You have to be awestruck by the newly established Asian American collective, Aziatix, created by producer Jae Chong of the first Korean R&B group, SOLID fame. For garnering as much hype as I’ve seen with one single, it’s a testament to their potential for a group that has yet to officially debut. Aziatix is a project that the trio of Flowsik, Eddie Shin and Nicky Lee are multi-tasking in conjunction with their own solo careers, all the while deciding on the venues for a pending international tour to support the May release of Aziatix’s debut album.
Their single, “Go,” the hybridization of pop and R&B, is the brainchild of what was revealed, by an accompanying teaser music video released in March, to be the collaboration of Jae Chong’s production and the trio’s vocals and lyricisms. Since then, the track has already graced Z100 and a radio station in Germany, while conquering the Nate video charts in Korea. Yes all that, working with so little, in just one month.
It’s evident that Aziatix is a label that has the intentions of founding a collective for the Asian artists out there, but despite the surface, you should do away with the K-Pop, J-Pop notion that you’re inclined to assume and think of them as musicians who are making a name for themselves in the way they know how.
Simply, they’re musicians working together who happen to be Asian and decided to collectively tackle an uphill battle in an industry where the mainstream Asian presence is in fact the minority. Besides, it’s an easier prospect of garnering the loyalties of a demographic that they can relate to, and work their way up from there. Add to that, it’s not completely an unfounded notion when you look at the likes of the ever popular Far East Movement and even Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All – but that’s as far of a comparison that I’ll make.
As Aziatix’s Facebook “Likes” and Youtube views blow up, the label is looking to add fresh talent to its roster and it’s exciting to see what the new label has in store for its ever growing international fan base. Maybe this is exactly what the industry needed to ruffle the feathers of the Billboard charts. We can only wait in anticipate to see what comes next.
Musebox talked to Aziatix about their origins, their solo careers, the names of the two tracks that will be featured in addition to “Go” at Circle, and the future of Aziatix.
Aziatix will be debuting in NYC at Circle Nightclub on Saturday, April 30. Doors open at 10PM.
Musebox: Are there any other artists that will be joining the Aziatix label?
Eddie Shin: We’re always looking for new talent, which our producer Jae Chong is always looking out for. Definitely there’s the possibility of new artists joining the label for sure.
MB: How did Jae Chong come up the name “Aziatix?” What is its origin?
Nicky: “Aziatix” basically lets everybody know that our origin, our descent are from Asia. “Aziatix” is the name that our producer Jae Chong came up with back in 2002. Back in the day he was writing a lot of songs in Asia. Jae Chong and I was writing stuff out in the whole Asian region so the way “Aziatix” came about was basically because of Asia.
MB: A fan, Violeta Ramirez, asked, “How did you three meet?”
Flowsik: It was sort of random, well not random, but it was destiny at the same time, I believe. Flowsik came to Korea to find out new things and new ventures and linked up with Jae Chong, our producer, and then worked on a couple of songs. Then Flowsik met Nicky Lee through Jae Chong. As far as Eddie goes, Flowsik and Eddie used to play basketball together.
Eddie: Yea we had mutual friends. Then we just got close because we had mutual friends that went to school together. We were just talking about music and were just worked on some tracks together. We just hit it off. It just happened naturally.
MB: Would you brand Aziatix as being a K-pop label or do you consider yourself to be three musicians who happen to be Korean?
Nicky Lee: We’re not a K-Pop label. We’re just a label that does music and we just happen to be Korean American, but the first thing is that we don’t want to label ourselves with a certain type of style and a certain type of music. We’re just three musicians that are trying to make good music at the end of the day. We’re not a K-Pop label – just to clarify that. We just happen to be Korean American but at the end of the day we just want to make good music for everybody.
MB: A fan, Carolynn Martinez, asked, “If it wasn’t for music what would you see yourself doing as a career?”
Eddie: I’d never imagine doing anything outside of music, but would probably just write for other people, writing songs.
Flowsik: Honestly, the same as Eddie, I’d never thought of anything besides making music. So if I had to give you an answer, I would say that I would be a hungry artist that will continue to strive to make it until the day that I die.
