As a child, Closet Yi spent hours watching her sister play computer games. Absorbed in the vivid worlds of Final Fantasy, Aion, Starcraft and Sonic, she often found herself focussing on the music and sound effects that helped their stories unfold. It laid the foundation for her love of instrumental and electronic music and, soon, she was buying video game soundtracks on CD, immersing herself fully in the emotional melodies and colourful atmospheres of their on-screen environments.
“That escalated to where I am now,” says the Seoul-based DJ and producer, whose musical output bears a similar sense of vibrancy and drama. Her DJ sets — adventures through house and techno, with flourishes of trance and breakbeat — leap from high-energy peaks into deep, rolling valleys and back again. Murmurs of birdsong, mysterious voices and quietly sizzling electronics frequently set the scene for a Closet Yi mix, while eruptions of melody, supercharged bass and ramped-up beats will mark climactic chapters in sets that feel electrifying and intentional.
Crucially though, Closet Yi’s sets are just a whole lot of fun. “The biggest charm of DJing is that you can introduce hidden or forgotten music to people without cramming it into them,” she says. “It’s fascinating that the cheesiest, most-surprising songs can become the perfect gem depending on the mixing and build up. I think AI will never be able to catch up to that kind of sorcery!”
In her productions too, Closet Yi is always worldbuilding. On her debut EP, ‘Tam Tam Land’, released in March 2020 via London’s No Bad Days label, she created a hazy island vibe with soft, cascading melodies, rolling grooves and one “acid-tropische-prog-banger”. On ‘Ruminate’, released via Seoul’s Honey Badger Records two months later, the sounds of sirens and robotic commands meet acid basslines and tough techno rhythms for a sci-fi dancefloor fracas.