[20130807] Sunwoo Jung Ah – Interview for Rhythmer

sunwoo junga

We met Sunwoo Jung Ah who released “It’s Okay. Dear”, her second full album, after 7 years. Singer, producer, singer songwriter, she has many roles attached to her name and created her own world as charming as her music, her vocals and her lyrics can be. What is guaranteed is that this interview can make you feel the charm of this musician called Sunwoo Jung Ah. It’s a good way to take one step closer to her music. Including the music she did with YG and with other artists, if you count the songs of her own albums, she’s connected to 80 songs and we hope you’ll be able to feel her musical determination through this interview.

Nice to meet you. Can you briefly introduce yourself?

Hm… First and foremost, I’d say “I’m Sunwoo Jung Ah, a Korean female musician”. There’s a reason for that. It’s hard to keep it short when I talk about my style or things like that and I don’t want to be tie down to this and because I’m proud to be a Korean woman. When I was young, I was a girl who wanted to be a boy, but I realized the beauty and this feminine weakness once I got older? I realized I could become these things. I’m Sunwoo Jungah, a Korean female musician because I wanted to become someone who expresses all these things through her music in any way she could. This introduction is quite over the top. (laugh)

It’s impressive. (laugh) Your second full album was released 7 years after your first one, why did it take so long?

Hm… I noticed that people think it’s something important. They ask me if it wasn’t hard to do things I haven’t been doing in a long time. Actually, and this applies in hip-hop or anywhere else, but if you do freely your artistic activities on a small stage, you feel less compelled to release stuff and situations in which it’s worth to release albums don’t work out. And that’s how it ended up being natural for me to go through this scene in various ways. That’s why I had no thought about releasing an album for 5 years. Releasing something would have been hard anyway, so I didn’t think about it. There were so many interesting things for me to do that I didn’t even think about it. Since I didn’t have time for an album, I didn’t release anything. I worked in various other fields. I created music for a movie, I even starred in it…

It was the indie movie “Bon Appetit”, right?

(laugh) Yes. So you knew about it.

Doing stuff like this must have been an opportunity to release an album?

Doing stuff like this become tiring for my mind and my body, so I wondered what image of myself I woud leave as I get older and as doing stuff like this become tiring for my mind and my body. I thought about it and I’m the happiest when I’m doing my music. If I don’t work on my music, the other projects I do don’t come out well. It’s not that I will only work on my own stuff in the future, but I started being focused as I thought it was time to release something.

Did you join Magic Strawberrysound which is your current label at a specific time or through a specific occasion?

Time… (to her manager) Have we been working together for a little bit more than a year? I wonder when it was… I think it’s been about a year. At first, I worked alone. I thought my music wasn’t the type of music that could be listened anywhere and that could show compromises. I didn’t feel the need to compromise. My mindset was “wether I die or make a living, let’s do it”…A few indie labels contacted me. I listened to their offers and I thought there was no need for me to go through all this trouble and that I should join an agency. I didn’t know much about indie labels. I went to college with the Okdal-unnies who are this label’s main artists as well as directors. I told them there were many things I was curious about, so they offered me to talk with the boss. We started talking with no particular goal in mind. I realized that there was a good vibe with them. We ended up working together because we were like “let me listen to this song”, “would you like to listen to my story?”.

At first, a lot of people thought you were a YG singer. You had no contract as a singer, right?

(laugh) Exactly.

So it was like you got requests as a lyricist and a composer?

Can we say it was a collaboration? I don’t have a great brand yet, so I’m careful to use this word, but if you want to put things simply, they invited me through this collaboration mindset.

Is there any talk about you doing an album in YG?

There’s light discussion about it, but it’s really light like… “how about trying to release one?”. Teddy-oppa was interested in my music. He liked it and gave me a lot of advice. In the “Thanks to” section of my album, you can see the YG people names in it. It’s not that they did anything concrete for it, but it was me being thankful for arranging songs or monitoring me.

Before the album got released, Choice37, Taeyang, Sandara Park mentioned it on Twitter. It feels like there was a big PR effect.

Indeed. The simple fact they mentioned me, it left an impression, even if it was just my name. I’m very thankful.

You’ve worked a lot with YG. You recently took part in Lee Hi’s album creation.

(laugh) Yeah, well, there were three teams.

Still, they are hit tracks.