Nicky: For me, if I wasn’t doing music, I’d probably be doing something in the food industry. I love food man, whether it’s cooking or eating. I can’t really cook but I love to eat, maybe I should do the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest every year or something. Something with the food industry. I love food man.
MB: A fan, Dominique Briones, asked, “I’ve read up a lot about you guys but here’s something I would like to know. What keeps you going as a musician and a person?”
Nicky: What keeps us going as a musician and a person? What keeps us going as a musician, and I’m sure I speak for Flo and Eddie when I say this, is the love of music and our passion for music that keeps us going, and it’s the people too. At the end of the day we hope to be good role models for the community and good role models for the younger generation. That’s what keeps us going.
Flowsik: There’s a lot of things that we want to say, and it’s hard to say what we want to say to everybody, but through this project, through music and through the lyrics and the emotions we put into it, we’re able to do just that. As people, we’re able to speak what we want to say through the music.
MB: You’re performing at Circle, which is known to be predominantly a Korean venue. What types of fans are you looking to reach out to?
Nicky: At the end of the day we’re looking to make music that touches everybody. It doesn’t matter what your background is or where you come from. The reason for Circle is that we should still touch base with our community and that community’s support. We feel that if we don’t have the community backing us then how are we going to get other people on board? We just want to get the support of the community and that’s why we chose Circle.
Hopefully our music spreads out everywhere. Thankfully the community has shown us a lot of love and a lot of support and we’re blessed to have that. Thank you.
MB: Are there any other venues that have been lined up and that you’ll be playing in?
Eddie: I think the company is taking care of that right now, but first things first, we’ve got this showcase lined up and we’re dropping our new EP sometime in May. After that, we hope wherever you want to see the Aziatix, let us know and we’ll be there.
Flowsik: There’s fans worldwide now in different countries. So we know for sure that we’ll be hitting up a lot of different countries, we’ll be doing a lot of traveling.
Eddie: Especially since we got our song out on a German radio station. That was pretty amazing. We’re just trying to hit up anywhere that wants us. We’ll be there.
MB: So you do have plans on debuting in countries aside from the U.S. and Korea?
Nicky: Yea, definitely. Worldwide. We want to go global with this project. We hope that our music spreads like wildfire and just catches everywhere and that’s our main goal, to just make music that the whole world can enjoy.
MB: What type of a performance should we be looking forward to in your debut performance?
Nicky: A lot of energy and we’re going to be performing some new songs that haven’t dropped yet so all the fans get to hear something real new. It’s going to be hot. It’s going to be fire.
MB: How much of an effort will you put into Aziatix, considering that each member has their own solo careers?
Flowsik: We each have our own solo projects lined up. I think that as a group project and as a team, I think it was important for us to set a ground and a solid foundation and I think that the best way to make that happen was to work on a group project. Each artist has their own style and their own sound and combining them together makes beautiful, amazing music and you can’t go wrong with that. I think the solid foundation was needed and that this project was absolutely perfect along with Jae Chong’s brilliant producing and Eddie’s brilliant songwriting capabilities and all the work that we put in together as a team is a beautiful thing.
Nicky: So we’re going to work on our solo projects, but definitely in between, we’re going to get back together and work on stuff as a group, as Aziatix, and keep on going.
MB: What do you think of the underground, indie artists out there who are Asians and are having trouble making a name for themselves? From your own experiences what has been the challenge of making a name for yourselves. Do you want to become a household name?
Eddie: We definitely want to become a household name. You know, why not? In terms of Asian Americans trying to come up, just keep going. A couple of months ago we were just working on our tracks and I don’t think any of expected or imagined the kind of love that we’re getting right now. Now we’re doing our showcase in New York, and we’ve got our gig lined up, so it’s crazy. So anything can happen.
Flowsik: Being Asian American is definitely something we should be proud of, but at the end of the day, it’s about the music alone. If the music is good, everything else will be good. You know, It’s simple math. The talent should be there and the music should be there.
MB: What artists are you listening to?
Nicky: Growing up, I was more influenced by R&B and soul, like Stevie Wonder and Bryan McKnight and singers like that. Yea, I just grew up listening to R&B, soul and pop. I like pop too, so those are my influences.
Eddie: Yea, like Nicky, I grew up listening to R&B and soul, like Babyface, Stevie Wonder and Bryan McKnight.
