video premiere: explore parallel realities with yen tech's hunter seeker

The Korean producer examines Seoul’s obsession with surgery in this futuristic short.

by i-D Staff
18 November 2016, 2:00pm

Described by The FADER as "high energy electronic-infused beats and anomalous verses", Yen Tech's curiously chaotic debut Mobis earlier this year was truly impressive. Available previously just to stream, the rapper/producer today re-releases the hybrid hip-hop/esoteric-electronic album-cum-art project via Shanghai-Based label SVBKVLT.

To celebrate the release of Mobis, which also comes with two new remixes and a bonus track, i-D today premieres the video for Hunter Seeker. As provocatively disturbed as the album itself, Tech describes the video, co-directed by himself and Gil Parkas, "a bleak and paranoiac mirage; with imagery of monolithic LED orbs, post surgery facial re-construction, and liturgic, Kabuki-esque dramatics spanning across the video's multiple story-lines." Below, Yen Tech breaks down a few things we need to know about the fantastical, futuristic video for Hunter-Seeker.

Yen Tech plays four characters, including himself, in Hunter Seeker.
"The video focuses on these three storylines, or settings, that loosely interconnect. I basically play myself as four different characters who are these kind of lost souls: a Kabuki-esque wraith, a future Asian rapper, a post-plastic surgery man, and then Yen Tech the performer. I think they operate as sort of parallel realities or facsimiles that maybe can sense each other but don't interact knowingly. Like a nagging recollection, or maybe the idea of a past life. I think the connection to each character is a kind of emotional hysteria or realisation, where the veneer is peeling away and has lead to some sort of disillusion."

Hunter-Seeker reflects on Seoul's normalisation of plastic surgery.
"We shot this in Seoul and Tokyo. As a Korean, I thought it would be relevant to incorporate some visuals and concepts specifically related to the beauty and surgery industry there because it's so normalised. You see people walking around in Seoul with post-surgery bandages, it's interesting. It's kind of vague in the video, but I wanted to just hint at it. A lot of my work deals with the idea of persona hybridisation and modification, and to me mainstream cosmetic surgery is in some ways not too far off from the context of cloning, or A.I, or like some other near-future versions of modification - which is the world that the video is meant to take place in."

The video's locations fitted the song's concept perfectly.
"Filming in Asia was great. The architecture is sick, there are LEDs everywhere, it's perfect. It was fairly easy to simulate the sound of my album because of the visual setting. We also made it a point to just shoot really spontaneously in the cities on certain days, which I like, because it focuses on the moment and the raw performance more. I tried to channel that energy. I remember I was wearing these really over-the-top clothes from Dog Harajuku on location, and it was funny to see these confused reactions from people. People on the street either thought I was an Idol, or like some kind of cyber clown. Maybe I'm partly both."

The track, and accompanying video, seeks to address some of life's more abstract questions.
These are strange times right now. Everything that's been happening is so surreal, it's like actual science fiction. Specifically after witnessing this election in the States, it's hard to know what to believe, or to have trust in people's baser instincts. The way we interact with the world is sort of inherently paranoid and claustrophobic already as it is, so to me this track is attempting to come to terms with this dilemma. The main line of the chorus is basically this very primal question: "Hunter Seeker, we hunt, we're seeking, how do we survive?"

Yen Tech would like to thank for following playa and playettes….
"A lot of work went into this, so I want to give cred here for the video team. Everyone involved really added something unique. My co-director and producer Gil Park, stylists Tyann Jackson and Gustaf von Platen, makeup artist Lee Tae Young, my girl Mary Jiyeong Son, Lee Min Kyu, scientist/artist Hojun Song who created the Prototype orb, 1px Offline, Olive Young, CU, my hair stylist in Tokyo…the list goes on. Shouts out!

Mobis is available from iTunes now.