If you want to talk about what’s really important, the song wasn’t a hit because I was good. I think YG is good at coming up with good songs and bringing out the best of its artists. I was just like the little added spice. The taste might come out a little bit more unusual, but I’m very cautious because I’m not the cause that made these songs hits. Might be because people call me “hit composer”… but I received many offers from other agencies too and their approach was completely different from YG’s. I couldn’t manage to create something good in the way they wanted to because they told me “you’re a hit composer now, so write hit songs for us”.

Did you work on Seo In Young’s album?

(laugh) This was also just about giving a little help.

Still, when you listen to the song, there’s this “Sunwoo Jungah” feel to it. It’s not just about spcicing things up. The base itself has this composer’s feeling. You have the vocal melody or lyrics, music hard to find somewhere else.

It’s nice if you hear it this way, but if you want to talk about it in details a little bit more, songs like “It Hurts”, “Let’s Break Up”, Kush-oppa did almost everything. The lyrics, the music, the framework, the overall atmosphere. The energy starts with him. I heard these things and they were nice. I listen to “It Hurts” and it’s definitely here, this “ah, here’s a mainstream composer” feeling. This is what he worked on and there was a long moment of communication with other artists and not just me in order to reach a level of completion a bit more interesting. Of course, everybody did their part on keeping this nice work going between us, but I think it’s really awesome.

Do you plan to keep on working as a composer? Even not as a co-composer.

If the artist knows my style and likes it. We can give it a try and make something fun, but if you just want something like “this is popular music”, it will be difficult.

You worked on 4 tracks of Lee Hi’s album. Did you get a s pecial request?

Yes. There was a request. At first, I thought it was more like training and I was asked to write a song. “Try to write a song with the Jungah style”. Fortunately, Lee Hi has more of a different soul vibe than what I have, so I really enjoyed working with her. This was how I ended up working on 4 tracks.

The songs you composed have a stronger Sungwoo Jungah’s vibe than a Lee Hi’s vibe.

And that’s a little bit of a problem. I recorded my songs first and it turned out to be the ones I worked on the last. Everybody who listened to them said “is this Jungah? Isn’t it Lee Hi? Where did Hayi go?”. It was something important while guiding her and it worked in my head, but it’s something I failed at. I really made efforts, but I still put too much of myself into the final result. I find things like this a bit unfortunate.

When you read the credits on Lee Hi’slbum, there’s the name Lydia Paek for the chorus [t/n: Koreans use the word “chorus” for background singing. Unless stated otherwise, think of “chorus” as background singing] of “Rose”. Does it mean Lee Hi did the chorus on her own for the songs “One Way Love”, “Because”, “Am I Strange”?

We did the chorus together. For “One Way Love”, we were in the booth together to record it. It was my first time working like this. It was fun.

And what about the other songs?

I did a little part for “Because”, but Hi did everything else by herself.

Isn’t there something missing in the credits?

I didn’t want to put my name out there… Because for “One Way Love”, the lyrics, the songs, the arrangment, everything is “Sunwoo Jungah”. Having Sunwoo Jungah in the chorus too… It made me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t put my name on purpose.

However, and this is also true for your second album, but the chorus was “One Way Love”‘s highlight.

(laugh) Because it’s a song in which the chorus occupies more than half of the sound style.

I felt that the arrangement was nicely done.

(laugh) Thank you. I tried my best.

Yet, in the song “Am I Strange”, the lyrics that go “the few things that I’m the only one to have” sound more like what someone in their 30’s or 50’s would say than what a teenager would say.

(laugh) It’s true. It’s an adult song.

And the song ends with “so what? It’s the truth” which neutralized the tone of the lyrics, but I thought it’d be nice even if Han Young Ae sang it. Somehow, this song feels like it wasn’t written with Lee Hi in mind.

Indeed. It was a song that was supposed to be on my album. Yang-sajangnim knew this song of mine. He said my version was nice but asked if I could give it to Lee Hi. It was my first time selling a song that I was planning to sing myself, so I worried like you worry to sign up your child for adoption. This song, even if I wasn’t the one singing it… (makes a hand gesture toward the TV) Ah, Hi is out there, in CF… I ended up giving it to her because I thought it was okay if Lee Hi sang it.

Did you change a few parts?

