Posted on September 25, 2014

Interview

Hi, please can you introduce yourselves for our readers.

Idiotape : Hey, we are Idiotape. An electronic, shoegazing rock band.

How did you first get into music?

DR (Drums) : I first started when I was 7. I used to listen to rock music a lot when I was in middle school. Once I got into high school I decided that I’d like to give it a go myself. I wanted to play and I wanted to become a rock star. I guess that is what made me get into music.

Dguru (Producer/ Synthesizer) : My mate, who was a club DJ, left all his gear with me to look after when he joined the army for his military service. I started playing with his gear and making music. One day I was at some club party and one of the DJs could not make the show for some reason. I was asked to fill in for him that night, and that’s how I got into music and DJing.

Zeze (Synthesizer) : I first started thinking about becoming a musician right back in high school. I was raised listening to rock and metal and so of course I ended up buying a guitar. I played indie music with my guitar while preparing for university. At the time I was also debating if I should get into music seriously or not. When I was 20 I went to a club in Hongdae, that was when I first started to become interested in electronic music. I ended up studying midi and computer music, and that is how I came to be playing music today.

We are curious about how you all met each other to form the band.

Dguru : I received a letter one day that said, ‘let’s get together!’ (laughs). Actually, I was already playing music with ZeZe and another guitarist friend of ours. We knew DR a little, but not all that well. However, one day I suddenly asked him to play music with us.

DR : After he invited me to play with them, it took quite a long time for us to get together and actually play. About 100 days or so I guess.

Dguru : Our manager was roommates with DR, he introduced him and I. We were both looking to do new music projects. I told DR what kind of music I wanted to make. He was keen on the idea as well.

DR : At first, before we gave it a go I didn’t know what to expect. I listened to what Dguru had to say and was really interested by the idea, but on the other hand I was worried about how well it would turn out in reality.

What was it that made you want to be a DJ in a band? What is different about being a club DJ and band DJ?

Dguru : Well, it is different in so many ways. When you are DJing in a club, your job is really to just create a certain atmosphere for that club by mixing existing tracks together.

It’s not lonely to be a DJ, but playing together with other people has so much more meaning to me. When I’m club DJing it is just me doing everything on my own, but when we play as a band I like it much more as, among other things, I can depend on the other members. Those are the positive points, there are a few negative ones as well. When I’m just doing straight up DJing in a club, I feel like the connection between me and the people watching is really strong. When I play with Idiotape though, I can not really see what people are doing in front of me. I’m really just aware of what the three of us are doing in that moment, and nothing else.

When I DJ, I don’t have a playlist. When we practice together, we really practice hard in order to make sure we make a good impression on the audiences we’re performing for. When Djing it’s not really possible to change the detail of a song, but when playing in a band that is not the case. Of course, the song should be set in structure, but the finer details / expression of that song can be changed each time it is played.

What did it feel like the very first time you got on a stage and played as Idiotape? How does that feeling compare to the bigger concerts you play today, such as headlining shows?

DR : I’m not sure exactly what has changed for us. We always just try our best. I guess one thing that has changed is that these days, lots of people know our songs and sing along with us at shows. There was some problem with a bit of our equipment in one of the shows, so we couldn't play one part of a song, the audience all knew the song really well, and so they ended up singing it instead. That was a really amazing experience and unexpected twist in the show.

I would say that so far, 2014 has been a great year for Idiotape. You have been part of some big festivals, such as SXSW, Pentaport, UMF, Global Gathering Korea etc. What are your thoughts on the first part of 2014? What are the highlights? Have there been any negative aspects?

DR : Time has gone by so damn fast. As for negative points, in truth I never feel there is a dull or boring moment when Idiotape is together. Even if we are performing the same songs again and again it always feels like a new experience to me, because it always feels like the audience is liking us more and more each time.

Your emotions are different every time you take to the stage?

Idiotape : Yep, every day at every show we play it always feels different to us (laughs).

What was most memorable about your recent overseas tours?

DR : The worst thing was having to get visas for some of those shows. That was a major issue on the trip. It really depleted our enthusiasm for the shows. I’m also really scared of flying. Argh, it is so annoying for me. In fact I’m so scared of flying, I have even begun to make the other band members afraid as well! haha

You get a good response and have gained a decent following abroad these days, how does it feel to get some recognition outside of your home country?

DR : There are not so many bands like us around, even abroad. I think when people see us for the first time, they are amazed by us / curious about us. There are no lyrics to our songs. The people who come to watch us can just lend us their bodies and enjoy the show. I think that is why we get such a good reaction.

You have been working on an electronic music project called We Are The Music Makers (WATMM). With projects like WATMM, do you think the environment supporting independent and smaller electronic musicians is becoming more diverse and experimental now than when you first started?

