Posted on February 26, 2016
Dony: Sitting next to me is our guitarist and vocalist, Soongyu. Yeah.
Soongyu: Sitting by me is our other guitarist and vocalist, Isntoff. He is on his period 365 days a year! …. he is one of the original members of the band.
Isntoff: At my side is our bassist and vocalist, Saewoo. His best point is that among all of us, he has the best personality. He helps keep the harmony in the band when people have differences of opinions; he leads us well. His worst trait is that he sometimes falls into a bit of a slump, and so he goes through some hard times physiologically. Also, he is an alcoholic!
Saewoo: This is our drummer, Dony. He is a really good drummer, but he has a bad back. He needs to lose some weight, but he won’t even think about trying to … I could go on and on listing his bad points, there would be no end. His best point is that it is easy to become friendly with him.
Isntoff: We first took the English word ‘Beggars’ and used that as our name, but lots of people in our close circle pointed out it was a bit shit as a name, so we changed the spelling to Veggers, keeping it so the pronunciation was similar. There is no other meaning to the word. It’s just a proper noun we made up. The name was created by both Soongyu and I.
Saewoo: I think most band names are like that. There is no real meaning behind them at first. The name comes first, then the bands create a fun story or meaning behind the name.
Saewoo: Rather than there being a special reason or anything like that, it’s more that Saewoo (“Shrimp”) has been my nickname since I was young. Kids at elementary school often give each other nicknames, right? My real name is Jaewoo, but my close friends have always called me Saewoo.
Dony: My family name is Pyo, Dony has been my nickname since high school. These days it is more natural for me to be called that than my real name. There are not all that many people, even in the Hongdae scene, that know my real name. They all just call me Dony.
Isntoff: My real name is Junho Lee, but there is another guy drumming for another band that looks just like me. His name is Mizno. We have a similar facial appearance and so as a joke lots of people started calling me “Izno” (and in English, Isntoff), that’s how it came about.
Soongyu: There is no reason for my name. Haha
Saewoo: The rest of us don’t even know why he gets called Soongyu. What’s more is that he doesn’t even use his real family name.
Soongyu: My real name is plain and ordinary, so I thought it over a lot and gave myself this nickname, but it has no real meaning.
Dony: As a figure of speech we call ourselves a family. Isntoff is the mother. Soongyu is the father, but he is one of those fathers that likes to go fishing all the time. He doesn’t worry too much about what’s going on at home, he just likes to go fishing. And Saewoo, what are you?
Saewoo: I was a teacher’s pet kind of son, but these days I have gone a bit awry and just drink booze alone in my room ...
Dony: I’m the troublemaker. That is my role in the family.
Isntoff: He’s almost gotten to the point of being removed from the official family register… Haha. That’s how bad he is.
Dony: Whenever I make any problems, the rest of the band always have to sort them out on my behalf. Heh heh. I am the oldest member of the band, but I am the newest member. I give lots of advice to the rest of the guys.
Saewoo: Isntoff does all the band management … scheduling, sorting out the money things like expenditure and profits. He does it all.
Isntoff: The genre of music we make is hardcore / punk. Traditionally songs in this genre are pretty short. It has been like that since the 70s and 80s. The songs don’t have loads of ‘this and that’ in them, this genre is more about just getting the message across, so there are lots of songs that just try to get it across in the shortest and strongest way possible.
Saewoo: This genre is still a bit new and unfamiliar in Korea but in other countries there are loads of bands playing this kind of music. Actually, there are loads of bands here in Korea as well.
Saewoo: We discussed the running order for the album once all the songs had been recorded. We would say things like “I’d like this song to appear after that song” or “I think the atmosphere this song creates would be better nearer the end of the album”. We would chat about stuff like that to decide the order. Actually, at first we had decided to make an album of about 30 songs, but in the end we decided to drop two of them and so it ended up with 28 songs. One of the songs didn’t turn out as well as we hoped after recording … the other one was dropped because it had a really different vibe to the other songs on the album.
