Posted on March 04, 2016
We recorded some outtakes from the interview to give everyone a better idea of what the atmosphere is like. Sadly we haven't had time to add English subtitles just yet. But you can read what they had to say below.
WanMoo: This is SeongJun. Can you write that he’s a genius poet who will start working as a lecturer early this year? He’s been writing poems since he was a kid. Behind that easy-going smile of his lies a serious-minded soul.
SeongJun: KyungHwan. What can I say about him? He’s a bit of an introvert. He’s a snack commander: the chocolate king. He also lives a pretty erratic life.
KyungHwan: WanMoo is the band’s mother. He’s a great cook — he’s in charge of cooking.
WanMoo: SeongJun and KyungHwan have been friends since elementary school. They have been friends the longest out of the four of us. There were together until middle school. When SeongJun was in his second year of middle school, he moved houses and went to a different school, which is when the two of them parted ways. According to SeongJun, it was around that time he started listening to lots of rock music and especially fell in love with 90s modern rock. KyungHwan, on the other hand, was really into metal. As for me, I didn’t really do anything music-related until I picked up a guitar for the first time in the first year of high school. At that time, KyungHwan was one of the best guitar players in our school, I knew from seeing him around. In the third year of high school, we ended up in the same class. I wanted to become his friend because he played the guitar so well. Thankfully, our personalities were similar, we got on well and became close friends. SeongJun came up to Seoul one day, KyungHwan introduced the two of us and we’ve been good friends ever since. SeongJun listened to lots of music as well and suggested loads of cool bands to me. Some time later, while our good friend Shiho, the singer and bass player from The Freaks, was off doing his military service, we decided to form a band along with another friend, WonJin — The Freaks’ drummer. Sadly, everyone was too busy and we couldn’t pull it off. When Shiho finished military service, we all got together and formed a different band that turned out to be The Freaks.
Editor's Note: Later, when The Freaks disbanded and Shiho went off to work on other projects, they got back together with SeongJun to form the band that they had originally tried to set up all those years ago.
SeongJun: No one of us is really responsible for encouraging others into it.
KyungHwan: We all just liked music and somehow ended up bundled together.
SeongJun: We all just liked the same music around the same time as each other.
WanMoo: Aging? A bygone youth? Fuck off, you young little shits (haha).
SeongJun: We’re “The Anti-Freaks.”
KyungHwan: We’re post-”The Freaks.”
SeongJun: Yeah, that sounds right. We are post-”The Freaks”
WanMoo: Although recently, since I’ve been mixing the songs, I’ve come to realize something: other people who listen to the songs I write might think our music is similar to that of The Freaks, but I can feel that we have changed a lot. When we were The Freaks, we wrote songs that were mainly about youth, but I can’t say it sucked or anything because it was important to us at the time. Now, I think we have changed in some way.
SeongJun: I went to see them play a few times when they were The Freaks.
WanMoo: What was it you said to us when we did our sold-out showcase concert?
SeongJun: I was jealous of it all, so I went outside to be alone for a while. I think I had seen The Freaks play three or four times before then, and I always ended up going outside halfway through feeling really pissed off. “Ugh, how come this bunch of ‘fucking amateurs’ are so bloody popular??” That’s how I always felt watching you play. Please write “fucking amateurs” in quotation marks.
Pictures : Jin Kim
WanMoo: SeongJun’s lyric writing style is really different than Shiho’s or my style. I’m not sure about actual songwriting ability, but when it comes to writing lyrics, SeongJun is way better than any of us. Thanks to SeongJun, I think we’ve become a bit more ‘mature’ or ‘serious.’ I honestly think my lyrics are a bit childish. I try really hard when I write, but despite my best efforts, I think I always end up sounding childish. So I think the biggest thing that has influenced our change has been working and creating something new with SeongJun.
SeongJun: When we first formed the band, we all knew we needed to create a different style than that of The Freaks. That train of thought had an influence on everything. If we had just kept on making the same kind of music, there would have been no real reason behind forming a new band.
WanMoo: KyungHwan is very good at matching his style with whichever one of us wrote the song. I actually think the reason people think The Freaks and Blue Stream are similar is because of the guitar. The lyrics and songs are really different, but KyungHwan’s unique guitar style has remained constant and SeongJun has brought that kind of ‘seriousness’ into the picture. I’ve really just brought the cooking skills, which is important for giving the others strength when they’re feeling down.
SeongJun: He’s so good at cooking.
WanMoo: It’s so satisfying to cook! Much more so than completing an album. It even doesn’t compare, haha! I’m going to be a cook someday.
SeongJun: Usually WanMoo or I create the framework of a song, then we arrange the rest together as a band. KyungHwan tends to put his stamp on it the most. If the two of us bring a framework of either melody or lyrics, then the three of us put our heads together to work the rest out, with KyungHwan taking the lead. That’s how we’ve always done it. Up until now, anyway.
