Posted on November 13, 2015

Interview

>>>>> DoIndie has some concert tickets (Nov 19th) and signed CDs from Lay Bricks to give away. Details on how to win can be found at the bottom of this article! <<<<<

# Our usual opening question … please introduce each other to our readers and let us know one good / bad point about your members. 

Hyejin: This is Kwangmin Seo, the vocalist and guitarist of Lay Bricks. We are a two piece band so there are loads of things for us to do. The best thing about him is that he does most of the work for us. He is the leader of the band and a businessman as well … so he has lots of work to do.

Kwangmin: This is Laybrick’s drummer, she is called Hyejin Yoo. Her best point is that she can play loads of instruments well. She plays both guitar and bass at a high level, and she learns new instruments really fast. Without first practicing she seems to be able to pick up new things really quick just by watching videos on youtube. That’s also the worst thing about her, it sickening to see someone be that good.

Hyejin: Yeh, but I can’t play anything really, really well. Ah, he has one other good point. He runs a studio!

Kwangmin: Money is the best part about me? (haha). We moved into this place a short while ago. What’s my bad point? Are you saying I don’t have one?

Hyejin: If I think of one, I will tell you. I’m too nervous at the moment.

(The result was that no bad points had been given before the interview was over)

# OK. An easy one … can you please explain the name of the band.

Hyejin: Firstly, if you search for us in English, nothing but videos about buildings walls comes up, if you search in Korean … only then do videos of us appear.

Kwangmin: If you search in Korean, a coffee shop in 가로수길 (Sinsa) comes up as well. They are our biggest rivals, not other bands! haha. Lay Bricks was formed in 2011 by 혜진 and I just for a bit of fun, until then I had been playing in loads of other bands that had all broken up. At that time I really liked the word ‘brick’. We liked the name as it reflected how we wanted to band to develop, one brick at a time. However, there is some slang .. ‘To lay a brick’. It means to take a massive dump, so we have to embrace the fact that foreigners might think our name means “To take a shit on the scene”.

Hyejin: Someone really did say this to us once. When we played a show in Itaewon some guy said ‘Lay Bricks have laid a brick’.

Kwangmin: We decided that was pretty cool so that is how we explain it to foreigners. To Koreans we say that it means to do things in a slow, calm and orderly way. Like laying bricks to build a wall.

# Lay Bricks music is usually described as alternative rock. How would you describe your music in your own words?

Hyejin: When people say alternative, you usually think of bands like Creed or someone similar, but our music is nothing like that. So we worried a bit about calling ourselves alternative. Perhaps it is best if you don’t think of us as ‘alternative’ in the music genre sense … but instead think of us as ‘alternative’ in the actual English meaning of the word itself.

Kwangmin: One of the things we thought about the most was what genre defines us. Whenever people asked, ‘What kind of music do you guys play?’ we never knew what to say. So, a while ago we came up with an answer to that question, now we have decided to say ‘take a listen to our music and find out’. We say that because we cannot decide ourselves. Also we think it is just better for the listeners to make up their own minds about these things. I guess our music has roots in an English sound, but we also have a bit of American style as well… however the music never comes out as we first intend it too, we just accept whatever comes out. haha.

# I heard that you guys graduated from the same university. Is there much of a difference between your relationship back then, as school mates and your relationship now, as band members?

Kwangmin: In the past I was Hyejin’s senior at university ... these days I have become the subordinate in our relationship! I’ve been demoted.

Hyejin:  At that time I hardly knew anything about being in a band, so when Kwangmin suggested being in a band together I just went along with whatever he said as he was the leader, now we are on a level playing field in the band. It is like we are work colleagues.

# Did you interact much with each other at university?

Kwangmin: No. There was a big gap between us at university.

Hyejin:  He was a few years above me.

