Posted on September 13, 2017

Interview

# Please introduce one another to our readers.

Young Ki: This is our bass player Kim Kyoung Bin; he joined Nametag to kindly help us out when we were in a bit of trouble and found ourselves without a bass player. When we first met we had a kind of client / customer relationship, but now we are much more than that…Right? Anyway, we have a great relationship now and he is helping us out. Sadly, however, in about two months he will probably have to leave us to do his military service. It seems to be pretty difficult for Nametag to find and keep hold of a decent bassist. That is because, of course we want someone who is really talented, but we also want someone who has a lot of energy when playing live and someone who has an appearance that fits with the rest of the band. Kyoung Bin is perfect; he fits all of those three requirements.

Kyoung Bin: The first time I met Taek Heon was when Young Ki invited me to see Nametag play, back when they had their original bass player. However, I never got to speak with him that day. It was not until a year or two later that Young Ki asked if there was any chance I could help out with Nametag, so the first time we ever met was when we practiced together that first day. I was a little worried before I met him because there is a bit of an age gap between us, but thankfully he isn’t one of those people that looks down on others because of their age. He just treated me like a close friend from the get go. I don’t think it ever works out well to play music with someone if you are not 100% comfortable around each other, but it has always felt comfortable to be around him. Now we are around each other a lot practicing and playing shows together, I get a lot of energy from him.

Taek Heon: Young Ki the drummer is an artist. He is a crazy artist, much like Van Gogh. If he wasn’t a musician, I don’t know if there would be anything for him to do in the world. He is amazingly talented and super sensitive, so I think he HAS to be involved in some kind of art form. Ages ago, when we first met, he was kind of plump and cute, but as time has gone by I think that both his appearance and personality have deteriorated. I don’t know what happened to him; something horrendous by the looks of it! I am not sure exactly what it was that changed him; he has not even done his military service yet and he hasn’t had any kind of really testing experiences or anything. He just seems to be developing into a shitty person. His job in the band is to push us. The best thing about him is that he is one of those people that does things. I need a kind of get-up-and-go person like him, because I have a slightly more laid back relaxed attitude. If I were to tell you about his weak point … it would be that he has a tendency to get himself into lots of trouble! Anyway we are still here as a band, so he hasn’t done anything too bad just yet! More than anything though, he is just a great musician.

# How did you come up with your band name?

Taek Heon: We were formally called the Nam Taek Heon Band when we started out together. I really hated that name with a passion. I don’t know why anyone uses their real name as their band name.

Young Ki: Because of that name, I think there was a rumor going around that we were some kind of office project band.

Taek Heon: I thought it was really strange to have my name as the band name; it was embarrassing… but the rest of them wanted to keep it. In the end that band broke up.

Young Ki: Right, then one day three of them didn’t turn up for a show. We were a five-piece band at that point but just one hour before the show, the keyboardist, guitarist and bassist suddenly said they couldn’t come… since we had already promised to play the show, it seemed wrong to cancel, so Taek Heon and I just played as a two-piece … I think that is when Nametag was born.

Taek Heon: Actually, I had a hunch that day would be the start of something new for us, and it turns out I was right. Anyway, that band broke up, and seeing as I am someone who likes to avoid social contact, I ended up spending lots of time at home. Every day was pretty much the same: I would go to work, then come home. It was pretty dull, so I ended up making another band. The plan was more like trying to make music for a solo project rather than trying to make a full band. I knew one thing though, that I didn’t want to be called Nam Taek Heon again; I really hated that name. I was trying hard to find a better one, but it was taking ages. I read a load of books about branding, marketing and business to try to help me make a name. I was trying to find a name that was as short and simple as possible. The word Nametag fit all those requirements, as well as being kind of similar in sound to my name. That’s how I came up with the name .. then Young Ki suggested that we start playing music together again and here we are. There is one bad thing about the name, though; it is such a common word that it can be difficult to find us online!

Young Ki: It's my wish for our name to appear above the K-pop group Exo in the Naver search results. At the moment, if you search for us on Naver you get Exo because they made nametags as some of their merch...anyway, I have given up using Naver. I’m not going to look anymore.

