Becoming a musician was an organic process for Damon Joe, a South Korean DJ, composer and guitarist. He played for Vanilla Unity, a rock group that won the third prize at the K-Rock Championship and was awarded with a special award for Best New Band in 2004. He also composed and played guitar for the now-disbanded Drug Restaurant. Damon collaborated with Vincent – an artist well-known for his K-drama OST single for The Beauty Inside and in 2018, along with Lee Seung Joo, he co-composed and co-arranged OST single Now for the Korean adaptation of the USA TV show Suits. With composing the songs for OSTs and becoming more and more recognized as a DJ, new opportunities are slowly piling up for Damon.

Damon Joe © Photo courtesy of the photographer 

Damon’s experience in touring Europe and the USA has undoubtedly helped him understand the western audience’s taste in music better. He has recently been invited – alongside Sway D, an emerging rapper – to a few European cities, including London, to DJ and entertain crowds at K-pop events. The events were received positively, leaving the audience hoping for him to come back to Europe again soon.

To Damon, DJ-ing and playing guitar is a pleasure, but producing is what the artist has had in his sights for a while. With many projects already under his belt and with being as hardworking and talented as they come, it is only a matter of time before Damon is back with his next project.

Damon Joe © Photo courtesy of the photographer 

First of all, looking back, do you remember how it all started? When did you know you wanted to do music for a living?

In middle school, I started listening to rock music and wanted to learn how to play the guitar. When I turned 20, I knew I wanted to become a musician.

When did you start DJ-ing, and what (or who) were your early passions and influences?

I started 2 years ago; I was influenced by Calvin Harris. To be honest, I have always wanted to become a producer rather than a guitarist, so that’s why I started DJ-ing.

When it comes to composing, can you tell us a bit more about the kind of music you compose? Do you compose for your DJ setlist – do you add your own music to the setlist? Did you compose music for the rock band you were a part of before?

I took part in producing (rock music) for almost all of the songs in the band that I played in until 2019. Recently, I did work together with the singer Vincent (from SuperStar K) and co-created an OST single for drama Suits. In terms of the K-pop parties I DJ, the crowd usually enjoys music by the group BLACKPINK, so I play a lot of their songs in my remixed version.

Photo © bnt International 

What are currently your main challenges as a DJ? What is it about DJ-ing that makes it interesting for you?

I am more interested in becoming a producer rather than DJ, and my dream is to work with Calvin Harris one day.

You recently visited European cities to DJ at K-pop parties alongside Sway D, including London and Hamburg. What was that experience like for you?

Sway D is a great guy; spending time with him was a lot of fun. When I go back to Korea, I can’t wait to work with him again and make some songs together. His energy is like a “super hurricane”.

What do you usually start with when preparing for a set?

I like “kick-starting” my set with Boss by NCT127; it creates a great atmosphere for the crowd.

How do you choose the songs that you put on your setlist?

I make my basic playlist, then – depending on the crowd and the atmosphere – I add/change the songs as I go.  

Photo © Damon Joe 

Do you feel that the crowds are actually able to appreciate the hard work that is DJ-ing, even if they don’t actually understand what is happening behind the decks?

I don’t know, because when I DJ, I am usually in the zone and I just enjoy it together with the crowd – though funnily enough, I suck at dancing.

Looking at different music genres, which one do you consider to be your favourite? Is there a music/artist you like which/who never fails to make you feel good?

From a producer’s point of view, it’s too hard to choose just one genre, but I listen to Post Malone’s beerbongs & bentleys a lot and that always makes me feel good.

DJ-ing and composing music must take time, how do you balance it all out?

I compose a lot of music with guitar, so composing becomes a guitar practice for me;  also, when I prepare for DJ-ing, I have to listen to a lot of different music, and that also makes for a good practice. So it’s easy to balance it all.

What do you normally do when you have some time off?

I play football with friends or go to the gym, or watch movies at home. And I hope to find myself a girlfriend one day. (Laughs)

What’s next for you? Do you have any new projects in the pipeline?

Actually, everything is currently put on hold, but I am going to prepare for a solo album and hope to work with many other artists in Korea.

Music Video © Vanilla Unity

We’d like to thank Damon Joe who kindly took the time to answer our questions.

Written and interviewed by Maggie Gogler

Edited by Sanja Struna

Featured photo © C9 Entertainment


Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Good luck Damon ❤


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We are open-minded individuals, for whom there are no limits. We always seem to spend our last few pennies on the arts instead of bread and butter! Oh well, it’s worth it! You will always find us in a cinema, at film festivals, fashion shows, concerts, galleries or the theatre. We are a group of female film critics, arts journalists, and photographers.


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