We had the good fortune of connecting with Yeakun Yoo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yeakun, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success? I don’t want to claim that I’ve succeeded as a composer just yet. To say I’ve succeeded would imply there’s no room for greater leaps forward, and as a composer, there’s still so much I need to learn and achieve. However, I believe I can share some tips based on what I’ve accomplished so far.
Firstly, I believe active communication with clients is crucial. While working on projects, especially those not involving professional audio directors as in AAA game companies, I often communicate more with non-experts in music. One common mistake many composers make is expecting clients to articulate their musical ideas precisely. Since they lack formal musical education and experience compared to composers, they might not express what they want using technical terms. To truly understand their desires, it’s essential to ask diverse and specific questions actively, providing various references. Through references, clients can gain a rough understanding of the music they want, followed by sharing samples frequently to gradually approach their desired music. By empathizing with clients through this process, step by step, one can eventually create the music they envision.
Secondly, swift communication is key. Clients expect quick responses to their emails and messages. I usually reply within an average of 5 minutes. Rapid responses show the client they are a priority, fostering a deeper, long-lasting partnership. However, due to my commitment to quick responses, I sometimes face arguments with my wife. Even during family time, if a client contacts me, I tend to respond within 5 minutes, which occasionally leads to feedback about not fully dedicating time to family. Nonetheless, my wife is gradually understanding this philosophy.
Thirdly, investing in the right places is crucial. There are various forms of investment, and I prioritize financial and temporal investments. In a company like ours that generates a six-figure annual revenue, having some financial leeway is possible. In my first year achieving six-figure revenue in 2021, I lacked understanding about prudent financial investments, wasting funds on unnecessary hires, equipment, and event expenses. Presently, I focus on essential hires, economize finances, and prioritize spending to avoid waste. Regarding time investment, once you become a representative of a company generating a substantial income, if there’s someone who can handle tasks at a lower cost, delegating responsibilities allows you to focus on more significant goals. Before reaching a certain company scale, one might have to manage everything independently. However, as finances accumulate, there will be numerous responsibilities beyond practical tasks. Wisely hiring individuals and delegating tasks enables greater company growth. Initially, I had concerns about delegating tasks, but by trusting and encouraging the person I hired, they eventually excel in their roles.
Through these approaches, I’ve made some progress in my career, and I aim to continue growing through persistent efforts in the future.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Having a unique arsenal is essential to establishing competitiveness as a composer. I always advise my composer friends and students to actively utilize their own voices when composing. Even if not a professional singer, one’s voice holds a unique sound that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It’s not just about singing; through your voice, you can create nuanced and eerie sounds, produce distinct sounds while shouting, or rhythmically use everyday sounds made while reading something in a musical context. I’ve been able to create a wide range of sounds using a bit of audio editing through these methods, and I confidently say this approach is highly effective.
Another aspect is maximizing recorded audio sources. While recording various instruments is one way, utilizing ambient sounds from everyday life in your compositions can result in truly unique music. This method is widely used in sound design for trailers, thrillers, horror films, and various other fields. Utilizing a microphone to capture these diverse sounds allows you to be fully creative.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my friend comes to Los Angeles, I would like to take them to Hollywood first. Hollywood is a place with diverse people, various cuisines, and cultures. The main reason I love Hollywood is the presence of numerous large and small networking events. I have met a lot of people there, and I still keep in touch with them. Among them, many have collaborated with me on projects, creating music for films or TV series. Hollywood, where you can experience diverse people and cultures, is definitely a must-visit place in LA.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
In terms of my successful career, undoubtedly, the person who has been the greatest source of motivation for me until now is my wife. She never doubted my talent when I was just a career starter, consistently showed unwavering love, and always provided me with encouraging words that served as a source of strength. Whether things were going well or not, she always assured me that I would succeed. All of these factors have been my driving force, enabling me to continue on this wonderful journey. The person who has guided me and enabled me to continue studying and striving as a composer until now is Garry Schyman. He can be considered the most outstanding composer among all the game music composers I know. Grateful for guiding me to avoid clichéd and familiar music, always encouraging me to be a composer with my own uniqueness, Garry has been a mentor I turn to for advice on any project. While the journey to become a successful game music composer like Garry is still long, I believe that by steadily studying and reflecting on the advice he has given me, I may become a great composer like him someday.
Image Credits Game Lies of P – Neowiz Lineage 2 Revolution – Netmarble Crossfire – Smilegate Maple Story – Nexon Project M – Mojito Games Film/TV Western Avenue(2023) Family Man in America(2023) Virago(Short) Iris(Short) Der Reisende Standards(Short) Commercial Samsung Galaxy fold 4 TVC Hanlim Pharm – Dajes TVC SK II TVC Greenpeace TVC
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