[Exclusive Interview] Breaking Barriers with HAEPAARY

HAEPAARY is a duo that has broken out of the box by blending various sounds, genres, and traditional Korean instruments. The duo Minhee and Hyewon describe their music as alt-electronic which is evident in not only their sound but the image they’ve created for themselves. Both are walking art pieces, nothing is left to chance, it’s a carefully curated piece brimming with ideas and influences. These experimental sounds are also a hit winning Best Electronic Songs at the Korean Music Awards with “Go to dgp” and “Then.”

When not winning awards, or appearing on magazine covers (Marie Claire) they’re playing to huge crowds at various festivals around the world. This October they hit the shores of London during the  K-Music Festival's 10th anniversary. I got to talk to the dynamic duo that is HAEPAARY.

Hi, HAEPAARY, and thank you for appearing on KpopWise. Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

HAEPAARY: We are HAEPAARY. Hyewon and Minhee make music and perform together. Formed in 2020 and have released 4 singles and 1 EP album so far. Prior to the formation of HAEPAARY, Hywon worked as a music director for stage works and Minhee as a multidisciplinary artist.

Your music is so vast and encapsulating, how would you describe your musical style in three words?

HAEPAARY: Twist, Attitude, and Contemporary.

What artists got you into music, and continue to influence you when creating the musical wonders that you do to this day?

Minhee:  I was influenced by too many artists, regardless of field, beyond enumeration. When I was a kid, I was influenced a lot by the unknown bands I saw in my local club. In particular, it was the most exciting moment when my friends who played with me at the club formed a band one day and played a messed up ensemble on stage, and whenever that happened, I developed my dream of becoming a musician someday. Now, even though I became a musician, I still feel like I want to do music when I think about my childhood. But to pick just one person, I'd say David Bowie. I love his totality of integrating his meaning into various materials.

Hyewon: I was greatly influenced by the people around me. Since I was young, there were always people around me who introduced me to new music at certain times. Even now, I am influenced by Minhee and the artists around me.

The creative and vibrant aesthetics of your album covers, especially for ‘Nothing to Envy’ are impressive. Can you share your process for creating a cover that captures the essence of the music?

HAEPAARY: When we were working on 'Nothing to Envy,' the two of us talked a lot about what kind of music we would reach. In the process, it was natural to express naturally mixed thoughts visually,
and we thought Ohamking would implement that visual well. We’re usually interested in contemporary work, especially for artists who have similar attitudes or methods to our music. Then, when we meet with our music and feel like chemistry is going to happen, we suggest collaboration.

For new fans what song would you recommend from your vast catalog?

Minhee: I recommend "A Shining Warrior-A Heartfelt Joy." I think HAEPAARY's identity is the best music.

Hyewon: If I were to choose one song I would agree with Minhee. I recommend “Nothing to Envy’ among slightly different styles of HAEPAARY.

Your MUZES X HAEPAARY performance is a hypnotic performance and almost an intricate form of art from the concept, costume, and music. Where do you get the inspiration to create such vivid and captivating ideas?

HAEPAARY: First of all, we talk to the staff about the direction our music is headed in imagine the result in advance, and talk from the beginning. First, we talk about where the essence lies, what reasons it contains, and what kind of future it is in music. After that, if it is judged that the staff can share the meaning we draw, we trust and leave everything to them. The beginning stage of sharing each other's will is always important.

In 2022 you both featured in a photo spread for Marie Claire, and once again the style was so different. How did the photoshoot come about and who influenced your fashion choices/style?

HAEPAARY: This interview also respected the choice of the visual director after examining the materials they had previously conducted and accepting the photo shoot. We followed their way because we believed that we had a Marie Claire-like expression within the styling that we usually wanted and the character of the music.

You’ll be making your first appearance during London’s K-music Festival, what can fans expect from your performance and what are you most excited to see in London?

HAEPAARY: The UK is home to popular music. So much of the music we've heard and grown up to date has the DNA of British music. In fact, we also listen to a lot of music and sound from British bands when we work for HAEPAARY.So we wonder what part of our music Londoners will sympathize with. We would be happy to hear feedback that I couldn't hear in other cities.

Out of all the things you’ve achieved what's been the "This can't be real" moment so far?

HAEPAARY: We won the 2022 Korean Popular Music Awards in the electronic category, and there are so many great fellow musicians and we still can't believe that our music won the award. KMA may not be welcome to those who have been active in the pop music industry for a long time and have a critical view of Korean pop music. But for HAEPAARY, we’re glad that our music has been accepted as popular music in the Korean pop music industry, and it feels unrealistic.

With so much achieved what goals do you hope to achieve by the end of 2023?

Hyewon: We want to find our ‘Style.' Since our first EP album, we have been making various attempts, making music that we are good at and music that we want to try. We are still in the process of creating Haepaary’s own style, but I hope it will become more clear in 2023.

Minhee: HAEPAARY's goal is totally in agreement with what Hyewon said. Sometimes we talk as if we were one person. In addition, I would like to talk about my personal opinion. I want to escape the pitfalls that neoliberalism, such as meritocracy, achievement, and developmentalism has planted in my mind. I just want to live learning love without any special goal. This is something I want to make a goal of my life even after 2023.

HAEPAARY will be performing in London at the K-music 10-year anniversary festival 2023, purchase your tickets here.


Thank you to Dawbell PR and HAEPAARY for this interview. Be sure to follow KpopWise for all the latest on your favorite idols and news!

Kirsty Bright

A UK freelance writer, who stumbled into the land of Kpop while studying Korean. Her bias groups are BTS and Seventeen, but she loves a range of groups and finding new artists to listen to! Contact on Insta: @kirstybright_ Portfolio: kirstybright.journoportfolio.com

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