Posted on December 22, 2017
# The 20th anniversary album has just been released. That number, in terms of people’s age, symbolizes youth. How do you feel about it?
Jundoy: Woah, you’ve really looked at that with a unique perspective. That’s made me feel much better about it all.
Avail Ahn: That is a very unique point of view! I’ve never thought of that.
Jundoy: Way to go! You cleaned us up.
Avail Ahn: I was aware of our current age, forty, but that was it. I never realized our band was twenty years old. The fact that our relationship has lasted twenty years now was in my head, but I was never aware that our band also was 20 years of age, nor saw it as representing youth.
Jundoy: I never thought of that concept. We were simply aware that we were forty. If a band has lasted twenty years, it then enters a youthful phase… I’m shocked. Basically, a band is formed when people gather to do ‘something’ together, but there are many more stories to tell after that point.
For the first few years, trivial things like what we did on a daily basis stayed in our minds, but once we ensconced ourselves well in the scene, big events and incidents started to become more memorable. If we wrote it down like the chronological tables in textbooks, from Gojoseon to the beginning of Goryeo--maybe not even Goryeo--anyway, there is never much to say about the primeval ages. After then, the chart would be filled with some king’s birth or death. Our old stories were brought up as we prepared our 20th anniversary album and concerts. I wondered if that was a privilege for people like us who have undergone this kind of event. It was funny to see that happen.
Jundoy: Actually this story must be told. We went through a period of being broken up, which lasted a while. Once, when we went to a Hello Rookie celebration concert, the caption “Lazybone is a band that has undergone every imaginable circumstance” appeared below our introduction video on the screen. We smirked and said, “no one is dead. How can they say we have undergone every imaginable circumstance?” However, we actually have experienced a lot of things, and slowly our mindset and perspectives have opened up. It’s not that we’re bored because we have done pretty much everything. It’s more like, “what will happen next?”, a kind of apprehension.
Jinu Ro: If you feel apprehensive, that must mean that you still have some sort of a dream.
Jundoy: Absolutely. Anxiety and disappointment exist because expectation exists. In fact, our friends of a similar age talk about the emotion and energy we used to feel back in the day starting to fade these days, along with things that would motivate us. They say they don’t contemplate enjoyable things all day anymore. In the past, they would have just done something if they found it intriguing. Now, they hesitate before even trying. But I like that idea of expecting and wondering what will happen next. We are not grown up yet. I don’t even know what will happen.
Avail Ahn: Well, probably our breakup and reforming. I think that is the biggest thing. It was a turning point for us both psychologically and physically. Let’s put it as our reforming, not the breakup.
Jundoy: Lazybone has had many dramatic performances. We did many international concerts, but the 2013 Jisan Valley Rock Music & Arts Festival has stayed in my mind the longest. When we did our performance, there were no people in the front. There were less than thirty of them, and that wouldn’t even make a single row, if it had been packed. They were waiting sparsely, and we saw them before going up on the stage. At first we encouraged ourselves, saying, “let’s just enjoy it. Let’s go crazy. If there are no people out there, we can go insane.” After that, as we went up on stage, we noticed this phenomenon. You know how you can see water filling up a jar in real time, and you can’t even notice it filling up. People started walking then running down to the stage; their number grew like a snowball increasing its size. Some of them even climbed over the console box to the main area, and even over to the slope at the side. I think everyone at the festival was there. That’s why I feel that performance was our most dramatic, and I really liked it.
Jundoy: I think there isn’t something specific enough to be called a ‘belief,’ but at least this is still being maintained. Because Lazybone really enjoys what it’s doing, we receive feedback that we “give people a good impression”. We are not a band with outstanding vocals or arrangement abilities, but deep in our hearts, I think we know that we are freaking awesome at live performances. We used to express that belief outwardly in the past. “We are the best! Everyone get out the way!” ...stuff like that…
Jinu Ro: I wonder where such confidence came from?
Jundoy: Right. Now, we are older and all the members do various things other than the band. We underwent so many things. We were babes in the woods who focused solely on music, similar to celebrities. Doing sessions, writing songs...But living life turned out to be very simple. We are people who make music, and people working onstage do their own kind of work too. We have experienced similar things that people on the street have. There’s no such thing as someone who is greater than others; we’re all like friends. I think we became more modest. Naturally we have stopped expressing it outwardly, but we still crave the stage, the performances.
