On The Records: Paperwhite

PaperwhiteLike it or not, Brooklyn is still the Mecca of eclectic musicians in States. Following the foot step of interesting upcoming musicians from Brooklyn is Paperwhite, a dream pop duo that consisted of siblings Katie and Ben Marshall. Mixing a lush production of synth-based melodies and beautiful vocal, the duo are succeeded to bring shimmering sounds of modern pop with slight hint of nostalgic retro and a warm feeling of Summer days.

Hi Katie & Ben, how are you? Where are you right now and what were you guys doing before answering this email?
Katie: Hey! We are currently at Ben’s apartment in Brooklyn. We just had a great rehearsal down the street where we were preparing some of our new music for our live set! It’s finally feeling like summer over here, so we took the long way home, got some ice cream and enjoyed the sun!

As siblings, do you always know you’re gonna make music together? And what really prompt you to finally do it?
Ben: We have always known that we would work on music together because we have been collaborating for years but the exciting part is that we had no idea that we would find a style of music in which we could both take a lead. While writing some of the first Paperwhite’s songs, it finally felt like we had a path for our collaborations to take off. Once we felt that synchronization, we knew we had to stick with it!

Where were you guys grew up? What were you listening to back then and how do you think its influence your music in Paperwhite?
Katie: We grew up in Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia. There is a three and a half year age difference between us (Ben is older), so at times we were listening to different types of music but we both have drawn a lot of inspiration from bands through different decades. Some include bands like Tears for Fears and Wilson Philips to Motown artists and even more modern bands like The Postal Service.

I know that previously Ben is also with Savoir Adore, how about you Katie? What were you doing before Paperwhite?
Katie: Before Paperwhite, I was a student at Berklee College of Music, which is also Ben’s alma mater. At the time, I was focusing on songwriting and performance. Once I graduated in 2013, it allowed Ben and I to focus on Paperwhite. The ideas and music have been blossoming ever since!

What’s the story behind the name?
Ben: Well, this is kind of a two part story. During Katie’s senior year at Berklee, she wrote a song called “Paperwhites.” She was working at a flower shop and was inspired by the paperwhite flower. So when we were coming up with a name for the band, it was already kind of in the back of our heads. One day we posted a clip of the song on Instagram and hashtagged it #paperwhite and a friend of Katie’s commented that he liked our new band name. So even though it was just an accident, we decided it was a sign and went for it!

How was the creative process for two of you?
Katie: Ben typically takes on the role as the producer/arranger and I typically focus on more songwriter duties like melody, chords, and lyrics. It has worked out well because our weaknesses are each other’s strengths. Our goal is to make well-structured songs that create a certain mood whether it’s to dance or to feel a particular emotion.

What is the story for your latest single “Magic” and how do you feel about the response so far?
Ben: The idea for “Magic” came to us on Jan 1, 2014. Looking back now, it feels like such an indicator for the year. We started off strong which is inspiring to us. We are very grateful and thrilled with the response from “Magic”. It has shown us that we are heading in the right direction!

How was your first live show? Do you have any challenge to bring you music in live perform?
The live show is always evolving. So yes, the first show was an experiment, but it was a successful one. There are definitely some tricky things to figure out in terms of getting the recordings into a live set, but it just gets better and better each time we play out.

Could you spill some info about upcoming release? Is it gonna be EP, single, or maybe an LP?
For now we are sticking with singles… but there just may be an EP sooner than later.

How do you think about Brooklyn’s music scene nowadays?
We are very excited to be a part of the Brooklyn music scene. Our peers and mentors are all in the same area and are doing amazing things and releasing awesome music. The sense of community and comradely here is wonderful. We feel that Brooklyn has a lot more talent coming its way!

What’s next for Paperwhite?
The next goal is to bring our listeners more music and hopefully with that start playing outside of NYC. We would love to tour sometime in the near future!

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: 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!