I had written more lyrics at first. The background singing at the end of the chorus was shortened. It used to go “Am I Strange?” and the answer went “dooodoo oh”. The lyrics now go “where? how?”, “how are you different from me?”. The answer used to be “because you’re a monster”. However, it was too strong, so I changed the lyrics. At first, I was thinking about Medusa, so it couldn’t not be strong. When I was a kid, I was in a one-act play called “Medusa”. I thought that Medusa was a lonely girl and I acted with that in mind. When people look at her, they turn into stones. It’s like “come to get killed even faster”. Something like that. She asks “why am I the only strange one?”, the snakes answer “because you’re a monster. What can you do? You know it’s true.”. So this was the concept I had in mind and I think it was neutralized when I met Ha Yi. I think the result was good. Later on, even if I express myself like Medusa, I think people will accept it and enjoy it because they’re getting to know me a little bit more. As avant-garde.

During you concerts, you sometimes sang “It Hurts” which you gave to 2NE1. Any thought about an album version?

I don’t know about an album version. Live stage or youtube sessions are programs. When I look at music programs, I think uploading stuff like that is enough. I’ve never done “It Hurts” or “Oh Yeah” in non-private settings. It was intentional.

Who is Realme whom you worked with on Lee Hi’s album?

(laugh) A very close friend of mine. Almost like a little sister…

She isn’t a YG artist, right?

She isn’t. She’s a school hoobae and she’s my neighbor. We’ve been living a block away from each other for about five or six years? She’s my best friend. She’s not overly ambitious or selfish, but she upgraded her equipment at one point and started writing songs. She used to make me listen to her songs because she had fun. It was nothing like “unnie, what would you do with this song?”. Her songs were nice, so I’m the one who made her this offer.

What are the pros and cons of working alone and working with someone else?

It depends according to the person you’re working with. From my experience, I think it’s better to do many things if you want your music to be embraced by many people. Especially for me, since I started working on my own first, I was confined and I made every effort to bring everything out. It’s what happened with my second album. I realized that it’s better for mainstream music to have different people to work on it and do the monitoring. That’s why the results were good. We learn from each other by seeing what each other can bring to the table with the same material.

You produced Kim Hyun Ji’s album, right? She was recently on “Voice Korea”…

To me, it’s really a good soul album. I had some regrets about it, starting from the mixing part, but I think the songs selctions and her interpretation were good. The result wasn’t great, but I wish it was an album that was a little bit more known. “Voice Korea 2” was a big challenge for her. I think she was able to let go of the hurt and fear about her past.

Let’s talk a little bit about your first album. Your title track was a song made by Jeon Hae Sung who wrote Lee Seung Chul’s “Long Day”, Yoon Do Hyun’s “Seems Like Love”. Was it because you wanted a hit track?

(everybody laugh) Absolutely not.

Do you feel affection for your first album?

(everybody laugh) It’s a sharp question. I should say yes, but the honest answer would be “not so much”. All I wanted was to hide my flaws, but my husband said something [that made me change my mind]. When I was on stage and played the piano by myself, I didn’t really think about it, but when he asked me “as someone who’s been your audience for a long time, what would you think if I had prepared new arrangements for your 1st album songs?” and this was when I started liking my first album. It seemed that my husband liked this album.

Did you release your first album under Ogam Entertainment?

This is vague. Right now, there are things I can’t talk about.

So we don’t really know about your sales. It’s hard to find out for now. Do you have no plan to sale it again?

It is hard to calculate the sales. Should I say it’s discontinued? I don’t know how many copies were released. All I know is that it didn’t do well.

On your first album, there’s a track called “It Hurts”. You also gave a song called “It Hurts” to 2NE1. It’s rare that a musician releases a song with the same title as another song unless it’s part of a series. Was there a particular reason for this? I read once somewhere “doesn’t Sunwoo Jungah has a “It Hurts” complex?”.

(everybody laughs) It’s totally awesome. It was a coincidence. For the overall code track, I just sang the chorus by saying “chalala chalala” and I sent them the guide. One day, Kush-oppa suddenly turned it into “it hurts! it hurts!” [t/n: which sounds like appaya, appa in Korean]. He added the lyrics to the verses melody too. He didn’t know there was a song called “It Hurts” on my album. Considering that this title had already been used for my album, I/he said it’d be even better and the song would be good. It was this kind of coincidence.

Honestly, and this also goes for what you’re looking for, the album gets classified in the soul/R&B category in its entirerity. However, I think songs like “Korean Crow Tit “, “The Moment I Destroyed You” aren’t soul songs easily heard in Korea. Did you work on this track with the music genre specificity in mind?