Kwangmin: I was playing in a band and Hyejin came to see us play at one of the university seniors music club shows. Later when she came to audition for the band she had no experience of playing drums in a band, but she was really good. I later came to know that she had played as part of a Nanta (the practice of hitting things to make rhythms) circle at high school, she has a good touch on the drums so I was interested in playing with her. Later when my band broke up I gave her a call. At first, it was not with the aim of making a band, playing shows or anything like that. I just thought she would be a good fit as a drummer for the songs I was making. We released a single in 2012, but we really started playing seriously in the winter of 2013. Since we’ve started playing properly in a band with each other, she has stopped listening to me altogether. haha

# What is the difference between the Lay Bricks of 2012 and the Lay Bricks of today?

Kwangmin: At that time, we would record simply because we had songs written. We made a music video as well. Before the first single was completed, I went (escaped?) to England. The mixing and mastering stuff, Hyejin did by herself here in Korea. The music video was made long distance style by myself in England with a friend of mine who was over in America. I guess the reason Lay Bricks still exist today is because of those two things we made back in 2012. I made a joke to Hyejin at that time, I said “if your skill level has gone up a lot by the time I get back, let’s give the band a serious shot”. When I got back for real, she really had gotten really good. It won’t be long before she goes off and does a solo project!  

Hyejin: Haha. No, it’s nothing like that.

Kwangmin: She might even do a solo performance at our showcase concert!

# When Kwangmin went to stay in England for a year the band had to take a break. What did you do over there during that time?

Kwangmin: Originally I decided to quit making music when I went to England. But my flatmate at that time was a fairly famous DJ. After some time he asked me to play guitar with him at his club shows. At first I declined, but after some drinking at some point I found myself upon stage with him at a show. After that I soon found myself part of a local band playing in and around Eastbourne, we also did some busking and open mic nights in London as well. I later found out that one of the members of that band was a famous model. Anyways, I naturally found myself playing music again. I have some songs I made while I was over in England and when we finish this release I will try to finish them up. The second track on this new release is also a track that I made while I was over in England.  

# So, we understand that Kwangmin takes care of most of the song writing, but can you explain the whole process a little more please.

Hyejin: Kwangmin makes the sketch riffs of a song on the acoustic guitar first. Usually I tell him I hate about 85% of it, but he ignores me most of the time and carries on with those parts as well (haha). We continue to make the song with the remaining 15% but it usually takes a long time. We don’t have a bass player, so we do all that side of things on midi.

Kwangmin: Most bands make their songs in the practice room together, or one person does most of the the songwriting. We don’t work like that. I tend to record myself messing around on the acoustic guitar. We each design the sounds for our separate instruments and make a recording of it. Over that we add some stuff on midi. In the past, I did most of it myself, but these days Hyejin is making lots of the parts as well.

# Do you, Hyejin have any intention to take up more of the lyric writing and composition?

Kwangmin: I’d love it if she did a bit more.

Hyejin: Yeah, but I don’t really have any desire to write ‘my own songs’.

Kwangmin: Hyejin has loads of ideas. Like I said before, that’s one of the annoying things about her haha, I spend a lot of time worrying over the stuff I bring to the practice room and she will just come right out at say ‘that’s rubbish’ and then start doing her own thing. Come to think of it, loads of good stuff comes out that way. Anyways she plays guitar too, so there is always a good chance of her coming up with something good. I wish she would write some songs from scratch, but she doesn’t really have any interest in doing that.

# Hyejin you recently shot a commercial didn’t you.

Hyejin: It was a really cool opportunity for me. They called me the day before filming and asked if I could do it. It was late notice but it seemed like a good opportunity, so I just said, “yeah of course I can do it”.

Kwangmin: Are we being advertising whores?

Hyejin: Nah, we are still ok. haha. I had a lot of fun recording and, the concept was that of a girl playing the drums powerfully. They just asked me to play whatever I wanted for 20 seconds, so I came up with something quickly and we recorded it immediately.

Kwangmin: If you listen carefully, you will hear the drum beats from our second track!

Hyejin: The advert was a feature on home shopping, because of the concept for the advert, it was the first time on my life I had played the drums wearing heels and a skirt. It was a lot of fun.

# You are musicians now, but when you were at school, Kwangmin, I heard you said you hated music class the most. Why was that?

Kwangmin: It was the worst thing in the world. I really liked the dansoo (a bamboo flute), but when I was in the fourth grade our teacher used to hit us with them as punishment. After that, I tended to avoid the dansoo whenever possible. I think I still carry some kind of trauma from those days. haha. I even began to hate music in general. I still don’t know how to read or write music. I hate studying music.

# Hyejin, I heard that you, on the other hand, learned to play a form of music called Nanta (playing percussion on a variety of different things, like pots and pans). It is not all that common to learn that, how did it come about?

