Artist Spotlight: Yamagata Tweakster

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There comes a time when you discover an artist so wonderfully unique and engaging it seems the stars have aligned.

For most outsiders looking into the Korean music scene it seems that Kpop rules the roost. It does in the sense that they are the ones getting the limelight and the full backing of large corporations pushing them out as products for the crazy fan girls to consume. But I do like to look beyond the perfect synchronisation and perfect answers towards finding artists that have something to say or who simply make amazing music.

Yamagata Tweakster, which sounds like the name of a Japanese video game, is actually a Korean electronic artist. He is one kooky character whose music is not the only thing to getting him noticed.

I was sent a link by a friend and was immediately transfixed by his music and performances. For me he isn’t just an artist but rather a performance artist whose music, aesthetics become one. He truly is alternative, standing out in an industry which seems to favour copy cat perfection.

So who is the man behind the bobbly hat, well I managed to grab a few words:

Mimi: Could you please give some information about your background and how you became a musical artist?

YT: In the university in Daegu (Korea’s 4th big city), my major is electronic engineering but I love film: Wang Kar Wei, Jean Luc Godard etc. So I made several short films with other students. I first made music for my short film but then after that I thought that my film is not good for the masses. My film is too experimental but not interesting for the human being. I was depressed and returned to university to graduate. That was the story of my lost film life in the south of South Korea. After graduation, I moved to Seoul finding my job and I also began performing as a folk sing/songwriter in a small live club in the Hongdae area. That is the first step as the musical artist.

Mimi: Why and how did you come with the name Yamagata Tweakster?

YT: My first musical act is the name of Amature Amplifeir. Amature is intentional, I know it’s incorrect my intention. The songs of amature amplifier are some kind of psychedelic but introspective lyrics folk music. I am standing front of mic and I keep strumming my guitar and singing a song and the energy that makes the songs is the lonely guy’s inner side of his mind. But after marriage, the energy which given by the lonely guy stopped then I quit as amature amplifier and started as Yamagata Tweakster. It is more energetic and body moving performance style dance music. The lyrics are kind of not intro, but more outro-spective. Yamagata is the name of local area of Japan. Someone thought I was Japanese and said he speaks great Korean. Hahaha…I am real Korean! Tweakster is the word that I made, thinking of image that a guy dancing makes when his body is twisted a lot. So I matched the two words and it gives me a real dancer.

Yamagata’s music is groovy and eclectic and judging by his many performances captured on YouTube suit the quirky Hongdae area. There is even a performance of him cooking noodles on stage as he is performing (perfect multi tasker!).

Why should you check him out? Well for music like this:

And wonderful performances like this (where he cooks noodles live)

He is certainly a character and his music is not to be missed.

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