Posted on April 16, 2018
# Please introduce the person sitting next to you.
Dayoung: This is our bass player...he’s called Gunseok Lee. Hmmm … do you need more information?
Gunseok: This is our drummer, Sunghoon Park. Whenever we’re hanging out till late, he makes sure we all get home safe and sound. He’s a good friend. That’s all.
Sunghoon: This is our guitarist Haram Kim; he’s the youngest in the band. He may be the youngest, but he’s probably the most mature as well.
Haram Kim: This is our vocalist & synth player. Our front woman Dayoung Ahn. She is our great leader. She always tells us to call her that, ha ha!
Dayoung: Whenever someone asks me for a favor; for example, to borrow some small change from me, I always say yes, so long as they call me “great leader”.
Haram: Yeah, that’s right.
# You have not played a show since October of 2017, so it’s been almost half a year. What have you been doing all this time?
Dayoung: Honestly, it’s just been a holiday from playing shows rather than a break from music or the band. We had one person leave the band, and so we spent some time deciding if we should replace him or if we should just stay as a four piece band. In the end we decided to stay as a four piece. It took some time to reorganize the songs. That is what we’ve been doing all this time.
Haram: It may have looked like we were taking a break, but we were working hard!
# How does it feel to be playing again after six months?
Dayoung: hmmm …. well, we haven't actually played a show as a four piece yet. Actually, I’ve not even been able to catch too many shows either. Sometimes, when I do get to see my friends play a show, it looks like soooo much fun. It makes me want to play again as well. My expectations for the performance itself are not all that big. There are our fans, the people who follow us as a band and come to see us play or listen to our music. I’m mostly looking forward to meeting them again, I think.
# Your most recent singles [Nightglow Sea] and [What If] sound somewhat familiar, yet still different to your previous releases. What have you changed musically (if anything)?
Haram: The rest of the members may think otherwise, but I think that our music has become a bit more natural. There are some changes we made intentionally; however, some changes just came about naturally. The things we like or our musical tastes may have changed slightly, perhaps. Also, we did it one way before, so this time I think there was a desire to try different things.
# What does the writer of the song think?
Dayoung: Firstly, we released ‘Nightglow Sea’ in October last year. Honestly, ‘What If’ should have come out around the same time too, but because of some issues we only ended up releasing ‘Nightglow Sea.’ When I was making it, I wanted it to be a much darker, almost unkind song. I think you have two choices when making a song really; firstly to make something that is easily likable and a bit more mainstream, and the other option is to make something that satisfies my own desires. For ‘Nightglow Sea,’ I went for the latter. While we were taking a break from shows, however, I started thinking that I would like to open up our music to more people. So I wanted to write music that reflected that, and that’s when we made the song ‘What If’. It wasn’t a calculated thing, we just kind of naturally drifted that way.
# Where do you usually get your inspiration for your lyrics?
Dayoung: On the last EP we had a lot of songs with English lyrics, because I felt that the English pronunciation and intonation really fit the sound design of the songs well. The English words just seemed to go with my intention for the songs better, so I ended up doing it in English. Also, since my lyrics often have a slightly autobiographical feel to them and because I am still not completely comfortable sharing all my feelings with everyone, I like to write them in English. Recently though, I’ve written a load of songs with Korean lyrics, but I still haven't shared these songs with the rest of the band yet. I guess I’m finally growing more comfortable with sharing my personal thoughts and feelings with people. On the other hand, some of it is functional as well, so that makes it easier! Perhaps that's why I’m now writing more in Korean.
So, if we’re talking about the Korean lyrics I’ve been writing recently, I guess I am inspired by everyday life and words and the thoughts that spring to mind when I spend time alone. There is more to it, of course, when it comes to making the complete set of lyrics, but I make notes as the words come to mind and then sit down to work on them more later. So that’s how I come up with the skeleton of the song, and then flesh it out as I go along.
# In your opinion, which of your songs has the best lyrics? Dayoung, are there any lyrics that are so good that you’re surprised you wrote them yourself?
Dayoung: I’m always surprised by the quality of my lyrics! ha ha! ;)
Haram: For me, our most recent song ‘What If’ is the best lyricially. I think it has lyrics that make you think.