Hyejin: As part of my afterschool lessons / club classes I learned the violin, the flute and NANTA, as well as other things. At that time, one of the classes available was the Nanta club class so I gave it a go. My audition for the Nanta class was to perform a dance … haha. I did it with my friends, it was a lot of fun. I wasn’t doing it for the music at that time, just for the fun of hanging out with my friends. I had a vague romantic kind of view about percussion at that time, so I had been thinking about learning one of the percussion type instruments for a while, but I wasn’t sure about how to go about it. I was debating going to an academy or something like that. I don’t follow any religions but at that time I heard you could learn to play the drums at church, so I went along a few times. Later, at university I joined a music club, it was really good fun. That’s how I ended up here today.

# Are there any instruments you want to learn in the future?

Hyejin: Something I can’t play already. There are loads of instruments I don’t even know exist in the world, I’d like to learn all of those!

Kwangmin: Hyejin has a fascination with instruments. Usually when people see an instrument that they are not familiar with they fear it a little and assume they won’t be able to play it, she doesn’t have that fear at all. I guess that is why she can learn new instruments so quickly.  

# Kwangmin, in another interview you said that if someone wanted to get into music that they should learn the piano. Why did you suggest the piano in particular?

Kwangmin: When I was young my parents said they thought it would be good if I learned the piano, but at that time I didn’t like music. I said ‘that is something girls learn to play’ and I never bothered with it. However, after starting to play in bands … it began to feel like the piano players were the kings of music … I have come to envy pianists. When we come to lay down the midi parts to songs on the notebook, even if we play the same parts 혜진 is way better than me because she knows how to play the piano. She is much quicker than me too. There was one time when we had worked on something for a whole day straight, we gave up and asked a pianist friend to help out, that person got it all done in 4 minutes, it made me think that I needed to learn how to play the piano.

# For a relatively young band you have played a lot of shows, I see you also tend to play lots of shows outside of Seoul, why is that?

Kwangmin: Well, firstly we are not thinking about making a monetary profit when we go. Covering the travel costs alone is not easy and it costs us double when it comes to rooms because we are not the same sex, so we like to sleep separately. Anyway, from the start we wanted to play all over the place because the scene in Hongdae is pretty saturated these days. There are loads of people outside of Seoul who wanna listen to music too. Also, the reaction at the shows out in the countryside are really cool. That’s the biggest reason I guess!  

Hyejin: I think the people who live outside of Seoul really come to the shows ready to have a good time. Probably because they don’t get to see all that many.

Kwangmin: In Seoul, there are so many shows that even if you can’t make it to a show you just think ‘oh well, I will see them next time’. For the shows outside of Seoul, then you might only get one chance to see that band ever.

# Are there any shows that stand out among all the ones you have played?

Kwangmin: I think we have probably played like 170-180 shows in the last year or so, but I can remember almost all of them. One of the shows I remember best was in Jeonju, we were playing at a place called Radio Garden. We had two shows that day and we sold all of our merch at the first one and we were a bit worried that we didn't have anything left to sell at the second show. But we need not have worried as all the people that attended the second show were the very same people who had come to the first show.

Hyejin: It was about 20 minutes by car to the second venue, but they all came wearing our t-shirts.

Kwangmin: I remember that day well. That was the time when we decided we should regularly play shows outside of Seoul.

# Kwangmin you are often seen to be wearing sunglasses both on and off stage, what do they mean to you?

Kwangmin: I originally decided that I would stop wearing them after our CD release party. Because my eyes are covered people can’t tell how excited I am while I am doing the concert. Wearing them has given me the unexpected side effect of not looking particularly excited by performing, also some fans have said to me that there is a big gap between the two images I portray. On the one hand I look like a bad guy because of the sunglasses and on the other I sound like a preschool teacher when I speak. So I decided to stop wearing the sunglasses, but everyone around me is trying to put me off. Hyejin though wants me to stop using them as she things it is better for people to be able to see my expressions.  

Hyejin: He is a the vocalist of the band so I think it is important that paying fans can see his eyes.

Kwangmin: I always make eye contact with people, but no one can tell because of the sunglasses. So .. I’m thinking about not wearing them anymore, but I’m still undecided at the moment. I might just get some new ones.

Hyejin: Come to the show on the 19th and see if he has them on or not!

# You are good friends with the band Sons Of Tiger and often play collaboration shows with them where you are known as ‘Tigerbricks’ or ‘Laytigers’. How did that concept first come about and what is different when you play as that ‘superband’?

