You were unexpected since the very start. That's what Jin's mother has to say about his birth that started without as much as a warning pang and was on the fast track since it's very beginning. It's not that it was an easy labor, the getting to the hospital and his birth into the world were not without pain but his eagerness to hit the ground running could not be ignored. His mother told him once as a boy that she knew just how he'd be from the start of it all. Jin would be a handful the way anomalies tend to be. His mismatched eyes opened wide moments after being born and never stopped being hungry in how they wanted to take in the whole wide world at a time. What his mother meant is that he was special, and that it wasn't always easy but should always be a treasured thing.
Easy wasn't a thing Jin has ever known. Since he could stumble around their East London council flat, Jin made sure he could find trouble. Curiosity was not a good friend in his parent's eyes but it was his best friend regardless. Everything fascinated him, the boy with a million questions had a million times more stories and wild theories that came with the scraps of knowledge he would accrue. Calm, they found, only came with music. Or at least - relative calm, since peace and quiet stood far outside of any line that would tangle itself up with Jin's chaotic existence. In their record store Jin found focus, even as a toddler he would sit still if it meant he could get his hands on tapes and vinyls. It was a new world, one without any strict guidelines - a liquid suggestion of sound that could take any shape and mold itself into any thought. Nothing felt impossible in music and everything felt grand, everything felt magical.
Like most thing in Jin's life, his career had humble beginnings. His mother convinced his father to get him a toy piano for children slightly younger than him for his sixth birthday. It had been his only present and it had been more than enough. With that keyboard Jin started making storm clouds of sounds that brought down the rain that would nourish his growth into something unpredictable. It also brought the dampening of so much else - brought the displeased thunder of his father exhausted by the noise and his pursuit of a hobby he found damaging a useless. The lighting of dissatisfaction that clicked through the air and shattered a joy that was too shortlived in his household. Still, he would not stop, unable to almost as he easily convinced himself that despite the brewing bad that came with disjointed sounds previously unheard of, something that felt so right could not bring with it evil.
Jin's dreams grew alongside him. His mad scientist collection of music production tools grew as family members donated half functioning boom boxes no longer in style, tapes that were becoming obsolete and all else that Jin convinced them could become an instrument through determination and imagination alone. The older he got, the more support he found at home and outside of it. The opportunity to visit a recording studio changed his dreams for the better. He knew now that the singers he idolized didn't create what he heard on their own. There were whole teams of underground people, hidden in dark caves of sounds and mapping out whole worlds within wide galaxies filled with every possibility that could branch out into dozens more, layered together by multiple hands that all worked and came together the way songs did themselves. It was perfect. The idea of lone man with a galactic weight on his shoulders replaced with family, with community, with a captain steering the ship full of crew mates that would sail through it all by his side.
Music grew in importance in his life, from storm clouds he could brew to clear skies and lands of perfect escapes he could conjure in his bedroom. It was the one place in his life he had control, that he could will his hands to work and they would do as he asked of them. Little else in his life worked like that. His father had become a hidden figure, a shape made of shadows that was made up largely of silence and if he ever spoke it was in venom instead of sound. With business failing and their life tittering uncertain his father brought the earthquakes they barely survived into their home with him. Jin couldn't do much, was mostly target practice to cold judgement that deemed all he was an unworthy waste of time. The only healing he knew was songs that could immortalize the scraps of joy and hope he had to believe were out there, that his mother and sister went out their way to never let him forget. He would share it back with them in music, the alchemy of song preserving the good into immortal truths. But Jin would tuck away the songs that felt too raw and gruesome to put anyone else through just yet.
He had a sense that his mother knew what was there beneath the ever expanding but only so deep surface he tried to blanket their horror in. Jin always had a sense his mother had a magic that helped her know it all. That maybe he inhereted some of it, just enough to allow him to do all the good he has managed to. All his strength for better had to come from a source like her. His mother fought for a divorce, took her children and moved them somewhere new - to a land free of all that had weighed them down to this point. Virginia was a strange and sudden juxtaposition from East London. Suddenly their poverty wasn't as normal as it had always been. All about them was strange, their blend of ethnicities making them extra foreign alongside their rough accents from even stranger lands. Jin found ways to adapt, becoming ever more the jokester as he tried to make friends with all the only way he knew how - through music. Not long into the school year he had found people to trade songs with, from every clique to every grade there was someone he could talk to with ease. He made bands and found people who also made music, hungry to learn and grow in a land that was too large to also feel so small.