# Kyoung Bin, you only recently joined the band as the bass player. Was it hard to adapt / fit in at first?

Kyoung Bin: I have known Young Ki since I was about twenty years old, so it has not been too hard to adapt to the band at all. I know what kind of music he likes and what kind of style he plays. When I was his ‘owner’ (when I employed him to help me out with my music project) we used to drive around in his car listening to music together. He would recommend songs to me and we would share stories together. Also, sometimes, when we were preparing for a test we would jam to a Nametag song or two for fun as well! I think that history between us made it much easier when I started playing with the band. It’s my first time ever to play in a band like this, but there has been nothing difficult about it. I always look forward to playing with them; it’s always good fun.

Taek Heon: That’s just because you haven’t been playing with us for long yet! You will hate it soon!

Kyoung Bin: We plan to have a massive fight in the near future!

# You recently shot a couple of music videos with us here at DOINDIE to go with your upcoming album. Where there any fun episodes during the shoot you could share?

Young Ki: Firstly, it poured with rain when we were shooting the last scene for ‘Burning House’. It was a bit of a nightmare with all the cameras, but it was fun for us to be out there shooting in torrential rain! It all felt like a bit of a dream really. It felt like we were actually doing something as a band. It was very professional--last time we made our own music video with just a single Gopro camera!

Taek Heon: Shooting that video for ‘Let’s Smoke’ was really hard work for me. I did all the videography and editing myself!

Young Ki: When we shot that video, my relationship with the bassist at that time was not so good, so it was kind of hard work to do everything. This time we had a whole team helping us make the video, so everything happened quickly and smoothly. I really liked that. Anyway, it was really fun shooting and packing up all the gear in the bags and running back down the mountain in the pouring rain! During the shoot for the ‘Burning House’ video, the lead actress was doing such a good job of acting (she had to pretend she was moving a heavy suitcase) that people passing by would stop to help her carry the case. We would have to stop shooting and explain to them what was happening! I think I’m always going to remember making these videos!

Taek Heon: Me too, getting soaked in the rain when we shot ‘Burning House’! It was the first time since I was a little kid that I got soaked through like that. I was drenched! It was really good fun. Overall it was very comfortable for me. All I had to do was turn up and do a bit of acting; it was easy, great fun and I was super happy that day. When we were shooting the video for ‘BaniBani’ Young Ki fucked up his neck muscles, so we had to stop shooting and give him a massage. Even when he practices alone he head bangs like a champion.

Kyoung Bin: I had a really good time on the days we were shooting those videos. Ah, but wearing that damn rabbit mask for ‘BaniBani’ was really tiresome! The others purchased this really high quality mask from somewhere and brought it along to the shoot. The sodding thing would move round on my head while I was playing. I would be looking up toward the sky, but the mask would just stay looking straight ahead. All the sweat collected inside the mask as well, it stank! It was really hard to endure, but like the others said already … the whole filming process was really good fun. When we were shooting the video for ‘Burning House’ I realised that there is a reason some actors become famous; they are really amazing people. When I was trying to act, I could sense how awkward it was. It made me think that acting is not as easy as I imagined it would be.

Young Ki: You were really good in that scene where you asked for the girl’s number. It looked really natural. Perhaps because you have had lots of practice at that kind of thing?

Kyoung Bin: Really? I did a good job at that part? Nope, I’ve never tried to get anyone's number like that in the street before.

# You have been preparing this debut album for what seems like ages. What did you put the most emphasis on when recording it?

Young Ki: Energy. We didn’t use a metronome when we did the recording. Also, we recorded like a live session, all together in the same room at the same time. I really wanted to give the album that live feel. That process was really hard work, but we practiced a lot before hand so it all worked out well. Anyway, we concentrated on giving the album a really energetic feel.