No. That’s why when it was first released, it was awesome to see it under the soul/R&B category on Naver Music. I ended up wanting to show the influencef of the great singers as I went through the emotional course created by the voices of most of singers I’ve been listening to since I was a kid like old school soul singers such as Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Donny Hathaway, and also people like Lauryn Hill. I still love the 60’s soul sound. There is technique, but it’s not some kind of polished technique. I like this kind of energy and I love the combination of instruments and sounds, so I listen to this style a lot. I think I enjoy the deafening/complex feelings more than sounds being all over the place.

I think your vocals in this album showed these particular R&B groove and flavor.

I keep singing jazz, so I think that why there’s this vocal texture, I don’t know if you can call it groove, in my voice. Same goes for “Lead Role’s Song”. I think it’s groovy because I was feeling a natural swing rather than trying to be all “make it hip-hop! make it groovy!”

You used a lot of brass in this album.

I did. During my prime jazz singing activities days, my music was the New Orleans Dixieland style with trombones and trumpets. There’s even more of a charm because the instruments are similar to people. I used them more because I have my trombonist friend who is the same age as me. We’ve been friends for nearly 10 years.

I think using brass made your music richer. I think it’s the biggest musical change compared to you first album.

Indeed. I didn’t know how to write back then (1st album). The arrangements were all made by other people. While I was workig on my first album, I asked others to work on it as a favor, but I didn’t like any of the results. There was a lack of communication, but I think it’s regrettable because the outcome was different from what I had in mind. That’s why I really studied after I released my first album.

You’ve been doing jazz music for a long time. I don’t know if this is a prejudice, but many Korean jazz singers are musicians who only studied abroad or lived abroad for a while. There are many remakes of legendary songs which is one of the specificities of this musical genre, but lyrics wise, I think they lean more toward their overseas fandom than their Korean fandom… On the contrary, you…

I’ve only been in Korea. That’s so sad. (everybody laughs)

Wasn’t anything difficult about working with other musicians?

More than feeling pressure, I thought singing with the jazz style wasn’t all that, I thought it wouldn’t work. I really loved jazz… I really loved it. However, I didn’t work hard for it. I just did it because singing it didn’t give me a hard time and wasn’t an offense to the audience. It was actually my biggest influence. I learned a lot from Korean jazz singers. Teacher “Malo” already knows this sad fact and she did jazz by writing directly lyrics in Korean. This is the path he is still following. Learning from people like her was a big influence.

You know you said in an interview that your voice was the most suitable for jazz?

Right. It’s a paradox. It’s not that I wanted to become a jazz singer, but I’m the most comfortable when I’m singing jazz.

Between being an R&B, soul, rock or jazz singer, which title do you like the best?

Avant-garde. (laugh) First, I want to do pop music. I thought it’d be nice if my second album was really pop. It went through various process, but it was pop in the end. I think “pop” has many meanings. I think it’d be interesting if people called me a pop singer. And then, avant-garde.

When we talk about your music, there’s no way we cannot talk about your lyrics. This can be said for the songs you gave to Lee Hi and your second album title track “Korean Crow Tit”. There are many lyrics about self-torture. Do you have a complex? Of course, lyrics like this have their charm, though.

I have a complex about so many things. The music source is my inferiority complex and I make it explode as my songs get created. And then it gives me hope. Making this inferiority complex explode and being hopeful is what I call my world. It’s my universe.

I believe in the power of music. A song’s title influences a singer. You released “Korean Crow Tit” and you hurt your leg.
(when they did the interview, Sunwoo Junga wore a cast because of a foot injury)

Oh my God! Really! I’m suddenly scared.

My son is 15-months old. I was afraid he’d die, so I couldn’t listen to songs about the death of sons. Songs like Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven”. If you create and sing songs about self-torture, I think you’ll lose a lot of energy.

True. People say when you have severe depression, you become bipolar. Even if you’re in the middle, they say you’re in a depression. So when you really go deep, you become bipolar. (with hand gestures) If you go down like this and you go up like this, you become bipolar. If you go strong with things like self-hatred, self-love comes with it.

So the strength of Sunwoo Junga’s music is the expression of anger and inferiority complex?

I think it’s about anger and excessive self-affection at the same time. The fact itself of loving having something like this…You keep going through self-affection by saying things that make no sense like “it’s so hard” and yet you say “this is what being an artist is about”.

