People who Deliver Messages through Music
People who Deliver Messages through Music
  • 안석현 기자
  • 승인 2011.04.07 16:32
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On January 27th, 2011, there was a memorial concert for Jin-Won Lee, who died from a brain injury. The concerts were simultaneously held at 26 clubs around Hongik University, known as "Hongdae club." 103 bands, from office-working bands to famous musicians based at the Hongdae clubs volunteered to perform. They gathered in one place to honor the deceased, but the concert had a broader meaning in that it confirmed Korea’s indie culture to the world and got us thinking about indie music again.

Milktea, Re-mi & Woo-Young Ji

Q) What is the difference between indie music and popular music?
A) Indie musicians play their own music without regard for commercialization. Pop musicians sing songs that appeal to the general public. Pop singers are often forced to sing songs created by their producers. On the other hand, indie musicians can do what they want and tell their own stories. It’s not filtered contents based on what is trendy and media driven. We have the freedom to experiment with our music and communicate with people on a meaningful level.

Q) What do the Hongdae clubs mean for indie bands?
A) They’re our playground. If there were no Hongdae clubs, we would not be able to inform our music. Indie music does not have broad access to broadcast media. Therefore, Hongdae clubs and the streets around Hongdae are where we can get in touch with our audience. Clubs are where indie bands are born and grow up.

Q) What do Indie labels(record companies) do for the bands?
A) Indie labels bear some minor expenses like buying instruments and making arrangements. The company prepares practice rooms for us and makes our schedule. In this way, the label performs the logistic duties that allow the bands to concentrate on music totally. Unlike popular music, Indie bands don’t have to consider anything when they make music. The companies do not interfere with the music.

Q) What do you think when you’re playing music?
A) Our songs are pretty and soft. So I want to play delightfully with the audience on stage. We want to entertain people through music. The happiest time is when people are singing along with us.

Swing Chair, La-Ra & Lou

Q) How do indie bands deal with issues regarding money?
A) It’s great if we can make money through our music, and of course we are trying to make a living through our music. Ordinary people work to make money. A lot of people choose their career based on how much money they can make without thinking whether or not the career will be pleasant or difficult, but we don’t really chase after money. Honestly, I would play music for my entire life if I could just make enough to live. Others make money to buy a nice house or a nice car but we make money so we can continue to make music.

Q) What are your future goals as an indie musician?
A) The goal is to be a Korean wave star. I don’t want indie music to be differentiated anymore. The perception seems to be that the label “indie” is applied to bands that are not on TV. Like any other serious musician, music is my life, and I hope someday indie music can be appreciated by a larger audience. One day while watching the singing program, “Gayodaejeon”, I thought the representative music of Korea is K-pop. This made me feel sad and regretful. The music scene in Korea needs more diversity, so I want to sing hard and for a long time.

Ynot?, Ju-Mong

Q) Why is your band’s name “Ynot?”?
A) I want to try different genres of music. I want to try this thing and I want to try like that and I want to do everything. There’s nothing we won’t try, so our attitude is Why not give it a try?

Q) What message do you want to deliver through your music?
A) I have much to say because our method of communicating with the world is music. Sometimes the world is beautiful, and sometimes the world is dirty. Sometimes, I’m in love and sometimes I suffer pain from the sorrow of parting. I want to make music that speaks to all of those feelings.

Q) What should we do to make indie bands better known?
A) Hypothetically, let’s say that an indie band was formed. Their music is great and they’re doing very well. But the question is “Are people trying to seek the music of the indie band that has great ability?” A lot of people put a lot of music in their MP3 players and smart phones but that music isn’t being found firsthand on their own. Most of the public only hear music that is put out by the mass media. “Are listeners searching for music that they themselves find interesting, or are they just listening to what is being fed to them?" Maybe, there are really good bands out there already, but we may have missed them because they aren’t part of the mainstream consciousness. If you really crave it you can find good music and great musicians.

Indie musicians demonstrate a variety of music because their music is not limited by concerns posed by commercial interests. However, the indie musicians who follow their hearts often feel sad because they lack the opportunity to show their music. In order to introduce them to the world, listeners should take the initiative to find music on their own and then spread the word. If you search for good music you can find these indie gems. University students need to regain their independent consciousness as leaders of modern culture. Indie music is a part of music representing our time as well as popular music, and it is time for indie music to be noticed.

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