Dguru : I guess it varies depending on the criteria you use to analyze it. I have not really seen a difference in the number of people attending the WATMM shows since I started helping out. But I guess helping out in some way is better than not helping out at all. Anyways, if just a few people do start getting together and watching these shows, then it will begin to get bigger and bigger. However, like I just said, I’ve not yet begun to see a difference between the attendance now and when I started out.

Zeze : I think the thing that has changed the most in the underground scene is the number of artists. There are so many more artists these days. So many more people who want to do it and are doing it. There are also many more opportunities for people to play shows these days as well. I think there are quite a few people who think Idiotape played some part in this. We really want to help our colleagues improve the scene, so we regularly go and support them. We love it if there is something we can help with. I think musicians treat EDM as a separate entity to that of the underground scene. There are lots of Idiotape fans that classify us as EDM. We on the other hand don’t tend to think of ourselves as EDM. It’s complicated to classify us. We just do our thing. (laughs)

Are there any artists from that scene that you want to recommend to us? Someone who is great but not getting the recognition they deserve.

Dguru : LudiSTELO! They are like family friends to us.

There are not all that many bands around in the Korean electronic scene, but the ones that do exist are all amazing. I’m not just saying that for the sake of it. EDM is usually associated with nightclub culture / partying, the musicians in the scene are not worried about all that, they just make music because they love to make music. I reckon the electronic scene is struggling more than the indie scene. However, the electronic music scene has a lot of charm and a lot of hard working people in it, which means the scene, although small is really good.

What do you think, if anything, these groups can do to get more attention?

Zeze : It is a gradual process. In order to survive, you just have to keep plugging away. Doing things gradually is a really hard process you know. So many other things happen at the same time, you get older, you gotta earn some money and perhaps get married as well. The older you get, the more things get in the way. But they just gotta their heads down and keep working hard, bit by bit things will fall into place.

How would you like other musicians to enjoy your music?

Zeze : I would like to say I hope they enjoy it to the full, but I’m not sure that is possible. When I see other artists, I’m always wondering how they do things / what kind of equipment they use. Dguru on the other hand, just seem to be able to go and have fun at shows. Like regular audience members. DR is more objective when he watches a show. Everyone is different, I think people should just enjoy our music in whatever way they see fit.

Dguru : I believe that the harder your work the more fun it becomes. I hope the people who come across our music for the first time when watching ‘The Genius’ (a tv program that uses Idiotape’s music) become new fans. The same for those who find us via streaming sites. I think it’s good to learn about music like that (via TV shows or streaming), then become and fan and come and enjoy some of our shows.

Honestly speaking. Going to live shows is probably one of the most annoying things for me. You have to adjust your schedule for them and they tend to be expensive as well. However, they are also the best thing about music. The three of us are music mayniacs so when we find a new band or song that we really like, we do loads of research on them. Finding out everything about a new favorite band is really fun. We hope that the people who like our songs do something similar and try to find out all about us as well. Music is more fun like that. 

You guys don’t move around a whole lot on stage, what do you do in order to keep people’s attention?

DR : I don’t want to be a director and tell people what they should / shouldn't do. I believe that in order to get the audience excited, we must first get ourselves excited. It’s no good if we don’t look like we are having fun or if people think we are just pretending to have fun. We always go to shows looking to show people that we are having a great time. That is how we keep people’s attention.

When you make or play music at shows is there any part you prioritize?

DR : There are loads. When we are making music, we are always thinking about playing that music live. Instead, the things we can not show you at a live show, we try to show you in the recordings. The order of priority is the live shows, and then the album. When we are putting together the order of the tracks on an album, we try to think of the thing as a whole, not individual songs. We don’t put any emphasis on any one song as a ‘title track’ for the album.

Manager : We did however have to decide on a title track for the album (* it is a requirement for distribution companies in Korea to have a ‘title’ track for each release). We were not concerned with what song was chosen, so we just told the distributors to choose one. They chose ‘Airdrop’, but to us, there is no title track on the album.

Can you tell us a little about your new album, Tours. How does it differ from your first album?

DR : Diversity perhaps. When we were making this album, we put a lot of emphasis on the flow of the live show. We wanted to make something that would flow well in a live environment. We tried some new things that we had not been able to do on the first album as well but, there are some things on this album as well that we wanted to do but couldn't.

You mentioned the ‘flow’ of the album / live shows, but don’t your set lists always change?

DR : Yeh, the set list changes depending on the feel of the concert we are playing. We always try to work out how to set the best atmosphere at the start of the show. Also, the set changes depending on the concept of the concert as well.

Zeze : It’s the same for bands I guess. They try to not play the same songs over and over again as well. Just before the show, the choose what songs they are going to play. We do the same thing.

Dguru : Because we only had one album before, it might have seemed like we played the same set all the time.

Zeze : Yeh, if we play an hour show, we had to play the whole first album. haha

When you are jamming a new riff, do you just ‘know’ when it is gonna become an album track?