It’s a sensitive question, but are the lyrics of “Purple Daddy” based on a real story? It’s a song where you scream that you want your father back.

This song got a lot of attention. The reactions were interesting. There’s no twist or metaphor in this song. My anger just flares up despite not being directed to one particular target when I’m having a hard time, when I’m lonely and can’t accept that my father passed away. I don’t know who I should blame. I wrote this song as I was thinking about this time of my life when you feel this hate without any particular target. It’s not my personal belief, but how to call it? It’s like exorcism? This work was like exorcism. This is what my husband and my close friends said. They said it was very countrified and deep, probably because they know my life and the story from that time. “Can’t you just not do it, it’s like all over the place”. However, from my point of view, if I didn’t make this song, it would have kept torturing me… To be honest, while I was in the arrangement phase, I wasn’t sure about this song. The mixing and mastering process turned out well and I think everything got resolved through the final outcome.

As you said, “Purple Daddy” got a lot of positive reactions.

And so I told my friends and my husband “look, told you it’d be popular”. (laugh)

The composer of “The Composer You Can’t Know” isn’t revealed. So is this song about the feelings of ghost composers?

It’s just the Unknown Artist. Strangely, iTunes in Korean got rid of the composer section. Isn’t the singer an artist? It’s about the artist’s comprehensive point of view and not limited to the composer. And it’s definitely not a song composed by a ghost composer.

In “Workhalic”, you sing about the ocean of personal connections. How much can personal connections play a role in the music industry?

It’s about 80-90% of it. This generation is more about tips off than capital, so I think I’m more about people than capital. I joined Strawberry Sound because I was close with OkDal-unnies. I got to work with YG thanks to Kush-oppa. I met Kush-oppa thanks to my friend. Things happen through personal connections. When I met them, my problem was I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. I think these connections created the style of my life.

Your studio recording was made at your place. You captured this sound, but wasn’t there some difficulty or physical, time limits?

There’s a bit of a time limit, but I’m still free about what I do. I got lucky because of my 1st album. I was worried it would kill my sound. All my songs already have different styles, so I wondered how to capture that. I got the advice to capture it with my voice. Thanks to that, as I’m telling to myself “I’m producing myself now, so things will come naturally, right?”, I got rid of a little bit of stress.

Renaissance studio is a home studio?
It is! The name of my mom’s apartment is xxRenaissance apartment. (everybody laugh) It was something I wanted to do like this.

Do you take a big part in sound recording?

Yes. In almost everything.

It might happen far away in the future, but I think you might be interested in working as a sound engineer to do things like mixing, mastering.

I am interested. I haven’t thought about it yet, but I think I’ll take things slow and get to it with baby steps when I feel the desire to do it. I’m still learning a lot… I worked with a foreign engineer (Brad A. Wheeler) for half of this album. I learned a lot from him. For the other half, I learned a lot from engineer Yoon Jung Oh. Their styles are different, but I feel like they both worked magic on my songs. I worked on “You are so beautiful” all by myself when I was home. With a 300,000-won hand mic, scratching my pencil on my notebook and banging against the porch. And that was the result. I wasn’t too sure about it. I talked with engineer Yoon, Brad, YG producers about my equipment worries and they all said the same thing. “If it’s good, leave it be”. This became a true motto.

It was refreshing to hear the pencil sound through the mic during your performance.

It’s hard to do. There are times when the sound doesn’t come out because of the mic, so I rub the pencil against a piece of paper to make the sound come out. When the sound doesn’t really come out, I rub the mic directly against the paper.

Writing lyrics, composing melodies, the arranegments, you did everything because you were on your own. There’s only for the song “Korean Crow Tit” that you followed special vocal direction. Ahn Shin Ae from the Barbarettes…

Like I said earlier, I was scared of the many things I had bottled up inside. That’s why I kept receiving advice, but I really wanted this song to bring somehting out of me through a better focus. When I direct myself, it’s stressful because I’m in a chaos. There’s no right standard or right answer in this world, but even without those things, there are times when you’re just bewildered. My voice may sound good to me, but some people might not hear the same. It was to sing with a judgement less burdensome.

What kind of musicians the Barbarettes and Ahn Shin Ae are?

They’re a trio that sings in harmony with this 50’s-60’s vibe. They also compose songs and what’s even better is that they show Korean soul. I also can’t wait to hear Ahn Shin Ae because she’s a musician with Korean flavor. They’re working on their album and it seems you can also expect a solo album from Shin Ae.

