Posted on June 28, 2018
source: Cardean Facebook
From the left: Hajin Kim (bass) | Seungmin Choi (vocal/guitar) | Jiwan Yang (guitar) | Hanul Seon (drum)
# Please introduce the person sitting next to you!
Hanul: The person next to me is Hajin. He’s a funny guy, our long-haired bassist and the engineer of our group, too.
Hajin: This is Seungmin Choi. The eldest among us, he sings and plays the guitar.
Seungmin: This guy next to me is Jiwan Yang. He loves candy and soccer. He’s a huge fan of Chelsea, so he loves everything that’s blue. His personality has both a pure side to it and a more mature side as well. He plays the guitar, and when we do an acoustic set, he often plays the keyboard too. He sings and also writes the lyrics for our songs.
Jiwan: This bald one here is Hanul Seon. He plays the drums, loves drinking, and is very good at it as well. There are many legendary stories of him in the district of Hongdae regarding his drinking exploits.
# Please tell us more about the band.
Seungmin: The name of our band is ‘Cardean.’ We don’t set any boundary in terms of musical expression or genre. Our members are all quite subjective, or perhaps stubborn, regarding music, so we are always trying to untangle and blend those diverse musical ideas into one. We don’t solely focus on the music alone. We always try hard to make sure our live performances and our music in general evoke memories of particular moments.
# I heard the members of Cardean all used to be part of other bands in the past. How did Cardean come together?
Jiwan: First, our vocalist Seungmin Choi was in a band called ‘Igloo Bay,’ and the rest of us three were in a band called ‘The Head.’ Those two bands had a good relationship; we shared a practice room, hung out together, performed together. We were a crew of sorts, I guess. As each of those bands became difficult to keep going, we decided to team up and make what we could of it.
# If Cardean was a brand, what would be its ‘brand identity’? If there’s a keyword that best describes Cardean, what would that be?
Jiwan: Umm… I can’t pick one, but I think we maintain a good balance between art and energy. For keywords, I would pick ‘cinematic,’ ‘plot,’ and things like that.
Seungmin: For keywords, perhaps ‘black and white film’ and ‘story’? That sort of feeling?
Jiwan: The ‘Dean’ of Cardean came from James Dean. We derive many concepts or stories for the bootlegs we play in between tracks at gigs and for our albums from old movies.
# Cardean is still a relatively new band. How do you see the band progressing in the coming years?
Seungmin: We try to differentiate ourselves from other teams, even for regular club gigs. We are not so well-known as Cardean, so we make every effort to give a memorable performance for people. Energy is crucial. We try to project the same energy at live clubs as we would project when jamming new stuff together in the studio. We love performing, and try to emit that same energy to the audience.
Jiwan: Since we just started out, our music is new to everyone. We just want to give some kind of new feeling to those who listen to us.
source: Cardean Facebook
# It has been six months since the release of your first single. Since then you’ve been busy participating in various competitions, releasing an EP, and performing at the Greenplugged Festival. How do you feel about things so far?
Jiwan: We probably all have different thoughts on this. Our first show ever as this band was at Club FF in August last year, and at that time I thought, ‘we have been a band for such a short time, are we ready for this?’ I had that same feeling when preparing for our next single, the EP and our first festival performance. It was all a bit crazy, it happened so fast. All the stuff we have achieved so far has helped grow the bond and trust between us as well, which is great.
Seungmin: I really like the video for Radiohead’s ‘Daydreaming’. In that video Thom Yorke is wandering round opening doors. Each time he goes through a door, he finds himself in a new place. Of course, I know that we have to release music and do lots of other hard work to get any big results, but I’m always looking forward to finding and opening the next door. I can’t wait to see what comes next for us.
Hajin: We’ve done loads of cool things since we formed, but everything always seems to run a few weeks behind schedule. Our most recent EP is a good example. Plans too often seem to go off track a little. Somehow, though, we always manage to get through it all. It has been a murderous schedule for us since we started.
Jiwan: We’re always thinking about getting to the next step, so it always feels like we are short of time to enjoy everything that is happening. It turns out that may be a good thing in a way. I think it has helped develop our work ethic and helped us progress.
