“Tired of lame people” reads the bio on Slchld’s Soundcloud page. What a big mood, as millennials would say whenever they chance upon something relatable or something that they connect with on a personal level.
Similarly, there is a gratifying beauty in finding music that we can personally resonate with and this very connection can be found in Slchld’s works, which span from hip-hop, to alternative R&B, and to occasional folk.
Hailing from Vancouver, Jang Doohyuk goes by the alias Slchld, in short for Seoulchild, paying homage to his birthplace. He prides himself on being an independent singer-songwriter with no backing from big labels or artists.
The alternative R&B artist started putting music out on Soundcloud since early 2017, adroitly documenting on themes that we hold dear to heart such as identity, growth and the transition from youth to adulthood.
He’s also part of 1844 crew with Red House and On The Rouse and often collaborates with other artists such as Rheehab, Oceanfromtheblue, and Gilla.
Earlier this March, he released his new EP your insecurities, not mine, which draws inspiration from notions of adulthood, love and loneliness. Despite having only four tracks in the EP, listeners are greeted by a whirling soundscape of chill and organic tracks that are simply constructed and soft at their finest.
“she likes spring, I prefer winter”, the second track off his new EP, stands testament to the alternative R&B artist’s potential at novelty in his music. With an alluring chorus and catchy melody, his voice, which carries a refreshing and honey-sweet timbre, complements perfectly with the simple, dulcet guitar riffs.
Lyrically, he sings about how he is open to giving in to his partner’s request, as long as it makes her happy.
jasmine, marigold, winter sol yeah
whichever blooms first I might call you by that
whatever you’d like
daffodil or tulips cuz I really don’t mind
if that makes you happy then I’ll be happy too
Following that comes the third track of the EP with the same title “your insecurities, not mine”, which is an instant standout, driven by Slchld’s mellifluous voice and the dream-like instrumentals. Here he sings in English and Korean effortlessly, but the switch in languages isn’t jarring at all to the listener. If anything, it elevates the confessionalist nuance and cathartic lull of the track.
What I adore most about Slchld’s music is that they are modestly unornamented. The entire EP is a pleasant listen with smooth, finessed transitions and nothing sounds particularly shoehorned in. His lyrics are also contemplative and doesn’t fall short in being poetic.
“call this love”, a track off his first mixtape Emotions released in July 2017, is a collaboration with indie artist Rheehab and producer Aso.
Alongside the simple arrangement, the acoustic track is an amalgam of heartfelt whispers, soft piano instrumentals and guitar riffs, encapsulating a poignant solace and a sense of melancholy. Rheehab’s laid-back rapping also complements Slchld’s breezy vocals seamlessly – each word sounds a drop of light, with some of them whispered and some of them flawlessly held. In an interview with Inspire Me Korea last year, Slchld also mentioned that this track is one of his favourites.
Slchld’s music goes beyond what the cosmos has to offer. Threading through the highs and lows of youth, his music documents the inevitable process of growing up in a heartfelt way. Even from his earlier works, it’s evident that the work he puts out has always been consistent and true to himself.
His musicality shines especially through in your insecurities, not mine and the EP is a true testament to the saying “less is more”, underscoring how music doesn’t need to be excessive to be impressive. Without being hard-hitting or over-the-top, Slchld’s works encapsulate a comfortable intimacy that hits too close to the heart – a comfort that we can almost feel at the edge of our fingertips.
With his vast potential, I can’t wait to see what otherworldly music he’ll release soon, be it under the alias of Doohyuk, Slchld, or the boy who finds absolute solace in making music.