KyungHwan: Yeah, but — and this is my own personal opinion — I think we’ve been doing it like that since The Freaks days. The composition and the lyric writing are done separately, then I’m the one who concentrates on arrangement, but that’s a really inefficient way to go about it. I think it’s better if the song is arranged with the emotion in which it was written, because if a third party does it, then it’s just like writing the song over from scratch. That’s how we’ve mainly been doing it on our first album, but for the next one we’re going to try harder to keep the original emotional integrity of the songs intact. I’m looking forward to that.
WanMoo: Right now, I’m living in Jeung San. I like it. Actually, I lived in Hongdae with KyungHwan for three or four years, but I don’t really think living in Hongdae was all that great. It wasn’t that I didn’t like my house or anything like that, but it was so noisy there, the air quality was really bad and as soon as you went outside the house you were on a big main road. I moved to the new neighborhood because I was looking for somewhere cheaper. I’ve managed to find a place with a stream outside. My neighbors are really old, so it’s really quiet. I feel like people should live in quiet places. When I lived in Hongdae, I just ended up drinking every day and wasting money. Hongdae isn’t a place to live. It is a great place to hang out and party, but it’s not a place where you can rest.
SeongJun: None of us live in Dunchon-dong anymore. We met all our friends, including WonJin and Shiho there, but none of us have lived there for a while now. I ended up moving to the area near Korea University of Foreign Studies because of graduate school. It’s a really dirty neighborhood. There is so much shit in the streets, I think people around there just throw their garbage out of their windows. The whole neighbourhood is just trash. Also, the area I live in is all students, and characteristic of all students is that they live in a state of fucking chaos. Honestly, I don’t think there’s anywhere in Seoul that’s really good to live in.
KyungHwan: My house...you know the Movie theater at Sinchon Artreon, right? I live right opposite from it. I’m not sure how to describe it, but I think people passing by would never know it was even a house in the first place. I’m living in a place that’s a bit like a warehouse.
WanMoo: I used to live there with him before I got married. One day by chance, I met the old drummer of a band called ‘Achime’ outside. He was on his way home from his practice space nearby. I told him that was where I lived and he was really surprised. He had been wondering what the building was each time he went past it. We weren’t all that close, but he wanted to come and check it out, so I showed him around. That’s how strange the building is.
KyungHwan: The door there is bright pink. I didn’t paint it that color. Anyway, that’s why people always look at it in amazement as they go past.
WanMoo: It’s a detached house, so you can play guitar and sing or whatever, and no one will say anything. At the moment, KyungHwan is sharing a room there with Cogason’s Won Jun. I am using the other room to teach guitar lessons.
WanMoo: When SeongJun was attending Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, I went to his dormitory. The silly fucker would do all the dishes as soon as he was done eating. Literally as right as he was done eating. Usually when friends come over, after you finish dinner, you hang out a bit, you chat a little, right? This guy would go and do the dishes right away. Weird, I’m not sure what’s wrong with him...
KyungHwan: He is a bit of a cleanliness freak, I think.
WanMoo: What else? Oh, he had absolutely nothing in his room. People usually have at least have a computer or something. But he had absolutely nothing in there, maybe an old cassette player that you could stick a CD in too. Not a good one, though. He had that and some CDs. I guess that’s all he did, listened to music.
KyungHwan: There was nothing in his room. You know that song “Cortez The Killer,” by Neil Young. A band called Built To Spill did a cover, and he’d be playing depressing songs like that in his room.
SeongJun: Thinking about it now, I was like that back then.
WanMoo: You’re pretty much exactly the same now! It’s the same now, you don’t have anything in your house. Your house is awesome, but I don’t understand why you live like that. Another thing that is surprising about SeongJun is that when he hears a song in English, he always sings along. And even more surprisingly, he always knows the song titles. The rest of us just listen casually to the albums we have, but SeongJun knows all the lyrics and individual song titles as well.
SeongJun: That’s because we have different listening habits. Since I was young, I had a habit of reading the lyrics from the the booklet while listening to the songs. I would memorize the lyrics to some extent to the songs that I enjoyed listening to the most. Oh, also listening to WanMoo’s story about my cleanliness reminded me of a similar story. Ages ago, when I was at school, I was drinking and eating chicken at home with some friends. While we were eating, I noticed someone had dropped bits of fried chicken on the floor. In the middle of eating, I got out the vacuum cleaner and started cleaning it up. They gave me a whole load of shit for that. They where calling me a crazy motherfucker (among other things). I’m not like that these days, but yeah I guess it was a problem for me back then.
WanMoo: KyungHwan, first off, the chair at his desk at home is one of those plastic chairs from outside a corner shop. He burglarized a shop just so he could use it at home.
