THE GOODS | #016–FW15
Name: Marco Lee (JIIN)
Marco Lee has a sort of subversive way about him. With a slight build, monotone voice, and a style that generally consists of oversized sweaters, he may seem unassuming but that’s probably intentional. Lee, also known by his artist name JIIN, produces music and visuals, while studying architecture at Ryerson. And though only 21, his musical talent has gained him a reputation internationally, having spun at CakeShop in Seoul, and made mixes for Inventory Magazine and Noisey alike. His EP, Cult Hymns, is a collection of ominous melodies, synth beats, and sombre lyrics all tracked to the sedated downtempo that Toronto is known for. His first major debut was made in good company with features by Daniel Caesar and a video accompanying the second track, Cult Logic, co-directed by Norman Wong and Lee himself.
The ride to and from the location where we shot was accompanied by stretches of silence, but this was come to be expected. Going back to the subversive quality, Lee only really says things that needs to be said. But a seemingly apathetic attitude is belied by his work that is highly conceptual in nature. Amongst Spotify tracks and film portraits, there is an essay on his website deconstructing the interplay of digitalism and architecture, that was likely produced for his thesis. The three and a half page paper argues that the growing volume of images consumed through the internet results in a disconnection between inspiration and impetus within the design process. A cycle Lee likens to, “One who swallows before chewing does not even realize what they have eaten.”
On the relationship between architecture and his music, Lee states the connections are more conceptual than literal. In a previous interview he has mentioned using an image as a starting point for creating music, while in the process of designing architecture the process was reversed, as music has occasionally worked as the inspiration. He mentions John Cage’s 4’33’, a four minute and thirty-three second composure in which the musicians are instructed to not play their instruments for its duration, a conceptual piece inspired in part by Robert Rauschenberg’s “White Paintings”. The idea that less is better than noise was then a starting point for a concrete platform that Lee designed later on. Moving forward Lee is placing an emphasis on his work as a musician, though with his fluid interdisciplinary workflow he probably already recognizes that he would benefit from a sustained career in both.
Check out JIIN's newest release, Don't Be Shy Remix.
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