Posted on September 11, 2015
There are people who would see this band’s name on a lineup and leave, thinking the name sounds a bit odd. Others of a more adventurous nature, however, might stick around to listen. These lucky souls would mostly likely end up feeling a certain compatriotism with the band, and a certain sense of comfortability as well. Formed in 2013, we hate jh play their own style with what might be called a pretty or fresh sound while the music itself remains both rough and depressing throughout. When you listen to their music it might dredge up risque memories from deep inside you and, if you’re feeling the crushing pressure of depression’s vice grip, their music can give you the strength to admit things are not as they should be. The band started out as a solo project and, over time, became a young 4-piece band called we hate jh playing songs about feeling anxious. However, after getting to hang out with the band for this interview, we found a group of young guys who like to joke around and laugh a lot. Meet we hate jh, who are also about to release their first full length album <The Naive Kids>
Il-Jun: This is Ju-Hyun, he is the guitarist and vocalist for the band. He is the grumpy old man of the band. When he speaks, you will be able to see that. As a brief introduction to Ju-Hyun, his speciality is to pretend to be modest / humble. His hobby is to pretend to be a kind person. The reason I am telling you this is because I want everyone to know what kind of devil he really is.
Ju-Hyun: It is dangerous to call someone a grumpy old man like that these days! Jin-Uk is the bass player and when we play live, he does backing vocals as well. He is always like a wolf in sheep's clothing. I reckon he is probably the worst person I have met in my lifetime (haha)
Jin-Uk: I will introduce the drummer of the band, Sang-Kun. He is the one who provides the entirety of the band’s overall technical skill. Sang-Kun loves being in the band, even though he has to deal with lots of issues. He is always giving out lots of praise and encouragement to make sure the band stays united. He is the band’s pillar of spiritual support.
Sang-Kun: Il-Jun is good looking. His guitar playing is not. He still doesn’t have much experience playing on stage so I am always telling him off for making mistakes! However, he is getting better and better all the time. I keep watch over him, a bit like a father.
Ju-Hyun: If you says he is getting better, he will really believe it.
Sang-Kun: But I could be lying, right! Anyway, he is the guitar player and as you can see by looking at him he has a ‘mask that makes him good looking enough for TV’ (has a face fit for TV).
Ju-Hyun: Yes, there is a another band called I Love JH, also my initials are JH. However I went with the name we hate jh because I think it fits the direction I wanted the music to go in. Some people with the name JH say they like the name, and some say they don’t, but either way they have some interest in the band which, I think is a good thing. I think it is best if the name doesn’t really have any meaning, so we just tell people the name without giving any meaning behind it.
Sang-Kun: I was the first person to meet Ju-Hyun. He was looking for a drummer and a bass player to record two songs, ‘악순환 [Vicious Circle]’ and ‘피로 [Tiredness]’, and I was one of the people who ended up working with him on that project. Almost right after recording those songs Jin-Uk and Il-Jun joined to form the band as it is now.
Pics : Jin Kim
Jin-Uk: Musically we’ve stayed within a similar genre, but we’ve also tried to include a wider variety of musical influences. Unlike the last EP, we made a lot of songs with differing moods, so we hope that fans will enjoy listening to a wider range of music from us. Before this band I didn’t have any experience writing or playing music with anyone else, and I found the whole process to be so much faster than I imagined. It was really fun. The first EP was made using Ju-Hyun’s solo songs, whereas on this album Ju-Hyun would just bring the structure of a song in and we would all work on it together as a band. I think this album means a lot more to each of us in the band because we were all involved together in the writing process.
Il-Jun: hmm… thoughts … I just thought ‘ah, we have an album’. Firstly, it was really good fun to make it. I had to make the guitar solo for one of the songs. I put off writing it for a month, so the day before the recording I was up till the middle of the night writing that part. We finished recording really fast, but it was a fun process.
Ju-Hyun: Everyone keeps talking about how fast the process was but actually we were two weeks behind the deadline. haha. I am the one who pressures the other members in the band so they all get stressed out because of me. I feel sorry for that. It has already been a year and a half since we released the EP, I didn’t want there to be a two year gap between the releases. Personally I think that a band should release new a certain amount of new material within a certain amount of time.There are some things I wish we had done differently with our first album, but I really like the fact that it is the first thing we have produced as a band. It feels like this is really a piece of work by the whole band. I am looking forward to the next round of songs we make.
Sang-Kun: It feels to me like we became more of a ‘band’ while recording this album. I can say that I think we have more of a ‘real band’(?) feel to us these days. The EP was like a flower bud before it blooms whereas now, with the new release up our sleeves I think we are a bit more like a flower that has genuinely started to bloom.