Jinu Ro: We can’t concede that.
Jundoy: I’m skinny and ride bicycles a lot, and people around me question that sometimes. Things like, “shouldn’t you manage your body and make some physical changes? The members have gained weight and look more middle-aged. If you are doing a show with other teams, you should blah blah blah.” I think that is sort of a stupid question. We may weigh two or three times more than other bands, but we are still energetic enough to run all over the stage.
Jinu Ro: It’s so strenuous.
Jundoy: When I turn my head around during a performance, they make this face as if they’re about to throw up their lungs. That’s the important part. No matter what they say, I think no bands could beat us up even if they wear fancy clothes and act classy. I think it’s okay for us to weigh even more. If anyone says stuff like that, tell them to watch our performance.
Jinu Ro: Bolbbalgan4.
Avail Ahn: I’d rather listen to what I used to listen to when I was young. I think it’s because it has become very eclectic, both in genre and quantity.
Jinu Ro: I liked Green Day’s Best Of.
Avail Ahn: I listen to albums that came out in the 90s, like when I was in high school. It’s like a personal reminiscence. I listen to them more and more frequently as I age. Perhaps in five or ten years, I may only listen to old songs. It’s probably because I want to be young again.
Jundoy: People around us release music online a lot. Since the collapse of the record industry, people have been releasing more singles, and give out CDs. I get to hear one or two songs in time, as musicians release more single albums.
Jinu Ro: Actually I tend not to listen to the CDs they give out.
Avail Ahn: Same for me.
Jundoy: I don’t even have a CD player on my computer. If I receive a CD I listen to it through streaming sites.
Jinu Ro: That’s why I ask them to email me the mp3 files, if they try to give me CDs.
Avail Ahn: I do too. Since this is a band practice room, if bands make CDs they bring them here. But we don’t have any CD players here.
Jundoy: Perhaps one day, you may receive an album that you’ll be able to pay your rent with. Through ebay. Something like a super rare record.
Jinu Ro: I heard Guckkasten’s first album costs ￦200,000 on ebay.
Avail Ahn: Damn, we don’t have that!
Jinu Ro: That’s the one we should have.
Jundoy: Shall we manipulate it for our album?
Jinu Ro: But our first album is still on sale.
Avail Ahn: Well, then that can’t be a premium.
Jundoy: Yeah… you know that online shopping site, the one you can find under Naver.com. It’s still being distributed if you see that.
Jinu Ro: I have that. Punk Big Party 98. Tape.
Jinu Ro: Our circumstances have not become more comfortable, at any rate.
Jundoy: True, but I put an emphasis on that show. If there’s something that changed in society during our breakup period, it would be the creation of shows like that. To get to the point, I really appreciate the show ‘Immortal Songs.’ At first I misinterpreted when they called us and said that they wanted to present our performance because they enjoyed our music. It’s a variety show. You know about this stereotype that people have regarding contest programs? That it’s a manipulation, or that bands produce their performances to suit the tastes of broadcast producers. But there was nothing like that. They told us to do whatever we wanted with the song, and they would back us up with mint condition acoustics. It was like they would support us in the best way they could, and we would simply give our best on the stage. At first I was like, “wow, look at that,” but when I saw us on TV, everything we had intended to show was shown on the broadcast. We really gave our best, and due to that, people now know that the band called Lazybone is on the move again.
Jinu Ro: We practiced insanely to be prepared for that. Ridiculously. We met late at night and practiced until 2 in the morning, then we met at 7 in the morning and practiced until we went to work, and we met again when our jobs were over. The belief that all I want to do in my life is make music became stronger.
Jundoy: I really appreciate that program. The producers really put their heads together for us. They wanted Lazybone to become eminent and only do music for a living. I felt thankful. They didn’t present and fixate on their own framework, but rather asked us what we needed for our stage. At that moment our misapprehension toward them faded. If there’s one more thing that has changed because of it, it’s that we became known to the public. The viewer age bracket for ‘Immortal Songs’ is wide. More middle-aged people view the program than adolescents. Middle-aged women and men recognize us so often! Yesterday when I went to Dongdaemun Gamjatang restaurant, the owner approached me and said...