For music geeks like me, it feels so nice to buy an album and read the booklet.

Yeah. I feel exactly the same!

I was a bit surprised when I saw your booklet. (There are semi nude pictures of Sunwoo Jungah). I think it was my first time seeing something like this since Roo’ra Kim Ji Hyun’s solo album.

Ah, really? She did that too?

Was it the setting that revealed everything about yourself?

I think it was in sync with the title. I wanted to convey the message “it’s okay, it’s okay” with this title and I think the Korean word for “it’s okay” is very gentle and beautiful. Thanks to my friend, I thought about “It’s okay, dear” [t/n: in English] and saying “it’s okay” [t/n: in Korean] may not have the meaning “it’s okay~”. There might be a nuance with “hey, it’s okay!” [t/n: in Korean, but in a less gentle way]. I mean, if you have nothing, if you don’t have many things, you should just go on with your life. This was mainly the comforting meaning for me. I didn’t know when I didn’t think about releasing the album, but when I knew I would release one, I went through more hardships than I would have imagined. To be honest, it already happened that things completely fell flat for me after an album even went through mixing and was fully completed. It’s not the same. This album came out because there was kind of an outline. I lost all my energy. I signed with an agency and if I work even just a little now, things get completed and it takes away my energy. The concept that summarized the plans I had for the albums I prepared on my own was clearly defined. For various reasons, the concept didn’t match right away for this album. While I wanted my style to be defined, I realized I couldn’t actually manage to do it. For each group tied to my songs, I had a clear vision of the concept. This time, I just couldn’t. So what made me broaden my horizons a little bit more after that was my flesh color. Through this album, I felt that I was exposing everything about myself and it was comforting at the same time. Kicking everything off as I said “I don’t know, I’m fine” about things that gave me a hard time meanwhile. The reason I thought about curtains was the witty aspect of saying “that’s right, I’m the lead girl of this story” in the song’s title “The lead girl’s song”. The title “The Composer you can’t know” carries the meaning of being a musician appearing briefly.

So basically, this album overall is an exorcism album.


Do you have a different religion?

I’m a bit wandering right now, but I was a Christian. That’s why using the word exorcism is a bit weird… (laugh)

There’s the song “Interplanetary Travel” on your first album. There’s your second album’s “Purple Daddy” and there’s even the picture of space in the booklet. Do you have a big interest in astronomy?

(laugh) Living by expressing myself through art got me focused on things one can’t see easily. I often use the expression “increasing energy”. When I perform, especially when I do a gig… When it’s my first time seeing people, I don’t look at them and I even try new music scores. In moments like this, I can experience invisible things like the energy or self-focus. I think what I feel is maximized as my vision on life changes as time goes by. Album, the universe, people, the Earth. These are not organized thoughts or themes. The thoughts just keep coming to me. If I went further, it might be dangerous, so just in an abstract way… (laugh)

I’m going to talk a little bit about your sessions. I think there’s a good compatibility with Kil Eun Kyung who plays the keyboard or Seo Young who plays the bass. You’re a musician too. What would be the biggest difference musically speaking?

I’m an ant, they are butterflies? We’re completely different. For instance, a fancy butterfly doesn’t fit everywhere. The ant is small and handy, but this is what makes songs suitable. I think I worked hard with this producing style. Finding how to come up with something cool and that can shine during a live session… But I wasn’t a performer. Editing was the end for me.

Something funny happpened on Twitter. You told Seo Young Do who did a bass live session “let’s do “Am I Strange”, “One way love” and Seo Young Do said “I don’t know what you mean”.

Because he usually does many songs. It’s this so-called A-list session. Because recording is his everyday life…. (laugh)

Would you choose bassist Seo Young Do as your favorite musician?

He’s totally awesome. He’s like Chanel. Unrivaled. There’s no personality like him, no performance like the ones he does, he’s really awesome. It’s great for Korea to have a musician like him.

Every review about your album is good. To the point of thinking about getting an award at the end of the year…?

Great albums were released. There are people who have awareness, some work hard to promote their work, so do I dare to think it could happen… It’d be nice if there was something like “album with the most courage”. If there were an award like this, I’d want it. But if it’s just mainstream music awards, I’m fine either way. (laugh)

I think it’d be nice if you released a full soul album. Don’t you want to do it?