Ju-Hyun: Because I did all the lyric writing on the album I am honestly the only person who knows what they are about. I think that even if my friends listen to the lyrics several times over they will have no idea what I am talking about. Strangely, when we all separately made our preferences for the album tracklist all four of us came up with pretty much the same order. I was really surprised that we all had the same sentiment about it all.
Sang-Kun: We all think the same way, except for Il-Jun.
Ju-Hyun: Right, apart from him all our track lists were similar. At that time I wanted to say ‘ah, we are really a band now’.
Il-Jun: Apart from me.
Ju-Hyun: You must just be a session player or something haha.
Sang-Kun: We went on a kind of team building trip together to celebrate the new album. It wasn’t just us band members, we each planned to take a partner with us as well. Afterall, if more people go together it reduces the financial burden of such trips, doesn’t it. So, we told Jin-Uk to bring someone, even if it was just a best friend but he ended up coming alone and having to spend loads of money. When we were eating over dinner we were each talking to our partners and Jin-Uk was left with nothing else to do except the washing up.
Jin-Uk: I like doing housework.
Sang-Kun: When we took the rail bikes, Jin-Uk had to ride his alone.
Ju-Hyun: I think that other bands already have a preconceived image in mind that they want for their artwork which they then discuss and make together with a designer, but that isn’t how we like to do it. We have the designer listen to our music and make a design based on his feeling towards We Hate JH’s music. Also, once the designer has come up with something, we don’t ask him or her to make any changes to it either. We want it to be a natural process where that person’s design represents how they feel about our music. I think that is something that we do a bit differently to other bands. It takes a long time to do it like that because the designer will have to make many revisions to the design from the initial concept to the final product. I think he came up with 10 or more designs overall. The whole album ends up like a collaboration between the designer and us.
Ju-Hyun: That wasn’t our idea. It was a recommendation from our designer who has been working with us since our debut EP. He called up and said ‘Hey, I am going to make my design based around a three chapter idea so you need to arrange the tracks to fit in with that theme’, so the format ended up as it is now. Because of that the title track of the album has ended up as the 6th track on the CD… the design work had a big influence on the track listings. It was definitely not our initial intention to do it like that. However, because he has been working with us for a while and he always does his designs while listening to our music he knows enough to make recommendations on the direction of the album. We never once thought of making chapters. We just made 10 tracks to stick on an album. He asked us to make titles for the chapters as well, but we decided against doing that because it was too difficult. (laughs)
Ju-Hyun: If you listen to our music you will see that we are a bit different from other emo bands, right? The reason we put ourselves in the emo genre is because of the mood that our lyrics make. For me and the rest of the We Hate JH members, we all suffered from some kind of unstable feeling when we were teenagers.We take that feeling with us when we perform and write music. Emo music tends to carry that of feeling of being insecure. I think it is a good idea to think of us as a band who carries the symbolic meaning of emo with us. Abroad there has been a bit of a revival in emo music recently, we would like to be considered one of these new wave emo groups. Those bands are not playing old style emo either. We would like to be considered one branch of the emo movement.
Sang-Kun: It is really difficult. If I get too used to playing the we hate jh style then the other Bily Acoustie members can tell right away. They say ‘Hey, tone it down!’. I get told off by members of both bands all the time. I think that I need to concentrate on one of the bands only so I have decided to stop playing for Bily Acoustie after this year. I think of We Hate JH as my band so I have decided to go all in with this project.
Ju-Hyun: There are things I remember from each one we have played in. The one that sticks out the most was from this year’s Hello Rookie program, I took the phone call when they called to announce the 6 teams that were progressing to the final round. We were one of the teams … I was so happy at that time, I thought we were gonna get ditched.
Jin-Uk: The thing I remember the most was from The Jecheon International Music and Film Festival. There were so many people there. It was the first time I had ever played a show in front of so many people and also the first time I had traveled so far our of Seoul for a show. I was super nervous and made lots of mistakes as well, but we came second … so I remember it well.
Jin-Uk: We play the songs we have been practicing the most around that time.
Sang-Kun: It is something I like to boast about. It is like we are saying ‘Look how good we are, we have made another new song for you’. We want to show the judges we have made new songs in a short amount of time. Actually, the judges on these shows are usually the same people. So if we did the same songs, the judges would probably just think ‘ah, it’s these guys again’ and chuck us out.
Ju-Hyun: It is always the same people, the same songs and the same judges. So the results don’t change. It is the same for us too, but when we play these contests the other bands are always the same. I’m not sure about the audience but the lineup and the judges are always pretty much the same. I reckon I see them all more than my relatives. I only see my relatives twice a year, at Chuseok (Korean thanksgiving) and Lunar New Year but the judges I meet around 8 times in a year! Once at one of these things we played a new song and all the judges scolded us. It seems you shouldn’t play a song that the judges don’t know, else they can’t give feedback on it.