Hanul: Right since our first show we have had loads of things, including festival performances, happening all at the same time. Everytime we wake up it seems like there is some new thing to do. We’ve gotten to meet loads of new people and see loads of cool things. It has never felt boring or hard in any way to us. It’s a lot of fun actually! I think we get along with each other well. The time we spend together is great, and I’m sure it will keep getting better too.
# You were selected for ‘Green Friends,’ a rookie project for Greenplugged Festival. Since it was a competition, you must have been very nervous. How do you prepare mentally for such an event?
Seungmin: I don’t get so nervous when we perform as Cardean, I have a strong faith in the rest of the band. If I was solely responsible for a large proportion of the show I would probably be much more nervous. However, I know what these guys are capable of. It’s all based on the belief that I can do anything well with these guys beside me, and I’m very thankful for that.
Jiwan: I try not to think too much. Whenever we participate in big events such as competitions and festivals, I try to be less conscious of the scale of performance or its importance. I just treat it like a normal show.
Hajin: I don’t think we are the types of guys who get nervous. We just play as we do in the practice space… (to Hanul) Do you get nervous?
Hanul: I’m nervous now! But usually, I just wake up in the morning, take a bath and shave my head, buy a new pair of sticks, make sure my stomach is empty, go up on the stage and ‘bam’!
Jiwan: There’s something fun about about him. Hanul is so strong that he goes through drums sticks like nobody's business. The day before a performance, he gets all prepared and shaves all his hair off… The rest of us put in much less effort getting ready for a show. This guy doesn’t even drink alcohol or coffee before a show. He doesn’t even eat!
Hajin: He reminds me of a monk...
# Please introduce your newly released album [Anna Maria Pierangeli]. I looked it up, and found out that this is the name of an Italian actress. Is that right? What else does the title mean?
Jiwan: It’s well known that James Dean loved driving cars fast. It was extreme driving, but he couldn’t live without it. Sadly, he ended up losing his life because of it. Music is like that for us, and that’s why we named our group ‘Cardean.’ As we started the band, I wanted to make an album that encapsulated the name of our band and the philosophy behind it. ‘Anna Maria Pierangeli’ was one of James Dean’s lovers, and this album’s theme is almost like a letter being written to that woman. We are simply borrowing James Dean’s words to explore our music.
Seungmin: Firstly, on the album there are three tracks that use the work ‘Letter’ in them, we always play those tracks live, so people may know them. We have tried to put this album together in a particular order, to make a story and also to make sure it flows well sonically, rather than being a simple collection of tracks put together in any order.
Hajin: When we recorded the album we tried to include sounds that would be hard to reproduce in a live setting. So when we play live, the songs may sound a little different. Besides the songs that include the theme of letters ‘Letter’, the other tracks all have a bit of a vintage sound to them I think.
# Are there any movies or pieces of art that inspired you when making music?
Seungmin: If I imagine us sitting around discussing music, I suspect we would all end up talking about a movie called ‘Kill Your Darling.’ In this movie, students discuss poems and literature, and from there, as the movie plays on, love and friendship blossom. There’s a moment in the movie when the scenes change rapidly while students are having a heated debate; that’s the perfect feeling I want for the band. The title of our first single was also inspired by that movie.
Jiwan: In fact, the track we broadcast over the PA before we played our first song at our first ever show was made using lines from that movie. The title of our first single came from a line from that movie.
# If you were to label a band as “awesome,” who would that be?
Hajin: I like Se So Neon. The band scene in Korea has been going through a tough period recently and has seemed to be on a permanent downward spiral. But Se So Neon have bucked that trend, so I have a lot of respect for them.
Hanul: For these types of questions, I always bring up Seotaiji. His music is comforting and cheerful. I loved him even more when I saw him in real life. Such experiences always end up being a good influence.
Seungmin: We spend a lot of time working out who to play shows with for our concerts, and we try hard to find an artist which both we and our fans would love to see. So for our first concert, we played with Decadent and Land Of Peace, and for the next show we will be playing with DTSQ. The reason we love those bands is that from the perspective of a musician, they don’t compromise in terms of their music and maintain their own unique styles. I admire that a lot.
