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Billboard Magazine : Love X Stereo Releases 'Zero One' Music Video: Watch

Love X Stereo, "Zero One"Electronic indie band Love X Stereo return Friday (Feb. 15) with a brand-new music video for their song “Zero One.”

Beginning with a cut of Annie Ko singing breathily about the end of love over mellow, rollicking beats, the song is an ambient ode to the hardships associated with romance. It also features scenes from the short film of the same name, as “Zero One” serves as its soundtrack.

Directed by and starring Korean-American Nick Neon, the Zero One film is a sequel to 2016’s award-winning Ultra Bleu. Like its predecessor, the new short continues to explore the story of a gay man finding his place in the world, inspired by Neon’s own life.

Ko and Toby Hwang formed Love X Stereo in 2011, and have been active in the Korean indie scene since then. They most recently released the compilation album Winter Dreams last year as a tribute to the PyeongChang Olympic Games.

“Zero One” is available on digital music platforms. Watch the music video for it here:

Reporter : Tamar Herman
International Digital Distribution : DFSB Kollective


Billboard Magazine : 5 Takeaways From Music Matters 2018

COURTESY OF MUSIC MATTERS/BRANDED : Billboard's Lars Brandle and veteran DJ Kaskade chat during a keynote session at Music Matters 2018Dance music is crossing borders like never before, clubland has found its groove in Asia and the sleeping giant that is China… well, it’s awake. Those are just some of the hot topics that were explored from the stages and the buzzing floors of Music Matters 2018. 

The 13th annual summit was held Sept. 10-12 at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Singapore, under the All That Matters umbrella, which gathered some 1,700 professionals from across the region and around the globe to do business and gauge the state of the industry. 

Among the 100-plus speakers who plugged into the summit’s five content tracks were DJ Kaskade; Liquid State managing director Gunnar Greve and his protége, the Norwegian/English EDM star Alan Walker; Adele’s manager Jonathan Dickins and many more. 

Billboard caught all the action. Here are five key takeaways from the latest edition. 

China is powering ahead. Streaming giant Tencent Music Entertainment Group hosted a Music Matters forum which explored the notion, “When, not if, China will be the world’s No. 1 music market.” It’s not far off, noted Gunnar Greve, founder of the full-service music company MER and managing director of Liquid State, the joint venture between Tencent and Sony Music Entertainment. During his final-day keynote presentation, Greve described China as the “music market of tomorrow, the most exciting, the most vibrant and fastest growing market in the world." 

With electronic music emerging as the “universal language,” he looks forward to the “chance of breaking the first global superstar from China.” The Norwegian-born executive and his 21-year-old client, Alan Walker, whose works have been streamed billions of times in China, also participated in a packed panel session with artists Seungri, CORSAK and Andrew Li, executive chairman of the Zouk nightclub brand. “China will become the biggest market in the world,” Greve said.

COURTESY OF MUSIC MATTERS/BRANDED : Billboard's Lars Brandle and Liquid State's Gunnar Greve talk during a keynote presentation at Music Matters 2018Clubland is jumping.  With Hakkasan now open for business in Bali, rumors of Pacha also opening a permanent club on the Indonesian island, the Marquee planning to launch next year in Singapore and underground clubs Savage in Hanoi and TAG in Chengdu, China making all the right noises, Asia’s club scene is bouncing. Andrew Li says his Zouk venue has hit on a novel idea to cope with demand and build the brand, specifically in China: a cruise ship, with a capacity for 9,000 people. It’s a major challenge, he admits, but the realization of the dream could see a floating festival complete with bars, hotels and restaurants.

COURTESY OF MUSIC MATTERS/BRANDED : DFSB Kollective's Bernie Cho chats with Believe Distribution Services's Denis Ladegaillerie at Music Matters 201Denis Ladegaillerie will make you believe. It’s no secret: streaming has returned the global recorded music market to growth. As cheap data rolls out across Asia and music fans adopt new platforms, there’s more good times ahead, predicts Denis Ladegaillerie, CEO of Believe Distribution Services. “Asia today is the fastest growing region, from India to China and Indonesia,” says Ladegaillerie, whose own company is expanding as music fans clamor to streaming services like YouTube, Deezer and others.