# How was the recording process?

Young Ki: We did all the recording over about 7or 8 days up at KT&G’s SangSang Madang in Chuncheon (just outside Seoul). If you record there you can use the hotel next door for free as well. So we stayed up there for a whole week. I would get up each morning and go for a run with Insoo (our producer from the band Crying Nut). Then I would come back, wash up and eat some breakfast. The others would still be asleep, so I would wake them up, go to the studio, record and then sleep. That’s how we spent every day!

Taek Heon: We were living together for the whole week. We did the vocals for all the songs over two days.

Young Ki: Right, so he couldn’t sing the last song.

Taek Heon: On the last day I was in a pretty poor state physically, so I took a load of medicine; too much perhaps! It did something to me to put me in a bit of a drowsy state. I also drank a lot of tea, vitamin drinks and other stuff, and it all combined to make me a bit weird. Young Ki talked me into giving it a go, but that song was a write-off, and on the way home I threw up and have had a kind of headache ever since. The next time we went up there for mixing, as soon as we got there and ate some food I got an upset stomach, threw up again and went kind of pale.

Young Ki: Your body could feel that you were back there again. It was preparing for the worst. The body knows everything.

# What is the thing you are proudest of about the new album?

Taek Heon: For me, the lyrics. They sound a bit different, a bit more unique compared to other stuff. Also I’m proud they are mostly in Korean.

Young Ki: I like its uncomfortableness. These days when I listen to music, it all feels a bit too comfortable. It's all easy listening, isn’t it? The reason we recorded it like we did and purposefully didn’t fix any of the little mistakes in post production was that I wanted to keep that slightly rugged feel to it. Of course, we fixed any big mistakes in important parts of the songs, that would be weird if we didn’t. However, if there was a small bum note or two in there, we didn’t worry about it too much.

# What inspires you when you write your lyrics?

Taek Heon: For me, it is the people around me. My surroundings. For example, in the case of the song ‘Let’s Smoke’ … that was inspired by Young Ki. He is someone I’m around all the time, and he’s always smoking! The song called ‘Burning House’ is about the girl who was living next door to me. I could hear her having sex and stuff. Half of the song is fact, half is fiction. It’s a mix of both. But I do think that girl was a bit crazy. Often I would hear her screaming things at people too. I would sleep with the door open in the summer because it was so hot, and her shouting would wake me up all the time… she was weird. I like movies a lot as well, so I added some thriller-like fiction to the song as well.

# Tell us more about ‘Let’s Smoke’. What are you trying to tell people in that song?

Taek Heon: This song is observational. It is not a song telling people whether to smoke or not. It’s just that loads of people in my life smoke. I always hear people say things like, ‘hey, let’s have a cigarette break’, ‘let’s have a smoke first’, or when we go to eat, people often say ‘let’s have a smoke and then go in’. Things like that all the time. It’s just a song about that, really. I am not passing judgement on whether it’s bad to smoke or not. If there are lots of people together, there are always some who smoke and some who don’t. So long as your smoking doesn’t harm others, it doesn’t really matter.

# In the lyrics for ‘Poison Apple’ you say, ‘I thought my girlfriend was coming to rescue me from my life, but she drank all my blood’. Is this a story about someone that hurt you in your real life?

Taek Heon: It is a song about a bad girl. I believed her, much like I would my own mother. I thought she was the love of my life, but later she was more like someone who was torturing me. It felt like she was draining the life out of me. Anyway, yes, you are right. Those lyrics are pretty much an exact retelling of my experiences from that time. It was a really hard time for me. It is really hard to be that person on the receiving end. It really does feel like they are sucking the lifeblood out of you.

# I heard that if Taek Heon is not feeling so great when you play live, you don’t play the song ‘Hoola’. Why is that?

Taek Heon: That is because when I sing ‘Hoola’ it pretty much takes over my life. The part where I say ”Thank you, thank you, thank you …. ” is super long and in a really high tone as well. The high tone is one thing, but the real problem with it is that I don’t sing it in falsetto. I have to sing it in my normal voice while playing the guitar as well. Singing like that and playing the guitar makes me lose my breath. To make matters worse, Young Ki is always insisting that everything is energetic. So we have to jump around all the time, and not enough oxygen makes it to my brain. The worst thing is, if the monitoring is crappy, that means I can’t hear and have to sing louder and louder. At that time I start to black out and feel like I might faint. So, if my condition is not so good we decide not to play it, but Young Ki tells me I have to play it most of the time anyway.

