VP of Interscope Records: ‘Drunken Tiger – 2NE1, An Energetic impression’

Internationally known American record group, Interscope Records’s A&R Vice President Luke Wood was listening to music from his iPod with ‘Beats By Dr Dre’ headphones.

has such popular artists like Lady Gaga, Pussycat Dolls, Eminem, Black
Eyed Peas, Dr. Dre under their label. As vice president, Wood is in
charge of the artists, Interscope marketing and various new business

On the 23rd, we met with Wood at a Yeouido cafe. This is his third visit to Korea.

the second visit, Jimmy Iovine and I were trying to bring awareness and
cooperation among American artists to Korea and vice versa. This time,
we’re here for ‘MNet’s Asian Music Awards (MAMA)’. And for next year,
we made a deal with CJ to launch ‘Beats By Dr. Dre’ in Korea.

expressed his thoughts on the opening of MAMA that took place on the
21st. In his iPod, he had music by Drunken Tiger, 2NE1 and G-Dragon.

Memorable artists or stages you saw on MAMA
I was surprised by the energy from the stage with Drunken Tiger. Their skills in rapping are not inferior to that of American rappers like Jay-Z and Raekwon. Also with 2NE1, G-Dragon and Taeyang, I was impressed with the composition. Especially, with 2NE1’s pop dance musical. I also think 2PM and Yoon Mi Rae are memorable.

Whether MAMA has the potential to really be the representative Asian Music Awards
I’ve seen many award shows around the world and this could be considered valid competition.
The level of production has gone up and the artist’s energy and
performance on-stage is certainly enough. In particular, though, I
think the competition for the length given to a singer is something to
keep an eye on. In America, for the Grammy’s, they tend to give artists
90 seconds, 2 minutes but this show gives them about 4-5 minutes. With
this sort of development and the competition, it is enough to go global.

The reason for the growing interest in Korea and Asia?
in America the Asian American population has increased. Those people,
while they may adjust well have come from different cultures which
gives us the chance to learn more about it from them. Second, in Korea the quality of the content has gone up and there are a lot of interesting singers.

Are you saying, that there’s chance of Asian music coming to to America?
At first, you may start with bringing Asia to the Americans, but the interest could spread. Music has already become global with digital.
If you think about it, Indian pop music is first kept around India but
then later, in Britain, the Indian pop music is shown to a British
Indian person and such other ethnic minorities which then connects
itself to an American producer who listened and created new music from
that. That is what I am saying.

Are there any chances of success for Korean artists in America like the Wonder Girls and BoA?
entered the Billboard “Hot 100” chart and toured with the Jonas
Brothers, and even though it took some time, managed to introduce their
single “Nobody” through the radio. Even though it is important that
we do need good marketing, the most important aspect is the music.
‘Nobody’ is good in that it is catchy addictive quality to it. I
think with good music and a long-term plan, good investment success can
happen even though it might take some time. Though, with that there’s
also the possibility of creating “global music” with a local producer
take in with Americanized styles and throw in Korean flair and emotion
to it.

What are the conditions Asian artists should expect if they go to America?
Music and an unique vocal. While it may be hard for a Korean person, you must be able to express yourself in English.
And though it may differ with different countries, different music
matches with different countries. With one song, you have to be able to
find a matching equivalent that fits with the American public.

Wouldn’t the fact that a person is Asian, limit themselves?
don’t think it would be a major problem. Forty years ago, R&B music
was only considered “black” music but now it’s one of the major genres
in pop music. I think that the most important part of it all, is not the color of the skin but the content of the music.

Dance, Hip Hop. What genres would be considered an advantage to enter the American music market?
With the trends in Korean music and the trends in America, I think there are some time differences.
Music like N*Snyc is popular in Korea right now, but in America, such
music has already been popular. However, with the internet such
different music is fastly shared. If you listen to Jay-Z’s song
“Empire State of Mind” and the music being produced from YG
Entertainment’s Teddy, there is no noticeable time difference. It’s because he listened to Jay-Z’s song and from that created new music. But if I were to pick something, Korean producers should learn to create an original music instead of picking things up from the American market.

Currently the music trend in America is
The new trend is blended music,
The Black Eyed Peas makes mixtures of European dance beats, with pop
and rock choruses and adding in a hip hop sound to it all. The current market is the pop and rock influences with additions of dance which makes it suitable for stage and radio.

With the global digital music market growing, what is Interscope’s business stance?
A strategy to control such online platforms.
We have made a partnership with Universal Music Group and YouTube with
music video site ‘Vevo’ and Sony Music. With Sony Music, we upload all
of our music videos on our channel in YouTube and Vevo. And if one
wants more higher quality music videos, one can go to the MTV site.
Also we distribute our copyrighted music directly to the consumers.
Before online, it was about $2-3 for one single but with Lady Gaga’s
‘The Fame Monster’ we sold 8 songs for $8.

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