During a trip to New York, we caught up with the rising music artist SEBii to delve into the eclectic influences shaping his distinctive sound, from the soulful tones of Erykah Badu to the high-energy vibes of Lil Uzi Vert. SEBii opens up about his love for anime, his spontaneous creative process, and the vital role of visual aesthetics in his artistic identity. As he embarks on new projects and explores the dynamic landscape of music technology, SEBii reflects on his cultural roots, engagement with fans, and his vision for the future. Join us as we uncover the layers of SEBii’s artistry and his journey through music and beyond.

Hi SEBii! You’ve mentioned your love for various genres on social media. How do your musical influences shape the unique sound we hear in your music today?

There’s a lot of different things that inspire my sound. In terms of my high-pitched singing voice, it would be Erykah Badu. People are usually surprised when I say that, but when I was younger, I used to listen to a lot of her music and would always want to sing like her. So that’s how I developed the high-pitched singing voice. But in terms of rapping, it was Lil Uzi Vert that got me into doing vocals. It’s just his carefree and effortless energy that was so infectious and made me feel like I can make my own music. A big shout out to Uzi.

What’s your favorite anime?

Mob Psycho is one of my favorite animes, but I always say Mob Psycho, so I’m gonna say a different one. I’m gonna say “Monster.” That’s what I’m feeling today. “Monster” is an absolute classic. It’s like the Shakespeare of anime. I love the story, and how it explores themes of morality. It just gets really deep. One Piece is also one of my favorites. I love shows that are playful and fun, but also get serious and emotional.

Can you walk us through your creative process when making a new track? How do you balance experimentation with consistency?

For me, when I make a song, I usually just punch in. I don’t write, I just play the beat and then I punch in every bar. I like that process because for me, making music is about being spontaneous and capturing that initial feeling I get when I first hear a beat. I think consistency comes from constantly working and creating; naturally, there will be consistency. I don’t think you have to overthink it; it will come with time. For experimentation, I feel like as long as you’re having fun trying and out new things, experimentation will naturally occur. So, that’s how I balance those two things.

Your Instagram features vibrant visuals and playful graphics. How do visual aesthetics play a role in your artistic identity and the storytelling behind your music?

Visuals are a key part of how I express myself on social media. They are just as important, if not more important to me, than the music. It’s something I think a lot about, but also, like the music, I’m pretty spontaneous and in the moment about it. I just do what I feel is cool. A big part of my creative process is about creating first and giving meaning to it later. Not to say that I don’t take my time with it though, I’m very meticulous about my process.

What’s your story with Asia, are you already big in Korea and Japan? 🙂

I grew up in Shanghai, China, so being half-Asian has been a big part of my identity. Also, a lot of the media I consume is from Asia, so I love Asia. I just moved to China, and I’m gonna be traveling Asia for a year. I wouldn’t say I’m big in Asia per se, but it’s definitely somewhere I want to expand and grow. Last year, I went to Japan three times for shows. I haven’t been to Korea since I was a little kid, so I’m really excited to go, probably early next year. I’m a fan of K-pop and taking a lot of inspiration from it in my new music.

How do you engage with your audience, and how does their feedback impact your music?

There are a lot of different ways I engage with my audience. There are times when I’m highly involved with them, especially during Twitch streams where we have an intimate back-and-forth relationship. However, there are moments when I prefer to work in solitude, ensuring that external influences do not impact my creative process. Some songs are created purely because of people talking about me online, like “4MOODss” or the many remixes I’ve done.

Are there any upcoming projects, collaborations, or experimental sounds that you’re particularly excited about?

Since I just released VVSS2, which was a big project for me, I’m kind of in this experimental stage figuring out the next sound. I have a three-song EP coming out soon that I’m excited about. Otherwise we just have to wait and see what the new SEBii-era is.

Technology is an essential part of your music, both in production and distribution. How do you see emerging technologies shaping the future of music?

Technology is a significant part of my life, as well as everyone else’s. I envision a future where music-making becomes incredibly accessible to the point where completing a survey and answering questions could potentially generate a song. This accessibility could lead to a scenario where everyone can create music and listen to their own creations, essentially making everyone an artist. While some individuals might be apprehensive about this future, fearing it could replace jobs, I hold a positive outlook on AI and its potential to shape the future. Human touch and creativity are elements that AI can never fully replicate. I believe we are entering a new era where technology advancements will pave the way for new ways of listening to and experiencing music in our ever-evolving world.

What message or impact do you hope to leave with your music, and how do you want people to remember SEBii in the long run?

I’m just making music and having fun with it and doing things that I think are creative and never been done before so with my music and art I just strive to be creative so whatever impact that has on people I think that’s for other people to decide.

Watch FRENDS>ENEMii below:

Photography: @violentdodo
SEBii is wearing 032c, Balenciaga and Syndicate Kyiv