Posted on April 26, 2016

Interview

Pictures : Jin Kim

# Julia Dream have been making music together for three years now but, can please you introduce each other to our readers who might not yet know you. 

Joon Hyung: This is our drummer, Sang Hun Yeom. He and I set up the band together. He plays a central role in the band and gives us a sense of balance while at the same time is the band's official alcoholic!

Sang Hun: I told you, I’m not drinking these days…! The guy next to me is Byoung Kyu Son, he is the bass player for Julia Dream. He lives around the Konkuk University area and he has a lot of pride about being a citizen of Gwangjin District. On stage he looks really tall and has a certain mystique about him, but in normal everyday life he is a really loud kind of guy. He is addicted to computer games as well. 

Byoung Kyu: Then, it is down to me to introduce our guitarist and singer Joon Hyung Park. He is Julia Dream’s leader and he is strongly opinionated and stubborn.

Sang Hun: He is a dictator!

Byoung: Right! But I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve all ended up playing together in a band. We work together well, both musically and also in terms of the other work stuff we have to do as well. In my case if there is something I find annoying to do, I just don’t bother doing it at all, I am that kind of person. But Sang Hun doesn’t whine about stuff, he just puts his head down and get’s on with it. Joon Hyung has a good personality so he has lots of people around him all the time. He is a good guitar player too, and he is absolutely crazy about music. 

Compared to other bands, you guys seem to give each other a lot of compliments.

All Members: eh…? Most of the time we just abuse each other...

# Are you being polite to each other now to protect your public image? 

Joon Hyung: Haha. Usually we just swear at each other and fight a lot… I dunno. Perhaps today we all just got out of bed on the right side or something, and that’s why we are complimenting each other for once…!

Byoung Kyu: Usually people who are close to each other dish out a lot of abuse to one another, whereas people who are not so close tend to give lots of compliments to each other. 

Sang Hun, Joon Hyung: That’s right! We are not all that close!

# We heard that when you were looking for a bass player it took around one year and more than ten auditions to find the right person. What was the crucial factor that meant you picked Byoung Kyu?

Joon Hyung: ‘It wasn’t like he beat off 10 people to win the spot in the band’. All the people before Byoung Kyu had all failed their auditions, he came in and passed his. 

Sang Hun: Yeh. The other ten people were not quite right for us... at that time Byoung Kyu was studying ‘applied music’ at university. We called him around the time he was due to graduate and aske what his plans were after, to which he replied “I have nothing planned”, so we asked if he would like to join our band. He was really good at playing the bass at that time too. That’s how he ended up playing with us.

# We heard that you took your name from the Pink Floyd single ‘Julia Dream’, at that time were there any other candidates you were thinking of using for a name? 

Joon Hyung: nooooooooo. They were so strange, too weird to talk about.

Byoung Kyu: They are too vulgar, so we can’t put it out there for publishing.

Joon Hyung: There were two other names in the mix that Byoung Kyu had suggested, but one of them was too rude to use, it was so severe that it is the only one that I can remember. 

Byoung Kyu: Hmmm … There are three of us, and we are all Koreans so at some point we considered calling ourselves the ‘Kimchi Trio’. There was another name I suggested as well, but it’s too rude, so I don’t really wanna tell you. haha

Joon Hyung: You (Byoung Kyu) were a big advocate of that name.

Byoung Kyu: I was serious about using that name too. It is not really all that bad a word, well, not in the music world anyway. Anyway, we ended up going with our leader’s opinion and naming ourselves Julia Dream. 

# As Julia Dream, what image would you like to project to the public? 

Joon Hyung: Julia is a feminine name, but the image we would like to project is the exact opposite of that…not really a distinction between masculine and feminine though. How can I put it? More the difference between the feelings people show on the outside and the ones they are having on the inside. Our sound is really strong, but emotionally we want the songs to feel soft. 

# This new album is Julia Dream’s first full length album and first release since 2014’s single, <Lay It Down On Me>. Can you explain the concept behind the album a little please?

Joon Hyung: This album is a double CD release, there is a story concept to the album as well. Some of the tracks are long, some of them are short. All the songs on the two CDs come together to make one long song, which we tried to compose to make it feel like one long story. Also, there are points in the album where the melody or the lyrics might repeat themselves or get re manifested as a slight variation.  

