You’d have to be a greenhorn to be completely oblivious to Digipedi. Short for Digital Pedicure, works by this team can be found everywhere. It’s almost impossible to miss their presence at this point. Led by Seong Won-mo and Park Sang-woo, Digipedi boasts one of the most prolific music video portfolios in South Korea.
Digipedi is the creative team behind popular music videos by the quirky Orange Caramel, the lucky EXID, as well as new generation groups such as Lovelyz, Oh My Girl, and LOONA. Of course, they don’t just work with K-pop idols. Think hip-hop acts such as Beenzino and Dynamic Duo, soloist John Park, and even commercials for major corporations.
Whenever one thinks of Digipedi, their recent use of tongue-in-cheek, clever concepts and vivid colour palettes frequently come to mind. But the duo and their team have had quite their history, long before their rise. And they’re far more versatile than one would think.
In an industry where visuals play a key role, music videos form a critical component of any performance. So, in this series, we will delve into the best of the various creative teams behind these music videos, starting with Digipedi.
1. Orange Caramel – My Copycat
Obviously, I’m going to have to start with Orange Caramel. Digipedi + Orange Caramel = a match made in heaven. The team’s favoured colour palettes bring out the absolute best in Orange Caramel. And it’s clear that Pledis agrees since Digipedi has been crafting music videos for a few from their roster, including Seventeen and Raina‘s collaboration with San E. Orange Caramel’s music videos aren’t Digipedi first to feature choreography (see: Hello Venus’ ‘What Are You Doing Today?’), but are perhaps some of their earliest consistently polished ones.
It’s a shame that ‘My Copycat’ went unnoticed for the most part because their music video is one of Digipedi’s most creative thus far. Aesthetically, it’s an extension of ‘Lipstick’, but ‘My Copycat’ features so many clever references of ‘Where’s Waldo?’ and other classic time-wasters that it deserves a special mention. Besides, who wouldn’t enjoy the sight of Nana dancing amidst such cheeky callbacks? This was years ago, though. We haven’t had any Orange Caramel gloriousness lately. We can’t have nice things because the entire Korean industry has sinned too much (and Nana probably doesn’t want to sing and dance for us idiots anymore since she’s doing really well as an actress).
2. John Park – Falling
Falling is vastly different from their vividly coloured music videos of recent years. Here, Digipedi takes itself out of their multicoloured studio to let John Park fall from the sky in ‘Falling’, literally. It’s far more muted than Digipedi’s usual fare, featuring a combination of darker hues and a slower pace that complements John Park’s mellow baritone. Nevertheless, Digipedi’s signature remains clear in its use of contrasting primary colours, of the red shipping container against the clear blue sky, as well as quirkiness in its literal take of the song. Quite the underrated MV.
3. Wings – Hair Short
If you’ve seen enough Digipedi videos, you’d notice their love for symmetry in storytelling sooner or later. Take the MV for ‘Hair Short’ by the now-defunct Wings for instance. The girls are frequently side-by-side each other for a reason. This forces the viewer to pay attention to the background changes throughout the entire MV. In the first scene, if you know your art, you might have recognised Carravagio’s interpretation of Judith beheading Holofernes in the background. But in the next breath, the scene instantly cuts to the MV’s leading man, suggesting that he is their very own Holofernes. The one that the ladies will ultimately decapitate and destroy.
Not unlike their work in ‘My Copycat’, Digipedi shows their love for intertextuality in ‘Hair Short’. There’s the part where an old television shows a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’ that features the twin ghosts, which, again, suggests that they’re haunting the aforementioned Holofernes. Creepy, indeed. This is all tied up together in the various symmetrical rooms that make one envision a large, empty house, maintained in a decidedly eerie air.
4. LOONA/ Haseul – Let Me In
LOONA hasn’t made that huge of a mark in the Korean music industry yet, but their music videos are insanely good. God-like, even. Haseul’s ‘Let Me In’ is one of the most beautiful videos crafted by Digipedi thus far. I’m personally not a fan of the song itself, but this music video’s masterful production is something else altogether. It’s not even simply for their beautiful landscapes; it’s in Digipedi’s use of visual analogues. For example, take a look at 1:10. The way the two scenes are spliced one after the other is not only visually arresting, but it also brings attention to the lyrics that follow: “The wind blows deep into my heart / Picking at the flower petals / Melt my heart / That might get cold again.”
5. Busker Busker – Cherry Blossom Ending
This isn’t Digipedi’s first published attempt at incorporating animation alongside live-action into their music videos. But it is arguably their first notable, highly produced, and polished one. Quite fitting for a song that left such an indelible impact on South Korea’s general populace. For those who don’t know, ‘Cherry Blossom Ending’ never fails to re-enter South Korean digital charts with the coming of spring. It’s exactly like Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ charting every single Christmas at this point. Back to Digipedi though. Take a look at their early animations for Dynamic Duo’s ‘Complex’, and later, Baechigi‘s ‘Two Mari’ to see how far they’ve come.
Of course, Digipedi has such a massive portfolio that it’s inevitable for others to be overlooked while attempting to select the best of the bunch. Epik High‘s ‘Born Hater’, Oh My Girl‘s ‘Liar Liar’, and Beenzino‘s ‘How Do I Look?’ came very close to making it into this small list. What are your personal favourites from Digipedi? Feel free to share with us in the comments!