Posted on November 21, 2016

Interview

# Please introduce the person sitting next to you.

Songhwa: [Laughs] What can I say about Kim Seungil? I guess I have to say something, hmmm … he is the bass player for DIEALRIGHT and he is really damn good. I am not saying that just because he is a member of the band; he really has a good musical sense.

Seungil: I live by my senses.

Songhwa: Yeah, he lives by his senses … what else can I say?

Seungil: You can’t think of anything to say because you don’t think about the rest of the band much.

Songhwa: What? Am I supposed to think of you all the time? Hmm … At first I thought he would be a really kind guy, but I was wrong!

Seungil: Next to me is DIEALRIGHT’s drummer, Baek Soojung. She has loads of different jobs and things to do, she leads a busy and difficult life. She’s our beat maker!

Soojung: Across from me is our band’s vocalist, guitarist and leader Chae Songhwa… she is the one who pulls it all together and makes sure it all flows musically. She’s a super cool person.  

# How did the three of you come to know one another?

Songhwa: We met after being introduced to one another by someone else. I met Soojung first and later Seugil. When Soojung and I first started a band together, we had a different bassist. It’s not that we fell out or anything like that; in fact we still get on quite well. As a band however, we were not a good match. So that person left and that’s when Seugil joined.

Seungil: Because I suited the band much more.

Songhwa: Right, you are wonderful! Magnificent. We didn’t really begin in earnest as a band until 승일 joined. So, honestly when I talk about the band I consider the three of us the original members.

# You are almost done with the album, and it’s your first full length recording since you formed three years ago. Can you tell us a little about it, please?

Songhwa: We have given it as much focus and attention as we possibly could, but who knows how it will turn out in the end… I mean, of course we are doing our best to make sure it turns out well! It feels like we’re gaining experience as we work on it. The lyrics, the atmosphere … the entire album has an overall dark feeling to it. You’d never say it was stifling or anything like that, but the overall feel isn’t exactly bright or cheerful either. We’re just trying to make it sound as much like DIEALRIGHT as possible. Ultimately, seeing as it’s not finished yet, it’s hard to say conclusively how it will turn out. The title of the album is going to be ‘Minor World,’ and it will have 10 tracks. That much we know! It’ll include some tracks from our EP as well as some new songs.

Soojung: Firstly, we had a lot of fun with the recording process, and for me personally at least I think that it’s about time [we had an album]!  I don’t feel like I want to rush to get it finished or anything like that, I just want to get my hands on it!

# Songhwa, you used to play in a band called Midnight Smoking Drive … what are the differences between that band and DIEALRIGHT?

Songhwa: The biggest difference of course is that we have different members in the band. It was really fun being in that band too. I really enjoyed it, so I wanted to keep it going but … firstly, a band is made up of a bunch of particular people. In my opinion, in order for music to come out naturally, everyone needs to have somewhat of a similar vision. Speaking of which, one of the reasons I like everyone in this band so much is that despite us all having very different personalities, musically we’re all very similar. How can I put it … I think that we are a team all pulling in the same direction. That is the biggest difference between the bands I think. This band has a much better harmony with one another.

# Is that because you have grown together as a band, or was it like that from the start?

Songhwa: Sure, we’ve grown together as a band … Once someone told me that they could not ever be in a band with me because ‘I am too fucking depressing’. In actual fact, I am not really like that … I guess everyone comes across differently to different people in terms of vibe or emotion.

# You call your music psychedelic grunge, I think that it fits into a similar genre as some of the other bands you have been in (JuckJuck Grunge, Midnight Smoking Drive). What is it that keeps bringing you back to this kind of music?

Songhwa: I don’t think there is any one exact reason, I think it’s because it’s just the kind of music I want to make. To me, the music feels really different to the stuff I used to make in my previous band. It feels much more natural than before. In the past, I made music to express some kind of predetermined ideas, whereas now we just let songs go in the direction they want to go. It doesn’t feel like this band sits on the same line as any of the others we’ve been in. The genre of music we play is a little vague I guess, but a close friend of ours told us to label it ‘psychedelic grunge’ and I thought ‘yeah, that sounds alright’.

Soojung: I also played in several other bands, but I don’t think any of them sounded similar to us really. If you are thinking in terms of bands that have a sounds that is close to ours I think Juck Juck is probably the closest, but I think the big difference between the two is that Diealright is a little more raw. Also … my playing style has changed a lot since then.