I want to give it a try one day. It’s not something possible in a near future, but even if it’s not for my album, if I’m helping producing another artist or working on their album, I want this result. I really controlled myself for this album, but I think it’s what I want to go for as a singer because it does feel like I performed exorcism, judging from the big amount of songs I made. Despite the fact I have my own charm when I sing and I’m good at it…? (laugh) I need more experience/practice.

How much time a day do you spend on practicing your vocals?

(laugh) I don’t practice.

Your voice is a gift, then.

It’s not, it’s not. To be honest, I must practice because of many situations… I have everything in my cell phone. When I really feel uneasy or I need some exercise, when the stand-by period is long, I do flash practice sessions. I do them in my car. I should say I almost never do it. Xhen I’m overly exhausted, when singing in a jazz club is the last thing I do when I work. The delight in these moments is no joke. There are times when I feel like I can’t sing and I don’t want to do it, but then I go on stage, I sing and all these thoughts become hilarious. There’s the emotion you can find despite not practicing, but the fact I don’t practice is just because I’m lazy.

When I listen to your songs, it feels like I hear breathing or tears that become part of the melody. Are these sounds you recorded separately when you were writing your music?

I wasn’t writing separately, but these are memorable aspects. I’m a singer, I have a body, and there’s the fact that (pointing at herself) this is my instrument. When I sing, breathing is as important as singing, so I use it often.

It’s normal to use autotune these days and breathing itself disappears from songs. It was nice to hear this breathing in your album.

Thank you. To be honest, this was partly due to the [artistic] direction, but I tried my best to keep this sound during the editing process.

Are you currently doing band activities?

Sometimes, I join my husband’s band. If my schedule allows it, I do some jazz gigs sometimes.

How do you use the MIDI program?

At first, I worked almost with Cubase and when I received recording from outside of the studio, I went for Protool.I realized working in sync with the studio is actually better.

It’s early to talk about it, but do you have plans for your next album?

This one was a hit! I’m currently working on my next song. I can’t say anything in detail, but…
Manager: Everyone knows it now.

They know it now? (laugh) It’s a song that someone else turned down. It’s a precious one. It was nicely written. It’s not something I work on all by myself. It was a new collaboration. I think it might be the best collaboration I will do. Ah. No. It’s like “we became one”. I mean, isn’t the best collaboration about working together even on the arrangement?

It’s a single?

Yes, I think it will be. We’re planning to have my version and the collaboration version. If we have time, we’ll shoot a music video, but this collaboration feeling in a video… We’re still working on preparations.

Ah, I can’t wait! If there’s something you’d like to add, please do.

I haven’t gotten the chance to talk about this somewhere else. In the introduction or in the middle of “Korean Crow Tit”, it was a true bird singing and the real flutter of wings. I did a lot of research because I wanted a beat made of the real flutter of wings. I tried to reverse a drum tom kit, I also watched every bird-related documentaries. “Mating rituals” (laugh) well, stuff like that. I spent a couple of days doing nothing else but watching stuff like this. I found the flutter of wings sound I wanted in a BBC documentary. It was a night owl. It’s also in the intro. You hear a shout in the outro prelude. It’s a baby cuckoo crying. These sounds were so hard to find… I was like “I’m so proud, it’s awesome. It’s so awesome because I got to use bird sounds for “Korean Crow Tit””, but I think no one actually noticed these sounds. (laugh)

It was really a bird! I know it now. (everybody laughs) Tell us a bit more about your next move.

I hope I’ll get many opportunities to do live performances. I will try my best to make it happen. I did a few radio live performances and it was fun. I hope to be on TV too. Anyway, what I want is direct communication with the audience in any place like concerts that allows me to do so.

Interview : Rhythmer
Translation: @onesunnylady – thesunnytown.wordpress.com


4 Comments Add yours

  1. emsterz says:

    Thank you for the translation! She’s my favorite female vocalist in Korea, and I adored “It’s Okay, Dear” it’s so nice to see the thoughts behind her music.

    1. 1sunnylady says:

      🙂 well, this itw was quite long and i dont know if there’s anything new to say about her for now, but don’t hesitate to let me know if you want something translated about her

  2. JO says:

    As always, thank you for the translations! I’ve always been curious about her experience working in YG.

    1. 1sunnylady says:

      I’m glad this itw gave you a few answers 😀 thanks for reading and commenting!

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