Sang Hun: Tell them what the story is about!

Joon Hyung: Ah, I should, shouldn't I? hahaha The lead character of the story is an adult. The first CD is about that character's past. When he was young, his father went out to sea to feed his family, but he was swept away by the waves. As a result of his death our hero and his mother suffered a lot of mental anguish. People around him would tell him not lose faith because the princess god who controls the oceans would make sure everything works out. The music on CD1 is an expression of the process of him slowly losing his mind. One day he woke from a dream in which the whole world was burning, when he woke he saw there was a real fire. That is where the first CD’s story ends. 

In the second CD the mother has gone completely mad and disappeared. The main character has become an adult and we are now talking about him in the present. Because of the sea, he has now lost not only his dad but his mum as well, however he keeps telling himself that everything is okay. However one day he hears news that his friend’s life has also been taken by the sea. This event causes him to have a complete change of perspective, in the past he worshipped the sea princess who ruled the oceans like a god, but now all he wants to do if fight her and her army. The songs on CD2 express how our hero feels emotionally during the fight with the ocean’s armies. He thinks that all humans living on Earth are victims, and that we all need rescuing from humanity. Despite thinking like that, at the end of the story he says ‘don’t ever come and find me’ and suddenly he too disappears. That is how the album story finishes. 

Sang Hun: It is an album that reflects real life as much as possible. Just like our parents generation before us, our generation too is faced with lots of hardships. We made an album whose music reflects those hardships.

Joon Hyung: The ocean and the waves could represent our ‘society’, ‘the system’ or ‘life’. We are an improvisation band that does not impose any restraints on our album composition, but this time around we decided to try to reflect the flow of a story through our album. We hope that after listening to the whole album that listeners will feel some kind of sentiment. 

# We are curious to know what you focused on the most when making the album?

Joon Hyung: Firstly, we tried really hard to create an album with a diverse and colourful sound to it. Our last release was a single called ‘가위 {Sleep Paralysis}’, and we’ve re-recorded that track for the new album as well, but the new album version was recorded using a much more diverse range of instruments. The album contains some acoustic tracks and we make a lot of use of keyboard sounds as well. When we were arranging the songs we tried include a wide variety of changes, for example the same melody appears in different songs, in some it has a harder feel to it and in others a more acoustic feel. We wanted to show everyone how Julia Dream has changed over the last three years. The songs on this album are not songs we have been playing live, so even existing fans of ours will get to experience something new when they listen to our album. 

# People who listen to Jula Dream’s music might be reminded of music by bands like Pink Floyd or King Crimson. Apart from being influenced by bands from the 60s and 70s what makes Julia Dream unique? 

Joon Hyung: That’s right. We got a lot of influence from 60s western art rock or progressive rock, but I’d like to think that our music also includes some very Korean emotions. The more we play together, the more I feel that ‘Koreanness’ in our music. After coming back from our tour of America I can really feel that difference between our music and music of bands from over there. Our music is naturally stained with our own style, it is hard to explain it, but I guess a part of us is reflected in our music. At that time there was a lot of variety in progressive music. I think that Julia Dream’s music also express that diversity. I think that compared to Pink Floyd's more calm style of performing our performance style is a little more dynamic. We try hard to show our influences from jazz and classical music as well. 

# You’ve played all your new material live already - what were people’s reactions? 

Sang Hun: People who were already fans of Julia Dream tend to tell us that they really dig it. In the past, we’ve sought out feedback about our shows online, and found out that we’ve been called ‘an energy-sucking band’, because our song ‘Sleep Paralysis’ is 20-odd minutes long. As a result, we cut the live version of that song down to about five minutes. Now, because the songs are shorter, I think people can enjoy them more, so they give positive feedback about the band. 

# What will you remember most from recording your debut album?

Byoung Kyu: We rented a practice space to record drums, and the bass was recorded at Joon Hyung’s workspace. We slept there too, and I snored a lot. We emptied his fridge as well.

Joon Hyung: And we used up all his cash too, haha.

Byoung Kyu: Right, and we ate all the food that Joon Hyung’s mother sent. We were treated like royalty while we were there. In conclusion, we polished off everything in his fridge and used up all the money in his wallet. By way of apology, seeing as he was producing it all we didn’t complain about any of his work and just followed his instructions.