Young Ki: Because we always get a good reaction after that song.

# The lyrics for that song are really unique; where did you get the idea from?

Taek Heon: Firstly, from playing the card game Hoola (a kind of Korean version of Rummy). I have spent the whole day playing it with friends in a coffee shop before, right up until the last train home. I have played it with loads of other people too, and seeing as we are in a band together I have taught it to Young Ki as well. He’s pretty addicted to it now also. So firstly, the idea for the song came from playing the game, but I was also given some kind of homework that was related as well. I like teaching people things, so when I wrote the lyrics for the song I first arranged all the important rules and put them in the song in the correct order. I wanted to make sure that all the people listening would understand how to play the game.

Kyoung Bin: The beat of the song is pretty out there as well. How did that come about?

Taek Heon: Ah, so that was the homework I had to do when I was studying music. We were asked to make a riff that mixed up and combined all the different rhythms we had been taught in class.

Kyoung Bin: Ah, I thought you had made it as 7 beats per bar because the number 7 is important in the game Hoola!

Taek Heon: That might be the reason too!

Young Ki: Putting it like that is better, I think. It sounds better as an answer. Let’s say that in future.

# What song are you most fond of on the album?

Young Ki: I have been asked this question before, but I found it hard to answer. Hmmm … ‘Let’s Smoke’? ‘Burning House’? ‘Suzi’? These are actually some of Nametag’s earliest songs, so I think I can play them in my sleep now. However, the songs ‘BaniBani’ and ‘Ah Yeah’ were made when it was just me and Taek Heon in the band. After our original bass player left  and before Ju Young joined us. So they have a special place in my heart as well.

Taek Heon: The day we made the song ‘BaniBani’, Young Ki ended up bleeding. Ha ha. He is a crazy mother fucker, like Van Gogh. But Young Ki cut his hands up instead.

Young Ki: It’s a bit of a private story, it’s probably a bit weird to talk about in an interview. Anyway, something bad had happened that day. So I was in a really bad mood when I got to the practice room. As soon as I arrived I asked for the mic from Taek Heon, I grabbed it and started playing the drums. That's how we came up with the song ‘BaniBani’. Once we finished playing it I trashed my drum kit, and ended up hurting my hand. There was loads of blood. I had to go out and buy bandages to patch up my hand… ‘BaniBani’ is a song that was made by spilling my blood.  

Kyoung Bin: So, unlike the name, the song has a bloody story behind it.

Young Ki: Right. It’s a really bloody song. I lost a lot of blood that day.

# Young Ki, because of how you play the drums, you have earned the nickname ‘The Beast’. What are you thinking while you sit behind the drums?

Young Ki: ….

Taek Heon: Seeing as he is a ‘beast’, he isn’t really capable of thought. He just runs on instinct.

Young Ki: Actually, that is probably a good way to put it.

Taek Heon: When he plays the drums, it is like someone has flicked a switch and he is no longer Young Ki anymore. If he was still thinking straight while playing, he wouldn’t smash up the drums all the time.

Kyoung Bin: Right! I got all bruised up because of him at a show in Busan.

Taek Heon: Me too, right here! I have a 10 cm scar because he hit me with a hi-hat!

Young Ki: Yeah…. now I think about it …. I guess I don’t think about much at all when I’m playing.

Taek Heon: If it wasn’t for art, there would be nothing for you to do in the world.

 

# Which artist would you say you have taken the most inspiration from?

Young Ki: Dave Grohl. Honestly, there are loads of people I really like, but Dave Grohl is right at the top of the list. I also really like Keith Moon, John Bonham, Steve Jordan, Kiss, Led Zeppelin, and more. I like a lot of Jazz artists as well. But the main man for me is Dave Grohl. Firstly, because of his energy. I also get a lot of influence from his drum sound as well. He was one of the first people to ever play that post grunge genre. He is a pioneer. I also take a lot of influence from Nirvana of course. Dave Grohl does everything. He can sing as well as play the guitar and the drums. I am going to have to learn the guitar some day as well.  