There’s a lot of “growth potential,” he told DFSB Kollective’s Bernie Cho, which will be reflected by his own company's recruitment of 15 addition staff in the year ahead to work with labels and in other roles. Ladegaillerie also talked transparency across royalty collection and data. “The more information you make available, the more power you put in the hands of the artists,” he enthused. In time, the digital executive expects indie market share will continue to grow because “indie artists understand how digital works… and they’ll continue to build success on their own.”

Kaskade’s beach dream. Few DJs and producers have enjoyed the career longevity of Kaskade (aka Ryan Raddon). And no-one could blame him for wanting to ditch the club and hit the beach. The veteran U.S. DJ and producer also became a festival owner and promoter with Sun Soaked, a beach-festival concept he started in 2017 and hopes to expand in the years to come. "I’d been talking for years about doing something at the beach. My sound is very beachy. It’s the ultimate thing for me," he said during his Monday keynote. This year’s edition grew almost triple-fold, gathering more than 30,000 party goers. "My goal is to hopefully take it to the rest of the country and beyond," he noted. Kaskade and his small team is already planning and securing dates for next year.

Think big. Be ambitious. But you won’t beat Adele. September Management founder Jonathan Dickins had the privilege of closing this year’s summit with a relaxed keynote loaded with insider stories, advice for aspiring stars and surprise tribute videos from industry leaders. Dickins, a regular entrant in Billboard’s Power 100, talked Adele (25 is “probably the last blockbuster” CD, shifting 23 million copies), London Grammar ("this band this gonna get better") and King Krule (“an artist we’ll be talking about in 20 years”).

On pursuing acts, he also has one thing in mind: “We try to sign the best of class. If you do that, you can build careers.” And he warned baby bands to not get ahead of themselves. “The easiest thing you’ll do is put out a debut album. When you’re putting out 3s and 4s, that sorts out the wheat from the chaff…. So many artists fall off a cliff after the first."

Reporter : Lars Brandle
Featured Interviewer : Bernie Cho [DFSB Kollective]


South China Morning Post : China’s got talent : the young musicians trying to make it big in the West

London-based indie rock band Gengahr perform at The Great Escape Festival, Brighton, Britain, in May. Picture: The Great EscapeCould Faye Wong’s daughter Leah Dou become the first successful East-to-West crossover artist?

[UK/CHINA June 21st 2018] Queens Hotel Brighton, on Britain’s south coast, is the sort of genteel seafront property more suited to afternoon tea than the launch of inter­national rock careers. But each spring, its base­ment Sandringham Suite bar is given over to three days of raucous concerts from aspir­ing new bands and singers from all corners of the world.

For the past 11 years, the bar’s improvised stage, illumi­nated only by an emergency exit sign and a single small spotlight, has hosted everything from Dutch ambient house performers and Norwegian folk singers to Japanese punk bands and South African rap crews. All, to greater or lesser degrees of enthusiasm, have paraded their wares to the European music industry’s most important talent spotters, who gather in the city for the annual Great Escape Festival, Britain’s largest showcase for new music.

Every non-native performer arrives with their eyes on the same prize – to transcend linguistic differences and cross over into the mainstream English-language pop market, where music’s biggest riches are to be found. And if the chatter among industry bigwigs at this year’s event is anything to go by, that market may soon be hearing the music of more artists from China.

Soon perhaps … but not yet: just one Chinese artist, 21-year-old Dou Jingtong, has made it onto the Great Escape 2018 bill, the country having been eclipsed, as usual, by pop-savvy Japan and South Korea, with each represented by four acts.

Nevertheless, Caralinda Booth, a veteran scout for Universal Music in China and a promoter, is “totally optimistic” about the future. “In the bushes, stirring in the undergrowth, there’s an awful lot of new, young generation Chinese making really interesting music,” she says.

