“NAME OF YOUR LIGHT” is the dazzling debut album from South Korean-born Berliner Enyang Urbiks, aka Enyang Ha, an experienced mastering engineer and producer whose music fluxes seamlessly between pop, club and experimental modes.
Singing in Korean over tightly-knitted backdrops of electronic percussion and symphonic modular blasts, she resolutely refuses to take a single path, using non-traditional compositional methods to reach remarkable sonic vistas. The album is informed by concepts of reincarnation and rebirth and constantly reinvents itself, absorbing radically different genres without losing its central, coherent thread. She wrote it while pregnant and raising her son, an experience that offered her both challenges and the courage to overcome them. “It’s not simple to find a path to be born again,” she explains. “It requires a lot of strength and will.
“Ten years ago, Ha emigrated to Berlin to ingratiate herself with the city’s vibrant local music scene. She’d grown up in South Korea, but decamped to the USA – Kentucky, to be exact – when she was just 14, staying a while before moving to Tokyo to study. Now an in-demand technician who’s worked alongside boundary-pushing artists like Arca, Amnesia Scanner and Perera Elsewhere, Ha produced, mixed and mastered her debut herself at her studio in Berlin’s renowned Funkhaus complex. Most recently, Ha undertook a residency at Callie’s, a Berlin-based non-profit exhibition space, composing and singing a contemporary Korean folk opera piece and rendering it in spatial audio. Ha channels these experiences and skills into music that speaks to a diverse global landscape where borders are as malleable as warm gold. Her prismatic understanding of culture gives her sounds a sensitivity and vulnerability that’s universal but never ornate – she finds beauty in ear-splitting distortion, and complexity in sanguine radio pop.
1. I live in the Lunar calendar era.
2. The 1st of January is the new year to many people but I like to wait for the lunar new year which is between January 21st and February 20th.
3. As an example, even within the Gregorian calendar, Easter is on a different date every year and determined as the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox, which can fall between March 23rd and April 26th.
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
The biggest inspiration for my music is the complex tapestry of life itself. I draw inspiration from the emotions, experiences, and stories that weave through our existence. Every moment, every encounter, every triumph, and every challenge contributes to the vivid palette of my creative expression.
For instance, my latest album `Name Of Your Light` took shape during the period when I was expecting and nurturing my child. This experience proved to be an abundant source of inspiration, prompting profound contemplation about the concept of reincarnation and the reasons behind our cycles of rebirth.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
My journey towards music started with classical piano. I had the opportunity to practice and participate in various piano competitions, which provided a foundation for my musical and performance abilities. Although these experiences allowed me to develop technical skills, they were primarily focused on traditional classical music, leaving little room for self-expression or exploration beyond the established repertoire.
Moving to Berlin 11 years ago, I delved into various genres and avant-garde movements, and this newfound freedom sparked a creative awakening. I began learning to produce myself and experimenting with electronic avant-garde pop music, merging electronic elements with unconventional pop structures. Berlin’s openness allowed me to fully embrace my identity as an artist, leading to the development of my unique artistic voice and style.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
Mimi Raver – Me And The Machine
Alex G – God Save The Animals
Ulrich Schnauss, Jonas Munk – Eight Fragments Of An Illusion
Eartheater – Phoenix: Flames Are Dew Upon My Skin
Deftones – Saturday Night Wrist
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
I left Korea when I was 14 years old. Since then, I’ve been a globetrotter, living in various parts and cultures of the world. Berlin, where I’ve resided for the past 11 years, has become a significant chapter in my life. What draws me to Berlin is the rich diversity it offers – not only in its people and culture but also in its music and art scenes. When I envision Berlin, I see it as a vast canvas where my art isn’t just born but is also wholeheartedly embraced. It’s a place where inspiration flows boundlessly, and my creativity finds a welcoming haven among fellow artists and enthusiasts.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
Seoul – Cake Shop
Berlin – Funkhaus
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
I view music as a powerful tool for transmitting energy. If music didn’t exist, I believe I would have found another way to channel my inner energy and express it to the world, possibly through my body movements. However, it’s my firm belief that music is an integral part of our existence. Everything we touch and every word we speak creates sound, and in this symphony of life, we find the essence of music. It’s an inseparable part of the human experience, resonating in every corner of our world.
7. What was the last record/music you bought or listen?
Slowdive – everything is alive
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I am open to collaborating with authentic humans who share a passion for pushing boundaries and exploring the limitless possibilities of music and art. Recently, I’ve been in discussions with Synthtati, with whom I’ve found a like-minded approach to art. We both have a deep desire to perceive art from multiple dimensions and navigate the creative space between Avantgarde and pop culture. Our conversations have been incredibly inspiring, and I’m excited about the potential for our collaboration to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the realm of audio-visual art.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Choosing the absolute best gig from my experiences is a bit like trying to pick a favorite star in the sky – every one of them holds a unique place in my heart. However, one particular memory stands out when I played at the Insects and Spiders Open Air festival. What made this gig truly special was the presence of many kids in the audience.
These young audience members seemed to connect with my performance on a different level. They were drawn to my makeup, my outfit, and the energetic atmosphere I created on stage. My incalculatable music, full of shouts and smiles, I believe the playful essence of my music resonated with the pure creativity of children. Their positive reaction to the gig was incredibly genuine and heartwarming, reminding me of the boundless and unfiltered joy that music can bring, especially to children.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
One of the most exciting aspects is how technology enables me to experiment and innovate. It’s like having an entire orchestra at my fingertips, ready to explore new sounds and push creative boundaries. Moreover, technology is a bridge to connect with my audience. Through digital platforms and social media, I can share my work with a global audience and engage with fans in real-time, creating a dynamic and interactive experience.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your music?
I don’t have any siblings. As an only child, my relationship with my parents has been unique, and I’ve found that as I’ve grown and become more authentic to myself, our understanding and connection have deepened.
Looking back, there were challenges during my childhood especially with my parents, and those difficulties even led me to make a significant decision to move to Kentucky on my own at the age of 14. It was a very big step towards self-discovery.
Over the years, as I explored my own identity and inner blockages, something beautiful happened within our family dynamic. We began to truly understand ourselves and each other. The communication barriers that once existed started to dissolve, and our relationships naturally began to clear up.
Today, I’m thrilled to say that my parents have become a supportive and constructive part of my musical journey. Their newfound understanding allows them to offer valuable insights and feedback on my music. It’s a testament to the power of personal growth and authenticity, and I’m grateful for the positive transformation in our relationships.
“In our cycling time,” Ha sings on ‘Golden Tree’. “There are things that remind us from our deepest memory where we meet, where we unfold our space.” Her words cascade over taut breaks and euphoric synths, reminding of trip-hop and simmering K-pop. But there’s neither rigid past nor firm present in her music – Ha sees time as a cycle, where memory and familiarity can help unfold our inner worlds each time we’re reborn. This leaves flexibility for her most challenging ideas to bend into surprising shapes, so the chaotic, percussive dissonance of ‘PolaR’ can effortlessly tumble towards the guitar-led highlight ‘MYSTERIES’, and the open-hearted ‘Meeting You’ can be foreshadowed by the album’s unsettling, cinematic title track.
On the lilting closer ‘Seasons of Lives’, Ha leads listeners out with precise trap-inspired rhythms and gentle Korean vocals. It’s a final reminder of her ability to search out the brilliance in a spectrum of vastly different artistic colors, and refract everything into a single gleaming beam. “I strongly feel that we are reincarnated many times to reach the point where we can resolve higher tasks,” she says. “So I dedicate this album to all the spirits that traveled to this life again for a reason.”