Kyoung Bin: There are loads of artists that I like as well; too many to count, but the person I have gotten the most influence from is probably my old teacher? The first time I started playing an instrument, the first time I ever touched one, was when I was in the first year of high school. At that time, I attended a vocal school to try and learn how to sing, but I just ended up discovering that I had no singing talent in me. But I really wanted to do something with music. The bass guitar teacher at the academy was really cool, and so I thought ‘ah, I’d like to have a go at that’. While I was taking lessons, I also got a chance to see my teacher play a concert as a session player for Kim Sarang. I thought, ‘shit, that looks so fucking cool. I wanna be like that!’ Since then, I have tried to play just like my teacher from back then. Another bass player whose style I have been influenced by is Sean Hurley. He has played bass for John Mayer and been a session player for several big pop acts too. I really like his style. Anyway, I still don’t exactly know what kind of style, what kind of music really suits me best. I like jazz, rock and punk. So I think I am still trying to find my niche, and so the people that influence me keep changing.

Taek Heon: I think the person who has influenced me the most, the person that made me take a change of direction in life is probably Seo Taiji. I am from the generation that grew up idolizing him. Of all the songs I was exposed to back in elementary school, his music was the coolest. When I was a kid, my dad played Michael Jackson or Madonna at home ... but to me Seo Taiji’s music was the best. I liked it a lot and I got a lot of influences from him. When I went up to middle and then high school I started thinking that I wanted to become a musician. I read a lot of books about it. One of the books I read was a book about Seo Taiji. After reading the book I decided that I wanted to learn how to compose songs, and the next step of course was to learn how to play an instrument. From that time I pretty much decided I wasn’t going to study anymore. Before that point I had been a bit of a teacher's pet. My life had been all home, academy, home, academy. Then, at that point, it suddenly took a big change in direction. Initially I was influenced more by mainstream music than underground stuff, hence listening to Seo Taiji so much. I don’t think I show signs of that influence anymore, though.

# You guys have been playing outside of Seoul quite a bit; what’s been the best thing about that?

Taek Heon: When we played for three consecutive days.

Young Ki: Right. That was a really fun couple of days. That was when Park Geun Hye’s impeachment was announced. We were down in a city called Daegu on that day. Daegu is a Park stronghold, so it was kind of nice to be there rocking out on the day she was impeached. While in Daegu we went to a meat restaurant and jammed there as well, didn’t we! The lady working in there joined in with the singing; she had a really cool bluesy voice. Then we went to Busan for the next couple of days. It was our first time playing shows in different cities in quick succession like that. I have never been able to play three shows in three days before, and it was especially cool that it was in cities other than Seoul. It was nice to see that it’s possible to do it here in Korea. We went and played in Jeju recently as well. That was soooooooooo much fun. It was the first time Taek Heon and Ju Young (the old bass player) had ever even been on a fucking plane. Ju Young was sitting next to me praying for the whole flight and as we took off and climbed upwards Taek Heon looked like he was about to lose his fucking mind. Anyway, we went all the way to Jeju but never had any time to see the ocean or anything because Ju Young had to rush back to Seoul to go to church!

Taek Heon: That’s why he no longer plays with us!

Young Ki: That show was for Magpie Brewery’s two year anniversary. There were pretty much no Koreans there; most of the people were foreigners. In situations like that, Taek Heon and I always try to talk to everyone, but Ju Young would usually stand miles away. As soon as we were done talking he would run over to find out what we were talking about. He was that kind of guy. That day he was in a really good mood or something, and he wanted to talk to all the people himself. He wanted to tell some people that he was going to church the next day, but ended up saying “I am Jesus!”. Then, when we played the show everyone started chanting “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!!!!”

Taek Heon: He is over in the United States for some missionary work now.

Young Ki: He had loads of strange language moments like that. I think he said something weird to Patrick (from DOINDIE) once as well.