# Where do you take your inspiration from when you are writing songs?

Songhwa: I sometimes think of stuff while I’m watching movies or when I’m walking down the street. I especially come up with a lot of ideas while I am working at the company! If I ever sit down with the specific aim of trying to come up with something, I never get any ideas at all. I guess everyone is like that really. There is the odd time where I decide I’m going to try and sit down to make something and it works out, but those times are few and far between. As far as lyrics are concerned, sometimes I have concrete ideas about what I want to write about, other times I just write down any old words. They don’t mean anything really, but sometimes I can link them together and make a song out of them. I tend to try lots of different things like this to help write lyrics.

# All of you have day jobs at companies. If you were to become successful to a certain level in the future would you all be willing quit your jobs to concentrate on music?

Seungil: For sure I would quit.

Soojung: Actually, the reason we’re all working at companies is so we can keep playing music. The day jobs feel more like second jobs to us.

Songhwa: I worked as a full time musician and did nothing else for over a year. I’ve done that a few times [Laughs]. Every time I do it, I end up being a broke bum. It doesn’t matter if you’re a full time musician or not, what matters is how you do it and how much effort you put into it. I think that a lot these days.

# The music video for the song Satellite has quite a high shock value. Can you explain the concept behind the video?

Songhwa: The concept is just what you see in the video. The director of the video, Uhm-Cherry worked really hard to express what we wanted from the song. Satellites are always going around and around the world. Around and around, until they die. If you look at it in a certain way the song could be about a stalker as well, always following you around and around. That’s what we wanted to show in the music video. As soon as I met her [the dancer in the video] I knew exactly what kind of video I wanted to make. She always makes her own costumes, in the video she has two heads at one point. It is pretty abnormal. Everything is fucked up in the end.

# These days there are lots of gender issues in Korea. Two members of Diealright are female and both of you are very strong characters. Being two females in the music world, have you experienced any prejudice against you?

Songhwa: I’m not sure really. A long time ago I was in an all girl punk band. All the vocals for the songs were done in a kind of growling style. I was really young, at that time there was definitely a lot of prejudice against females. People were like ‘What kind of girl growls like that? Wearing a short skirt and all’ It was like that back then, but since doing Midnight Smoking Drive and DIEALRIGHT I’ve not heard so much of that shit. Of course, people might just be saying it behind my back. But I don’t really worry about it, nor do I want to. I don’t think there’s much of that around any more.

# There are still not that many female drummers in the Korean scene. Soojung, you are well known to be a really powerful drummer. What kind of drummer do you consider yourself to be?

Soojung: I don’t think I always play hard. Once the climax of the song has passed I reign the feel of the drums back in. Ages back I played for some other band where it was a necessity for me to play hard all the time. Now though, rather than just playing hard for the sake of it, I try to play the right kind of groove needed for each part of the song. I don’t play anything overly complicated, I just try to play what the part needs.

Songhwa: I would like it if people didn’t refer to Soojung as a female drummer, it would be better if they just called her a drummer. I wish they wouldn’t say things like ‘you play better than a guy’ or ‘you have more strength than a guy’. She is one drummer among drummers.

Soojung: Yes. I’m really tired of hearing stuff like ‘You play hard for a girl’. I hear that kind of shit all the time. I’ve been playing in the scene for ages now, but I still get told stuff like that. ‘You hit the drums hard for a girl.’

# What are each of your favorite tracks from the new album?

Songhwa: One of the songs I’m looking forward to the most is a song called ‘When We.’ I think it feels a little different to all the other songs we’ve made up to this point. We were trying to make it have a different feel and a different style, to make it stand out. Perhaps you could call it explosive?

Seungil: ‘Garden’. It’s a song that we recently released as a single. Some time has gone by since we released it and we’ve recently re-recorded it. Compared to the old version, this new one has turned out exactly how I wanted, sonically. I’m really satisfied with it.  

Soojung: For me, the song called Heaven, which appeared on our last EP as well. The new version is really different from the EP version, I think it’ll be fun for people to compare the two. At first we got a bit lost with the remake, but now it’s all done I’m really happy with the follow of the song and how it turned out. It is one of my favorite songs now.

# Who is the most stubborn member of the band?

Songhwa: I think we’re all pretty stubborn really.

Seungil: Not me!

