Mosaic Seoul, Music Transforms
New music helps change ambience. Hipsters are about to discover new music being played at L7 HONGDAE. We met with Curtis Cambou, head of Mosaic Seoul, which is collaborating with L7 HONGDAE.
Just how much does music played at a hotel mean in the grand scheme of things?
Once upon a time, chamber music and piano instrumental used to be the choice of music for hotel lobbies. But as hotels began to find their own identity and developed different design concepts, they also began embracing different genres of music. In a lobby with a casual and hip vibe, Chopin’s chamber music wouldn’t sound that great.

L7 HONGDAE, in the hippest neighborhood in Seoul
Among LOTTE HOTEL brands, L7, the lifestyle hotel brand, is the one place that can bring change to music. L7, designed to reflect the image of its communities, features different interior concepts, colors and vibes at each location. L7 HONGDAE is situated in the Hongdae neighborhood, the most artistic community in Seoul. This is the hub of underground art and culture, a place where musicians from different genres put on shows. This cultural district also hosts flea markets and club parties, with a great deal of cultural liberty.
Mosaic Seoul is responsible for music at L7 HONGDAE. Since it mostly covers electronic music, soul and world music, Mosaic Seoul may not be that well known among the general public. But music aficionados expanding their horizons frequent this vinyl shop. It’s run by Curtis Cambou, the Frenchman who arrived in Korea about a decade ago.

Mosaic Seoul offers vinyl records best suited for the concept and the brand of L7 HONGDAE. It’s not about just playing popular songs or music that’s easy on the ear. Mosaic Seoul is committed to turning L7 HONGDAE into a lifestyle space that helps guests broaden their musical spectrum by experiencing diverse genres and enjoy new cultural experience. In other words, people get to do some ‘digging’ on music and culture that they haven’t experience before. Perhaps it is no longer so strange to listen to groovy music by the Nigerian artist Fela Kuti or live performances by Park Ji-ha in the lobby of L7 HONGDAE.
“It’s going to be a fascinating challenge to collaborate with space that offers quality curation, people who appreciate good music, and artists and DJs who can breathe life into musical content”

We asked Cambou about vinyl curation at L7 HONGDAE, his personal history with music, and his project on cultural content.

Q. How did you open Mosaic Seoul?
A. It was so natural, as I got to develop a strong network to help me get my hands on vinyl records, and as I developed relationships with people I could work with. I used to run a different record shop before opening Mosaic Seoul, and I also handled library work for a famous domestic label. It wasn’t such a difficult transition.

Q. How can you keep a record shop afloat in an age when people just stream songs they want to listen to?
A. We can listen to any music we want anywhere by using streaming services. And I think people don’t take music as seriously as before because of that. A vinyl record is a form of art in and of itself, and there’s just so much that goes into making one. And you get to cherish it more when you grab a record. You can build your own music library, too. There is still a vast world of music with songs that you wouldn’t find online and with songs that you can only listen to on a record.

Q. How would you characterize Mosaic Seoul?
A. We most sell used records. In terms of genres, we have records in rare groove, soul, rock, jazz, African, Latin, Brazilian and reggae music. We sell LP, singles and 45s.

Q. In your collaboration with L7 HONGDAE, what are some important criteria?
A. Since the hotel is located in Hongdae, the cultural hub of Seoul, I believe we shouldn’t chase latest trends. Instead, we should build healthy relationships with musicians through sustainable cultural content. That could be the signature for L7 HONGDAE.

Q. How do you curate records for L7 HONGDAE?
A. Typically, when you think of a hotel lobby, you think of a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere for guests and for those who walk through the area. But I felt it’d be better if we can help create special memories for people, even if it takes something unfamiliar to pull that off. I tend to choose songs with depth that can provide people with special experience.

Q. When you first visited L7 HONGDAE, what sort of image popped into your head?
A. I thought this was such a cool place where you could get a strong sense of space. I wanted to develop and strengthen musical content with the hotel so that L7 could develop its identity.

Q. We understand you’re running your own label. Tell us about the type of music and artists at your electronics label.
A. Daehan Electronics began as a project to rediscover and reintroduce Korean artists in avant-garde, ambient and minimal music from the 1980s and 1990s. Braindance Records is an electronica label selling records by IDM and Electro, among other artists currently active in Korea.

Q. Do you recall your impression of Seoul the first time you visited as a tourist?
A. I think I found beauty of the city from small things. I vividly remember walking around aimlessly, with the cool spring breeze gently touching my cheeks and the scent of honey tea wafting through the air.

Q What does the future hold for Mosaic Seoul?
A. We will move into a new place this year, and we’re trying to identify areas that need improvements. We’re looking forward to developing content and to engaging L7 for some interesting new projects.

Mosaic Seoul
Address 64 Dasan-ro 31-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul
May 2022 Editor:Jung Jaewook
Photographer:Park Sungyoung

Where to stay?

  • May 2022
  • Editor: Jung Jaewook
  • Photographer: Park Sungyoung
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