Jiwan: I personally love The Black Skirts. This may apply to everyone, but when someone creates music or anything else, one can almost always observe fabrication to some extent. But The Black Skirts seem to express their identity well even without any fabrication. I hope they release a new album as soon as possible.
source: Cardean Facebook
# Which of your tracks do you think best represents Cardean? And why?
Jiwan: In our group, many members know how to compose and are interested in various musical philosophies, so it’s quite hard to just pick one. However, in terms of our musical characteristics and story, I think the first track on this EP best matches Cardean’s character.
Seungmin: I would pick the fourth track on this album, it is called ‘Design.’ It has a message within the lyrics that says, ‘I will walk my own path and explore and design my life by myself.’
Hajin: ‘Design’ always has been on our setlist. I think this track, in terms of sound, represents us best.
Hanul: I pick ‘Design’ as well. I think Cardean plays a refined kind of music, and I think that song best shows how we have refined our overall sound in terms of structure and music.
Seungmin: We got a good recording for the drums on that one as well.
Hanul: I’m extremely thankful for that! I think it has a certain refinement that really represents Cardean’s characteristics well.
# When you play in the band, I am sure there are times when you guys get into conflicts about music or other day to day things. Who is the most stubborn person in the band?
Jiwan: This may sound strange but everyone in the band can be very clear about their thoughts and ideas, then, at the same time … we have moments where we are not clear at all. I guess everyone likes what they like. I don’t think anyone in the band is too stubborn. We haven’t had any conflict so far, as we trust each other. I suspect I am the most argumentative one in the group, now that I think about it!
Seungmin: This came up a while ago when Hajin was talking to one of his friends. Whenever we want to try something new, there’s a good chance one of us will know how to go about it. The rest of us simply trust that person to get on with it and to make it happen. What’s more, whoever is doing it always tends to do a decent job and get it over the line.
Hajin: Not in terms of music. Perhaps when ordering snacks at a pub?
# If you were forced not to play music for a month, what would you do? Please tell us what you like to do other than music.
Hajin: A month is way too short. I guess I would play computer games.
Hanul: Drinking booze and eating fine foods… but I’m doing that right now anyway ... yes, that’s it for me. Drinking and eating delicious food.
Seungmin: When we do music, there are times when our emotions can get the better of us. That’s when I feel that I want to take a rest. I get hyped up then get disappointed, it can be quite dramatic. At those times I really want to be relieved of such drama. I simply want to live a normal life, hanging out with friends, etc.
Jiwan: It’s hard for me to answer to that question, because everyone in my family plays music and so I’ve lived my entire life around music. I love making music alone at home, so I can’t imagine living a life without music.
# So far in your band career, what’s been the most memorable moment?
Seungmin: There’s not so much that I remember…
Hajin: Perhaps the very first performance. We didn’t have long to prepare, but loads of people came to see us. Way more than we had expected.
Seungmin: Our concert this Friday may be the most memorable performance in my life. For the rest of my life, I will remember those who didn’t come and those who did as well!
Hanul: I think Greenplugged will be the most memorable, since it was the first festival where we performed as Cardean.
Jiwan: Green Friends competition for me. We had another gig booked on the competition day, so we had to go straight to the venue after we were done with the competition. But thankfully, there were people who came to both shows to support us. I realized then that there are many people who cheer for us.
# What is your idea of a dream show?
Jiwan: Instead of a ‘dream performance,’ I think an ideal concert is the one that goes by really fast. I feel the time passes fastest when the focus of all of our members doesn’t get disturbed, and I think that’s the most ideal concert. Our first concert was just like that.
Hanul: I also like the concerts when I can’t feel time passing by, but it feels like it finishes so quickly. Both for us, and the audience.
# Please tell us about your future plans and goals!
Jiwan: As for my personal goal, so far in my life doing music has never felt tiring to me. I hope to keep it that way, to maintain that attitude and to keep playing music.
Seungmin: Although we are playing music as a band, I want to play concerts with other musicians with different musical styles as well. And when people listen to our music, I hope they think that our music ‘cannot be defined by a specific genre’, and that we have our own unique style.
Hajin: I want to make good albums so more people get to listen to our music.
Hanul: I hope we can keep having fun and good experiences as a band, and individually as well.
Jiwan: Speaking of us as a team, I enjoyed the process of making this album, and I hope we get to have a good time in every situation we confront.
'Anna Maria Pierangeli'
To find out more about the band, follow the links below:
Interview : Jihye Jang, Jin Kim
English Translation : Robin YeongGuk Jo