Words by Jasmine Bourgeois
Maybe Yaeji doesn’t really seem like a typical DJ because she didn’t have a typical upbringing. Born the daughter of Korean immigrants who were wary of American music, 24-year-old Kathy Yaeji Lee spent most of her childhood moving between the U.S., South Korea, and Japan. She eventually went to Pittsburgh for college and later settled in Brooklyn. She is familiar with existing in spaces that are in flux, which translates into her sound.
Yaeji is a regular renaissance woman. She DJs, sings, raps, produces, paints, and makes a mean bowl of curry. She has gained enormous recognition over the last year, largely for her distinct sound and style. Her music doesn’t quite have the heavy house downbeats familiar in the music of her Brooklyn contemporaries. The atmosphere she fosters at her shows isn’t quite as erratic as a late night techno club. There’s something unhurried and more intentional about the way she works. A finer-tuned attention to detail radiates throughout her sound.
And as far as her culinary endeavors, Yaeji hooked up with Brooklyn’s Kichin at Baby’s All Right to serve curry at her shows to offer a unique electronic music experience. It’s things like this that make her an artist fostering an intimate, community-oriented scene that deviates from typical club life. With only two EPs and a handful of singles, her discography is just beginning to grow, but if it’s any indication of what’s to come, she’s certainly establishing her roots.
Featured in the ‘Bands We Like’ section of Issue 33. Purchase a copy here.