Isntoff: Saewoo: No, we don’t plan to release them.
Isntoff: I am very critical in my heart, but in reality you can’t always live like that. There are many situations in life where you have to bend to life's realities… that is how it is, there is nothing much you can do about it. I don’t vent too much in my daily life, so I tend to do it through my music instead.
Manager: Isntoff and Dony were in the same year at university. Dony says that when Isntoff was at university he was really quiet and only concentrated on his music. When Dony came back from his military service Isntoff invited him to join the band and so Dony was curious and went along to see what they were like, and he was really surprised to see Isntoff in a band like the Veggers. His everyday appearance and how he appears on stage are really different; they don’t compare at all.
Isntoff: Soongyu and I were neighbourhood friends and one day we said ‘let’s start a band together!’ That is how the Veggers started. Just a thing with friends from my neighbourhood.
Isntoff: Firstly, the songs’ themes are really varied.
Saewoo: In another interview I described the album as ‘harmony in discord’.
Saewoo: Usually someone brings in a song they have written and we jam it out. If there’s something missing from the song we work on it and flesh it out together as a band.
Isntoff: It is an honor. We are really happy about it all.
Saewoo: If you play shows abroad the atmosphere is really different to here in Korea, so it always feels like a new experience. More than anything else, it feels like we are on holiday, so I enjoy it a lot. It’s really fun.
Manager: We are going on this tour with (fellow Valiant label band) REDDOT. Last year an agent from Germany was at Zandari Festa. That agent happened to see the Veggers and Reddot play. I sent the agent an email the very next day and told him we were interested in doing a tour. He simply said, in a very cool manner, ‘Ok, come’. It was just like that, we said ‘We want to go on tour’, and he said, ‘Ok, when do you want to come?’, and we chose April. That's how it felt anyway. We didn’t worry about money too much, so the whole process was really fast and easy. We just agreed to go over there on our own money and that they would sort out the concerts for us. Any profits from the shows will just be shared between the two of us. When we get over there however, we need to have all our own gear like amps, drums etc, so because of that we decided to start a crowdfunding project to help support us financially; we didn’t have much choice really.
Soongyu: We are going to work really hard.
Isntoff: Work hard and communicate more. We want to communicate more with foreigners.
Saewoo: I want to eat loads of delicious foods.
Soongyu: THAT’S your aspiration? ha ha ha!
Saewoo: Actually, eating delicious things is important, but more than that, I want to show the world that even though Korea is a small country we have bands like us here too.
Soongyu: The day we were selected, we kind of indirectly asked them the same question. That particular member of staff said that they had watched the video we submitted and then looked up more of our music, which just so happened to suit their personal taste. This person then showed our music to the rest of the team who also thought we sounded ok, so we got picked.
Saewoo: It was around three of four in the morning when we got the email, but we thought it was someone playing a joke on us at first. We thought it was a lie.
Isntoff: First off we applied to loads of things. I think the extra exposure generated has been good for helping to promote our band.
Saewoo: Because they are contests, I think we have developed more of a strategic approach. We have ended up having to analyse other bands as well as ourselves. Not because we set out to do that, but I think you just naturally end up doing it. In the past, we would only worry about ourselves and what we were doing, but these days we look carefully at the other bands as well.... we put in a lot of effort to win and so I think that has really helped the band grow.
Soongyu: We don’t feel any pressure when we apply for these things.
Saewoo: Every time we apply for one of the contests we say, ‘There is no way we are going to succeed with this… No Way!’ Seeing as we think like that whenever we apply, every time we achieve anything we are like, ‘Wow! How the hell did that happen?’. It has always been like that. I think we’ve had a lot of luck along the way as well.
Saewoo: Recently there was a really funny incident. Isntoff got a cramp while we were on stage. And what made it more amusIng was that it happened during a live broadcast.
Dony: It happened while recording for Naver’s Onstage project. Fortunately the timing was really good, it happened right when the song finished and we were making some comments about the song.
Isntoff: I had a cramp before that as well...