Gunseok: For me, it’s the song called ‘#’. We all sung on that one and honestly, I personally like that there are not too many lyrics in the song and it’s very repetitive.
Sunghoon: I like the lyrics in the song ‘Untitled’. Most of our lyrics are in English, but this one is in Korean, so it has a certain appeal to me. The lyrics themselves touch me in some way as well.
Haram: The Korean lyrics appeal to you because you don’t understand the English lyrics so well! I think ‘541’ is pretty good too.
Dayoung: I really like them all! But … I can tell you which one I like the least if you want. It’s called ‘And So It Goes’. It’s not that I don’t like it exactly, I just think my perspective on life has changed since that was written, so it’s not my favorite, shall we say...
# Aside from the lyrics, are there any songs whose sound is particularly satisfying to you?
Sunghoon: Our track called ‘Interlude’, which we also wrote about in the album description booklet. We pretty much just arranged the song in terms of dynamics and then went straight into the studio and recorded it. We didn’t record each instrument separately, like we usually do. Each instrument has something to say in the song individually, but they sit together really well in harmony too.
Haram: That was an improvised track. I really like it too. Improvised tracks by their very nature mean that they can change each time you play them. We spent ages setting everything up and then played it as a test track, but we all really loved how it turned out, so we ended up keeping it. Essentially, it’s a song we made by chance but it ended up becoming the title track of the EP. I think the track reflects the vibe of the EP really well, which is why it ended up becoming the title track. It’s fun, mesmerizing, and it feels good to listen to.
Gunseok: I have two tracks I’d like to put forward. The best song for playing live is probably ‘541’, and the song with the best sound overall is, I think, ‘Till the Night There’. When I’m playing bass on 541 I often think about how good it is. There is a moment where everything seems to fit together perfectly; it feels really good. ‘Till The Night There’ is just my favorite song all round.
Dayoung: I don’t think I can just pick one song either. I love them all, then I hate them all as well. Seeing as I wrote them, I have a lot of affection for the songs, but at the same time I have a tendency to dwell on their shortcomings. With that in mind, I don’t think have a favorite exactly.
Haram: When I answered just now I was really just extending Sunghoon’s answer. My favorite track is probably ‘What If’; I think we put that song together really well. I’m not trying to sell the song to you (ha ha)! Like the other songs, I have listened to it a lot of times now and I don’t think there’s any part of the song I am not happy with. Compared with our other songs too, I think this song is my favorite. I’ve heard a lot of works like the other songs. Compared to the songs I've done so far. I think ‘What If’ has a good overall balance and is just really good.
Sunghoon: It’s a good song to listen to in your car.
Gunseok: Won’t it make you sleepy while driving?
# In the song ‘#’ and also in ‘Nightglow Sea’ you mention ‘dance’ a lot in the lyrics. Are there any particular reasons for that?
Dayoung: Actually, the word is the same in each song but the meaning is different. In the case of ‘#’, it’s about how I feel when I am really drunk. When I’m drunk it feels like I’m dancing really slowly. When we are drunk, the world feels like it’s going really fast, or sometimes the opposite; really slowly. I wanted to put that into words for that song.
For the song ‘Nightglow Sea’, I was trying to describe what I had seen in a dream. In the dream I was dancing completely in the nude. At that time, I think I felt like I needed to be free as a musician. I wasn’t being restrained by anything exactly, but I felt a little trapped in some way. Somehow I found that freedom in my dream and wanted to express it in my lyrics.
# You’ve been playing together for quite some time now; before you changed your name to In The Endless Zanhyang We Are, you were known as the Ahn Dayoung Band. You took part in the Hello Rookie, K-Rookies and KT&G Band Discovery projects and won a lot of prizes along the way. You have also appeared at Zandari Festa among other things. It seems like you’ve been doing rather well for yourselves. Now you have a tour to the UK coming up as well. What are your plans for the band going forward?
Haram: I don’t really have a clear idea of what will happen in the future. Right now it feels a little like we are starting out again. The live show we are preparing at the moment is a bit different to what we used to do before. Hopefully when we show off our new sound it will open some new doors for us going forward. For example, we might be able to do some collaborations that perhaps we couldn’t in the past. Also, as our style changes a little, we will no doubt attract some new listeners, and new areas in which we can work may open up to us. I don’t expect any massive changes, but perhaps some new opportunities will emerge.
