Art1st - A Korean Band Inspired by Hanoi's Bustling Nature

For Park Seo-yun, Gwak Bong-su, Kim Dong-wook, Hwang Se-hwan, Mun Ye-ji and Yoon Ji-eun from the Korean band "Art1st", capturing the ups and downs of life in Hanoi is the driving force behind many of their self-composed songs.
April 20, 2024 | 09:33

In the evening of a live venue full of people, both locals and expats, a sweet voice sings passionately about a typical Hanoian experience in hot and humid nights of summertime. The lyrics goes "The streets fill with the loud cicada sounds/The moon reflection sparkles on the lake/The cool breeze blows." These colorful urban descriptors come from the observations and memories of Yoon Ji-eun, member of the Korean band "Art1st."

Art1st - Korean Band with Colorful Discography about Vietnam
From top to bottom, left to right: Mun Ye-ji, Hwang Se-hwan, Gwak Bong-su, Kim Dong-wook, Yoon Ji-eun, and Park Seo-yun of Art1st (Photo coutersy by Art1st).

"Because I cannot drive, some of the lyrics of "Summer Night" is based on my imagination of riding the motorbike myself," said the drummer/lyricist Ji-eun.

"Summer Night" ("Four Seasons", 2022) is one of the many self-composed songs that Art1st has released over the past 4 years. Making their debut in 2020 as a group of non-professional musicians in the Korean community who live and work in Hanoi, Art1st has gone through many changes in the line-up. The band name "Art1st" emphasizes that each unique individual makes up the collective, hence the main reason why it is chosen.

Art1st - Korean Band with Colorful Discography about Hanoi Lifestyle
Art1st performed at Hanoi Rock City on November 5 2023 (Photo coutersy by Art1st).

"During the pandemic outbreaks in 2020, it was the beginning of our band. At that time, it was too difficult to have a show in a public area so we gathered music lovers to create and release the first album with passion and enthusiasm. After a while, to go on stage not just to cover songs and sing, we recruited musicians to form a band unit as it is now," said leader Bong-su.

Pursuing music is also their way to celebrate a positive work-life balance. This is a consistent theme throughout both their first and second album, "Goodbye" and "Four Seasons". Some of the songs cheer you on when you work hard with upbeat tunes and lyrics about dream-like destinations and adventures, some express negative feelings about Hanoi's bustling nature. Most importantly, listeners can groove to the music, enjoying the small yet significant everyday happiness.

Korean musicians also like to share their passionate outlook in life through songwriting. "Dark Sky" - Art1st's latest single and music video, highlights their concerns of the current danger around us like wars and environmental pollution. This rock ballad single combines the soulful vocal of the female leads with evocative tunes, that echo the emotional release through the lyrics "A black snow storm is coming/On the white ocean each blue tear sheds from our eyes/Holes in the sky/Black rays shine.."

Art1st - Korean Band with Colorful Discography about Hanoi Lifestyle
"Dark Sky" - Art1st's latest single and music video - was released on April 15 (Photo coutersy by Art1st).

"The style of music we have made so far is indie and alternative rock genres. We also try to include genres such as K-POP, city pop and so on. In a broad perspective, music is the way to deliver our story to others. The music production and music life becomes more special when based on our life as Koreans in Vietnam and hope our music can be appealing to both Koreans and Vietnamese," said member Mun Ye-ji and Park Seo-yun.

Members of Art1st have their day jobs and private life, which already keep them busy. But at least once a week, they put on a powerful performance in their practice session. The musicians dedicate many hours in the studio to practice with each other over and over again, especially if it is rehearsal day for upcoming shows.

On the other hand, when recording original songs, they like to spend time on breaking free from rules and norms. The secret to finding your own sound is to find the balance between the members themselves while exploring as many styles as possible, explained drummer/lyricist Ji-eun.

Source: Art1st Band's YouTube Channel

If you are not yet to check them out live, social media like Facebook or YouTube is a good way to start. When watching Korean songs by the "Art1st", whether it is an original song or a cover, there are subtitles in Vietnamese available for Vietnamese speakers. They share that social media helps them get closer than ever with local audiences. Art1st believes that a community of talented musicians across Vietnam is growing steadily. Soon, not only trendy stars from the K-land with massive global fan bases will be spotlighted but indie artists as well.

"We not only have Vietnamese subtitles on our YouTube channel but also communicate in various languages like English, Vietnamese and Korean in the show. We will have original songs with Vietnamese lyrics and the local styles which can resonate with the Vietnamese people," exclaimed Bong-su.

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