Songhwa: Don’t talk bullshit. I think that we all tend to be a little stubborn. The real question is who suppresses their stubbornness the most, or indeed who doesn’t suppress it. We can all see with our own eyes that we’re all stubborn.

# OK, so who suppresses it the best?

Seungil: Me!

Songhwa: What?

Soojung: No way. You always do just whatever the fuck you want.

Seungil: Yeh, I do always do what I want! I just wanted to say me!

# Out of those shows you have seen recently, which has been the best? In your opinion what makes a great live show?

Soojung: That would be The Dizzy Brains’ show. It was really fucking cool. Originally my favorite band was Toe. They came over to play in Korea this year and I was stoked to go and see them … but since Zandari, I have found a new favorite drummer. I don’t know how he plays the drums so well. The whole band has a really great energy. I think all the members of the band have really different personalities, but when they get up on that stage they have a kind of aura about them, I really admired that. Of all the shows I’ve seen recently, The Dizzy Brains shows have to be the best. In the description of the band it mentioned certain traits that I thought were a little similar to my own. So I was curious about them, and they did not disappoint when I saw them.  

Songhwa: I am going to answer the other part of the question. I think that every concert should have a clear concept to it. Each show should have a well defined ‘colour’ to it. It should never just look like you’re practicing or going through the motions. Bands should always strive to make each concert a proper show. That’s the most important thing I think. People spend their own hard earned money to come to a show and have a good time. Bands should be aware of the people who are paying to see them. Humans are animals that rely heavily on eyesight, so I think it’s important to put on a good show visually as well.

Seungil: I think the flow of the live show is really important. If the band is not fun, people are likely to just turn around and walk out, I do that too. I think the band need to make sure they have the flow of the concert right to keep people's interest in what is happening on the stage. The more I play shows, the more I think about that. I always try my best to do that.

# We heard that one of your aims is to play a show abroad. Do you have any plans in the works?

Songhwa: At the moment we keep looking at festivals abroad and applying to play at them. Originally we were saving money to go to America next year, but what with the album taking longer than expected, everything is getting put back a bit. Nothing is set in stone, but I hope that we can get to America sometime next year, if the chance arises.

# In your next life, if you were to come back as an animal, which animal would it be and why?

Soojung: I have often thought that I would like to have been born as a whale. Something like a humpback whale. There is a video that I watch almost every day, it’s scuba diving thing. The diver got down to a certain depth and suddenly a humpback whale came and turned over to expose its belly and slap it’s fins. It was giving a sign that it was too dangerous for the diver to come any deeper. The narrator said that the whale was always giving divers that sign. It was massive, but at the same time really cute. They are always swimming around the world and it looks like a good life.

Songhwa: A massive eagle. First off, because it can travel all around the world. Also it’s a meat eater and it’s big and cool looking. I think the biggest merit it has is that it can travel all over the world. I don’t want to be a weak animal because other animals would eat me. So I want to be an eagle.

Seungil: For me, a stag. They are really cool aren’t they. What’s the one with massive horns, an Elk? However I come back in my next life, I wanna be really good looking, even if I’m an animal.

Soojung: You look like a deer with horns already.

Seungil: Yeah, because I have a really long neck.

# It is almost the end of the year, but what are you plans for the next year after releasing your new album?

Songhwa: Well, firstly … seeing as we have been preparing the album we have not really been playing many shows. We’ve not played for a few months actually, but once the album is out I think we’ll play a whole load of shows. We’ll play a lot around the Hongdae area of course, if the chance arises I’d really love to go and play in America too. We’ve been so busy recently, I have not had time to sit down and make any concrete plans. Once the album is out then we can start setting some stuff in stone.  

Seungil: Seeing as I just always follow what ever Song-hwa wants to do, I’ll be hard at work following her about.

Soojung: Me too, I’ll be hard at work following her.

Seungil: We have a show in the 27th of November to celebrate the release of the album. It is going to be at Club Freebird in Hongdae.

Soojung: We’ve prepared a few special surprises for the show, so come along. You’ll have a good time!

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Interview : Doyeon Lim
English Translation : Patrick Connor & Doyeon Lim
Edited by : Alex Ameter
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Date & Time: November 27th. Sun
Vanue: Club Freebird
Price: Adv, 12,000 won | Door, 15,000 won
Advanced Tickets: Hana Ticket
Lineup: Diealright, Earthbound

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