Working Notes — Seoul Tribe 02

Going over some inspiration points for Seoul Tribe.

Inspiration

As I mentioned in the first post, Seoul Tribe is definitely a project that I’m intrinsically motivated to make. It comes from an inner desire to craft something that I personally would’ve loved to be a part of when I was growing up. There have been three branded media platforms though that ultimately helped me “shape” the project:

  • Dissect: A serialized music podcast that picks one album per season and analyzes one song per episode measure by measure, word by word.

  • Brandbeats: An agency podcast by BASIC with views on design, technology, art, and culture.

  • Soulection: A radio show and borderless community that brings the “sound of tomorrow” to their loyal listeners. They’re also a music label and often host some of the best parties I’ve attended.

It’s been nearly three years since I knew that I wanted to “make something” for myself and for my close friends related to Korean music. During this time, I made a few random attempts to give it form: interviews, newsletters, playlists, etc. Ultimately, I had never gotten clear about what “it” exactly was and had naively hoped it would come alive somehow. I took a long break and over time, I found myself going back to these three media platforms over and over again.

I love Dissect for its deep focus, insights, and analysis. It’s definitely not for a lot of people. These days, Brandbeats is also one of my favorite podcasts because it’s a feed of casual yet relevant conversations about creative industry topics I think about on a daily basis. These podcasts have helped me to experience two different formats I now am incorporating into Seoul Tribe.

Soulection is a gift. It’s a very specific gift for a very specific group of music consumers. It’s also difficult to describe it to friends who’ve never heard of or experienced it. It’s one of the few communities left online where I feel it takes work to truly feel a part of it. The thing I love most about Soulection though is how every touchpoint of their brand makes sense and that they bring together people from all over the world with an experiential vibe they’ve crafted.

So, I had three sources of inspiration available at my fingertips. I could also somewhat visualize what the three put together might look like, but it was still too vague. Now what?

Creating Form

On top of countless hours of conversation with Kim, there were two other tools that helped me create form:

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EDITOR’S SERIES 365 DAYS NOTEBOOK BY STALOGY

Bought on a whim, this beautiful black notebook served as my very first starting point for Seoul Tribe. I simply journaled my many thoughts into it and gave myself permission to get messy with it. I drew sketches, created potential outlines, and wrote random thoughts in it that were connected with the ethos of the project somehow. It’s light. It’s Japanese. It’s minimal. True to its name, it made me feel “very editorial” from the get go.

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MOO X SETH GODIN NOTEBOOK

As a longtime reader of Seth’s work, I was delighted to find that he had turned his beloved Ship It Journal into a more well designed hardcover notebook in partnership with Moo. I hesitated for a bit due to the price, but like a gym membership I hoped paying for it would make me more inclined to use it. It worked! This focus journal was incredible. Its sole purpose is to help you ship a project and it contains the perfect exercises for it. It’s formulaic and the best of its kind I’ve ever seen.

With two pricey little notebooks, I sat myself down for hours on end until both were full with everything I could work through initially. I would simply take a break if I felt like I was stuck and would return the next day after thinking the problem over for 24 hours. The result of this analog yet incredibly effective process was nothing short of magical for me. It’s always cathartic when disparate dots in your head manage to come together and take form.

Learning Curve

The good news at this point of the process was that I wasn’t afraid of making a podcast because I’ve had the professional experience with project managing one before at work. The bad news? I had no problem project managing it, but I knew it’d be a steep learning curve to learn how to be a full stack producer. I’ve always been a generalist and creating Seoul Tribe has been the best challenge in testing my abilities as not just a digital producer, but a producer in the more traditional sense.

I’m writing the script, recording my own voice, editing the audio, reviewing the designs, checking finances, and more. There have been two resources that were great starting points for me:

They helped me gain more confidence in knowing what kind of equipment I need and also just generally what to expect in diving into a project like this.

Momentum

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The biggest game changer has been simply getting in the habit of recording my own voice and thoughts. I did all the writing I could about what was in my head, but a podcast is a podcast. I’m regularly recording myself on my phone whenever an idea comes to my head or I need to figure out how to articulate it.

Since filling the journals, we’ve made a lot of progress in moving the project forward. Our little team is now made up Kim (a designer), Jerry (a frontend developer), Cam (a backend developer), and me! I’m so thankful for them.

In the next WOL post, I think I’ll talk more in detail about the challenges I’ve been tackling in the research and writing process specifically. Thanks for reading and taking a dive into my brain!

— Emerline