Yozmit is the most intricate artist you will ever come across. A unique sound and complexed artistry, Yozmit will surely reel you in with her detailed records. How did we reach this observation? It was obvious in the album she recently released titled “Sun Moon Door”. In “Sun Moon Door”, Yozmit takes her listener into an entire cultural dimensional that you will remember. The album begins with the track “DogStar”. “DogStar” began with an ethereal instrumental introduction before the beat transitioned into a rhythmically driven and interesting arrangement that absorbs you into the album. “DogStar” was the perfect opener for the multi-faceted journey you will about to experience! Yozmit takes you into the next song “Kwang Kwang Ya Ya”. the staccato delivery in the hook was super dope and had a groove to the diction of it that makes it memorable and contagious.
“Hathor” was a nice addition to the album that stood out as opposed to the songs prior due to its contemporary pop elements mixed with the complex arrangement in the production. “Hathor” even had a nice vocal texture to complete it off, with the usage of light auto-tunes. “Massaman” was a song from “Sun Moon Door” that felt like an idiosyncratic club tune. The beat had every element you will find in a typical electronic-dance record that shows a super nice versatile aspect to Yozmit’s artistry. “DoYou” was a song that stood out highly to us. The intro of the record had a unique dialogue with a theatrical and cinematic production that climaxed into an atmospheric elevation that leaves you floating into the song. The title of this record stood out to me due to the reflection of Yozmit’s DoYou project.
In Yozmit’s opinion, DOYOU means ‘Do’ ing ‘You’- a process of becoming fully self-realized and acting upon self-identity. DOYOU is a mantra to shift power from external conformity to internal realization using art as a tool of healing. Through her ritualistic performance art, Yozmit combines theater, dance, pop culture, fashion, gender identity, mythology, and shamanism onto a single canvas. By now, Yozmit has completely given us a clear understanding of the entire aesthetic of this album. In the single “Prajina Paramita” the song was completely sung in acapella without any backtrack instrumental. Instead, Yozmit gave us full-on dialogue that felt like a unique ritualistic chant. In her record “A Girl Named Thomas”, this song had a nice storytelling vibe that stripped away the musicality component and reeled us in with this magical and enchanting story. The next song to transition into this album was “Sun Moon Door”, the exact title of the album so we expected this song to reflect a lot on the project’s theme! This song combines incantational world music, electronica, and multi-lingual lyrics which is influenced by a wide array of musical genres.
“Sound of New” was a nicely textured song that had a different elemental arrangement to the record. Closing this album off, was the song “Stairways”. “Stairways” had nice worldly sound fx that created this dream-like atmosphere alongside a beautiful melody played by the piano that sets the tone for a more dramatic and sad mood. “Stairways” was very instrumental based, and served as a great closer to a very experimental album that took you on an unforgettable journey.
You can listen to “Sun Moon Door” here!
Welcome to BuzzMusic Yozmit! Tell us about your background in fashion! Do you believe your creativity in that industry impacted your style of music in any way?
Thank you! I went to fashion school and started my professional career in that industry. I knew I was quite artistic but fashion to me was the only outlet available as a new immigrant that I could be creative and also generate income right away after finishing school. My family couldn't afford expensive art training back in Korea. I am a very visual person by nature and always liked musicians who had a strong visual representation. I did not like designing for other people especially for mass commercial consumption, I'd rather be wearing the fashion I designed and like to stand in front of people. I realized that I was a performer rather than a designer. At the end of my fashion career, I started designing costumes for Kpop stars and I started to dream of becoming them myself. Fashion was more like a gateway for me to develop my external persona as a performer. I am a Two-Spirit. Dressing as both male and female were a big and challenging statement in my early identity. That is why I like to cross-genre in Music, also sourcing and combining old and new and mixing conventional and provocative. I always like to combine two different extremes. Fashion is very much connected to the idea of self-identity and so as music. I like fashion that is very classic but has a modern edge. For example, I think about what would a love child between an earthy shaman and high-tech aliens look like? what kinda things will they wear? The same concept applies to my music. What type of music will that child play or sing?
Let’s talk about your album “Sun Moon Door”. What inspired the project’s name?
