[ENTERTAINMENT]First Korean to win Grammy isn't sure he is one

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[ENTERTAINMENT]First Korean to win Grammy isn't sure he is one

To be called "the first Korean to have ever..." is usually quite an honor. Joseph Hahn, a 25-year-old Korean-American who is a member of the Los Angeles-based hard rock band Linkin Park, recently became the first person of Korean extraction to win a Grammy award.

Linkin Park picked up the award for Best Hard Rock Performance at this year's Grammys. In the midst of the band's tour of Japan, Hahn took a break to visit Korea for the first time. While here, Hahn held a press conference; in baggy, ripped blue jeans, a Puma zip-up jacket and sports shoes, he looked like he was enjoying the time off.

Linkin Park blends up a concoction of hard-core rock, fast rapping and melodious vocals. Hahn is a DJ who does the mixing and scratching. The band's 2001 album, "Hybrid Theory," has sold about 10 million copies. Describing his band for reporters, Hahn was jocular: "Just six losers making music, not knowing what to do; and people are being cheated by that." Asked the object of his visit, he said, "I wanted to play in the World Cup, but I don't play soccer. But eventually I'll play some shows here."

Hahn got into music by accident, and with a little help from a friend. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he studied illustration at Art Center College in Pasadena. There he met Mike Shinoda, another member of the band and a Japanese-American. Hahn had only dabbled in deejaying by that point, but things took off from there.

Hahn takes his creativity in other directions; he creates the band's surreal, imaginative videos, and did one recently for the sound track from the new vampire movie "The Queen of the Damned."

He said that his inspiration comes from being "screwed up in the head with a lot of thinking going on inside." Comic books and his own paintings are other sources. Asked to rate himself from 0 to 10 on how Korean he is, from an All-American guy to a macho soju-drinking Korean, he said 5. But he gave a thumbs down on Korean music: "Not a lot I like about it; it's mostly simple pop."

Right now Hahn is working on an album of Linkin Park remixes, aiming for a July release. Asked whether he'll still be a musician at 45, he said, "Some musicians disappear only to show up on HBO replays; I don't want to do that."

by Chun Su-jin

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