Posted on December 13, 2016
Gyo-Won Lee: This is Biuret’s vocalist Hye-Won Moon. She has a strong independent mind, and is like the true ruler of the band. She always pretends she’s listening to my opinion, but in reality she isn’t taking any notice of me at all. She’s a strong woman.
Hye-Won Moon: Our roles in the band are set in stone. I’m the ruling party and Jai would be the opposition party. Gyo-Won is probably the third party. As for Jai, she is ...
Jai An: Hye-Won’s right and left hands.
Hye-Won: Jai has been the best friend I’ve ever had in my life. She’s one of those hard to find best buddies. In Asia we say that our souls are connected by an invisible red thread. She’s my best friend and musical colleague. Right, Jai you need to introduce Gyo-Won.
Hye-Won: Ok, I’ll do it. Gyo-Won is a really annoying existence in my life. He’s a blood sucker.
Gyo-Won: Blood sucker? What am I? Some kind of vampire?
Hye-Won: Haha. I’m just kidding. Gyo-Won is one of those people you really need in the world. He lives in a different dimension than the rest of us and he’s the weirdest person I’ve ever met in my life. No one is as weird as him. I mean it in a positive way though; we really need people like him to exist. The world needs more diversity. We need more of his species. I want to talk about Jin-Yong. I think it’s possible to sum him up in one sentence. He is really, really sincere. His nickname is worker ant, because he never rests. If you look at his calendar you’ll be surprised, as there’s so much written that it’s pretty much a filled in page of black ink. I think he probably has his days planned out to the second. He’s always rushing back and forth between here and there, always busy. And he plays the drums all day as well. Whenever he does get a minute to rest he immediately falls asleep and snores his face off. He’s that kind of guy. I think, among the four of us he is easily the busiest and most hard working.
Gyo-Won: And … he has no substance to him!
All: Everyone: hahahahaha
Hye-Won: Our roles in the band are clearly defined. Jin-Yong is our second manager and our driver as well. Jai speaks English really well, like a native speaker, so whenever we write lyrics in English she helps out with that. Also, if we get emails from abroad she always translates them to the rest of us and replies to them. At festivals like Zandari Festa where we need to talk to lots of people who have come from abroad, she does all the translation and helps us do business with them.
Jai: She is also in charge of nitpicking in the band.
Hye-Won: Gyo-Won and I have extremely different personalities. Jai is the middleman between the two of us. There are times where she supports one of us, and times where she will support the other’s opinion.
Gyo-Won: No, no. I just do the bands chores.
Hye-Won: Gyo-Won is an engineer, and so he’s in charge of the band’s sound. He’s a pivotal bone in the bands skeleton. I like organising shows and sharing my ideas, so that is what I mainly do for the band.
Hye-Won: When I started out in music, almost nobody was doing solo projects. I wanted to do solo stuff, but in the end I decided it was best to just get a band together like everyone else. So in 2002, when I was studying applied music at the Seoul Institute of the Arts university I formed a band consisting of three girls and a guy from other students from my course. At first, the plan was to play in the local clubs once each week, but we ended up playing way more than we ever expected too, and it ended up being much harder work than we thought it was going to be. It was especially hard for the bass player, who was doing public service work as part of his military service requirements, to combine the band and work.
None of the other members really had plans to throw themselves into music full time, so in the end the band inevitably split up and I went in search of new members. I met Jai after posting an advert on mule.co.kr. She came to the audition wearing a tank top with a fishnet vest over the top and bright pink tracksuit pants. There was something really charming about her wearing that and carrying a big old bass guitar. In my mind I was hoping she would be a good bass player, and thankfully she was, so she ended up becoming a member of the band. I was introduced to Jin-yong by a friend. At that time he was a 19 year old student who was taking drum lessons off a friend of mine. Gyo-Won quit school at 18 and had moved to Hongdae to make a career in music, so it was pretty tough for him. He was a member of Peter Pan Complex, but he left that band and joined mine. That is how we met.
Gyo-Won: That day we played all our songs like we were a death metal band or something, the show was a massive failure.