Taek Heon: “I’m Japanese.”

Young Ki: Ah, right. He wanted to say that he was good at speaking Japanese, but ended up saying “I’m Japanese”. It was pretty funny. Ah … and when we were in Jeju I ate so much pizza I threw up. The pizza at Magpie is unbelievably delicious; however, since we had been eating only that for about 12 hours, it made me sick!

# Outside of music, what do you enjoy?

Young Ki: I love cooking. Ah, and I like watching movies and dramas as well. I have been watching ‘Criminal Minds’ for two or three months now. I have seen all the episodes from Season one to Season twelve now. Season thirteen starts in October. Because of that I paid for a subscription to a cable TV channel. I won an event on the channel and got a ‘Criminal Minds’ mug! That’s the first time I have ever won anything like that in my whole life. It’s really cool. It has ABC written on it too.

Kyoung Bin: I don’t have any hobbies as such … I like riding my bike though. I am always listening to music, but sometimes I have moments where I just want a little peace and quiet. At those times I take my bike and ride it along the river in Seoul. It feels a little bit like I am being cleansed. Ah, right; I’m watching a drama at the moment too! ‘Game Of Thrones’. This season has been off the hook.

Taek Heon: I like sleeping in late. A few days ago when I was laying down at home, there was a nice breeze and I could see clouds through the window. I could hear the sound of the cicadas too. I like spending my time like that!

Kyoung Bin: It seems like we all have quiet hobbies for a rock band.

Taek Heon: (Yawns) You’ve got to make time to rest. You need to recharge the batteries. You can’t be crazy all the time.

# Around the same time you made your debut, you also became the CJ Tune Up winners. What do you think are the advantages of being part of one of these musician incubation programs? Also, are there any disadvantages?

Taek Heon: It makes you go on and get things done. It’s the same for kids; for example, they only really start studying properly when they have an exam coming up. Like a midterm or final test. For us, it’s the big events like recording an album or something that motivates us all to get off our asses. Those kinds of things inspire us to come up with new ideas and make new content. That was probably the best thing about it all. It made us feel like we were growing as a band as well.

As far as disadvantages are concerned, it’s incredibly hard to win one of these programs. Initially they were set up to help upcoming bands, but these days most of the contestants are pretty much professional. Therefore it has become almost impossible for the amateur or rookie bands to win the support they really need to take the next step. I think it would be good if they set up the competitions with a concrete purpose in mind. If it is a program that is set up to help the amateur bands, then they should really stick to truly rookie bands rather than accepting bands that have been on the scene for years. These events are really adverts for the people / companies who set them up. It’s a branding exercise really, to show the people how cool they are. So, in that respect, I think there are several bad points to it all. I mean, it’s great that they exist. I just wish they were set up a little better. I’d like them to concentrate a bit more on finding emerging talent, like they were initially set up to do. I wish they would look after the rookie bands a bit better.

# What are you most proud of?

Young Ki: I’m really proud that I managed to go and see the Foofighters and Liam Gallagher recently. I was waiting in the sun from 1pm. I was in line with thousands of other people to buy merch, but there was only one merchandise stand. They had not provided any shade for people either. Anyway, I waited under the hot sun for two hours, purchased a T-shirt, changed into it and then ran over to the stage. That is what I am most proud of. I am also proud of the fact I got to communicate a little with Dave Grohl. It was a super short exchange … I just said, “I love you Dave! I respect you man!”. He said, “Thank you man”. Ah, another thing I was proud of happened that day. After the conversation with Dave Grohl, the drummer, Taylor Hawkins, threw a drumstick out into the crowd. I caught it at the same time as a girl who was standing next to me, but I didn’t snatch it from her hand. The reason being that I was still so happy that I had been able to talk to Dave Grohl. So I told her that I was a drummer and that I had an album coming out soon and wanted to get some good karma. I told her that I just wanted to take a picture with the stick, then I would give it back to her. It felt a little bit like I had upgraded myself as a person after that. Most people would have fought over the stick, I think. I just said, “It’s ok, I have loads of drum sticks”. I felt proud of myself.