Joon Hyung: These days, a strong feeling I have is that all the fighting while we were writing the songs was worth it. In the past when we were recording, it sometimes felt like we were not quite on the same page. These days, however, things turn out better than we ever expected. 

Sang Hun: The song we put the most work into when recording was ‘전쟁의 명분 {Casus Belli}’. The drums in the last part of the song are really complicated. When you listen to them in conjunction with the other instruments, you might not be able to notice how complicated they ,but if you just listen to the drums, they are really hard. That was an intense part of the process for us, so I remember that the most. 

# Do you have a favorite track on the album?

Sang Hun: I like them all.

Byoung Kyu: My favorite is ‘꿈속에 있네 {In a Dream}’. By chance, we came up with a really cool riff, and the song is basically that riff repeated over and over again for 8 or 9 minutes. It’s also the only song on the album that uses major chords. It is much harder than I thought it would be to play one riff for such a long time, so in order to keep the song sounding dynamic, we decided not to just copy and paste the riff and performed the whole thing in real time from start to finish. I think I like this song the most. Of course, I like them all! 

Joon Hyung: Ah, I really can’t choose just one song. Make sure you listen to them all! I hope that all our fans can listen to the album in its entirety, from start to finish without pausing at least once. 

# What is the creative process for Julia Dream?

Joon Hyung: If one of us comes up with a riff or a melody, we jam it out together at the practice space. We all like writing songs this way - during the songwriting process we always ask each other for opinions and thoughts. The majority of the songs on this album were made that way.

# How did playing in America affect you and your music? 

Joon Hyung: There are so many artists of distinct individuality, and the fans over there have a really good understanding of which artists have influenced which musicians. Apart from fellow musicians, most people in Korea don’t really know much about that kind of stuff. Also, Koreans tend to think it’s fine to just make reinterpretations of the music they’re influenced by, whereas in America, they’re not all that fussed about your playing skills but don’t like it if it looks like you’re ripping off another band. After coming back from America, I realized that even if we’re playing a cover track, it’s important to make sure it has our own identity stamped on it. 

Sang Hun: Because America is such a massive country, there’s a wide variety of different scenes. If you meet other bands playing “psychedelic” music, they’re all really different from each other. They all also respect each other's different styles. When I saw that, it made me think,‘ah, everyone has their own unique style, so we don’t need to worry at all.’ I made me realize that we don’t need to change what we’re doing, just we need to make sure we keep making our music with our own unique flavor. Bands in Korea have really amazing playing skills. Among the bands we saw over in America, there were some who had pretty shabby playing skills, but despite that, their music was not at all shabby. It made me realize that I need to change my perspective somewhat. I thought ‘ah, the music these guys are playing out here is real music.’ 

Byoung Kyu: Also, compared to Korea, there was a really different reaction from people over there when we played our song ‘Sleep Paralysis’. It’s not a song with a really strong beat, so people in Korea are pretty relaxed when they hear us play it. In America, even if it was the middle of the day, everyone danced like it was a dance party, and they all danced perfectly in time with the rhythm. Also, when they like something, they make it clear to you with their reaction and if they don’t like it, they won’t even look at you. That’s the big difference between people over there and Korean people. Koreans will clap even if they didn’t like your music. 

Joon Hyung: Americans know exactly what they like and what they don’t like.  

Byoung Kyu: Personally, before going to America, I often thought that I should concentrate on improving my playing skills. But after coming back from our American tour, I began to trust more in the music we are making together and what’s more, I think I began to trust the other members of the band more as well. I think we can progress forward in the right direction using the current skills we have as our foundation.

Joon Hyung: I think that Byoung Kyu has changed the most since the tour.

Sang Hun: Because we all struggled through the tour together, we talk to each other a lot more now. The tour has helped us in a lot of ways I think. 

# I guess there are many hardships to being a full-time musician here in Korea, if you ever find yourself in a slump, how do you overcome it?  

Sang Hun: Being a musician in itself is hard. There are lots of bands who teach lessons or do other part- time jobs to keep themselves afloat. In order to earn a living, you have to invest a lot of time in that work, and the amount of energy you can focus on music gets less and less. 