Even with friendships made, Virginia never settled into being home the way London had once been. It did not carry the same wonder and possibility he knew was out there just beyond his reach. Jin turned away from classes and further towards music, spending hours on the computer playing around with second hand keyboard and trials of different programs to make songs and remixes and send them out in the world. He spent months like this, screaming out and hoping it'd echo back to him with some message of clarity. That the world would finally prove to him that he had been right all along in believing there had to be more out there. And eventually it did, at just 12 years of age Columbia records offered him an apprenticeship in New York under a famous underground DJ and producer by the name of DJ Neon. After weeks of begging his mother allowed him to go, if he finished his homework by friday he could take the bus up to New York with his sister who had found a hobby of her own and they would spend the weekend there.
Jin knows he owes so much of who he is to his mentor. Lee would teach him so much more than the in's and out's of the world of music but also about life, about how to grow up to be the best version of himself he so desperately wanted to be. The man offered him honest comforts, blotting out every voice of quaking doubt he still carried within him. DJ Neon was all he ever wanted to be. A man who challenged all music was settling to become, daring to be strange as long as it meant being true to himself. He taught Jin about seeking things outside of music, venturing into skateboarding and helping him dedicate himself further to wushu training as a way to clear his mind and challenge the mind to work differently. The change of settings brought with it new people, new sounds and all the novelty only helped his music grow with him. Life seemed to have found tracks to follow, no longer running blindly through a forest, hoping to find someone in the dark he screamed through from company. A road had opened up before him - bringing clarity with it that shined down in all the people besides and ahead, showing him forward.
This went on for a year. A year that still feels and looks golden in his memories, to the point it hardly feels real so long after. They do say alchemy can never be used to create what is gold or immortal. Lee died in the late summer of 2007. Jin had gotten permission to spend most of the summer up in New York under the care of his mentor. New York felt like the whole world in one city and Lee's Neon studio felt like the whole universe at his finger tips. It was a particularly hot afternoon, the kind that rages a war against the a/c and infiltrates the cool of even the darkest of shadows. The days felt the longest the had ever been, like they could be working on a song through all three of their meals and they could emerge from their cave of wonders and the sun would still be out, barely touching a horizon.
It was a day like this, a day that was meant to be as perfect as the rest had been, that Lee had sent him out for food.The sun was barely hanging on in the sky that was made of flames of pinks and oranges instead of cool, clear water blues. He found the studio door ajar when he returned. Inside there were foreign voices muffled, they seemed to stagnate in thick air and then rise up with the heat and linger in a room too small to hold in all that was happening. Jin couldn't recgonize the people hiding Lee from view, calling for him when he saw the glint of a gun caught the end of the sun in the sky. It was turned towards him at first, the sudden and unexpected interruption until Lee grabbed the arm that was pointing it back at him just to save Jin from it. He still remembers the sound more than the sight of it. Not so much how loud it had been but the chilling quiet that came after. How final it was. How the silence slipped into him and pushed all the noise he had within him out. Jin screamed, with enough violence to get the barrel pointed at him but by then he was running out into streets that felt cold with the death he knew the world now carried. The sky was turning black with mourning, moon already in the sky as his steps picked up height as the men started to chase him.
The commotion was enough to alert the neigbourhood and in turn the police. The men caught easily but Jin not so much. To say what he saw had changed him was too simple. The scared boy was hardly a boy at all when they got to him, curled up in a roof top with the shield of wings around him and the melodic cries of mourning that would pull tears from anyone who got close enough to hear. The Safe Haven was called when the cops failed to pacify him. The weeks that came after were a return to a greater chaos. Jin found it impossible to accept - that he was some sort of angel of music and fight, some otherwordly creature that shifted from bird to stag but found ways to remain altogether too human. There was no way he could be an angel, that he could hold some trace of Gods within him, that music existed at the core of all that he was. Not after what he had allowed to happen, not when he was the one who was still alive. It took months to accept it, family and Haven working with him until he realized that Lee had left a legacy on this earth that could not be left unfollowed. Jin was a poor replacement for the man that had once been but he was better than undeserved forget.