"Sun Moon Door" means a door to the sun and moon. A portal to a new possibility. It means going beyond the dualistic thinking mind and tapping into The Unknown "Self". Also, my mother's name is Sun. My voice as an artist comes from my mother’s repression and the frustration in her own DNA of becoming a singer. She is the living example of the damaged feminine in modern Korean society or just simply in every woman of humanity. She wanted to be a singer when she was in high school, but in 1950s Korea, being a female singer was almost equal to being a prostitute in a social hierarchy that was very conservative and Confucian. She sang in a jazz club in the American army base in Seoul secretly after school. When her brother found out, she was stopped forcefully and even violently by him because her action was considered a shame to the family name. Shortly after this incident, she married my father and became a housewife, and a few years later, I was born. Her traumatic memories continued in my blood through a journey of me becoming a singer in Korea. I attempted to become a pop singer which was my first artistic endeavor shortly after ending my career in fashion. The first thing I was told from my music label was not to reveal my gender identity. I was bullied and also physically abused by my music producer because of who I was. Being a feminine man in this business brought me a disempowering result in cutting an album. I think that is why I am so fascinated by female superheroes in movies and powerful female figures in history. After Seoul, I came back to the US and started to train myself seriously in many different art disciplines to create art and music on my own without getting any middleman involved. Through this process, I started to see the bigger picture in the world how the power dynamics are played in the realm of gender and how things are completely out of harmony between male and female. I decided to create art that will help restore the balance between masculine and feminine within myself which I believe will evoke the shift in the external landscape. My self-produced album SUN MOON DOOR combines electronic dance music, traditional Korean style singing in many different languages. As I have written in the lyrics of my song DOGSTAR, “Sunrise in the night". My goal is to embrace the highest teachings to bring together the light and dark, yin and yang of my incomprehensible universe.
I am dedicating my album to my mother "Sun" and to her broken dream.
Which song from “Sun Moon Door” did you feel best represented the album’s theme as a whole and why is that?
As I stated above, it is DogStar for sure. DogStar is Sirius. The brightest star that we can see with the naked eyes from the earth. Many different ancient civilizations worshipped this star. This song is my prayer to bring all that ancient energy back to us to restore balance on earth because I feel that it is completely out of harmony at this very moment in history. I think the only way we can achieve this goal is for all of us to take full responsibility and raise our vibration to the maximum by embodying that balanced energy and become a portal to the new possibility for the transformation to take place. The reason why I wrote this album was that I was not happy with the world around me. For a period, I blamed the system and condemned society for its failure. But One day, I decided to take back all that negative energy that I gave out to the world. I put all that into my art and music to create a world that I want to see by opening the door to the DogStar within myself.
What were some challenges you’ve faced during the creation process of “Sun Moon Door”? What was the end result?
The self-directed and self-produced album project was never-ending work for the last two years. Giving and giving without any instant rewards were probably the hardest thing when things are not moving along smoothly. Especially, not having enough funding is always hard to follow through with the production schedule. Having to make decisions alone was also very challenging when I did not have full production knowledge about mixing and mastering etc. I asked many people for their feedback and at one point, I got into a rabbit hole of which directions to take in terms of my final sound. I could not make any decisions. I took a long break and lost the momentum of my project and it was hard to get the momentum back. After a long pause, I had to realize that it all comes down to my personal taste when it comes to the sound, and I had to make a decision myself whether it is right or wrong for others. I had to learn to let it go of the concept of "being too precious" towards my project at some point and let it out to the world. 'It is my first album, it cannot be too perfect. my next album will be much better'. When I am excited about the project, things get easy but when I am not, it was almost like a curse put on by a spell. I learned that it is not good to stay in that grey area of uncertainty for a long time. I had to force myself to get out of it by giving myself and my collaborators' deadline and restore the integrity of the project. The most important thing out of all this is love and faith for the baby, the product...my music. If I love what I am creating, nothing can stand in the way. You are completely ok to go through all the ups and downs, light and dark and joy and pain during the full creation cycles of the sun and moon.
What are you looking forward to in this new decade Yozmit?
From 1990 to 2000, I spent most of my twenties working in fashion and had a realization that I was an artist after the heartbreak of being a pop singer in Korea. From 2000- 2010, I trained myself to learn all the nitty-gritty stuff about the performance from many different masters of the arts: physical theater, dance and traditional Korean music and established my career as a solo performance artist in NYC. From 2010 until today, I performed professionally all over the world and created, directed, produced my own shows called DOYOU. (DOYOU means “do” ing “you" - a process of becoming fully self-realized and acting upon self-identity. DOYOU is a mantra to shift power from external conformity to internal realization using art as a tool of transformation.)
It took me basically 30 years to have all the tools I need to create a world of Yozmit- a compassionate Goddess I created using my male form as an art context. Now that I finally have my own album, I want to bring everything I have achieved all together in a show to create a music-based performance art show that has many different facets of offerings to the public - Live music and performances, art shows, installations, meditation, medicine clothing line, and artist workshops - and travel the world to spread the message of positive self-transformation using the music and art as a vehicle for self-awareness and healing.