Jinu Ro: You are that person. Right? Ha ha!
Jundoy: No! He didn’t say it like that. You know when the stew starts boiling you dish it up into a bowl. He didn’t just dish it up. He put a large piece of bone, lots of cabbage and perilla leaves in the bowl, gave it to me and said, “hey, look who’s here. He’s a singer.” After that he smirked whenever he looked at me.
Jinu Ro: A singer, ha ha!
Jundoy: People recognize us like that. Besides feeling worthwhile, there’s something else that we feel thankful to ‘Immortal Songs’ for. Paying attention to the stage is important… but the fact that they valued us highly and called us to participate in the show meant more to us, and we still feel very thankful. I wish the bands in Hongdae could appear on that program.
Jundoy: I never thought of that.
Jinu Ro: I really was about to cancel that performance. I asked him whether we should just cancel it.
Jundoy: Whether I would be able to perform properly.
Jinu Ro: I said we should go to the hospital first. That I would have to see the proof that you were okay, and your opinion was irrelevant at that moment.
Jundoy: He was like, “you have a concussion now. What you’re talking about doesn’t even make any sense.”
Jinu Ro: But really, he said the same thing more than five or six times. I thought the situation was dangerous, so I took him to the hospital. But all the doctor said was to simply take a rest, so we were like, “well, it seems okay. Let’s just perform” and left. Ha ha, it was a bit serious before we went to the hospital.
Jundoy: But I never thought of not going to the performance.
Jinu Ro: I once even had an appendix burst.
Jundoy: I feel sorry for circumstances like this. I felt sorry for not taking care of my body before the performance. But after the performance, I received a lot of feedback like, “You were awesome up there, you moved my heart.” I feel overwhelmed with those compliments. Performing is the most basic thing we can do, but I was repulsed by receiving so many compliments. I felt sorry instead. If people had criticized me, I would have apologized. But people talked me up, like a kind of media manipulation. At first I felt good, but later I thought it wasn’t right.
Jinu Ro: From Jundoy.
Jundoy: This is what happened. Jinwoo is an image director. He makes things that are in great demand, like TV commercials and music videos. That’s why when we talked about making the music video for ‘Lion,’ Jinwoo said, “Lazybone should do something snazzy.”
Jinu Ro: But it failed big time. Ha ha!
Jundoy: We didn’t reach a consensus about doing it until the very last moment. Jinwoo showed us a video, saying, “I want our music video to resemble this.” That’s where we met a dead end. The video was awesome. It was like models walking down the street, as in luxury brand commercials. But we were like, “But we’ll be the ones walking down the street!” However, Jinwoo’s goal was clear. He wanted to do something different for the next music video, because we had always been hilarious in our previous ones.
Jinu Ro: Basically they are a comedy series. Since the first album, all our music videos have been comedies. Not even legit ones.
Jundoy: That’s why we said, “let’s make a serious one,” because with Jinwoo, we actually could realize that. We did it without any budget, but it came out pretty good. So then we could discuss other things. After we were done with ‘Lion,’ we started talking about ‘Tinkerbell.’ I told the other members that I wanted to do something like this.
Jundoy: Well I was worried about whether ‘Lion’... would turn out to be hilarious.
Jinu Ro: I wasn’t even able to edit it, because it was so funny. I almost died.
Jundoy: But the music video for ‘Lion’... I’m very proud of it. That Lazybone is capable of shooting a music video like this. Our members do a lot of different things. That was very helpful in making it. If not, we probably would’ve had to pay a lot of money.
Jinu Ro: The members carried reflectors around. And equipment.
Jundoy: After ‘Lion’ received good feedback, we were so ready to do ‘Tinkerbell.’ There’s nothing more in ‘Tinkerbell.’ Everyone who appeared in the music video simply helped us. We had contacted each of them with an idea. But when we said we were going to make a music video, they took an interest in it and even enjoyed making it. I felt thankful, but also sorry, because I could only include two seconds of each person’s video clip.
Jundoy: I want to mess that person up with a ‘legit’ one, like ‘Turn Around at Samgakji,’ ha ha!