Many Chinese artists have dipped their toes into Western pop waters with little success. From Andy Lau Tak-wah to Jason Zhang, they have trekked overseas and filled moderate venues with overseas-Chinese fans without ever troubling the charts. But the runaway growth of music-related earnings in China over the past few years has given Western labels and promoters new impetus to cash in. The most recent figures from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, an organisation that represents the interests of the music industry worldwide, show an astonishing rise in music-related income. Revenue from recorded music in China soared 35.3 per cent to US$292 million in 2017, lifting China to 10th position globally.

That was mostly the result of Chinese authorities taking piracy more seriously, introducing licensing measures that cut the proportion of music obtained illegally in the country to 74 per cent of total music consumption, from 97.5 per cent in 2010. As a consequence, online streaming services have been able to flourish, accounting for a higher proportion of music-related sales than in any other country. Together, Tencent’s KuGou and Kuwu, Baidu Music and NetEase Cloud Music – Spotify and Pandora do not operate in China – generated 89 per cent of turnover last year.

To be sure, the data also shows per capita spending on music is a fraction of that in the West or Japan – the world’s second-largest music market, after the United States – but it suggests there’s huge pent up demand for music in China. While Western record labels and promoters are clamouring to boost flagging sales at home by relaunching their cash-cow artists in the new market, they are also taking an interest in the country’s home-grown talent and seeking ways to market that widely.

“Every British band wants to break America and every Chinese band wants to break the West – it’s the same thing,” says Geoff Meall, of British artist agency Coda, who has represented British rock giants Muse and American emo favourites Paramore, and is now turning his attention to Asian bands. “As long as there’s the desire and the inter­national push – and there’s money, there’s lots of money in Chinese entertainment – someone is bound to spend the money on the right artist in a way that the West will embrace.”

"I feel that, with my generation, there are a lot of kids who grew up in the same environment as me, which was the international-school environment, where we are sort of in between Western and Eastern culture [...] there’s going to be more and more of us writing in English for that reason" -- Leah Dou

One potential “right artist” is Dou. Going by the stage name Leah Dou, she’s a slight but self-assured singer whose trip hop-flecked pop has been compared with that of Portishead and Massive Attack. Her parentage alone makes her an almost dead-cert to make it big: her mother is left-field megastar Faye Wong and her father is avant garde Beijing musician Dou Wei.

As such, Dou’s show at the Queens Hotel has been one of the most anticipated at this year’s Great Escape. Dressed all in black and – in a nod to her mother’s eccentricities – with a black line tattooed down her neck from her bottom lip, the school dropout has never had to tour at home because she has always been booked for huge festivals. The last time she was in Britain, she played a four-date run supporting alternative pop giants Bastille, including one night at the cavernous O2 in London, the world’s most-booked venue. The Brighton gig is the smallest she has ever played.

She is convinced, however, that the time is ripe for Chinese artists, of a certain kind, to break out of their home market.

“I feel that, with my generation, there are a lot of kids who grew up in the same environment as me, which was the international-school environment, where we are sort of in between Western and Eastern culture,” Dou says, just hours before the first of two shows she will play at the festival. “I feel like there’s going to be more and more of us writing in English for that reason.”

South Korean act Psy performs Gangnam Style in Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey, in 2013. Picture: AlamHong Kong fans will know Dou from her appearance at the 2015 Clockenflap music festival in the city, but despite a couple of moderately successful singles, including 2015’s uptempo River Run, and her having won the QQ Music New Female Artist of 2016 award, she is yet to translate her talents into chart success. The reason, she suspects, is language. “It’s kind of difficult for me to connect with a Chinese audience that doesn’t speak English,” she says.

Many in the industry argue that the language barrier will be the biggest obstacle to Chinese success in the West. After all, the only non-English-language songs to have made it big in the major markets have been novelty hits.

