SXSW 2019: Interview with KOCCA’s VP about artist selection, purpose, and growth

Asian Junkie was invited to sit down with the Vice President and COO of Korean Creative Content Agency (KOCCA), Kim Yung Duk, at SXSW 2019. Don’t ask me how these things happen. They just do. It was quite the enlightening experience. Not only was he very open and informative, but he was also impressively calm and kind during one of the biggest events at SXSW.

Read below to learn more!


Asian Junkie: Hello, I am here with Kim Yung Duk, the Vice President and COO, of Korean Creative Content Agency. Can you tell us about what KOCCA does?

Kim Yung Duk: KOCCA supports growth in the industry in genres such as animation, music, gaming, art, etc. All genres other than movies, TV, or publications.

AJ: You’ve had quite a lot of success participating in SXSW every year, have you anticipated the growth that you’ve seen at all?

KYD: I don’t feel there has been enough growth yet. It could be better. I do feel that it is gradually growing and getting better, but not to my level of satisfaction. In Asia there is a boom of K-pop, which I feel is big, but in Europe and America, the growth isn’t quite as big yet.

AJ: Do you see it growing in the future?

KYD: Yes, that is what we are working towards.

AJ: What makes you choose the artists that participate in the KOCCA Korea Night event at SXSW every year?

KYD: We select the artists we feel would do well in the US. We start with an idol [iKON in 2019] and we use that as a base to build from because idols are already popular. We ask other talented artists who are not idols to participate to show attendees that we do not just have idols but other musicians as well.

AJ: The diversity really shows…

KYD: Yes. The General Director (head of SXSW music festival) James Minor comes to Korea and hands picks the artists himself. This year we have six artists chosen for today’s stage, all very different. James Minor picked a few and we picked a few to represent Korea. He knows very well what kind of artist would be accepted here as well.

AJ: And how does this benefit Korea and Korean Culture?

KYD: By spreading Korean culture to the outside world, we are bringing more industry, creating a larger job market, and showing a better image of Korea.

AJ: This year you made a move to a bigger venue, and a different ticketing system. Do you anticipate more change next year, to prepare for more fans as you did for this year?

KYD: I do not have plans as of yet. We need to finish this year’s show first and see how everything went before we consider next year and any changes that need to be made.

AJ: Events like this give fans an experience outside of the typical Korean mainstream. What do you see in regards to growth? What changes are you seeing that are good for Korea and KOCCA?

KYD: BTS… [We all chuckle at the obvious.] When the average American people know who BTS is, that itself is a reflection of it. KOCCA moving from the Belmont to the Austin City Limits venue, a much larger venue for more people who are coming in. We are preparing for new fans getting into K-pop.

AJ: And finally, Is there anything you would like to relay to our readers regarding KOCCA and Korean Culture?

KYD: We are here because I want to give a chance to people who haven’t heard K-pop or experienced Korean Culture a chance to listen to it and fall in love with it too.


Honestly, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. When I was offered the interview, I wasn’t sure who I was meeting and expected a high-level executive who was more concerned over numbers than art.

What I found in Mr. Kim was a man who is genuinely wanting to share the creative beauty of his country and culture with the world, thus creating bridges for growth and opportunity. I was highly impressed with his patience and kindness as well as his extensive knowledge on how the US is ingesting Korean culture and how we benefit from this now growing and thriving industry.

KOCCA has continuously provided a gateway for Korean artists to experience the west and allow the west to experience Korean culture. This year was no different with the artists Jambinai, Kirara, XXX, Hitchhiker, Chungha, and iKON.


Thank you to Mr. Kim Yung Duk for sitting down with me and being open about KOCCA and their process.

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