Jinu Ro: ‘It Can’t be Tears’ ha ha! Uhm. The fourth album? I think songs like ‘Tinkerbell’ or ‘Let’s Live Our Way' are the ones that represent us.
Jundoy: You can listen to an album so easily these days. Unlike the old days, you don’t have to do much to listen to an album. Even with the preview function, you can listen to the first minute of every song on an album. If one album seems intriguing, people may continue to another album, and so forth.
Jinu Ro: I liked our sixth album the most. Although I’m stressed at my work, meetings, or getting bitched out by my boss, I get excited when I listen to the songs. Since I thought that album was very well made, I sent a message to the other members saying, “I really like the songs. Nicely done, guys.” But none of them replied! I was in a sulk.
Jundoy: I think that is the characteristic of Lazybone. Experiences like skateboarding when we were young, wandering around the streets near Ewha University, Sinchon and Dongdaemun, drinking with friends outside--all got assimilated into our lyrics. Or episodes from concerts or trips to the beach. I think we started on the wrong foot at the beginning. We are not good at fantasizing. We are bad at presenting messages based on fabricated stories or episodes. People who like fantasies, pretty and nice-sounding things, or artificial stories would not be able to connect with our music. But on the other hand, there are people who do sympathize with our music. They have done from the beginning. Friends who we used to hang out with came to Lazybone’s concerts, and they still often do. Also, there are some young people now who walk similar paths as we did. So, as on this very album, I think the changing times always tend to be reflected in our music. We incorporated many elements of our experiences in the past. The title song of the previous album, ‘To Cry Wolf’, is actually the story of the Sewol Ferry incident. But we have never told anyone about it. We somehow feel sorry… we didn’t tell anyone because we didn’t want anyone to misinterpret that we exploited what had happened.
Jinu Ro: You’ll figure it out once you see the lyrics.
Jinu Ro: Probably... I gained more confidence.
Jundoy: Perhaps composure?
Avail Ahn: Yeah, composure.
Jinu Ro: We used to chide each other if we made mistakes, but now we just go along with it.
Jundoy: Although our wallets are getting thinner, our minds are getting broader.
Avail Ahn: We now know it doesn’t matter too much. Although we still do it competitively like we used to, nothing changes that much. We’d rather fill it with something else. We don’t have much time left, either.
Jinu Ro: But that way we have become more relaxed on stage. A lot more.
Jundoy: As we age, we feel time passing quicker. But I think this is because we live in the same pattern. That’s why I feel like time won’t pass that quickly as long as I stay in Lazybone.
Jinu Ro: When we first started Lazybone, I liked that we could drink everyday the most. Wherever we went, everyone bought us drinks. Once on an autumn day I had 10,000 won in my pocket. Jungyu and I bought nine bottles of soju along with shrimp chips, sat down on a railroad and drank until the morning. We said something like, “when will we get to drink in a bar?” But we ended up guzzling booze at Club Drug. We drank an absurdly large amount, but I enjoyed it a lot.
Avail Ahn: You have probably caused harm to others and didn’t even know.
Jinu Ro: No, my older friends bought it for me.
Jundoy: When you’re young you don’t even realize that you’re causing harm to others when you are.
Avail Ahn: Yeah... but I think many people thought it was cute.
Jinu Ro: People who played heavy metal adored us, and they bought us so many drinks.
Jundoy: Actually, back then, Hongdae wasn’t really recognized as a place for music. I think people living in Hongdae saw it like some new sort of food, that no one admitted. Perhaps like a toy.
Jinu Ro: Punk?
Jundoy: Not just punk. I’m saying that punk became an issue, like a superficial public enemy. During that time, new bands aiming for grunge or alternative emerged all at once. As a number of clubs started opening, there were some people who did stuff like Smashing Pumpkins. It could have been something else, other than Nirvana. Anyway, that musical culture appeared exclusively in Hongdae, but none of the musicians in the contemporary band scene acknowledged it. They were like, “they didn’t even receive a proper musical training.”
Jinu Ro: Well that was same for them...
Avail Ahn: Twenty years ago, I liked that it always ended in drinking. Well, back then I was happy with the fact that we’d become a band, and that we could do music. Drinking was only a part of that, not the best part of it.