Flowsick: I was raised in a hip hop community so I listened to the usual, Biggie Smalls, Nas, Jay-Z, the usual.
MB: Do you have any artists in mind that you’d want to collaborate with?
Nicky: There’s so many. I personally would love to collaborate with Drake. He’s fire. Yea, Drake if you’re out there listening, come on, let’s do this Drake.
Eddie: Singer, songwriters like Ne-Yo, Chris Brown, all these R&B artists are good too.
Flowsik: Once again there’s just so many artists out there with different sounds. I’d love to collaborate with whomever, like Jay-Z. Humbly speaking, I can confidently say that we’re on the level to collaborate with all the top artists right now and competition wise, there are a lot of people making great music, and we hope that we’ll be up there as well, sharing the limelight, spreading the love.
MB: Flowsik, you’ve worked with Ice-T, how was that relationship?
Flowsik: We definitely keep in touch and he’s busy filming another season of Law and Order. He was a rapper and one of the greatest rappers of his time. It just felt good being co-signed by an O.G. artist, because Ice-T is O.G. Everyone respects him as a rapper and he’s doing good things right now. But it felt really good because Flowsik, up and coming from the underground, especially being the Asian artist – I don’t want to use that as an excuse – but, it felt good. It was a confirmation of how much harder I needed to work and what good was going to be coming our way.
MB: What are you currently working on now that the debut album is safe to say nearing, if not already in, completion?
Eddie: We’re working on our respective solo albums, so Flowsik is probably going to be the first one coming out with his solo album, follow up by me, and then Nicky. We’ll keep continuing to work together as a group too as Aziatix, so everything we’re working on, we’re working on simultaneously.
Nicky: After the release though, we definitely hope to get close to the fans, whether it be touring, live gigs, so we definitely want to have a connection with the fans. So after the music goes out we’re going to be touring and going to each and every city in Asia and America and just seeing everybody.
MB: You must be pretty good multi-taskers.
Nicky: Yea, and Aziatix, we’re also a production team, so we’re definitely going to be writing a lot of hot tracks and a lot of new songs not only for us but for artists all around. So people should keep out a look out for that as well.
MB: So I should be on the lookout for tracks that are tagged, “feat. Aziatix.”
Nicky: Featuring Aziatix: Jae Chong, Eddie Shin, Flowsik, Nicky Lee
MB: Can you tell me the names of the other tracks that will be on the EP in addition to “Go?”
Flowsik: That is a secret. That’s a best kept secret.
Eddie: Yea I don’t think we’re allowed to disclose that right now.
MB: What will you be performing on Saturday?
Eddie: Well three of the songs, we’re going to be performing, but the EP that’s coming out next month is probably going to have more songs on it. Tomorrow we’ve got some songs, definitely we’re going to be singing “Go,” but besides “Go,” there’s a track called, “What you Know About Us,” and another track called, “Another Day.”
Flowsik: So, it’s worth the wait.
MB: Yea, I’ve seen the hype around Aziatix and it’s pretty crazy, even having only released one single.
Nicky: We definitely want to thank the fans for all their love and support here because it’s amazing. We definitely feel blessed. We’re humbled. So thank you, all the fans worldwide, definitely.
Flowsik, Eddie: Thank you.
Nicky: Also there’s a lot of new music coming out so please keep a lookout.
MB: What do you see in the future with Aziatix?
Eddie: Hopefully we’re just continuing to make good music, basically just making that everyone can enjoy regardless of race and background.
Nicky: We hope to spread the music world-wide and hope that everybody, everybody knows Aziatix.
MB: Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?
Nicky: It’s cliché as it might sound but, don’t ever give up your dreams. Keep on going for what you want. That’s something our producer Jae Chong said once. He goes, “I’m not going to wait for history to happen. I’m going to make it.” That’s something we definitely live by. We’re not going to wait for history to come around and we’re going to go out there and make history.
Also we want to thank God.
Flowsik: Yea, thank God and once again if it’s not for the people there’ isn’t a point in doing this. I think the passion we have for the people is the most important thing for us right now, because it’s that drive alone that’s making us work hard and it’s that drive that’s taking us far right now. Yea, it’s going to be one hell of a journey and let’s take that journey together.