SeongJun: For me, one of the things I remember most about KyungHwan was when I was in middle school, after I moved away, I would come back to Seoul every vacation. I believe at that time KyungHwan was wearing the same clothes 365 days a year. He had this pair of jeans and sneakers and wore them every day for a year. He isn’t like that anymore, but that’s how he was before.
KyungHwan: Up until just before I graduated from high school I wasn’t really aware of my appearance at all. This isn’t a lie: I really never looked in the mirror. The school uniform I wore then was too short as well.
SeongJun: Usually around middle school everyone is going through puberty, so they are all worried about their appearance, but although I didn’t get to see him all the time, every vacation KyungHwan would just look exactly the same. The seasons would change, and he would be wearing the same shit. He had no interest in his physical appearance at all. Everyone else was conscious about their appearance, but not KyungHwan.
I first got to know WanMoo in my 20s. He has lost a lot of weight since then. He had a really puffy face. His nickname was Kunta Man (A Japanese cartoon character, click here to see some pictures).
WanMoo: I was just living a very normal life. I wasn’t one of the special kids, I was just very ordinary.
WanMoo: I am not sure what would be considered our most poppy song, because everyone's individual tastes are different. My favorite song of ours is ‘겨울 남자 [Cold Mind].’ I also really like the song that we just released a music video for, called ‘야생의 밤 [Desire and Me ].’ I really like that song when we play it live at a show, but after listening to the recorded versions I think perhaps I like ‘Cold Mind’ more.
SeongJun: In my opinion, ‘아주 먼 곳 [I Will Be Alone]’ is the poppiest song of ours. Compared to the rest of our songs, it has a relatively poppy feel. We decided when we were arranging this song to make it a bit more poppy.
KyungHwan: But fundamentally, Blue Stream isn’t a very poppy band. Even within the indie scene, our music is not really all that pop-like. As a band, we are very clear in our preferences. We are not a band with big driving guitars and exploding climaxes, nor are we a band with beautifully arranged songs.
SeongJun: We try to make songs that stimulate different emotions to compared to other bands.
SeongJun: I never play shows when I’m shitfaced. I’ve never played a show drunk. Personally, when I perform, I always feel like I have to be super-careful not to hit any bum notes. I think it’s some kind of finickiness on my part. Anyway, it’s something I’m really careful about.
WanMoo: I think it is natural that everyone feels like they have to do their best when they perform, but SeongJun feels it a bit more than your average person. I wish he wasn’t like that so much. Although in a way it’s good that he thinks like that, it would be good if he were a bit more natural onstage, even if that meant making a few mistakes. When he plays shows, he’s very serious and struggles to get his true self out.
KyungHwan: Yeah, but there’s nothing you can do about that. Playing with Blue Stream is the first time he’s ever been onstage, so it can’t really be helped.
WanMoo: I get nervous before each show. I tell myself not to get worked up, but it’s not that easy. In this scene, it’s often a little easier because more often than not there are people you recognize in the venue. But last time we played at the Seoul Independent Film Festival, we were the opening band and there was literally no one we knew in the crowd. It was a really weird atmosphere for us. I try not to get nervous in those situations, but I still don’t really know how to avoid it. It’s probably not something you can fix in a day. I don’t think I have a natural talent for showmanship. The first time some people get up on stage, they’re just great at owning it. When I see that kind of person, I think “they must have been born for this.”
SeongJun: There isn’t anyone in our band with that kind of personality. We don’t really have a frontman, per se.
KyungHwan: I think we are more nervous when we play because we’re friends. The image you project onstage can be different from your everyday personality. But if your long-term friends (who know you so well) are next to you on the stage watching, it can be a bit awkward. These days, when I go see Shiho or WonJin playing in their new bands, they look more natural. It’s probably because they are not playing with me anymore. Playing with long-term friends can be a bit embarrassing.
SeongJun: The practices all tend to have a bit of a ‘down’ vibe to them. It’s not an exciting vibe at all, it’s more of a worried or serious atmosphere.
WanMoo: My wife, Misook from the band Look & Listen said this once to me before: “Your guys’ songs are so depressing, how do you cope with that kind of atmosphere at practice?” She said she couldn’t understand how we practice for so long like that.
SeongJun: Compared to our practices, our live shows are way more exciting. If you’ve seen us play live, that’s probably hard for you to believe, but honestly the live shows are much more exciting. Our practices are super-dry. No one smiles, and we’ve known each other for such a long time we don’t really talk much, either. When there’s a problem, we just kind of cold-heartedly point it out to each other.
WanMoo: It’s criticism for the sake of criticism.
KyungHwan: It’s not exactly fun, but it’s not exactly a drag either.
SeongJun: I don’t think I’ve ever thought of it as fun. I just think of it as work.
WanMoo: The shows are fun, and practice is the least fun. The worst thing is writing songs. It is fun when they come out well, though.