Jundoy: For instance, we didn’t know anything about money and fame achieved at a young age, as they do in hip hop music. Since we weren’t aware of any of that, we naively enjoyed every moment. We enjoyed the moment because we lived that lifestyle. If any of us had wanted to own a Rolls Royce, we would have broken up beforehand. Someone would have said, “I can’t see a future ahead of us. We should break up soon. I need to do this.” But none of that applied to us.
Jinu Ro: Our seniors really took care of us. A lot. No Brain, Crying Nut. We were beloved by all.
Avail Ahn: What?
Jundoy: Don’t distort the history.
Jinu Ro: They often struck from behind while drinking. Yes. We were beloved.
Jinu Ro: I like dogs. I’m currently raising two dogs.
Jundoy: I’m raising two cats as well, but I don’t think I like cats the most.
Avail Ahn: Well, unless there is some specific reason, most people would like every animal. Don’t you think? Ha ha! I love all animals. No one can dislike animals.
Jinu Ro: Well, he even used to breed a snake here.
Jundoy: Snake, tarantula and baboon.
Avail Ahn: I’m currently breeding four beetles, but I’m not sure if they will grow into adults.
Jundoy: Have you?
Jinu Ro: No, but I did want to change it to No Brain. Ha ha.
Avail Ahn: I think I never have. I would have rather played for another band if I was going to change the band’s name.
Jinu Ro: Yup. I think that makes more sense.
Jundoy: I once thought of this. While I was having a meal yesterday, my friends were talking about changing jobs. Things like, “Samsung doesn’t even recruit people.” I thought it would be nice if a major group posted recruitment ads for bands.
Jinu Ro: Something like Audioslave.
Jundoy: Yes, something like that.
Jinu Ro: And we could trade vocalests too.
Avail Ahn: As I said before, raising beetles.
Jinu Ro: I want to try cycling. I set up the bike last Christmas. But I’m kind of afraid to wear spandex suits outdoors. At first I wore extra pants over a spandex suits but still I was too embarrassed. And uncomfortable. When I did go out with spandex, I felt like everyone in town was watching me. However, once I got used to wearing spandex, it became way too comfortable.
Jundoy: I wear that every day for at least four or five hours.
Jinu Ro: I simply want to keep performing. It doesn’t have to be often, but it’d be better if it were.
Jundoy: I don’t think there is, because we have never set checkpoints stage by stage to get somewhere. We are very single-minded. This year we met several foreign contractors with Mucon’s support, and we received good offers from a number of places. We simply want to perform in countries where we have not been, but we don’t approach this like a staircase to our final goal. Our twentieth anniversary album is also something like that.
Jinu Ro: It was a pleasure to be able to record in such an awesome studio, with great acoustics. The recording studio we used for our fifth album was also great, but anyway...
Jundoy: We did home recording too for our fifth album. Due to several things, like our schedules and the condition of the recording studio… well, we unavoidably settled on that. Usually a band sets a certain point where they can be satisfied, after releasing an album. But we are simply satisfied when a single thing that we are concerned about gets solved. Very uncomplicated. We are satisfied when we don’t experience any incidents that have stressed us out before, or when we see things that we weren’t aware of before get fixed. That’s why I think we hesitate to set a final goal. I feel like we would overdo ourselves to reach the goal… After reaching the goal… what do you think would happen?
Jinu Ro: Then we would become ephemeral.
Jundoy: Well, it sounds intriguing when you put it that way. Set me a goal.
Avail Ahn: There are many things going on in my head. Our future plans.
Jundoy: What do you think our final goal is?
Jinu Ro: World conquest. Obviously.
Jundoy: We have an intermediate goal instead. Things that everyone talks about. To be able to live comfortably thanks to Lazybone’s music.
Jinu Ro: Absolutely. Sitting down on California’s Long Beach, with a beer. Or perhaps we could surf and joke around with local band members.
Avail Ahn: I think we would have to become building owners, to live like that.
Jinu Ro: No, we can become a local band for that neighborhood. Let’s just emigrate to California!
Jundoy: If we work and play in a band over there, one of us could make pizza and one could do the dishes...
To find out more about the band, follow the links below:
Interview: Song Hee M. Roh, Yeonsik Chae
English Translation: Robin YeongGuk Jo
Editing: Rock N Rose