G-CHECK #2

EUGENE KAN

CO-FOUNDER OF MAEKAN

The G-Check series are our lighthearted conversations with friends from the industry. Original thinkers who share their passions and views with us. Up next is Eugene Kan, co-founder of Maekan, former editorial director at Hypebeast and a bonafide soccer fanatic with unparalleled storytelling skills.

“My name’s Eugene, and I’m a 36-year-old “creative,” based in Hong Kong. The air quotes are, well, because I really do a ton of different shit and I don’t know if there’s this clean, catch-all for it. Basically, I make things in varying capacity whether it’s stories through MAEKAN or content/strategy via Adam Studios. I grew up outside of Edmonton, Canada, in a small town called Fort Saskatchewan but moved to Hong Kong in 2006 after university to play football (soccer).”

What has been your best 2020 moment so far?
I know everybody’s mileage may vary, and this is a weird one, but seeing our friends problem-solve their way out of the modern-day challenges is incredibly interesting and a reminder that as shitty as things are, human ingenuity is our best asset.

What is your favorite off-screen activity?

Football for sure. It’s a place where you’re forced to focus and compete to hopefully improve with each session. It’s been a bit tough due to the social distancing measures but all aspects of the game, the culture, the tactics, the technique, and more are things I can still readily immerse myself in.

Who inspires you right now and why?

I don’t really get inspired by individuals per se. I really get inspired by the dynamism of culture and how, despite being an intangible thing, it lives, breathes, and moves on its own. Culture and understanding it, is what inspires a lot of what I do. I love the challenge of our present-day problems and finding solutions to move forward.

What should we watch?

Go to Youtube and type in something you’re curious about. While YouTube has its own challenges, there’s so much interesting insight around super niche things on YouTube. It’s a great way to satisfy any curiosity you may have. But be careful, fuck around the YouTube algorithm is insanely strong and will quickly create a robust filter bubble in terms of content it’ll serve you haha. 

What should we listen to?

Back when we could travel, I had a chance to hang out with DJ Soulscape in Seoul. For those unfamiliar, this guy is like the king of vinyl and music in South Korea. He’s a pioneer in genres and helping people understand the complexities of music in South Korea such as the impact of American influences on music in the country. Having said that, he put me onto Korean Psychedelic Rock. It’s a super fascinating listen. We did a story on it. If you go on Spotify, you can find some playlists and let it run.

I also really enjoy these two specific pods:

  • The End of the World with Josh Clark. It’s a 10-episode series that talks about specific things that may contribute to the end of the world.
  • Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History 61 – Painfortainment. This is a 4.5-hour marathon that talks about the history of selling pain as entertainment.

What new skill would you like to pick up?

How to build in Fortnite haha. My friend’s 9-year-old son always hits me up to play and it’s like being thrust into a whole new world. I’m more of a FIFA kinda guy so learning both how to play shooters and build these structures, as quickly as possible is a new experience. A few of us treat Fortnite as the new golf course. You go and shoot the shit and talk vaguely about work and also chill.

What is your favorite spot in the world?

For bouts of time, Japan is an easy one. The culture itself as a traveler makes you appreciate what life is like when you dedicate time and effort for outcome over say pure profitability. I’m sure being a semi-permanent or permanent resident is different.

What is your favorite recent brand campaign?

LOL, the Fortnite/Travis Scott was cool. As has been seeing the stuff on Animal Crossing with brands bringing their experiences to new digital platforms. For example, KFC did a restaurant in Animal Crossing.

I think there’s a lot to do but it’s still a really interesting reaction to the limitations out there right now.

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