Hye-Won: Of all the days, that was the day I got probably the biggest cold I have ever had. I had pretty much completely lost my voice. I couldn’t do anything except cough and splutter. I was taking medicine right up until we got on the stage, but it was a fucking shit show. To make matters worse, two days before when we played a little club show my voice was so perfect you would not have believed it.
Gyo-Won: We had taken along a load of copies of our single to sell that day, but we didn’t sell a single one. So now we hate Oasis. haha. The show was an absolute mess and loads of other things went wrong as well. We didn’t sell any CDs and thanks to messing up the show, we also missed out on the opportunity to sign onto a label that had shown an interest in us. We were really happy when the whole thing was over and done with.
Jai: That was the first and last time you voice has ever been in such a bad state.
Hye-Won: Firstly, we didn’t really know what the competition was when we entered it. At that time we were not taking it seriously, we were just treating it as an opportunity to go and play in another country, but once we got there we soon realised how big a deal it was. It was a really big competition. We practiced like crazy in our hotel room and finally got up on stage and got a bigger reaction from the audience than we had ever seen at home back in Korea. That moment was felt like a dream for us. You’ll be able to see it if you look at our video from that day, but everyone was concentrating way more than any other show we played and everyone left all their energy on the stage.
Gyo-Won: We were promised $600,000 for winning that competition.
Hye-Won: When we finished so many people came over to us to tell us how well we had done, but it didn’t feel like they were saying it just to be kind, it seemed sincere. Anyway, that day felt like we were in a movie or something.
Gyo-Won: In the article, just write that they were all just paying lip service.
Hye-Won: It wasn’t lip-service then. At that time, even we were surprised with ourselves when we saw the video. We were like, ‘Are we really that fucking cool?’. If we just take the show itself it was a really cool and unforgettable experience for us. However, after that that company that set up the competition started falter... the person who ran the competition was the female owner of an Australian record label. At some point she went to a music conference and came across a Japanese music booth, no one seemed to be taking any interest in it at all, despite the music being really good. She thought it was a shame that no one was taking interest in such good music, so as a result she said she got a sudden desire to help people discover Asian music. That’s when she decided to set up the Asian band competition. The show was massive and really cool, but it was the very first year of the event so there were lots of teething problems during the contest. Anyways … there were lots of promises on the table for the winner of the contest … I think we waited for around a year for any of them to materialize. The people on their end kept telling us they would be in touch next month, but each month they would put it on hold till the next month… waiting for them meant that it was hard for us to find jobs back here in Korea as well, as we were always waiting for the call. So, for around a year and a half we were not really working at all and we were just waiting for them to call… all this waiting resulted in the band naturally taking a break and slowly we came to the realisation that ‘ah, all these promises from the contest are going to come to nothing’, as a result all the members felt really down and the band stagnated somewhat. We all fell into low spirits. After that we slowly became less and less active, I think that the broken promises from the contest was one of the reasons.
Gyo-Won: To sum it all up, we never received any of the prizes we were promised and we spent ages waiting for our album to be released abroad. While waiting for that we missed the opportunity to release another album here in Korea. To top it all off, our label in Korea was due a share of the prize money as well, when that did not materialize we got dropped from our label and the band ended up on a long hiatus from music. It’s a sad story indeed.
Hye-Won: There were lots of complications; it was a bumpy ride. You guys ask us lots of sad questions! Haha
Gyo-Won: In Korea when you win a big prize like this everyone expects you to buy them dinner or something, though we never got the money. Even with that, It’s still hard to constantly explain to everyone that we never received the cash. We were really excited about the opportunities as well, so much so we all started studying English. Anyway, it didn’t work out. I guess we started our break from music in 2011, right?
Jai: Anyway, that’s what happened. In fact, during the band’s 14 years there have been lows, and highs as well.
Gyo-Won: No highs really …
Jai: What are you talking about. Last time we played a show I was super happy about it all. Just before the show there were not many people in there. There were no people and it wasn't looking like it was going to be much fun. Also, I had come right from work so I was not really feeling it, but right as the show was about to start so many people came into the venue. It felt really good to see that happen. I reminded me, 'Ah, this is why we are in a band, this is our reward’. Actually, that’s why we are still doing it all. It’s not like we are ever going to be earning big money from it all.