South Korean joker Psy’s Gangnam Style of 2012 became the most streamed song in history thanks to its earworm tune and silly video. In Britain, Spanish singer Sylvia’s early 1970s hit Y Viva Espana set in train a slew of other sun-drenched exotica that cashed in on the growing trend for overseas summer holidays. Naff tracks such as Kaoma’s Lambada, in 1989, and Los del Rio’s Macarena, six years later, benefited more from soundtracking drunken vacation revelries than from any melodic integrity.

One-hit wonders, however, do not earn record companies sustainable incomes, so the pressure is on to find that special sauce that will make Chinese music pay long-term overseas. And so far, it looks like singing in English is the key.

Booth agrees. She tried to cash in on the Beijing Olympics, in 2008, in her first attempt at breaking a Chinese star in the West. Her name was Sa Dingding – a folk singer, hugely successful at home, of Han Chinese and Mongol ancestry who variously performs in Mandarin, Sanskrit, Tibetan and occasionally even a self-created language. It didn’t go well, even though Sa played at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall.

“Because her English wasn’t great, promotion and publicity were very difficult,” Booth explains. “In terms of singing, I think we would all agree that for an artist to find a big fan base, they need to make an impact emotionally.

“If you are an African band and you sing in an African dialect but you’ve got a great rhythm, then that’s covering something. But if you’re singing a different sort of music, which is also very lyrical, it’s hard for people to get your drift if you’re singing in another language.”

Singer Annie Ko, from Korean indie-dance band Love X Stereo. Picture: YouTube / Love X Stereo.To get around the language barrier, executives appear to be relying on two marketing ploys.

One is to enter the Western markets via a niche genre, where fan bases are typically more committed and willing to experiment with new artists. That is partly why many overseas artists target the Great Escape: it has an envious track record of spotting future hit makers in the most unlikely of places. An acoustic guitar-slinging Adele featured on its 2007 bill sporting a look and a sound a million miles from the R&B belters that have made her one of the biggest stars in the world. Grime artist Stormzy played one of his first headline shows at the festival in 2016, long before he was crowned the king of British rap. And local crooner Rag’n’Bone Man was a guest before his track Human (2016) made him a global name.

While the Great Escape is billed as a pan-genre showcase, its listings tend to be weighted heavily towards indie rock, modern rap and dance. It is a perfect springboard for Chinese artists, says Nina Condron, a director at international distribution company Horus Music.

“There should be a big crossover artist, but I think it’s going to happen by making inroads through niche channels – via indie, dance, hip hop,” she says. “The broader pop market is too big to penetrate yet. Start small and work up to that level.”

The second ploy is to keep foreign-language singing to a minimum. That means recording dance or rap songs.

“There’s something in instrumental, non-vocal tracks: straightaway, [Western audiences] have something they can like,” says Mathew Daniel, NetEase Cloud Music vice-president, international. “Hip hop and trap work well because they have limited lyrics and are beat heavy. Old school rap was poetic – it was the new beat poetry – but the new trap guys are just repetitive; it’s no longer poetic, it’s just impact, which makes it easy to pick up.”

"There’s a vacuum for a Chinese artist to make it internationally. We’re waiting for something that’s still missing. But it is a big question: why is it that the Chinese, 1.3 billion people all over the globe, haven’t crossed over? Is it the melody? Is it the music? We need a singer who translates across cultures" -- Geoff Meall, agent

For Booth, the key to success is even more fundamental. An artist just needs to be good. And that’s a problem, says Meall, who argues that so far, Chinese performers have failed because their idea of what makes a good song has generally been far from what will sell in the West.

He points to his experience at Sound of the Xity, an event similar to the Great Escape and held each year in Beijing. “A lot of it was f***ing awful, I’ll be honest with you,” Meall says. “It probably had something to do with how the artists had been brought up culturally. Nobody seemed to have the structure of the three- to four-minute pop song.

“Every band that we saw pretty much had too many members – extraneous violinists and trombonists. All very, very competent musicians but every single song seemed to feature a three-minute intro and a two minute outro in a nine-minute song. There was a lot of showing off how good they were but not any real idea of a pop song.”

