CIFIKA is an electronic artist who has steadily established herself in the Korean music scene, which is attracting global attention. The mix of English and Korean lyrics which vary from being forceful to almost a whisper blend with floating sounds to form a unique view of the world. Her innovative music has been reported in foreign media such as DAZED and i-D, and the success of her month-long US tour in 2018 is still fresh in our memory. She released her long-awaited 1st full album, HANA. We asked her about her current feelings regarding the completion of this project during the Corona pandemic.
――The title of the debut full LP is “HANA” which means 1 in Korean. Is there any thoughts in this other than being a new starting point for you?
CIFIKA：It’s literally “1st” chapter of my music. No further meaning behind this. I mean.. I had two EPs released in prior to HANA, but this full length album contains more of my musical vision than before…thought it would be good to mark it as ONE to almost remind myself, this is my first big step to build my musical style.
――“HANA” is the same word that means flower in Japanese. Coupled with the artwork of the jacket, we (Japanese) imagine flowers, but is that just a coincidence?
CIFIKA：It’s totally a coincidence.. I did know HANA means flower in Japanese. I never thought my album art would remind the image of flower. Artwork is inspired by hadron collider and Mandala.. It’s cool that it also resembles flower though!
――In the explanation of this work, four elements that make up nature such as “soil, water, fire, and wind” are mentioned. What are the four major elements that make up yourself today?
CIFIKA：Patience, Silence, Resilience, Alliance.
――I felt a very strong will and commitment to the visual works. Please tell us your philosophy on that point.
CIFIKA：If you look through the history of art, you will notice that any field of art was always parallel to one another.. Poets and painters were friends, Writers and musicians were friends. They effected each other’s work and tried to reflect the society and reality they lived in. I want to do the same thing, I wanted to get inspiration from other fields.. such as science and philosophy. I’ve always wanted to incorporate the aesthetic of Hadron collider and Mandala.. one of the most cutting edge technology and on of the most spiritual tradition is such a fun juxtaposition.. and after I came up with the idea, I wanted to collaborate with 3d artists ynr visuals, they wanted to expand my concept by creating creature-looking geometric shape that reacts to my music “Reborn”.. We talked about so many cool ideas beforehand, actually they are the one who let me borrow a book about different nature elements.. a book by Gaston Bachelard – Air and Dreams. And the flame of a candle.
―― I believe the production of the work in the pandemic of COVID-19 was something that you have never experienced before. How did you cope with the situation / how was it?
CIFIKA：At first, I enjoyed a quite time, quite city.. once it hit hard in Seoul, my musician friends, DJ friends, and friends who runs a club started to struggle.. and I felt so sad and depressed, and I’m still sad and depressed about the fact that everything is inactive.. and silent in the music industry. I’m still planning on how to survive this pandemic era, and to wisely keep releasing new music and meet my fans… It’s definitely a good time to write tracks while there is no distraction (-means no upcoming gigs, events I need to prepare) but still bummed at the fact that I haven’t had a single live show after my new album is released.
――In Japan, there were cancellations of large-scale music festivals and postponements of artist tours. How’s the current Korean music scene and the changes in the environment surrounding you.
CIFIKA：Same, I was actually in Texas in March preparing a big project for SXSW, and the Corona virus got serious while I was there. Show got cancelled before 6 days of open, and all of my team had to come back to Korea. After that I was booked to different shows in Seoul, but everything is postponed or cancelled. Clubs are slowing opening, but still there are many restrictions and warning from the government for shows, or events that are larger than 50-150 capacity. Still very quiet and dead in Korea music scene.
――You came to Japan twice in 2018. What was your impression of Japan at that time? Also, how do you feel about the current Japanese music scene?
CIFIKA：I still remember how new and eye-opening it was to look at people who are lined up for entrance. They were wearing some crazy shits.. saw a young boy wearing a punk jacket with blue hair, saw bunch of skater kids hanging around, saw kids in white goth look.. some group of kids were wearing cloths that are very avant-garde… so diverse and live I remember. And good sushi made my day.. it was my very first time visiting Japan, and also I was surprised at the venue.. it was WWWX (in Shibuya), and the sound system was clear as crystals.. I didn’t even have to wear my in-ear monitor. Loved performing there. Loved the staffs there. I made friends with many good musicians in Japan at WWWX.. Okamoto Reiji from a band Okamoto’s.. also Hiyadam.. a rapper kid. Want to perform again in Japan soon.
――What kind of challenge would you like to take in the future?
CIFIKA：I want to be disciplined more. I want to manage and control my time in more precise schedule. It’s been difficult for me to keep up my work since Pandemic,, less energy and less motivation since I can’t do live. I want to utilize this time of era to archive my new demos for the next album, and practice my skills in producing and vocalization. In order to do that I need to be strictly disciplined or I would procrastinate and always push back my due date to myself. That is my biggest challenge for until Corona ends.
――Please give message for the readers who know you for the first time in this article and wants to know more about you.
CIFIKA：Hello, I’m CIFIKA. I make music and sing. I’ve been dying to perform in Japan, but because of COVID 19, I can’t make it to Japan, which is devastating. I love nature, especially water, and sea creatures in deep ocean. Hope I can share my voice live in Japan, but until Corona ends, hope you enjoy my album in digital format. I also love Tsukemen.. was looking forward to grab some best Tsukemen when I have a gig in Japan, but apparently that’s not gonna happen soon. I’m have Tsekemen in my dream tonight though. Remember my name, I’m CIFIKA