On The Records: Glen Check

Hello guys, would you mind to introduce yourselves and what your role in the band?
Hello, I’m June One Kim, I sing and play the guitar in the band.
Hi, I’m Hyuk Jun Kang and I play the bass.
How do you guys met and what make you want to make music together?
HJ: We met in high school, in an after-class band session and we used to talk about music a lot. After graduation, we just thought that it would be fun to record our own music so we started doing it when we had some free time from college and other things.
JO: Yeah, that’s pretty much it, we never had big plans for our works since making pieces of music was always our hobbies from childhood and thought it would be for the rest of our lives.

Where’s the name “Glen Check” came from?
JO:  At the time we had to come up with a name, I had this textbook at my desk that was read  and studied in my school. I majored fashion design in an art school so all the words contained were fashion related vocabularies. Glen Check was one of them, and we just thought it sounded easy and fresh so we made the decision.
Musically, what kind of music/band influences your works?

 JO: All kinds. It also changes every time.
HJ: We do have our favorites, such as Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson,Prince, Led Zeppelin, Joy Division and many others, but that won’t matter much because it’s everyone’s favorites. Not only us. 

What’s the main theme/idea for your debut LP, Haute Couture

JO: Basically, the record was meant to sound like a collection of immature band tracks, since it was a fresh new beginning for us and had no money for the record. We thought it would be better for a band to have this “flowing” history from immature to mature like boy to man. However, like any young boys in the world, they don’t want to look like an immature kid. So we named it “Haute Couture.”
HJ: We recorded everything in “The Basement,” our small underground studio in Seoul, and did our best to make something listenable.  We probably will record most of the things for our next works in here as always, but at the time, we would know more about the skills and gears.

Talk about “Haute Couture”, the title of the album and most of the songs (“French Virgin Party”, “Vogue Boys And Girls”, “Bataille”, “60s Cardin”, etc) feels so French inspired… Do you guys have your own fascination to French in general?

JO: I spent my younger days in France. It was a small town near the eastern border called St.GenisPouilly. I used to speak French quite well back then, but after getting used to English and my own Korean language, everything got mixed up and now I only have bits of memories of short phrases and words, still good enough to name and title tracks. I just like the way they’re read in French and good to keep my memories. Language doesn’t affect drum sounds or guitar tones, it was just to express my memories and the feelings of my younger days, from the words itself.

What do you think about the indie scene in Korea itself? Like the rest of the world, I think its overshadowed with mainstream pop music, but tell me a bit on your personal opinion.

HJ: We feel the same way. It is overshadowed but what could we do?
JO: We don’t really know about it and don’t really care about it. We only know and care about what we do.

Can you recommend us other great indie band/musician from South Korea?

JO: Don’t know well about others.

Where’s your best gig so far?

JO: There are no best gigs you know. Every gig is like smoking a cigarette after forcing myself away from it from a long time. It feels great every time in every different way and we’re fucking excited every second.
HJ: Yeah, but it depends how the audience interacts with us also. If they’re bored somehow, we’re also bored. A gig is all about the atmosphere for us. No direct communications, but we have our sounds flowing around the crowd, along with their physical moves and shouts all around our nerves.

What’s the next plan? What do you hope for?

JO: We’re releasing a new EP with 5 whole new different tracks. We’ll probably play gigs for a while with a new set until the end of this year and probably fly to another place to make another record.


On The Records: Lucite Tokki

Hello there, do you mind introducing yourself?

Hi, We are a singer-songwriter pop duo based in Seoul, Korea. We consist of a vocal, Cho Ye Jin and a guitarist, Kim Sun Young.

 How do you guys met each other? Who’s the first one came up with an idea to form a band together?

Ye Jin: We met each other in college. We both majored in applied music and during our first year we had to pair up with a partner for our exam. It was then when we decided to work together for the first time. Sun Young made a song and played the guitar while I wrote lyrics and sang the song she made. This triggered us to have formed what we are now, naturally.

Where the Lucite Tokki name is came from?

At first, we were just “Tokki” (which means rabbit in Korean) because of our characters. Ye Jin used to draw a rabbit which you can see on our website (www.lucite-tokki.com) as her mascot since high school. And we decided to use the rabbits as our characters and call ourselves “Tokki”. But while presenting our band names to our friends, they said it was too simple. So we put the word “Lucite” in front of  “Tokki”. We just like the nuance of the word; it doesn’t have a special meaning.

 What are the musical influences for Lucite Tokki? What music you guys listen to right now?

These days we love to listen to classical music and jazz of 30s, 40s. Especially Jerome Kern whom I think is the best composer out there. But basically we were influenced by pop, rock and electronic songs. We love many UK bands like Mansun or Franz Ferdinand and electronic musicians like Depeche Mode, Junior Boys, Daft Punk and many more.

Which one is easier? Singing/writing in English or Korean? Are you hoping to make more full English songs in the future?

 We were born and raised in Seoul. Thus, it is a lot easier to write in Korean but we would like to write and sing in English because English is a global language. We are hoping to spread our music all over the world and in order to do that, we have to study English harder haha

Korean Wave already became a global phenomenon, but to be honest we eager to know the other choice of Korean bands, so please tell us a bit about the indie scene in Seoul from your personal opinion. Do you think the indie bands will get some recognition from wider audience too?