DR : No. We never know if it is going to make it as a track until it is completely finished. We are always adding more and more parts by computer. That’s how we do it.

When you record the songs, do you change them much during the recording process?

DR : No, we do all that before we hit the studio. We have to try our best to keep the recording time down, so we tend to get all the editing or songs done before we head to the studio.

How do you make adjustments to songs?

DR : When I’m creating my parts to the songs I’m always thinking about what Dguru will think of it. If we are both satisfied with a part there are not usually any more problems. We never tell each other what to do in a song. We take into account every member’s thoughts and opinions when making a song.

What is the meaning behind ‘Tours’.

DR : Actually, we didn’t make that name for the album. Our album designer came up with the concept. He sent us the draft concept for the album and at the same time suggested ‘Tours’ as a title, we liked it and so that was that. The album became known as Tours.

One of my favorite Idiotape songs off the new album is Late Pool. How did you come up for the name to that track? What does it mean?

Dguru : That is the favorite song of the boss at our agency as well. We couldn’t think of a title for the song at that time, so we asked him to come up with one for us. Thats what he called it. haha!

Manager : That is something you have never heard before isn’t it! A song named not by the band, but by the agency boss. He was swimming up in a mountain pool naked one time. I’ve gotta include the naked part in the story! The warm water and cool night air must have created a mysterious state, like being back in his mom’s womb?? It was while in this state he thought up the name to the song.

What do you like to get up to when you are not playing music?

Dguru : I don’t think I have ever been asked that before. I do loads of stuff. I like to show board and make lego projects. I like video games, but I don’t get to play them too much these days. I enjoy listening to music of course.

DR : I am mainly interested in cars (outside of music). Primarily washing cars! After I appeared in that video loads of people asked about the best way to wash their cars. The guitarist from Pia asked me to wash his car with him, he has not contacted me since! That is my hobby! haha.

Zeze : Apart from making music, I don’t do anything. I’m just motionless! I really want to just rest when we are not making music, so I listen to music and play basketball. these days I just stay home at my desk reading books and watching movies.

What are your plans for the future?

Idiotape : Well, firstly all our gigs. Then we have our work schedule as well. We are going to be making some music for a drama. We have some individual experience of this kind of thing, but it is the first time we have been asked to do it together as Idiotape. haha

How did it come about that Idiotape got invited to all these festivals abroad?

DR : I was contacted directly by V-Rox festival, but I tend to just pass these things on to our label. V-Rox have some kind of collaboration with Zandari Festa this year, because of that we get to go and play at V-Rox. It is quite an honor for us.

What were your first impressions of the overseas scenes?

DR : I was quite shocked when I went over to the USA. I thought everyone was gonna be amazing over there. I figured they would make all of Korea’s bands look small. However, it turns our Korean bands are amazing! Before I went abroad I had some kind of illusion / fantasy about foreign bands I guess, that dream is broken now. I thought that in that kind of environment, all the bands would be working really hard and would all be really good as well.

The music scene here in Korea is not all that big, so I thought that in America where the scene is bigger and better that everything must be great. However, a lot of the clubs have worse facilities than the clubs here in Korea … that’s just how it was. One of the most memorable shows for me was Summer Sonic in Japan. We were the first Korean band to be invited back there 2 years in a row.

I think Summer Sonic in Japan was also really amazing. Before we went, I did not really have high expectations, I was just treating it as a sort of summer break, but the response we got was fantastic. I could never have expected such an amazing response, not in my wildest dreams. We and our staff were so surprised. Will it be the same next time? Who knows!?

Are there any foreign artists that have made an impression on you?

DR : I can’t believe anything they say! They are at their best when they are in the waiting rooms hahaha. I did get the email addresses from some bands but … At Kintex we hung out with the Justice & Crystal Castle and their staff in the smoking room. I had met Justice when I was DJing before. We were all chatting about digitalism.

Anything you would like to say to our readers before we finish up?

Idiotape : Thanks so much. DoIndie FIGHTING!

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Interview : J-Myon Kim / Baek Yeon Seung / Eunji Kim
Translation : Patrick Connor / Doyeon Lim

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Buy TOURS (Digital) :

iTunes (USA) ← Click
iTunes (Eng) ← Click
Daum ← Click
Naver Music ← Click
Olleh Music ← Click
Bugs ← Click
Gene ← Click
MNet ← Click
Melon ← Click

Buy TOURS (Physical Copy)  :

Hyang Music ← Click
Yes Asia (International Delivery) ← Click
Yes 24 ← Click
Aladin ← Click
Kyobo Bookstore (Online) ← Click

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For more information on the band, check them out at the following sites :

Official : http://www.idiotape.com/
Facebook : https://https://www.facebook.com/Idiotape
Twitter : https://twitter.com/idiotape
DoIndie : http://www.doindie.co.kr/en/bands/idiotape

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Idiotape

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