Posted on May 17, 2014
For a band, the process of maturation brings with it a great deal of anxiety and no little amount of angst. The debut album is easy by comparison. There’s no expectations, no critical anticipation, no fans whose standards you are trying to meet or please. There’s only getting your sound out there and trying to get as many people to listen to it as possible.
But you can only ride that first album for so long. Eventually you have to put out the much discussed sophomore album. Bands have all sorts of names for this, the sophomore curse, sophomore slump, second album blues, etc. Some bands are so aware of the idea they use the concept to their advantage (Grandaddy’s (great) second album The Sophtware Slump). All the pressure comes from the process of public creation.
For the debut, an artist could experiment, tweak, play around with their sound, and decide exactly how they wanted to be portrayed. Once their music is out there, however, bands are saddled with the burden of their previous albums. So then what does the artist do? Do they produce an album that sounds extremely similar to their previous effort at the risk of being called derivative, a one-trick pony? Or do they experiment and continue to push their sound in new direction, possibly at the expense of alienating a fan base who already loves the music they make.
The more albums a band produces, the more complicated this question becomes. Trying to compare Please Please Me Beatles with Let It Be Beatles or Pablo Honey Radiohead with King of Limbs Radiohead is a foolhardy task. Did fans who loved the original sound of the band’s first album continue to refine their taste through the experimentation and growth? Or did they cease in their development after Help! or Creep? It is always an interesting question to ask the fans of bands with a large catalogue when they started listening, or their favorite “version” of the band. Often fans will have a ready response to this question and rattle off the codified ranked order of each album’s quality.
SMACKSOFT, a rotating collection of musicians with the enigmatic front-woman BoRyung Whang serving as the constant, is just such a band. Now six full albums in, the question for fans often arises on which version of SMACKSOFT do they like the best? Which line-up, which album, which sound?
With the band participating as a member of this year’s Korean offerings at Austin’s SXSW festival, an entirely new audience will be exposed to the diverse and impressive SMACKSOFT portfolio. Doindie was able to talk with BoRyung about her experiences, what she expects from the tour, and how she has dealt with her band’s malleable character.
BW : Correct. We did tour the states for about a month from Oct. 08~Nov. 08, 2012 in a trip that included Tijuana, Mexico, LA to Mexico to LA. Then we flew to Chicago to rent a car to drive to Boston to New York, Atlanta, Dallas, New Mexico then finally back to LA. We moved around more than 30,000 km. haha
BW : Hell no. WTF. That is so lame. I’m not sure if it is the same this time though because SMACKSOFT doesn't have a gig on the K-pop night out stage. Anyway I want people to know that Korea has more genres than just K-Fucking pop music. Or do they just think that whatever music a Korean plays is K-pop?
BW : Haven’t given that much thought. I feel like I’m in North Korea now that I think of it. As long as I get more of an audience, then it’s good for me.
BW : I play acoustic guitar when I play alone. It’s like drawing with a pencil or a charcoal stick with just one color instead of painting with full colors when I play alone. Not so much color to it but it has it’s own value I suppose. So my answer is Yes and No.
BW : I believe music makes people into one harmony. I just believe in it.
BW : Marching Through War on the 5th album “Follow your Heart”, Horizon on the 4th album “Mana Wind”, and etc. Horizon sounds totally different when we play it live compared to how it sounds on the album. I want people to feel good and decent in their souls.
BW : Not so much of challenging. I write my own/ SMACKSOFT’s music and have players after I hear them playing. It is under control. Some times we jam and I arrange the sound to make new music also.
BW : I grew up in the states and it seems pretty natural to me. Music is music, I do not have any other intention other than being creative, honest to myself, and making good sounding music. It’s pretty simple.
BW : Like I said I believe music creates one harmony. We all become ONE. I just believe in it and it happens.
BW : Thank you
Interview by: Alex Ameter
Be sure to check them out if you are in the area.
For more information on Smacksoft, check them out here:
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/smacksoft
Twitter : https://twitter.com/smacksoft
Official Site : http://smacksoft.net/
Cafe : http://cafe.naver.com/smacksoft
Doindie : http://www.doindie.co.kr/en/bands/smacksoft/