Hyun Chul Ho is a native of Jeju who runs a recording studio in Seoul. Playback Soundworks does everything you can imagine a recording studio would do – digital audio process recording, mixing, editing, composing, and arrangements, even copying CDs and DVDs. From his childhood love of music, he continued his passion through Soundworks which he calls “being in a dream.” Hyun’s humble and sweet nature shines through in an email with The Jeju Weekly. He is a man young at heart but serious at work.
▲ Photo by Choi Sung Wook
Can you briefly explain about the work you do in your company?
I am the representative of the company. I used to do all the work, like direct animation, recording, mixing sound, editing, and the adding of special sounds. Now I am the overall supervisor.
When did you leave Jeju?
After I graduated high school.
When did you become interested in working with sound and music?
When I was in a rock band during high school, I came into contact with different [sound] equipment and naturally got interested. I ended up becoming more familiar with these than the actual instruments. What did you play in your rock band?
I played bass guitar.
How has Jeju inspired or influenced your work?
People tend to think working with sound is personal and would be for self-satisfaction. But this job requires objectivity since I need to satisfy not only myself but also the ears of the public. Moreover, this job always runs on a busy schedule.
In those instances, it’s very hard to relax and distance myself from the work to gain objectivity. Despite not using any Jeju dialect due to living for so long in Seoul, people still call me a “free spirit.” I think my easy-going approach comes from the vast blue Jeju sea and Mt.Halla.
If Jeju is a sound, what kind of sound would it be?
It would definitely be sounds from nature, like wind or [a similar] sound effect.
Why did you decide to open your studio in Seoul?
I opened my studio in Seoul because Seoul has all the necessary infrastructure. Studio work is group work. We need to work [with] people from a variety of fields, such as the broadcasting companies, movie companies, voice actors, composers. So considering its convenience and the accessibility, I had to choose Seoul.
What are some of the projects you have worked on, and who have you worked with?
I worked on animations such as “Kung-fu Panda 2,” “Megamind,” “Pokemon,” “The Smurfs,” “Rango,” “Niko & the Ways to the Stars,” and various TV soap operas, roughly five to 6,000 works.
To list a few celebrities I’ve worked with, Park Myeong Su (from “Infinite Challenge”), Kim Su Ro, Kim Byung Man, Jang Geun Suk, Honey Lee.
You come back to Jeju often, why?
Because my life is so busy, I feel like I don’t have enough time for myself. If I don’t take an easy approach to life, I can become careless to people around me. After I traveled to re-discover myself, naturally I became nicer to my family and people around me. I became more relaxed as well. When I don’t have any plans for the weekend, I spend time for myself in Jeju.
Jeju is my hometown but also a healing place for me.
It sounds like if Seoul is your workplace, Jeju is more like a place which made you as you are now. Is that correct?
Yes! If Seoul is a meal [a place to make money to eat], Jeju is home.
One day, I want to be able to teach what I do in Jeju, converge those two.
What is the most difficult aspect of running a studio?
I think for any kind of work, it would be the same. But this field of works requires workers with different working styles to work together and [be in] tune to each other’s style for each project. That’s important, and I think that aspect of running the studio is the hardest.
Who was the most interesting celebrity you worked with?
I would say Nelson Shin, the producer of the original animation for “Transformers” and “The Simpsons,” the president of ASIFA [International Animated Film Association].
When we first worked together, he was just a client with lots of demands for the workers.
His passion and attentiveness to details did not seem like that from a man in his 70s. During work, I was always amazed by his effort. But when we met outside of work, he was fun-loving person, a kind of man I would like to be.
Actually, it was only after we finished the work and having a chat that I found out that he was famous.
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