Kwangmin: We have always been really close friend. We first met Sons Of Tiger at a show in Club Spot. We were rubbish at that time, but they were even worse than us! But they were really cool anyways. Especially the drummer 성현, he caught my eye and captivated me. They came to play a show at a club in Itaewon where I was a manager as well. We are bands that started out at the same time and so when we curated a concert series called <Who We Are> we invited them to that as well. We have all become close, not just as bands but as people too. After drinking together one day we said, ‘let’s play a show together as one band’. We gave it a try at live club day and the reaction from the fans was really good. We were really surprised.

Hyejin: Because there are still only 5 of us when you combine the two bands … it works pretty well.

Kwangmin: Right, even when the two bands combined, we are pretty much the same as one normal band in terms of numbers.

Hyejin: When lots of people get together to do something you have more people to rely on and the amount of work each person has to do gets less so it is fun. Also, when we play we don’t have a bass player so it is fun to play with real bass on stage as well. Everything about it is fun really, right from the rehearsals … so the results we produce together are fun too.

Kwangmin: Neither band is too worried about being ‘perfect’, more than that we just want to make it all fun … so I think we suit each other and work together well. We are separate bands but when we get together we don’t fight at all or anything like that.

# Do you have any plans to try and tour abroad? or .. is there any particular show you would like to play?

Kwangmin: Shall we copy the things my favorite band Love X Stereo always say? Our aim has always been to play beyond Korea! haha. Because I have been over in England I always said ‘Let’s go and play elsewhere’. We are thinking about trying to play in England and Russia next February. Nothing is set in stone yet, but we are hoping to get something in place. A festival in England invited us once but it didn’t work out for us in the end, which was a real shame. When we were a three piece band we had a tour all arranged, but the other member suddenly said they couldn’t make it so we had to call that off as well. Sadly, we have already failed twice but this time we really hope to make it happen. We are looking into a festival over in Singapore, it is a bit like Zandari Festa.

# We saw you this year at Zandari handing out sticker flyers to promote your showcase at the festival. It was really cool to see a band working so hard to promote themselves. How important is promoting yourselves as a band?

Hyejin: I think promotion of your band is just as important as making the music. We don’t have a label to help us promote, so there is loads of work for the both of us to do. We don’t wanna look like we are amateurs. My major is design related so I do all the artwork etc myself. I am the Lay Bricks designer so Kwangmin tells me what his ideas and I go off and make them.

Kwangmin: It is like we are a management agency or something. I order her about and she makes it just like I asked. The process is really fast as well. All the posters, stickers etc that we have made up until now Hyejin has designed. I was chatting with a friend once about how to get your band’s name out to people. We decided the band’s image, things like costumes, stage presence, artwork etc was really important. Since that time, whether a band has a label or not it I think it is important for a band to look like they know what they are doing.

Hyejin: I think all bands need to have their own kind of brand.

# If you could meet anyone in the world, dead or alive who would it be and what would you do together?  

Kwangmin: It’s something we talk about a lot. My answer is really boring, but I would like to meet Kurt Cobain.

Hyejin: For me, Michael Jackson. What would we do together? Humm … I guess I would invite him here. This is where we make our music…. ah, I’ve no idea what we would do together. I think it would just be fun to meet him.

Kwangmin: I would like to sit with him and take a picture on the Kurt Cobain seat in Seattle. Also, people are always fighting over whether or not his songs are in a major or minor chord, I would ask him if that is what he intended or not.  I reckon he would probably reply ‘I don’t know, why are you asking me that? Play it how you like’.

Hyejin: I wanna change my answer. I had a dream yesterday about my dead dog. I thought it was real life. I wanna see him again.

# You raised funds for the new EP by using a crowdfunding website, can you tell us a bit about the process and why you decided to use crowdfunding?

Hyejin:  I think it is a good system as we can get some financial support as well as it being a new channel to let people know about the band.

Kwangmin: Honestly, it was because we had no cash (haha). It is really expensive to put out a record.  I didn’t realise how much it would end up costing, it was much more difficult than I expected. Someone recommended crowdfunding to us before but it didn’t work out last time, this time we managed to make it happen. Thanks so much to Tripper Sound’s boss 김은석 who donated a large chunk of money to us, and to everyone else who donated, even if it was just a small amount. We really appreciate it.