His return to the industry came with music that had never been heard before. Columbia no longer knowing what to do with the boy who turned grief into chimeras of sound that few could appreciate and most loved but feared all at once. He would find new guiding lights for moments at a time, working with Santigold and meeting Missy Elliott, both who inspired him to strive despite all of his odds. That's how Jin found himself signed on a producer by the time he was 14 and by the end of the year working with a man by the name of Dr. Luke. Suddenly the songs he was making weren't just admired on myspace and through the underground communities but playing on every radio station and played around the world. Everything felt far too grand and largely undeserved yet there was no time to stop and question it.
Not all that was gold glimmered. Although he loved the work that he did, the older he got, the more he questioned it. It became harder to tell that the work he was doing was good at the core of what it was. He was adviced to leave behind those without fame and concentrate on stars he could shape into the best products for the sound that was selling. It took far too long for him to realize just how wrong all of it was. Even once he broke free of the toxic constraints of the new mentorship he had spent years swept away in, it would take him almost as long to realize how much he had been forced to accept alongside it. Jin so badly wanted to see the best in people, in those who had given him so much when he had so little, who had become the family that built him back up through the years. They had given him the life he had now, the opportunities that felt more dream than reality. Eventually he would learn of all the nightmares within Columbia, that the studios that had taken him so much work to step into held even more horrors within and that was enough for him. He left the company and New York alongside it.
At 19 he found himself in Los Angeles, and with it came another chance to prove himself worthy. Here he would forge friendships that would shape the music he made outside of profits and contracts. Jin was allowed to make labels to represent his friends and those he believed in - a way to balance the scales that were heavy with all of his wrong doings. His success grew from there, catching the attention of tabloids as he no longer was the strange and slightly awkward gangly boy who no one could comprehend had made so much of everyone's favorite music. With the public attention came Nicola. They met early 2014 at one of the big LA parties he had suddenly found himself invited to by the dozens. She was beautiful, the kind of beautiful that felt like everything. For the first time he had found someone who didn't look at him strange when his words lost all plot and became purely fantasy, who had a simple poetry of their own they didn't mind giving in return. Their romance started out slow and uncertain but once it was there it became the center of everything. At least for a while. The longer they spent together the more things grew strained. Nicola's insecurities became oppressive, accusations became an ordinary part of his day as her dissatisfactions with life and career became something Jin was somehow to blame for. His duty was to right all these wrongs, to prove himself deserving to the love that they once traded with ease.
Nicola would leave him a year and ahalf into their relationship. Jin was labeled selfish, controlling, a broken person with too much to work through to be deserving of love. And Jin believed it. Thought it even more true when he woke up in the bed of a woman he hardly even knew not too long after, hung over and left alone with a note and his regret. It didn't end there, they would get to talking and Phoebe and him would start a friendship that ran deeper than most he had ever had in his life. She accepted all of his ugly, demanded it almost as she embraced him all the same. To Jin it felt like understanding, like acceptance. They spoke in codes of poetry, him attempting hope despite the world that seemed to want to deny it, clumsy but trying as Phoebe seemed to seek despair with cool indifference of someone who thought they deserved it.
Jin would spend too long stuck between them both. Called to their sides when some part of their life would crumble and he became security, became comfort, became the reliable man they could show all their ugly and demand all his tenderness and sex and then leave behind to deal with his darkness in certain solitude. He poured all he could into music, somehow back to being alone in his room, screaming out into the world and hoping to hear it scream back at him. Yet the world seemed to flock to the bottles with the simplest of messages, ignoring the pleas for help or at least understanding. No matter how many friends he had made in the industry, there were few who stood fully by his side through so much that went on behind the open doors of his household.
It was Nicola who would break all that had to do with him eventually, when Jin finally questioned her choices in men and stopped seeking her love and approval. Jin was deemed less than a person - but a black hole of a demon who only knew how to take and destroy for his own gains. Their demise brought about the worst in Phoebe, who went from gloating to full of her own quiet demands of attention she thought he had failed to give her. There was no trying that would be enough to make up for all of his failings. Jin had learnt that through the years by now. So he stopped. It came to him as simple as that after months of failed trials and only errors. He no longer had it in him to be what he clearly was not. Jin was not a good enough man to be all anyone needed. Jin was not good enough for anything he had in his life but most still saw him as worthy of the music he made. That could be enough, had to be enough, most days felt like wholly and truly enough. He has a long life time to keep trying to put his best out into the world, to make good on all his wrongs the only right way he knew how. For as long as the universe allowed him to, Jin would keep trying.
