LATE of ODD FOLKS: bridging the gap

Editor’s note: Based in Los Angeles, Odd Folks is the newest up-and-coming boy band whose music seeks to bridge underground rap and indie pop. The band currently consists of one member, LATE, who brings various quirks and stylistic influences to the music industry, adding to the overall dynamic of the group’s image: a collective of odd yet passionate creatives full of personality and life.

LATE will be appearing at the San Gabriel Lunar New Year Festival on February 10 in the Mission District. We spoke with LATE to learn more about him and his music.

ISG: Hi LATE, thanks for joining us today. First off, could you please explain the story behind your name?

LATE: During middle school and high school, I was always that kid that was late. Fifteen minutes late, thirty minutes late – everyone told me that this was who I was. “If he’s not late, something’s wrong with him.” I kind of had that title growing up, and people loved it. “If Joe’s not late, something’s wrong.”

ISG: Could you describe the origins of your music?

LATE: My foundation is hip hop, jazz and indie music and I’m trying to make this new genre called indie-pop because I always feel that people always associate indie music as indie music and pop music as pop music – they don’t like to mix the two genres together.

I always thought to myself why we didn’t mix the two genres together. Indie has its own culture and industry as well as pop culture – why don’t we combine the two together?

ISG: How do you create your music?

LATE: Sometimes I feel it. For instance, during class, if I feel a melody, I’ll record it.

Sometimes I get inspiration from different people. For example, if I want to write a love song, I might overhear what a couple is talking about and how they react – their facial expressions. Sometimes when I travel, I get different inspirations from different city vibes. That’s how I get my inspiration and how I get my music. I take notes when I travel of different sights.

ISG: Could you talk about “Chow Mein,” one of your latest songs??

LATE: Growing up, my grandpa would always tell me “when you’re eating noodles, don’t cut it because this will shorten your lifespan,” so I made it into a reference. Chow mein is one of my favorite dishes, and the song talks about life. Life is going to go on, you’re going to get stuff done, don’t try to cut your life. Just try to move – just slurp it.

A shot from LATE’s latest song, “Chow Mein”

ISG: Could you talk a bit about your background?

LATE: Originally, I’m from South Korea. I moved out here eight years ago, and I started doing music three to four years ago.

I’m trying to be the bridge between Korea and Los Angeles. Why do we have to associate hip-hop as K-pop because of its language? I’m trying to create this bridge where Korea comes out to the states.

Not a lot of people speak Korean, but English is a global language. I think that’s the issue between K-pop and the rest of the music industry, and I’m trying to bring that Korean melody with English and Korean lyrics that will allow me to combine the two so that people understand what I’m talking about.

ISG: What can festival-goers expect when you hit the stage on February 10?

LATE: Upbeat music. I want to engage with fans and meet different audiences at the festival. Hype music, music that’s easy to follow with simple melodies so that people can follow along with me.

You can watch LATE perform on February 10 at this year’s Lunar New Year Festival. If you’re on Facebook, be sure to RSVP here.