Of course! They will and they have to get some more recognition from world wide music fans.

I know Korean Wave at this moment is just confined for idol groups but there are many amazing and well-prepared musicians in the Korean indie scene. I think many indie bands in Korea (including us) are well qualified and are waiting for a chance to expose their music. So we have to come up with fresh and new ideas to meet abroad listeners like you!

You’ve been making music together for quite a long time, was it hard to maintain the good relationship between you two? Do you ever fight or argue, and if yes, what you’re usually doing to settle the problems?

We always argue with each other and I think arguing is the key to maintain our relationship. It might sound like an irony but it really helps to keep us open with each other.

Where’s the best spot to catch a great music while we’re on Seoul? 

Nowadays, many places are emerging as a hot spot for art and music in Seoul. But I think there is no place like Hong-Dae for live music. You can visit here and listen to live music with a wide variety of genres.

What’s your favorite idol/group from the mainstream K-Pop and why?

I’m not sure you would be familiar with ‘Shin-Hwa‘. They are one of the first generations of K-Pop idol. They remind us of our teenager days.

What are you guys doing beside music?

Nothing! We are full time musicians. But we draw cartoons and make short video clips for our music. And sometimes we offer singing/guitar lessons.

What’s next project/hope for Lucite Tokki?

We just released our third full album in July so we are going to have many gigs for a while. And we have a plan for the next season of ‘Suitcase Theather’ which is our live performance on Youtube for international supporters.


On The Records: Trampauline, Seoul’s Shimmering Synthpop.

Trampauline is synth pop project of Cha Hyosun from Seoul, South Korea. Alongside the catchy name, it is the ethereal mix of twinkling synth and hushed vocal that capture your attention from the early notes and set her apart from any other musical acts in Korea. Definitely not a K-pop.

      Hello Hyosun, how are you? What are you doing before answering this email?

I am doing great. Just got back from Japan tour and still in the house-cleaning process… I was cleaning my desk.

So how was the Japan tour?

 It was great and there was a sort of warm-welcoming air+energy that I felt from audience and Japanese musicians. Great tour really.

      When the first time you realize you want to be a musician, and specifically making music like you make as Trampauline now?

I saw Korean punk bands playing at a place called ‘Drug’ long time ago, thought I wanted to be one of them, I turned out to be a electro pop musician though, I was not a very good screamer after all :). Trampauline was a slow process. I just wanted to make my own music and slowly the music began to take shape.

      Trampauline is such a catchy name, where the name came from?

I actually liked playing on trampolines when I was young, I liked the image of the movement (jumping on it) the word has. And I liked the sound of the word when it’s pronounced. It’s pretty+ ethereal, isn’t it?

      It is! What band/musician influences your music? 

Don’t know.. lots.. but just to be specific, I’ve always liked T-bone Walker and Bo Diddley than Stevie Ray Vaughan and Roy Buchanan (even though I really liked some of their songs). I’ve been more enthusiastic fan for guitarists who are more of rhythm-maker than solo-maker. Although I don’t make guitar-based music, I’ve had certain tastes and influences even on guitars and that influence on my music I guess. Wait… I am listening to Roy Cuchanan’s “Sweet Dreams” and it’s just a beautiful song… haha. Do I make you get confused?

      How’s the creative process for your song, is it the music first or the lyric?

It’s different everytime. Sometimes I start with a single melody or phrase, sometimes beats come first and then I add a lyric or melody on it, sometimes I start with guitar chords and song melody.

      Did you intentionally make an English based lyric for the songs? 

Yeah, it is. It works well with other elements that I make, that’s why.

      Your songs sounds so different, not only among Korean bands, but also even the rest of the bands out there… what things you try to express from your songs? How you describe your sounds?

There are feelings that I eventually deliver through music whether I intend it or not. I guess it’s sort of chill you get from not trying to be too…dramatic or passionate. I believe there are certain kind of feeling and chill in between that music can deliver. Oceanic feeling. Short breath. Certain bright craziness.

      When the best time/condition to hear your songs?

Whenever it suits you.

      From some of your videos I watch on YouTube, you’re playing from underpass to roadside, where’s your best gig so far and why?

Can’t pick one. I have done lots of good shows.

Korean Wave already became a global phenomenon, but to be honest we eager to know the other peculiar choice of Korean bands, do you think the indie bands will get some recognition from wider audience too?

As long as there are people out there wanting to find more about non-mega star but good musicians, we have many to be found out. Keep an eye on us.

      Where’s the best spot to catch a great music while we’re on Seoul? 

Lowrise at Mullae dong, Kkonttang at Etaewon are places you should try when you want to find out indie-fresh new acts. there are lots of gig places at Hongdae where many gigs are hosted.

      What are you doing beside music?

 Living an ordinary life… does that explain?

      What’s next project for you? 

I am participating as a film music director at LIG art hall program. Also working on a new single for a Pastel Music’s 10 year anniversary album.

Thanks for this interview, I love your music so much! x

Thank you and best wishes!