Kyoung Bin: I bet she was a Liam fan.

Young Ki: Ah, exactly. Also, there wasn’t much merit in having the stick either. It wasn’t a broken stick that had been used in the show. It was brand new.

Taek Heon: For me, I am proud when I make a good purchase. Like when we shot the video for ‘BaniBani’, I got that awesome rabbit mask. Or when I gave my girlfriend a dryer as a gift. She was like, “oh, I really like this”. When I buy something and other people say they like it, it makes me feel like I made a good purchase.

Young Ki: You are a narcissist. You think you have done something amazing, even when it’s the smallest thing. Anyway, it's kind of cute I guess.

Kyoung Bin: I am proud of the fact that I am playing with Nametag at the moment. When we went to shoot the video for ‘BaniBani’ I kind of joked with Young Ki that it was because of him that I was getting to shoot such a cool video. But it wasn’t really a joke. I did feel like that. I failed at getting into university and soon I have to go and do my military service. I wasn’t really ever one of those people that liked to get up on stage to perform either... I would just do most of my music things in my room. But Young Ki found me, dragged me out of my room and dusted me down. He encouraged me to try lots of new things. If it wasn’t for Nametag, I doubt I would have ever gone to CJ Azit to see a show, let alone to shoot a music video. All the other fun things as well, like shooting the video in the rain … I wouldn’t have ever done any of that. That day we got drenched, had a lot of fun, talked a lot and ate lots of delicious food. I didn't get home until after 3 a.m. My mum was still awake. She said “oh, you are back late today”. I replied, “Ah, today was a really fun day”. I washed, and went to bed. Then had a thought, “Ah, today was like a day in the life of a real musician”.  

# What do you think is the biggest lie in the world?

Taek Heon: I really like Eastern philosophy, Buddhism and things about conscience. People always things they are doing things because of their own free will. But in fact, right from the start, just being born was something that was completely out of your control. Your parents decided to have you. After that everything that happens is affected by the situations you find yourself in. I think that the belief that you are choosing to do everything of your own free will is the biggest lie. There is no free will.

Kyoung Bin: The biggest lie I ever heard was that if you drink a lot of milk, you will be tall.

Young Ki: That is just marketing. We are all deceived by marketing all the time. It is like that with music too. You might have two songs that are just as good as one another, but one gets a write-up by a famous critic or was made by a famous musician. It’s all just marketing. Music is an art form but in our generation its success is still affected by how well it’s marketed. I like independent movies, but it is almost impossible to watch them in Seoul. So I have to download them if I want to see them. It makes me angry. Watching movies like that is not right. I think that everyone has the wool pulled over their eyes by marketing.

# What is your dream place to play?

Taek Heon: I just want to play in front of a shit load of people. Outside. I want to see everyone jumping along to the music. The place is not important. Some place with a nice view.

Kyoung Bin: I want to be playing music just like this when I am an old man who is going grey. I might look like I can’t even pick up my instrument but then I rock out to a song like ‘BaniBani’.

Taek Heon: I’d probably just die on the spot. Isn’t that every musician’s dream though? To die on the stage?

Young Ki: For fuck’s sake. You are going to make me be sick. I have three dreams. I don’t think I can just choose one. Wanna choose for me? Times Square, Wembley or the Superbowl.

Kyoung Bin: Super Bowl.

Young Ki: OK. My dream is to play the Super Bowl.

# Anyone you want to share a stage with?

Young Ki: The Foo Fighters! Shall I tell you why? Because I respect them and because they are so much fun live. Honestly, before I went to see the show I mentally prepared myself for the possibility that they would not be as fun as I imagined. I watch videos of them playing live all the time, so my expectations were high. I know what order they will play the songs in and all the lyrics. So I doubted that it would be as much fun as I was hoping for. But it really was amazing!

Kyoung Bin: For me it would have to be John Mayer. If we played a show with him I would get to see him and at the same time I would get to see Sean Hurley as well. Honestly, the person I want to meet the most is Sean Hurley.