Because China had been closed off from the West for so long, when it started opening up, music fans had no context for the new pop songs that started flooding into their CD shops, and later, onto their streaming services, says Daniel.

“Look at it like this: Japan had Ryuichi Sakamoto to bring in pop and India had Ravi Shankar, who introduced pop through his association with George Harrison, but the Chinese world only had Bruce Lee; he may be the biggest icon in hip hop but he isn’t even music.

“There’s a vacuum for a Chinese artist to make it internationally. We’re waiting for something that’s still missing. But it is a big question: why is it that the Chinese, 1.3 billion people all over the globe, haven’t crossed over? Is it the melody? Is it the music? We need a singer who translates across cultures.”

Leah Dou, aka Dou Jingtong, performs during the 2018 Yin concert on January 13, 2018 in Guangzhou, Guangdong. Picture: Getty ImagesBack at the Queens Hotel Brighton, Booth says the old ways of promoting overseas bands – by playing up their foreignness – no longer apply. “Before, just by saying you had a Chinese artist, everyone was fascinated,” she says. The opening up of the music industry means “that has gone now”.

Nowadays she prefers to do things organically, to promote her Chinese artists on the merits of their talents. “The main thing is finding a character that’s special to them,” Booth says. “You don’t really want a Chinese version of Mariah Carey coming over. That’s never going to work. Bjork didn’t make it because she was from Iceland. She made it because she was brilliant, and being from Iceland was just part of her story.”

Dou agrees but also says that Western audiences value authenticity and for Chinese artists that means playing to their cultural strengths. To that end, she says she has begun incor­porating traditional Chinese instruments into her music and says many of her contemporaries are following suit.

“If we’re being really straight about it, there’s already enough Western music in the West,” Dou says. “Chinese artists are going to have to bring something different to the table.”
Reporter : Mark Mccord

International Digital Distribution : DFSB Kollective [Love X Stereo]
International Festival Booking Agent : DFSB Kollective [Love X Stereo]


Music Business Association : Sixth Annual Metadata Summit to Gather Who’s Who of Global Data Experts at Music Biz 2018 Conference

[April 23rd 2018 Nashville TN] The Music Business Association (Music Biz) will host the Sixth Annual Metadata Summit on Tuesday, May 15, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. CT at the Omni Nashville Hotel during the Association’s 60th anniversary Music Biz 2018 conference. Aimed at data experts from throughout the music industry, the program will amplify the importance of metadata and provide a high-level forum for discussion.

Sponsored by OpenPlay along with supporting sponsors DataArt, primephonic, SOCAN, SoundExchange, and VEVA Sound, this year’s Summit will kick off with a presentation from Edward Ginis of OpenPlay, who will explain why metadata must evolve beyond artist, genre, and title to enable the music technology of tomorrow. In addition, global metadata issues will take center stage in a series of presentations, including Bernie Cho of DFSB Kollective discussing how data helped K-Pop become Asia’s #1 music export; Ed Peto and Alex Taggart of Outdustry explaining music licensing in China; and Jay Mogis of Nightlife Music detailing metadata use in Australia.

Other panels and presentations will feature a who’s who of international metadata experts, including Kim Beauchamp of Universal Music Group; Jon Bender of SoundExchange; Jill Chapman of Amazon, Harris Cohen of YouTube; Deborah Fairchild of VEVA Sound; Joe Freel of Sony Music Entertainment; Neil Gaffney of Universal Music Group; Mark Isherwood of DDEX; Jeff King of SOCAN; Eric MacKay of Warner/Chappell; Jackson Mercer of Concord Music; Vickie Naumann of CrossBorderWorks; Benji Rogers of Dot Blockchain Media; and Howie Singer, Strategic Technology Consultant. These sessions will cover common metadata mistakes that can get songs removed from digital service providers (DSP’s), the Music Data Exchange (MDX) database, the music business applications of blockchain, how metadata can help rights-holders find where their songs are being used and ensure they are being paid properly, and the benefits of capturing metadata directly in the studio.

