean pop culture since 2005 and writing about it since 2009. Her bias groups are VIXX and OnlyOneOf. She is a 2nd-3rd generation K-pop fan, but she is actively keeping up with the current artists. twitter instagram

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