# You’re going on a tour of the UK in May and appearing at Primavera in Spain as well. Can you tell us a bit about that and also something about the band you’re touring with?
Dayoung: We’ll be going to the UK at the start of May for around 3-4 weeks. Most of our shows in the UK will be alongside a British band called Eyre Llew. They are a three piece band who fit into a similar category of music to us. This is the first time we will have ever played alongside a band from abroad like this. Of course, we have shared a stage with foreign acts at places like Zandari Festival. But it is the first time we’ve worked so closely with a band from another country. Of course we’re looking forward to the atmosphere at the festivals and to playing in front of new fans. But the thing we’re looking forward to the most is the experience of playing and traveling abroad. We’re working out what to do when we get back to Korea as well. I think this experience will really help us gain a new, wider perspective on the band and what to do in the future.
* Dates for In The Endless Zanhyang We Are's upcoming Europe tour
# Do you have anything in the pipeline with Eyre Llew after the tour?
Haram: I know they’re planning to come over to Korea later in the year. We will help them out and tour with them here as well. We’re also planning to record and release a split EP with them while they’re out here in Korea.
# As you said, this is going to be your first ever tour abroad. What do you think will be the hardest thing about it?
Dayoung: The fact that we have no money! Everything seems to cost a lot over there... When I talk to people that have already been on tours they tell me that often during their shows gear that had been fine just before would stop working! I worry about what we’ll do if something like that happens to us. I also worry about what happens if I have an accident that i can’t deal with myself.
# What are you looking forward to the most about the tour?
Gunseok: I am looking forward to seeing how people over there react to our music. The concert culture over there is different to that of Korea, isn’t it? In Korea, there are only really shows on the weekend. But in the UK I’ve heard that they have shows every night of the week. I’m really curious to see how it all differs to here in Korea.
# The lineup for the primavera festival this summer is amazing. How does it feel to be part of such a great festival lineup? Is there anyone you’re particularly looking forward to seeing?
Haram: Actually, it was thanks to getting the chance to play at Primavera that we ended up doing the whole UK tour in the first place. When we first got a call about it, we weren’t really sure we could do it … but once we knew Primavera were definitely inviting us it gave us some extra strength and belief in ourselves. We got invited while we were on our mini ‘break’, and it inspired us to come back quicker and gave us the determination to do things right. It’s fun to just imagine performing there, but it’s going to be much more than just playing a concert. I’m really looking forward to seeing and experiencing everything there as well. It’s a true global festival and it’s in a market that we would like to pursue as a band moving forward. Also, as an added bonus, we get to see some artists who we might never get to see here in Korea. People like Bjork or Arca.
# We’re curious to know what other Korean acts you guys like.
Haram: There are loads...
Dayoung: It’s a difficult question (ha ha)!
Gunseok: Big Bang? Red Velvet?
Dayoung, Haram: We really like Red Velvet.
Haram: Doesn’t everyone like them? Anyway, I do!
Dayoung: Me too, I honestly like Red Velvet.
Dayoung, Gunseok, Haram: We like SHINee too!
# What would you like people to think of you as a band?
Gunseok: I’d like them to think of us as an Endless Zanhyang (reverberation).
Dayoung: If they think of us as a reverberation, then at some point we will disappear forever... Actually, we never planned to make just one style of music forever. We don’t plan on playing the same kind of music over and over again. We don’t want our band to be pigeon holed into one kind of music. Even a single color has a lot of different shades to it.
Gunseok: To put it a little more simply, I would love it if people asked, ‘do you know In The Endless Zanhyang We Are?’ and their friends replied, ‘sure, we love that band’. It would be awesome to be that kind of band.
Dayoung: I want us to be an honest band, a band without any dirt. I don’t mean that I want us to be noble or some kind of angelic band, just that I’d like people to think of us as a band that works hard at their music.
In The Endless Zanhyang We Are April Concert
Inevitability Under Consecutive Coincidence
To find out more about the band, follow the links below:
Interview: Jin Kim, Soyeon Kim
English Tranlation: Patrick Connor, Doyeon Lim