Byoung Kyu: If you try to earn a living doing outside of music and end up earning more money that way, then it becomes tempting to quit music and just do that job instead. During those times, I just practice more and more to shake off those thoughts. It is a simple thing to do, but it gives me a sense of belonging, and that feeling helps me banish any thoughts I have about quitting. 

Joon Hyung: I think overcoming hardships is one of the hardest things to do. I imagine it’s the same no matter where you are in the world. However, it is especially hard to earn a living doing part-time work here in Korea. There’s a lot of anxiety about paying rent and stuff like that. When we started out, we just decided to endure the hardships for a year or so but now we just have more financial worries, like how to raise the money to record. For example, we got the invite to tour in America, but didn’t have the money to pay for airfare. We don’t have enough money to do the things we want to do as a band. I guess these kind of issues will continue to blight us, but more than overcome them, I guess we endure them. 

Sang Hun: Standing on the stage gives us a real sense of accomplishment and helps us get out of any slump. 

# What are your plans for after you have released your first album? 

Joon Hyung: We’ll put on a good showcase concert and prepare for the next album as well. We also plan to play as many club shows as we can. We have a few potential things lined up already, but nothing concrete just yet so we can’t announce it just now. We have plans to tour abroad again, too.

# What inspires you right now? Are there any korean indie bands that give you inspiration?

Joon Hyung: Honestly, over the last six months or so I haven’t been able to listen to much music because we’ve been working on our album so much. I’ve been too busy to listen to much music and I’ve also purposely tried to avoid listening to too much because I don’t want to be influenced by it while making our songs. However, recently I have been getting into Telefly’s music. Not because I’m friends with them, but because I really like their music. Also, their songs contain some philosophical thoughts I like… ah right, I like Life & Time as well. 

Sang Hun: I like the Monotones.

Joon Hyung: I like Howaho.

Sang Hun: I like Ironic Hue’s album <선택 {On My Own}>.

Joon Hyung: Ah, it’s not music but it is something I have been influenced by a lot, Salvador Dali’s pictures. Whenever I look at his pictures I feel a bit overwhelmed, the images are really abstract so they give me a lot of inspiration. In particular his picture called ‘The Temptation of St. Anthony’.  

‘The Temptation of St. Anthony’ by Salvador Dalí

# Is there any show you would like to appear at?

Joon Hyung: I want to stand on all the big stages. I’d love to play at Glastonbury… and .. Ah! There is one thing I would love to do. I’d love to animate the story behind our new album and rent a big museum type place and project that animation on the stage while we are playing. 

Sang Hun: Money, money, money … if you want to do something like that we are gonna need way more money than we spent on the album. 

# What are your aims for Julia Dream?

Sang Hun: When I started playing music, I had really big ambitious dreams, but now … my aim is to just keep enjoying making music and to keep the band stable / not break up. Rather than having grandiose dreams, my dream is to simply continue on as a band making smaller individual aims as we go. A lot of thoughts cross my mind when I look at the bands that have been around for a long time. Some of them are in their 40s or 50s, but they are still making their own music. I really respect that and I hope that I too can continue making music for a long time to come. 

Byoung Kyu: It’s no exaggeration to say that maintaining the band is our primary aim. I think it would be pretty impressive achievement to keep Julia Dream going for ten years or more, so that is what we are aiming for. 

Joon Hyung: For me too, like Sang Hun just said I really respect what the older bands are doing. I think being in a band and making music for as long as those guys have is really cool, I think they are really lucky to have been able to do that. I want to play with Julia Dream’s band members for a long time. Musically, I want to keep making ever changing music. Our music is not the most popular kind of music in today’s generation, but I want to keep making music with a message for a long time to come. 

Buy Julia Dream's <World Is On Fire: Empire Of Anxiety> :

Digital :  Monkey3Music | Naver Music | Olleh Music | Bugs | Genie | Melon

Physical : Yes24‎ (International Shipping) | Aladdin | Hyang Music | Interpark | Kyobo Online | Hot Tracks

_____________________________________________________________
Interview : Nuri Jung, Jin Kim,  Wonbi Choi, Kate Munich
English Translation : Patrick Connor / Doyeon Lim
Edited by : Alex Ameter
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For more information on the band, check them out at the following sites :

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Band.JuliaDream
Twitter : https://twitter.com/juliadream0band
DoIndie : http://www.doindie.co.kr/en/bands/julia-dream

Bands

Julia Dream

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