Dony: Looking at him from behind from the drum kit, something about him looked really strange. He looked uncomfortable, I was thinking, ‘is there something wrong with your body?’. As soon as we were done, he was sitting down trying to stretch out the cramp.
Saewoo: One of the people at the front was grabbing his leg and helping him stretch it out. Ha ha. It was really funny.
Dony: Right …that all got broadcast on TV as well.
Soongyu: That was the day he became known as ‘Mr Cramp’. He got a cramp again at the next show as well...
Dony: Our set list varies depending on where we are playing.
Saewoo: Yeh, there is a big difference. Firstly, the style of songs we choose to play at the shows is different. We have a really big range of styles in our music; I think that is one of our strongest points as a band. The response from the audience is really different too.
Soongyu: I think we are still trying to find our style. The band has been around for about six years or so now, but we have still not settled on a specific sound.
Isntoff: I think we are still searching for our style in the mountain ranges.
Soongyu: It is like we are cast adrift in the mountains.
Saewoo: We are a Himalayan band. haha
Soongyu: It was a real honor.
Dony: There were some other nominees who were already performing when we were about one or two years old, so it was a real honor to be included alongside those people in the nominations.
Isntoff: There was almost a twenty year age difference between some of them and myself.
Dony: It means a lot for a band from our musical genre to be nominated as a candidate at the Korean Music Awards. I hope it gives some hope to the other bands that are following in our footsteps. Hopefully we will win a prize as well, but I doubt it somehow.
Saewoo: Even if we don’t win, it still means a lot to be nominated.
Isntoff: I’m practicing my clapping at the moment. I am really looking forward to that after party.
Dony: I’ve not been in the band all that long, but I think one of the reasons our image is good with other bands and venues is that if they invite us to a show, we always go and play regardless of the time and location of the show. At first of course, there were not many people there to watch. There have been lots of occasions where it was just the bands watching each other play. Because we are continually playing shows we have the reputation of being a very hard working band. It has become a bit of a habit for us I guess. It could be seen as a good point or a bad point I think… because at the moment we play so many shows, people might think ‘ah, I won’t bother going today, let’s just see them next time’. We worry about how to deal with that a lot at the moment.
Isntoff: All of us would love to play at the Korean rock festivals.
Saewoo: We have played at a festival in Russia, but we have still not been invited to one here in Korea. Not sure why that is.
Dony: I am really curious to find out what it feels like to play at such a big event. We have played on big stages as opening guests for other bands, but it felt almost like a bit of a shame somehow. I think it would be really fun for us to be on a big stage of our own. Some of the people at the big rock festivals have their own favorite bands that they went to see but most of the people there are just people that know how to have a good time at a show, so I reckon it would be great fun to play. I think even those people who had never seen us before would think, ‘oh, these guys are fun’, so … first off our aim is to play at some Korean festivals. We don’t care what stage we end up on, we just want to play some fun shows.
Isntoff: I want to play on a big stage. A substage would be ok too. The busking stage? No! No!
Dony: We don’t know what each of us gets up to.
Soongyu: I’m curious now. What do you all do?
Saewoo: Work and … improve myself as a person and practice. Drink and listen to music as well.
Isntoff: Similar for me.
Soongyu: We want to introduce some keyboards to our music so I am getting lessons and practicing that a lot. A bit of exercise as well.
Dony: I drink or go to the PC rooms. Or sleep. One of those three things. I used to play League Of Legends a lot, but these days I’ve moved over to Diablo.
Soongyu: He is a gaming addict. Last time we had band practice, we finished really late and ended up going to a PC room together. We finished practice around midnight and I ended up leaving the place around 5am; this guy was playing games until 8:30 am.
Isntoff: It is really important, isn’t it? In my opinion it doesn’t matter what job you are doing, communication is something you have to do. Not just for bands but for political parties or businessmen too, I think communication is something everyone should be doing.
Soongyu: I think it is something that should be done moderately. Ha ha. I think it is important to communicate a lot with those people who want to be communicated with. Isntoff’s new nicknames are ‘communication addict’ and ‘communication obsessor’! The result of all this is that we have made a concert series called ‘The Communication Show’.