“This year’s Metadata Summit comes at a time when high-quality metadata is of utmost importance,” said James Donio, President of Music Biz. “With digital services now accounting for the majority of music industry revenue, it is crucial that each and every stream, download, video sync, or other music use be properly identified and associated with its rights-holders. Music Biz’s resident data enthusiast, our Digital Programming & Industry Relations Consultant Bill Wilson, has once again assembled experts from all corners of the international metadata scene. We look forward to an in-depth discussion.”

“The music tech space is growing rapidly in a variety of different directions, but the one thing they all have in common is they need proper metadata to work efficiently,” said Bill Wilson, Digital Programming & Industry Relations Consultant for Music Biz. “It’s important for everyone in every branch of the industry to stay up-to-date on these issues and ensure they are following the proper guidelines. This is how we clear the way for fresh innovations that will both keep revenue growing and guarantee it ends up in the right hands.”

1 – 1:20 PM

The Unsung K-Pop Star: Music Metadata

Get the lowdown on how the “glocalization” of music metadata is the secret success sauce that has helped propel Korean pop music to emerge as the #1 Asian music export in the world.

About the Music Business Association
The Music Business Association (Music Biz) is a membership organization that advances and promotes music commerce — a community committed to the full spectrum of monetization models in the industry. It provides common ground by offering thought leadership, resources, and unparalleled networking opportunities, all geared to the specific needs of its membership. Music Biz brings a unique perspective and valuable insight into the trends and changes that innovation brings. Today, we put our collective experience to work across all delivery models: physical, digital, mobile, and more. Music Biz and its members are committed to building the future of music commerce — together.

Featured Speaker : Bernie Cho [DFSB Kollective]


Film Threat : Fiction And Other Realties 

[LOS ANGELES May 6th 2018] Fiction And Other Realities
is the story of Bobby Choy (playing himself), a 20-something Korean-American residing in New York City, who feels like a stranger in the country he was born in. After his father’s death, he starts writing sad songs, though he does not perform very often. Mostly, he just practices in his bathtub, singing softly because of the thin walls of the apartment he shares with his mom. Bobby’s friend Billy (Todd Goble), the lead singer of the band Paper Kings, offers him a job as a roadie for the band’s upcoming tour, which includes a stop in Seoul, the Republic Of Korea (or, as it is better known, South Korea). Bobby is hesitant at first, as he would be away from his mom and the only society he truly knows. However, after mulling over the pros and cons at his telemarketing job, he decides to take the opportunity.

Bobby enjoys his time on the road and is stoked once they land in Seoul. The excitement fades when they arrive at the venue and Bobby is stopped by security, being mistaken for just another fan. Billy intervenes, and the band and their crew set up then go out for food and drinks. Billy winds up getting so sick he spends most of the next day throwing up. With some time for himself, Bobby goes to the Hongdae area of the city. He goes there because of a photo. In 1974, his dad, standing proud, had a picture taken there. While walking around, Bobby comes across Ina (Hwa-Young Im), a grad student busking for fun. He accidentally leaves her 500,000 Won, not 5,000. She insists he takes it back, but he convinces her to be his guide around the city, and keep the money as payment.

They walk all over, talking about her plans for university, music, when they first wrote songs, and even have dinner together. The next day, Billy is feeling better and asks where Bobby was all day. Then Billy starts talking about packing up and getting ready for the next stop along the tour. Bobby decides to stay, and Billy wishes him luck. Then Bobby goes to find Ina again. She introduces him to Dolly (Hyun-Sung Hwang), who gets Bobby a very cheap apartment in a short amount of time. The three then start hanging out, playing music at small venues as Big Phony. These performances become a weekly gig, and soon they are being asked to be the opening act for some bigger bands about to go on tour. But Ina has a secret she’s been unable to tell Bobby that could jeopardize their future together, as well as the band’s. Can the trio of musicians navigate the obstacles and achieve their dreams? Will Ina’s duty to her family prove their undoing? Does Bobby’s sense of belonging there dissipate as he learns more about the culture and customs in the Republic of Korea?