Jai: Some of the band were against it.
Gyo-Won: No, No. I wasn’t against it … I was just being realistic and thinking about the harsh realities of doing it. However, it was surprisingly easy to put together the songs for the album, we did it really quickly.
Hye-Won: It had been ages since we had recorded an album, so it was a lot of fun. Honestly, it seems like the trend these days is to not bother with full length albums as lots of bands just make EPs. However, we’d taken a massive break from music, so we decided it was important to make a full length album. I think we probably worked much harder on this album than we had on other albums in the past. Before, when we were signed to a label, they managed the production of our music. This time round we did everything, and we hard to worry about everything from the album art to the music. When we were younger and working with the label, everything was fairly easy and happened very fast. We also had a lot of help with the marketing. This time we didn’t get any of that help, so it feels a little more precious to us. Because we were involved in so much of the album we feel really attached to it.
Hye-Won: It’s not something I was purposely focusing on. I think that music, and likewise the lyrics to the songs, reflect a story from the period in which they were written. There are some people that might miss the kind of songs that we used to write but, those were songs that we could only have made back then when we were in our early twenties, even if we were to try to mimic those songs again, I don’t think we could pull it off. I think the new songs are just about topics that I’m interested in these days. I took some kind of psychology test recently and the result backed up the reality that I’m the kind of person who’s really interested in the world of spirits. I’m getting older and am now married now. Because of that, and lots of other reasons as well I guess, compared with before life is much more comfortable for me. In the past I focused on myself a lot, but now my outlook on life has gotten broader and I think about more diverse things in a deeper manner. It’s said that humans are hardwired to always head towards happiness, so if you think about how to be happy I think it’s impossible not to be thinking about that in a kind of spiritual way. I think that in our generation, all of humanity, including me, are heading towards a new dimension. I’m interested in helping people heal their wounded souls. I’ve started to think a lot more about people's fates and how we can all live more naturally and happily, I guess those thoughts have begun to naturally make their way into my lyrics as well.
Hye-Won: There are definitely influences passed from one to the other. As far as advantages go, I think that doing both has really helped me form relationships and do collaborations with other people. Before, I socialised in quite a narrow social circle of friends, so I was perhaps not so good at adapting to certain situations. Now I’ve learned a lot about collaborating with a huge number of people in these musicals. Also, on the stage I think it’s really helped me with my expressiveness as well. Disadvantages …. Let’s see. Actually, I can’t think of any disadvantages for me. Lots of people tell me that my singing method has changed with being a musical actress, but I don’t really think so. The singing voice I was born with was pretty ordinary, and I was never really satisfied with it, so I was always trying to alter it. Also, seeing as I really like rock music, I always had a desire to make my voice sound rougher and more harsh. That made me overwork my vocal cords somewhat. So I came down with vocal cord nodules and it was a hard time for me. After doing some work in musicals I came to learn about some vocalization methods that had previously been unknown to me. I want to be able to keep singing for a long time and if I had carried on singing the way I was before, I don’t think I could have maintained my voice for much longer. Lot’s of people have told me that it might be a disadvantage to be doing both styles, but personally I think that it has been good for me. I think that it has enabled me to be able to sing much further into the future, and I’ve learned a lot too.
Hye-Won: I dunno if I should say this but… It’s not something I want to do again. Firstly, it was pretty ridiculous because we were not actually playing live, just pretending to play.
Gyo-Won: But the vocals were live.
Hye-Won: Right, but it didn’t feel right to me… it wasn’t much fun either, you can’t compare it to playing live. Also the programs we were appearing on did not really suit the kind of music we were playing. It would be better to have some kind of pop stars on there that people can dance along to. It feels a bit empty when bands appear on those shows; these are not the kind of programs that can show a band’s charm very well. A band is not just about a good vocalist. Showing off a bands synergy and the band’s sound on the stage is really important … but when you see a guitarist pretending to play on stage without even a cable plugged into an amp, it is hard to think anything positive about that. Honestly, I don’t think those TV programs are fun at all. EBS’s Space GongGam program is really good though. Yoon Do Hyun’s Love Letter is good too, however honestly speaking programs like ‘Challenge 1000 Songs’ are rubbish.
