Drum and bass is having a moment. Ever since PinkPantheress arguably ushered the sound into the mainstream pop space in 2021 it’s only grown more and more ubiquitous. No longer is it the sole domain of esoteric electronic music bros listening in their basements. Now, the pop girlies are getting on the beat.
That includes K-pop stars, too, who have embraced the shuffling, two-step sound with open arms. Drum and bass forms the foundation of several recent songs from massive groups like NewJeans, IVE, and Le Sserafim, like “Zero” and “Hypnosis,” though K-pop has long been playing with the genre. One of its latest adaptors is post K-pop star and South Korean underground electronic singer Bébe Yana, whose new song “Vroom Vroom” utilizes the heart-racing rhythm of drum n bass to soundtrack the fast and high lifestyle of Paris.
“Vroom Vroom,” whose video NYLON exclusively premieres below, sounds like putting on lip gloss in the left lane. It’s produced by h4rdy, a South Korean DJ and producer, who’s polished the track’s jittery beats to a glistening shine. It’s a direct contrast to Yana’s vocals which are soft, plush, and intimate, an opposing dynamic popularized by PinkPantheress but which Yana makes her own on “Vroom Vroom.” On the song, she sings in English about late nights out and midnight rendezvous with illicit friends and strangers, the kind of outings that runback in our memories like a supercut. Yana also moonlights as a model so most of these nights for her often happen in Paris, a city that’s become a second home of sorts.
“VROOM VROOM is a journal of my second half of 2023,” Yana tells NYLON over email. “It’s a song about wishes coming true, and the video expresses the song perfectly.” Its music video is a more literal version of that journal, featuring behind-the-scenes footage of Yana working the runways, and drifting around in sports cars and empty aquariums after hours, all while dressed to the nines in Acne.
Yana initially made her debut in 2012 as part of the K-pop girl group EVOL though she left in 2017 to go independent. Now a rising voice in the country’s rich underground electronic scene, Yana is proof that K-pop isn’t the only exciting export of the country. Hear “Vroom Vroom” below and read on to learn more about Yana.
What are you up to right now — describe your surroundings.
I just came back to Seoul from Paris yesterday. It has been almost 3 months I was out of town. I’m trying to adjust from the jet lag. I still have a bunch of luggage unpacked around me but excited to start organizing things and get back to the life here in Seoul!
What's your earliest music-related memory?
When I was young, my mum told me whenever I heard music, I would start dancing even in the middle of street. My memory isn’t very clear but I remember I used to dance a lot.
You're in Paris in the "VROOM VROOM" music video. What's your favorite activity to do in the city when you're there?
It’s very hard to pick. Daily life was the best. Going to exhibitions, going out to dinner with friends, and the best part out of all was riding the bicycle to get around the city. Recently, I went to see Sevdaliza’s concert in Paris. I’m a huge fan of her and seeing her perform live was really amazing.
Most people in the West know South Korea for its K-pop but what should we know about its underground electronic scene?
There are so many hidden gems and good quality music as much as the K-pop scene. The underground electronic scene was always there but I think it’s slowly getting more and more recognized nowadays.
What's the last album you played in full and really enjoyed, and why did you like it?
Callin Russo’s INFLUX was the last full album I played on repeat. The full album was giving me so much comfort while listening to it. I remember for I didn’t change my playlist for almost a week.