# The EP is called <Take A Rest> and the concept is ‘colourful’. Can you introduce the album to us all please.

Kwangmin: When we first started out as a band we spoke about trying to write songs about a wide variety of different subjects. So all the songs were really different. The 5 songs on this EP are all really different as well. Because of that lots of people told us that a word that came to mind when listening to our music was ‘colourful’. We initially intended to call the album that but once we had all the music and cover work done it made it look a bit like our band’s name was ‘colourful. So we made colourful the concept and the title became <Take A Rest> because that was the song that most people wanted as the title track. We didn’t write any thank you notes in the album, but there are so many people we are thankful to. Thanks to all the people that helped the musical spectrum of the album get much wider than it had been when it was just the two of us working on it. When we finished recording we were worried about how it sounded / if we could have done better or not. But everyone told us that no matter what you do there will always be regrets.

# What is your favorite track off the album, and why?

Hyejin: The 4th track ‘Make You Silly’ is the song that I, and only I would like to be the title track. I have an attachment to that song. It took us ages to make it and now when I listen to it I can remember the whole process really well.

Kwangmin: For me, the second track, Moon. It is a really long song. It was a song idea that I bought back with me from England, we were making it from the end of last year to the start of this year, which was a really difficult time for me so the song ended up getting really long. The lyrics are in Korean, but they have changed a lot over time. There are lots of people who like this song, so I have an attachment to it. It is a really good song live, but I think it will turn out really well on the recording as well. Right from its conception to playing it out live it has always been a song that I can get fully immersed in. The song might be really long, but it was the one we finished recording the quickest.

# You have your CD release showcase coming up, have you got anything special plans? What would you tell your fans ahead of the show?

Kwangmin: We are going to play our songs in a different style than usual.  

Hyejin:  We are? …. he always lets me know important things like this.

Kwangmin: You didn’t know? haha. There are some songs we are gonna change up. Some of our originals and …usually we don’t do covers but we are debating do some covers this time round as well. Songs that everyone will know. DTSQ and Theater8 are gonna help us out as guests at the show. Maybe we will have an event where Hyejin dances or something? There will be something like that.

Hyejin: ?! Wow, it’s gonna be colorful.

Kwangmin: It is set in stone. haha When we play shows, lots of other band members come to watch. So our show should be fun if you wanna come and check out other bands as well.

# Lastly, what are you plans for Lay Bricks in the future?

Hyejin: We will just carry on as we have been up till now I guess.

Kwangmin: I wanted to reduce the number of shows we are playing, but for now other than our CD release party in November we have no concrete plans. We are aiming to sell as many copies of the album as possible. Hyejin has designed loads of merch for the band as well, towels, t-shirts, badges, stickers etc. Hopefully lots of people buy them. We are currently thinking about making some other kind of merch as well. Anyway, our first aim is to sell out the CD.

Hyejin: Our aim is to exhaust all supplies of our merchandise.

Kwangmin: And the CD!! haha.

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Buy 'Take a Rest’ (Digital) :

Monkey3Music | Naver Music | Olleh Music | Bugs | Genie | M-Net | Melon

Buy 'Take a Rest’ (Physical) :

Yes 24 | Aladin | Kyobo Bookstore (Online)

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Interview : A-Lim Lee, Yoonju Lee
English Translation : Patrick Connor
Edited by : Alex Ameter
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To be in with a chance of winnings signed CDs or tickets to Lay Bricks' showcase concert (November, 19th), simply follow the steps below :

>> Facebook :

[1] Share the link for this article on your personal facebook wall (please share straight from our facebook page, and make sure post settings are set to 'public' so we can check it has been shared) : Click Here
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[1] Follow us on twitter : https://twitter.com/DoIndieKorea (@doindiekorea)
[2] Retweet the post related to this article. (Click Here)
[3] Tweet your comments on the band, the new single, the gig or our interview. Using the hash tags #doindie & #LayBricks (Don't forget to tag us in the tweet too)

* We will notify winners on Nov 18th via our twitter page.

Date : Nov 19th (Thur) 19:50
Venue : Club FF
Adv : 12,000won
Door : 15,000won

http://www.doindie.co.kr/en/events/laybricks-1st-ep-release-show

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For more information on the band, check them out at the following sites :

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/laybricks
Twitter : https://twitter.com/bandlaybricks
DoIndie : http://www.doindie.co.kr/en/bands/laybricks

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