Hye-Won: At first, we were a little worried. The world is changing fast, as is the music scene… To me it feels as if the band has not been around all that long really, and I don’t feel like I am all that old either. But everyone else in the scene was treating us like old timers.
Gyo-Won: It made us feel as if we were Yoon Bok Hee (a Korean singer from the 60s) or something.
Hye-Won: At first I thought we might not be able to adapt to the scene, but now I see what our position is and what we need to do as a band that has been around for 14 years or so. So it is fun for us to be part of it all at the moment.
Hye-Won: There is one secret. All four of us are really different and we have lots of conflicts of opinion. Like water and oil, we do not mix all that well. I guess, under usual circumstances we would not really be a good match for each other, but we all recognise each other’s differences and when someone needs to be left alone, we leave them alone. When one of us want’s to try something, we follow their lead. At first, we were not very good at that kind of thing but over time we have learned when to give each other space. If we insist on something to a certain extent but it doesn’t look like it is working out, then we all know to take a step back and let someone else take the lead. Also, we know to let people be themselves. I guess it is a bit like being married. But we never think about getting divorced. Even when we fight a lot, we never consider getting a divorce.
Jai: Right. We haven't broken up basically because it’s too hard to meet new people and start a new project. Seriously, when we occasionally do something with session musicians, it never really works out well. With the four of us, we can understand what each of us are thinking with just one glance, but with new people it doesn't work like that. We’ve built up a certain understanding with each other over 10 years, it takes a lot of time to do that with someone new.
Gyo-Won: For me, the song called ‘Rock N Roll’. The reason ...
Hye-Won: Because you bloody wrote it!
Gyo-Won: That’s the biggest reason, for sure. Haha. But a more apt reason for liking it is because I think we look like a rock band in the truest sense of the word when we are playing it. In our generation we would listen to Metallica and be like, ‘Wow, there are songs as long as this?’ or, ‘Wow, their songs are super angry!’. I always wanted to make songs like that, and I think that this song has that strong energy to it.
Jai: If I have to pick one song, I would like to choose our title track ‘The End Of The World’. People usually say to pick the most accessible / sing along-able track to be the title track. I understand why they say that, but we don’t really want to do it like that these days. I don’t think it makes much of a difference what the title track is anyway. So we just pick the track we thinks suits the album best.
Hye-Won: I have loads of songs that I’m really attached too... But if I have to pick just one, I would choose the song called ‘The White Night’. We made this song on the acoustic guitar, so it’s a really simple song. The lyrics, the melody and the chords were all made in one go, the whole thing probably took about 5 minutes. The feelings I had that night just kind of flowed out through my hands; that feeling I had in that moment still lives on through the song. Originally I wanted it to be just the acoustic guitar and a cello, but it needed to go on the album, so we changed it to have a full band sound. However, in the future if we get the chance I want to try to release it as it’s original version as well.
Gyo-Won: If you want to become a musician, you might just succeed and end up being as cool as us ;) haha
Jai: Sorry about that. Hye-Won, you say something. haha
Hye-Won: To the DOINDIE readers? Well, first off it is really great that this website exists. Compared to when we started out as a band, there are lots more sites that introduce bands, and the quality and diversity of these sites is way higher than it used to be too. It’s good. Keep on supporting DOINDIE, then perhaps we will be able to do a 20-year or 25-year anniversary interview with them as well! Hahaha. Make sure to keep showing them a lot of love so they can continue to flourish. And don’t forget to give Biuret a lot of love as well!
Interview : Il Hwa Choi, Song Hee M. Roh
English Translation : Patrick Connor & Doyeon Lim
Edited by : Alex Ameter
Date & Time: December 18th. Sun
Vanue: West Bridge
Price: Adv, 44,000 won | Door, 50,000 won
Advanced Tickets: Interpark
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