Isntoff: That has never once come out of my mouth. Please believe me. I am a big supporter of Soo-Hyun Kim.
Saewoo: I think you need to apologize to all the Soo-Hyun Kim fans.
Isntoff: I’m sorry.
Soongyu: For me, the Seoul Electric Band. I am a super fan of that band. I would love to get to play a show with them someday.
Isntoff: I’d love to play with Crash.
Dony: I’d like to play with Gwamegi.
Saewoo: For me, Galaxy Express. I’d love it if Juhyun would be an honorary guest vocalist for us.
Soongyu: You want to use him as an honorary vocalist?!? Just mimic him, you’re good at that, aren't you?
Saewoo: Originally I was into hard rock but these days I’ve really gotten into the song <The Boys Are Black> by the Dropkick Murphys.
Isntoff: The band I like the most is Nirvana, one of their songs is called <Beeswax>, which never really became that well known. I don’t know what the song is about but it is my favorite song. That’s the one I want to recommend to everyone.
Soongyu: For me, there is a band here in Korea called Table People. I really like that band so I’d like to recommend their song <Call Me>.
Dony: I really like a band called Mr. Big. They have a drummer called Pat Torpey, but sadly these days he has Parkinson's Disease and can no longer play the drums. I like their song called <The Whole World’s Gonna Know>, so I want to recommend that one.
Dony: <I.F.T.S>. It was the first time we did a song that is that long and that fast. It was really hard to record it, but after listening to it it’s just the kind of genre I like and it makes me feel good. That’s the one song of ours I would recommend listening to.
Isntoff: Shall we try to play it live sometime soon?
Dony: No. Ha ha! It’s just good for listening to.
Soongyu: For me, it changes all the time. Today I would recommend listening to our song called <What I Know>.
Isntoff: For me. <I Don’t Need It>. I really like this song. The best thing is that the lyrics are about something that everyone can relate too. It’s a breakup song about a lost love and how it makes you feel angry but at the same time you still love that person. The song is exactly one minute long, with a medium tempo ... it seems to fit in well with the atmosphere of most venues.
Saewoo: These days I would recommend a song we recently recorded called <연쇄할인마 [A Serial Discounter]>. Even the title is really good fun, and I think that it captures the Veggers sound really well. The sound is really different from the songs we produced in the past. We plan to release the song as a single.
Isntoff: Superpower … I’d love the power to have money regularly come to me every month. Like the pension lottery prize (you win a set payment each month for a set amount of years). Money power!
Dony: I’d like to have a mind control power.
Saewoo: I would like to be able to stop time. And have it so only I can move around.
Isntoff, Dony: What would you do?
Saewoo: Firstly I’d like to hit our drummer. Ages ago in a webtoon I saw a character with that power, it looked really cool.
Saewoo: The closest plan we have is to safely accomplish the European tour. We also have a single that is due out soon, and although at the moment we don’t have any other new songs in the works, we do plan to make lots of new and diverse songs this year as well. And we really want to take part in some festivals.
Isntoff: Hopefully we can reach our aim with the crowdfunding project we have going at the moment. Success with the funding will mean we can have a good tour over in Europe. Communication! I want to communicate with everyone; boys, girls, elders and youngsters. Of course, I too would love to appear at a festival or two. Give us a call!
Soongyu: My aim is to write a masterpiece of a song.
Dony: For me, first off I need to get some of my strength back. I got hurt recently, I got a slipped disk. I’d like for us to get some more exposure to people who love indie bands and also to people who like mainstream music as well. Hopefully … we will get an invite from a rock festival too.
Interview : Jin Kim, Eunji Kim, Choi Il-Hwa
English Translation : Patrick Connor & Doyeon Lim (임도연)
Edited by : Rock N Rose
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Date : Mar 19th (Sat) 19:00
Venue : Freebird
Adv : 12,000won
Door : 15,000won
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