“…a 20-something Korean-American residing in New York City, feels like a stranger in the country he was born…”

Fiction And Other Realities, aside from just being a brilliantly clever title, is based on Bobby Choy’s real life. He was raised in NYC and moved to Seoul, where he still resides. He is still creating music, having recently hit 10K subscribers on YouTube and playing at the Korea Spotlight concert in Austin, Texas. The movie leaves out some autobiographical details, such as his family moving to Los Angeles when he was 14, but he stayed in NYC and Choy’s brief sojourn at a Christian college before deciding to focus on his music. Of course, distilling an entire life to just 90 minutes is impossible, so things will be streamlined or omitted in favor of narrative flow. Since Choy wrote the movie, as well as co-directs with Steve Lee, these changes reflect the things he deems vital to the point of the story.

When deciding to stay, Bobby tells Billy that he “feels safe” in the city and he wants to discover why. Having had the immense honor of living in South Korea, I can confidently state that of the dozens upon dozens of countries I have been to and of the four continents I grew up on, there is no place quite like Seoul. It is the greatest city on the planet, offering something for everyone, no matter what you may be into. Take Lotte World for example. It’s a multi-story shopping mall whose bottom floor is a freaking half indoor (Adventure)/ half outdoor (Magic Island) amusement park, has a lake that the entire complex circles, connects to a folk museum, a live theater that is home to several magicians, and movie theaters. If you can’t find something to entertain or interest you there, then you aren’t trying. The movie perfectly sells that intangible, almost magical atmosphere Seoul casts.

Choy is playing a version of himself, but such a thing isn’t always easy; ask Chuck Barris. He is empathetic and soulful while never coming across as morose or timid. He shares excellent chemistry with everyone he interacts with and comes off as a fun, likable guy. Hwa-Young Im is equally amazing as Ina. When she finally breaks down and confesses to Bobby what exactly is going on, despite her lies of omission, the audience feels terrible for both parties involved. The character of Dolly isn’t exactly subtle, but Hyun-Sung Hwang is nuanced and adds a zest for life that makes him the best friend one could ask for. The entire cast really is remarkable, with each actor making the most of their roles, no matter how little screentime they get.

“…perfectly sells that intangible, almost magical atmosphere Seoul casts…”

Music is central to the film’s plot and atmosphere. Most of the songs are Big Phony tracks – they are catchy and fuel the energy and passion of not just the characters, but also the movie. Bobby and Ina are at dinner, after their first meeting, and she convinces him to sing for her. Bobby warns her that all his songs are sad, but relents and plays something. As he strums the guitar and sings, doodles of bubbles are coming out of the couple’s beverages, and when “rocket” is sung, a hand-drawn ship flies across the screen. This is a remarkable way to visually represent the songs that do not undercut the tenderness on display.

The highest praise I can give Fiction And Other Realities is that after watching the movie I bought a Big Phony album. Yes, the music is that good. More importantly, as a movie, everything comes together eloquently. A sweet story with engaging performances, excellent music, and an ethereal ambiance thanks to its cityscape.

Fiction And Other Realities (2018) Directed by Bobby Choy and Steve Lee. Written by Bobby Choy. Starring Bobby Choy, Todd Goble, Hwa-Young Im, and Hyun-Sung Hwang. Fiction and Other Realities made its West Coast Premiere at the 2018 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

Grade: A

2018.05.07 #ReadyOrNot #AllBetsAreOff as #KoreanIndie artist @BigPhony brand new deluxe edition EP #HeyNotSoFast speeds up to Top 15 on #Apple @iTunes USA #KPop Album Charts! #LAAPFF2018 @VCFilmFestival #CAAMfest @CAAM #BigPhony #FictionAndOtherRealiti

Reporter : Bobby LePire
Executive Producer [Music Videos] : DFSB Kollective
International Distribution [EP] : DFSB Kollective