1999: Sitting on the floor of his parents' record store - day in and day out - listening through endless streams of records.
2001: Gets a walkman from a charity shop and a bunch of tapes from different family members. Starts recording different sound effects looping over each other to make songs.
2003: Wins a songwriting competition his primary school music teacher helped him enter. Gets to visit Sony Music studios in london and see songwriters and producers at work.
2005: Starts seriously uploading all the songs and remixes he's made onto Myspace. His improved talents gets him recognition among the electronic, hip hop and r&b community.
2006: After years of sending his songs to random artists, producers and executives, Jin gets an apprenticeship at Columbia Records, gaining the mentorship of DJ Neon.
2007: After the death of DJ Neon, Jin seriously considers leaving the music industry and never working again. After a long consideration period, he decides to keep going and continue DJ Neon's legacy. His sound and songs become wildly different from anything that was being done at the time. Goes on to work with Santigold and Missy Elliot.
2008: Gains a new mentorship, this time beneath the tutorship of Dr. Luke. starts working on massive hits for artists like Britney Spears and Katy Perry. Gets to produce his first full record. Career goes on a steady high after this point.
2011: Neon Hitch is his first passion project, meeting in his small run down new york apartment in attempts to make her the album that would launch her to a well deserved stardom.
2013: Awarded with the Hal David Starlight Award at the 44th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame ceremony, awarded to young artists who have already made an impression on the music industry. Leaves Columbia Records eventually as he is unable to withstand Dr. Luke's abusive nature and ultimately signs onto Interscope Records. Began his friendship with Cashmere Cat, got him to come to LA and started a friendship that went hand in hand with their work together.
2014: After being with Interscope Records for a year, he's able to open his own imprint labels. He started 'Mad Love Records' signing Rixton, Ryn Weaver and Gwen Stefani under the label. Also started 'Friends Keep Secrets' in order to sign and develop passion project artists in an indie-spirited manner. He's signed Cashmere Cat, Jessie Ware, and JinZel - a collaborative artist project between him and Two Inch Punch.2016: Signed a partnership with Downtown Music Publishing Company after a career long friendship with the people in charge. They manage the rights to his songs as well as get him deals and co-writing opportunities.
i built my life out of what was left of me. sky and its procedures. a romanticism of clouds, trees, pale crenellations, and poetry. a musical joybang. touching everything.
Also known as Hongseok, Ahjin, Jinadev but mostly just Jin. Songwriter, beatmaker, producer, guy who attends parties just to talk to your pets.
An ethereal being - speculated to be something close to a Gandharva or Hindu/Buddhist angel. Draws his heavenly powers from the akasha of the world. This is the life energy of the cosmos, it is a material found in common with the natural world and the first to used to create the heavenly world. It takes on the quality of sound, which is how it channels through Jin.
As a Gandharva Jin is a liminal creature, not of Earth or Heaven technically, only just good enough to be deemed worthy to be the lowliest angel of heaven - the liminal qualities of the akasha are the easiest to access. He usually draws it in the form of the rays of the sun, the light of the moon, and the powers of nature - as he exists as an embodiment of them all.
He has three main shifts as a Gandharva. He can become a bird like creature, with talons and wings. This form is best used to enhance his music and performance based powers. He does possess supernaturally strong talons as well as his usual powered combat abilities.The next shift is similar to a centaur. This is when his combat abilities get to shine the most, gaining the most strength from nature if he is surrounded by it in this form.
His final shift is a mixture of them both. When he access this level of power, he can draw energy from every subsection of his requite and is at his strongest. Jin becomes nearly impossible to defeat and his whole existance becomes that of a heavenly fighter with a mission that must be completed.
In all his forms, Jin is able to draw power from the moon in order to make the heavenly drink known as soma - which bestows godlike power and immortality onto whoever drinks it. It is only meant to be given to Gods but if the Gods ordain/allow it, he is able to bestow it onto others.
Being a Gandharva means he is a servant of the Gods. There are times he's had prophetic dreams from beyond. It also means that Jin must walk the path of all that is good and right. The possibility to go dark and turn demonic is a constant threat in his liminal existance.
There is however, a failsafe. If Jin pushes his powers too far or asks too much from the heavenly powers he borrows, they will claim his existance back themselves. It is possible that when exhausted or if all control is lost, Jin will be engulfed by wood and turn into a tree until his sins are paid off or he is liberated.