Dressed in a black-and-white suit, a traditional Korean gat hat, and slim glasses with yellow lenses, Young Kim pulls up to a small triangle patch of concrete in Brooklyn, the Williamsburg Bridge lighting up in the night sky behind him. He parks his street vendor push cart, which is nestled into the van of a miniature box truck and features a tiger in a gat smoking a gombangdae pipe and blocky hangul letters painted on it. He flips open the top, revealing turntables and a mixer. Next he pulls out a collection of red speaker cabinets from inside the cart and assembles them into a mobile sound system alongside the truck, over which he plays a selection of roots reggae and vintage East Asian records.
Young Kim 把车停在一处位于布鲁克林的三角形空地，他穿着一件黑白相衬的西装，头戴韩国传统黑笠帽和黄色镜片的细框眼镜，身后则是夜空下的威廉斯堡大桥。他的车其实是一辆小型厢式推车，上面印有一只佩戴黑笠帽、叼烟斗的老虎。Kim 翻开车厢上盖，调音台和数张唱片映入眼帘。他从车厢内掏出一组造型独特的音响系统，其外表呈大红色，被摆放在车旁，随即播放起一系列根源雷鬼（Roots Reggae）和年代久远的东亚音乐。
The Rasta Tiger Dub Truck, as it’s named, was hand-built by Kim himself, who’s more widely known as his artistic alter ego, Suitman. He lives in Hong Kong and collected the parts from around the Sham Shui Po neighborhood, assembling it at his long-time studio in the city’s northern New Territories. “It’s tight in Hong Kong so I had to build the whole thing on my roof deck, bringing out all the tools and everything each day,” he laughs. He painted all the details with a brush and stencils and installed the faux tiger fur that lines the inside himself. Since he’s a novice about electronics, a car radio repairwoman from the neighborhood called Mrs. Lee helped him with soldering and such. He says the speaker parts are quite random and that he doesn’t even know the brand of some of them. “I don’t consider this a real sound system, this is more like performance or installation art. But it puts out a decent sound.”
圈内人习惯称 Kim 为“Suitman”，中文意思是“西装狂人”。这台造型独特的推车由他一手打造，取名为 “Rasta Tiger Dub Truck”。现居香港的他通常会去深水埗附近低价收集零件，然后再拉到位于新界的工作室进行组装。“香港寸土寸金，不过经常能收到一些破船或是装修剩下的边角料，”他笑着说道。制作过程中，他先用画笔和模板画出所有细节，其中所有一切包括人造老虎皮毛在推车内部的修饰等等，均由他自己一个人完成。由于在电工方面是新手，邻居家一位姓李的汽车收音机修理工的帮助下，才最终完成了焊接步骤。据他介绍，音箱部分的配置十分随意，他甚至叫不上音箱是什么牌子，“这可能不是正儿八经的声音系统，更像是表演或装置艺术，但出来的声音也还听得过去。”
Kim, who’s 62 now, emigrated with his family from Korea to the US when he was 10, where he lived in various places along the East Coast. “My parents were running a local Korean grocery, but they have medical backgrounds. It’s a typical immigrant story,” he says. He was encouraged to pursue creative outlets as a hobby and graduated with degrees in architecture and 3D modeling. He was creative director for alternative music magazine Ear in New York in the 80s and early 90s before moving to Japan in 1992 to work for an ad firm, which was when he first moved to Asia.
While being Asian in the US made Kim feel like an outsider, his personality didn’t fit in Asia even though his face did. Because of that experience, he created the Suitman identity as a way to find confidence in himself. In 2003 he moved to Hong Kong, which he called “eye candy,” but wouldn’t relocate there permanently until 2007 when he opened his own studio with a partner called Suitman Entertainment.
如今 62 岁的 Kim 在 10 岁时随家人从韩国移民美国，曾辗转东海岸多地生活。他回忆道：“父母拥有医学背景，但他们在当地开了家韩国杂货店，就是很典型的移民故事。”父母曾鼓励他创意方面的爱好，他也因而获得了建筑和 3D 建模学习的机会。八十年代末和九十年代初，他曾担任纽约另类音乐杂志《Ear》的创意总监，后来在 1992 年移居日本，任职于一家广告公司，这是他第一次回到亚洲生活。
在美国，身为亚裔的 Kim 总感觉自己是局外人，然而在亚洲，虽然在外貌上可以很好地融入，但个性在这里又显得格格不入。因为这些经历，他创造了“Suitman” 这一身份，以此来拾获自信。2003 年，他第一次来到香港，直到 2007 年他与合作伙伴开设了名为 Suitman Entertainment 的工作室，这才真正定居香港。
He wanted to explore Hong Kong so he had the idea of DJing outside in different parts of the city. “There used to be this old Italian man back in New York who would set up a folding table with a plate of pasta and a bottle of wine every weekend and play his boombox,” Kim says of the man who inspired him. So he lugged two small, portable turntables, a box of records, a speaker, and a car battery around town, sharing the music he loved with strangers. He says people would gather around to listen and drink wine. “I had a lot of really good, supportive experiences.” Although he hasn’t played in public in Hong Kong since 2019 because he doesn’t feel safe anymore, he’s now played all over the world.
In 2009, Kim took the idea up a notch, incorporating his design skills with his love of music to create his first cart. The cart was inspired by the opening scene of the Jamaican movie The Harder They Come from 1972, where a street vendor with a push cart robs the hero. Kim’s original version was black, red and yellow with four speakers built inside it below the decks and a big umbrella. He modified it three years later, adding the box truck and repainting it more colorfully. “With the newest one I learned from my mistakes, like not putting the speakers right below the turntables, which rattled them.” In 2018 he also modified a new set of suitcases for an updated version of his original portable players for more mobile nights out.
Kim most recently launched a global tour that started in May 2021 at Soho House in Hong Kong, where he debuted his Rasta Tiger Dub Truck at a pop-up modeled after a Korean vintage music market. The shop featured limited-edition collaborations with Sticky Monster Lab, Balansa Busan, and Kompakt Record Bar in Seoul. He also designed multiple flyers for the different stops in the tour featuring the Rasta Tiger lurking about different environments. And he used the opportunity to release his first 7-inch record called “A Man With Yellow Glasses,” which he only pressed 50 copies of. It had four versions featuring vocals by Deung Yong, with production by Hong Kong music stalwart Arthur Yeti and others. The tour’s finale happened on that Brooklyn street side under the bridge, ending his latest journey on the East Coast where he first started.
最近，Kim 从 2021 年 5 月起开始的全球巡演来到了香港站的 Soho House，他的 “Rasta Tiger Dub Truck” 在一个以韩国怀旧音乐市场为蓝本打造的快闪店上首次亮相。该店在首尔与 Sticky Monster Lab、Balansa Busan 和 Kompakt Record Bar 推出了限量版的实体合作。此外，他还为巡演的不同站点设计了多张传单，将 Rasta Tiger 推手置于不同的文化语境下。他也趁此机会发行了个人的第一张 7 英寸唱片《戴黄色眼镜的男人》（A Man With Yellow Glasses），限量发行 50 张，分为四个版本，由 Deung Yong 主唱，香港 DJ Arthur Yeti 等人制作。此次巡演最终站是布鲁克林街边，重返自己在东海岸时期的家，而那里也是他计划将自己的音乐带往全世界的起点。