Ju-Hyun: Ah… they make us feel so small
Sang-Kun: To sum it up in one sentence ‘it feels like we are the right age to graduate from school, but we failed the exam’
Ju-Hyun: Right. That is exactly right. It would have been nice if we had passed, but we didn’t.
EP와 1집 앨범 전 곡을 합니다. 17곡을 다 하는데 한 시간 반이 안될 거예요. 그래서 좀 걱정인데... 빨리 끝나니까 2차 뛰고 싶은 분들에게 좋을 것 같아요. 저희 공연 게스트로 나잠수씨가 나오는데 첫 솔로 공연이에요. 미발표 솔로 곡도 들을 수 있는 좋은 계기가 되지 않을까 싶어요. 아무튼 저희 여러가지 준비를 많이 했어요. 러버 밴드도 있고요. 티셔츠도 팔고.... 돈은 없는데 많이 했어요. 손해 보는 장사니까 많이 와주세요.
Ju-Hyun: We are gonna play all the songs from our debut EP and the new full length album. Even if we play all 17 songs we won’t make it much further than about one and a half hours. So, we are worried about that a bit...but I guess it will be good for all those people who want to make it out to the next drinking hole. The special guest at our show is Najam Soo. It is his first ever solo show. It will be a good opportunity to see him play some songs that have not yet been released.
Anyways, we have prepared a few other special things for the show as well. We will have some bracelets and t-shirts for sale too … we don’t have a lot of cash between us but we have tried to prepare as much as possible. We are running at a loss for the show already … so please, please come out and support us!
Ju-Hyun: I have only a simple dream… I think that my music would be at its best, its most fun, if everyone were to sing along. I’d love it if people did that at every show we played, but at the moment we are not famous enough for that. I think that if everyone sang along together at a venue people would go home thinking about how much fun that show was. That is my aim, to have a show like that.
Jin-Uk: It’s probably a bit of a funny reply but I often get experience the phenomenon of DeJa vu. A while ago I dreamed about myself playing my instrument up on a really big stage. There were so many people cheering and screaming. This was a dream I had before I was even in a band. I believe in this kind of Deja Vu and I am waiting for that day to come to me. I have a strong feeling that my dream will be realised with We Hate JH. I get a lump in my throat even just talking about it, whether it is abroad or here in Korea I don’t care, I just want it to happen soon, no no, it don’t mind if it takes ages to happen, so long as it happens someday. I hope the dream becomes reality. hehe
Il-Jun: hmm … my dream is a simple one as well. I just want there to always be more people at our shows than there were when we played in Jecheon. We played a festival down there ages ago and I was really looking forward to playing to a decent crowd, but we were one of the first bands on the bill early in the day and there was hardly anyone there. I’d love it if wherever we played the venue was full with people to see us play.
Jin-Uk: That’s not really such a simple dream.
Ju-Hyun: If you want that to happen, you should go in that infinity challenge program (where they help make impossible dreams come true).
Sang-Kun: I have been playing in bands since middle school. Ever since then I have dreamed of playing in the Tokyo Dome. I think my dream fits that saying older people always like to say to kids ‘dream big & reach for the stars’. I have seen bands like Tokyo Incidents, LUNA SEA & X-Japan playing there and always thought that I can make it there someday too … haha. I still carry that dream with me to this day. However, these days I worry about the radiation problem in Japan so I don’t really wanna go so much, but I guess it is still my dream.
Ju-Hyun: We are playing at Zandari soon, we will be playing loads of shows and working hard. Now we have some material behind us we need to move away from the contest scene. If we can get the shows, we plan to play lots of them. I guess that while doing all these shows we will probably end up working on another album as well. Play shows, write songs, play more shows and practice.
Ju-Hyun: If this interview comes out word for word, the readers are gonna need to be Buddah like in their patience, because it will be a super long read. If you have made it this far … good work!
Sang-Kun: Tell them I love them all.
Ju-Hyun: If you are that patient, you deserve to get some love. If anyone has made it this far then I’m guessing we will see you at Strange Fruit for the CD release party.
Interview : Jin Kim, A-Lim Lee
English Translation : Patrick Connor / Doyeon Lim
Edited by : Alex Ameter
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Date : Sept 19th (Sat) 18:30
Venue : Strangefruit
Adv : 10,000won (1 Free Drink, 1 Bracelet)
Door : 15,000won (1 Free Drink, 1 Bracelet)
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