Young Ki: I think the same. The best thing would be hanging out backstage afterwards.

Taek Heon: Can I choose someone who has passed away? Michael Jackson. Or John Lennon. Why? Because it will never be possible.

# What is the driving force for you when it comes to music?

Kyoung Bin: For me, self development. That is what keeps me practising all the time. I always set aside some time every day to listen to music or practice the bass; this makes me feel like I am improving. The improvements happen slowly over a long period of time, but at some point when I take a look at myself, I see a different person. Thinking about what I might become in the future is really fun. It’s hard work to practice every day, but it’s fun to imagine what I might achieve in the future and also to look back at where I have come from. I think that is what makes me practice so hard.

Young Ki: Ideas. I think up loads of ideas in my everyday life. I think that is why I like playing music. When I buy gear, I think about it a lot. I think about how I might tune the drum, how I might play it, etc. Even when I’m walking down the street I have ideas popping into my head, so I’m always calling the others to tell them.

Kyoung Bin: When practice ends I say “goodbye” to everyone. I have probably walked about four steps out of the door when he will call me.

Young Ki: Ha ha ha! Because I have had an idea! I’m always thinking about what needs to be done. I have so many ideas that I forget most of them.

Taek Heon: If you are forgetting them, then it probably means they were rubbish ideas. Usually the driving force for people is their emotions. For me, the best time is when I’m bored. When I am bored, it means I have nothing to do. It makes me want to do something fun, so I write music. Boredom is the best driving force for me.

# What is Nametag’s overall goal as a band?

Taek Heon: I just think it would be great if everyone knew who we are!

Young Ki: Right. It would be amazing if you could just ask people walking down the street if they knew Nametag, and they all said yes! That would be cool.

Taek Heon: Because I am lonely. It would be cool if people recognised me, wouldn’t it. Life is lonely … but if someone were to be just walking by and say hi, it would feel good.

Young Ki: Perhaps if everyone 40 and under knew who we were. That would be cool. I’m not worried about everyone over 40, just 40 and under. That would be enough!

Kyoung Bin: Just to keep having fun would be enough, I think.

Taek Heon: Right. It should be fun. It would be cool if it always stayed fun. I’d like people to recognize me and to have fun at our shows.

Kyoung Bin: Ah. I think it would be cool if one of our songs were one of the songs on your list of ‘must listen to’ songs. The kind of song that adults tell their kids that they need to listen to.

Taek Heon: In that case, one of our songs needs to make it into a text book.

Young Ki: Want to know what I just thought? If that is what you want, then we need to stop making the music we make! There is no way that our music is ever going to be the kind of music you listen to at home with a beer after a long, tiring day at work.

Kyoung Bin: Why? People might want to do that.

# What are your plans after you release the album?

Kyoung Bin: I am going to do my military service.

Young Ki: Before the year is out I would like to go and play a show abroad somewhere. I don’t care what kind of show; even busking would be fine. Or a real show of course. I really want to go abroad with Taek Heon sometime.

Taek Heon: I would like us to have raised our profile before the year is out. You have to have a goal to work towards, don’t you? I want the same for our label, Beeline Records, too. I hope we can help raise their profile as well. If we get more famous, then more people come to the shows and the gigs are more fun as a result. Also, the shows become a little more profitable as well, which would be nice. I hope that our band and our label become stable and get the recognition they deserve. If we can achieve that, then we’ll be able to take the next step.


Interview : Doyeon Lim
English Translation : 패트릭 코너 & 임도연 (Patrick Connor & Doyeon Lim)
Edited by : Rock N Rose


Nametag's Single <BaniBani> :

Digital: Naver | Bugs | Genie | Melon | M-net | Olleh Music

 


Date & Time: September 16th. Sat
Vanue: Club FF
Price: Adv, 10,000 won | Door, 15,000 won
Advanced Tickets: Doindie Ticket
Facebook Event Page: Click Here


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

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/namtag
Instagram : https://www.instagram/nam2tag
DoIndie : http://www.doindie.co.kr/bands/name-tag

 

Bands

Nametag

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