An Interview with
By Jess Tyler
Every Friday night as fans eagerly await the performance of their favorite artists, Daehee is probably somewhere relaxing, or at least overlooking from the shadows, as this is when his many days of work have come to pay off. Like a conductor sitting in the back of a theater, Daehee’s preparations have led to this moment!
There's no escaping the electric and eclectic backgrounds of k-pop! Every music video, every performance transports you into a visual overload of sound shapes, a vivid lucid dream that makes you feel like a character in the song itself! Whether it's “Dynamite’s” sleek record store slash mega-donut shop! Or “Ice Cream’s” candy colored, sprinkled, capybara inhabited world!
Though the songs and performances on their own are enough to power Saturn-bound rockets, the luscious backdrops amp up the feeling to a whole other degree!
One such wizard of traversable magic is Daehee, a Set Designer who creates incredible stage concepts, combining the attention to detail of a film's set designer with the spatial planning of a choreographer! One place you might have encountered Daehee's work is on the KBS weekly show Music Bank! A certifiable mainstay in the Korean music scene, groups often come here to debut songs from their latest albums to the delight of an in-person audience and thousands of international viewers!
Indeed when new songs are released, one of the questions that most likely follows with anticipation and heart-eye emojis, is “Where can we watch the live stages?". And for good reason! You might see a completely different flavor, like a guitar studded rock rendition, or get to take in an extended dance sequence. Even the filming itself can highlight some of the performance's more subtle moments. Reimagined, reinterpreted, going full out, or opting for something more low-key, it's a chance to experience the universe of a song in a whole new way!
Daehee's sets act as kinetic canvases for these grand performances to take place. He's helped to create a sun-strewn gypsy festival, complete with traveling caravan, for Hyo’s very danceable, fun “Take A Second", and a whisper soft, ephemeral atmosphere for Super Junior’s “Callin'“. A cotton candy cloud skyscape, a glitzy holiday circus, an outdoor magic garden, and a spray paint covered corridor, are among the many concepts he's made for a flurry of artists such as Twice, ITZY, BTS, Hwasa …(and well, to name them all might nearly include close to the entire k-pop discography)
He grants a special sneak peek into the process through behind the scenes pics on his eye popping, ever changing Instagram page! Seeing his drawings and 3D diagrams realized into their material form is endlessly fascinating!
So the next time you decide to rearrange your furniture, or add a new accessory to a room, perhaps consider it through the lens of the grandest stage of them all! :)
This master of the stage kindly had some time amidst his busy schedule, and we had the pleasure of hearing from him about his inspiring works!
Q. How did you first get your start creating sets? :) Is it something you went to school for? Did you apprentice with someone?
I majored in interior design at university. At first, I wanted to be an interior designer and worked as an intern for various companies.
I love music so much, and I am interested in media art. I met my musician friends in the media art class. We formed a team called SilicaGel. It was a team that made music and videos and also performed. I made background videos, and performed with the team members. This kind of experience made me interested in stage art.
Q. It feels like set design may be inspired be interior design. :) Do you have a background or interest in it?
Depending on the concept of the set, it can be inspired by the interior, or it can be inspired by installation art or sculpture.
I think I'm inspired by the works of many creators around the world.
Q. Do you choose the videos that go on the screens behind the performances?
Explain the set design concept.
Request a video that fits the concept.
The specific design is produced by a video designer.
Q. What’s your process like? We saw some of your concept drawings on your Instagram :) do you do the drawings and then go from there?
I have a meeting with the producer about the concept of the production.
And I search many references that fit that concept.
After that, a rough sketch and the concept drawing is completed through a computer program.
After having another meeting with the producer, I will draw a drawing and send a request to the production carpenters.
Q. Do you build the sets yourself?
I don’t build the sets myself. Most of my work ranges from design, drawing production, and on-site installation supervision.
Q. How long does it take you to do a set? Can you run us through the process from concept to finish? Even though each one is different :)
In the case of music shows, there are seven days of free time.
On the first day, I have a meeting with the producer about the concept of production and design.
And for three days, we collect data, sketch, 3D vision, and have meetings. Then the design needs to be finalized.
On Day 4, we have to ask carpenters to make it.
It takes three to four days to make a set.
The set will be built and recorded on Friday.
Q. I’m sure there are many! Is there any element of a set that you have created that you are particularly proud of?
I want to do better and think it's always less.
I feel good when I see artists satisfied and happy on stage.
Q. Favorite concert you’ve been to?
I also like K-pop, but I actually like rock band music.
I liked the concerts of "Kraftwerk" and “Unknown Mortal Orchestra."
And the concert of the band SILICAGEL in Korea that I worked with was also good.
Someday, I want to have a big concert with them
Q. Favorite ice cream? :)
love mint chocolate.
Q. Do you collaborate with the performers on the design of the stage sets?
At the broadcasting company, producers communicate with artists, and stage designers communicate with producers.
Q. Can you tell us about some of your inspirations? :)
I think I'm inspired by travel, art galleries, photography, performances, movies, and many other things.
Q. Is there any advice you would give people looking to get into set/stage design? And even for the K-pop industry in particular?
I'm designing a set of music programs, but I'm also designing a lot of other broadcast programs.
I don't know, because I'm not representing the industry of k-pop.
I think it's important to try to find opportunities and design them well.
Q. What would you be doing if you weren’t doing set design?
I think I’d become an interior designer or a video designer.
Q. It looks like you’ve also collaborated on sets outside of music too! Can you tell us about those?
I am a designer of a broadcasting company and I am in charge of designing many programs besides music broadcasting. It is important to design other set designs according to the director's concept.
Aside from broadcasting company work, I am trying to work with many unknown artists my friends.
I want to do more good work in the future.
Along with watching the many shows he collaborates with, you can stay up to date on Daehee’s exciting projects via his IG page!