SeongJun: Arranging the songs we bring to the table is the most agonizing and boring part of it all.
WanMoo: When we prepare for a show, we practice all our existing songs and those practices are okay, but when we’re practicing with the aim of making new songs my head hurts before we’ve even started.
WanMoo: The reason I’m in a band is mainly because I like doing stuff with my friends rather than because I like making music, but I have thought like that as well. I really hate it when we fight a lot with each other, but on the other hand when I think about it, if I wasn’t making music with these guys, I don’t think I would be doing it at all. I just like the fact that I am doing it with friends. I think if this band ever breaks up I won’t play music anymore. I’m not happy because of the music, I just like that I can play shows together with my friends. However, there are lots of things about doing it with friends that make me mad. Before we started making music, we never fought with each other, now we do, and we show our bad sides a lot as well.
SeongJun: Me too, I’m not really the kind of guy that will post online to try and form a band with strangers. I think it’s much more comfortable to make music with people you know because making music together means sharing a common emotion. Of course, like WanMoo said, there are lots of downsides to making music with friends. When doing something together, you tend to reveal your bad side a lot, so there is a lot of stress. I still think doing it with friends is great, though. Again, like WanMoo, I am not sure if I would carry on making music if this band broke up, but unlike WanMoo I don’t think I can say with 100% certainty. Anyway, I like being in a band with friends.
KyungHwan: I am in two bands at the moment (Blue Stream, Cogason). As with all relationships, it’s fun to get to know one another the first time you meet. I think the atmosphere is always really good in those situations. At least it looks like that from the outside. But we have had a relationship with each other for a long time now, so when there’s a problem we understand each other even without having to talk about it. If I hadn’t played with other bands too I wouldn’t know how it feels to understand one another like this. Making music with friends is one of the best things you can do I think.
WanMoo: I just think it’s really cool to be doing stuff with friends, whatever it is. Fucking frustrating, but really cool.
SeongJun: Just being in a band is frustrating as hell.
WanMoo: Up till now, they’ve all been exactly as I knew them to be. There were lots of things I knew to be shitty about each of them, and of course, I turned out to be right.
WanMoo: It is an archive of our last two and a half years.
SeongJun: It has taken a long time to make. I certainly can’t say it has been a quick process. I think we’ve fretted over it a lot. We spent a lot of time worrying about what kind of feel we wanted to give the album. There are lots of songs we’ve been playing live that didn’t make it onto the album.
WanMoo: There were lots of complications, too. Some of our band members changed halfway through the process. I think it took us a long time to get polished as a band again. I think it’s begun to feel like this album is a new starting point for the band.
SeongJun: There were loads of problems when we started to record. The computer broke and there were problems with the drums. We actually started the recording process, then ended up having to postpone it all by a couple of months.
KyungHwan: I think this is the start for Blue Stream. I don’t think we have really shown our true Blue Stream colors yet. It has taken us three years since the band formed to release our debut album, but in the grand scheme of things three years is not a long time in a band's life. So I’m really looking forward to all the things we’ll do after releasing the album.
SeongJun: We don’t want to get stuck in one style of music after the release of this album. This time around it is this style, next time around we’re thinking to make something in a different style.
WanMoo: I want to do a wide variety of music styles. I really like David Bowie a lot, his albums are all different from one another. I think that is really cool. If someone were to ask what style of music David Bowie makes, it would be impossible to answer. The same goes for the Beatles, their style is really varied. I want to be in a band like that.
WanMoo: This music video is a work that was directed by a friend of ours, Siwon Kum. He’s done some video work for magazines and stuff, but this is the first time he has ever done a music video. We asked him to do it just as a favor, really, but I think it turned out really well. A tip for watching? Hmm...
KyungHwan: Tip! SeongJun comes across as a really handsome and cool guy in the video. That’s all I’m going to say. I was really amazed by his acting skills, wow! We all just appear for a short time in the video, a kind of cameo appearance, but SeongJun has the most impact.
SeongJun: We cast real actors for the video. There is a lead male and female. Make sure to watch the “actual movies” they have appeared in, that’s my tip for the video.
WanMoo: The male actor is Sam Dong. He was the lead actor in a film called Daytime Drinking.
SeongJun: The female actor is called 금새록 and she appeared in a film called ‘Assassination.’ In the movie, she is selling perfume in a department store and gets detained by the lead actress in a fight. We managed to cast an actress from a film that was watched by 10,000,000 people. She is really quite charming.
WanMoo: I think my aim is to have the band carry on for a long time. I want to do it for as long as we can. Then perhaps we might become famous. I don’t even care if we can’t earn money from it.
SeongJun: I think I would like to master three different instruments. I’d love to be fucking amazing at the piano, I’d also like to be able to play the violin and the saxophone as well. If I could master all of those, I could be a one-man band as well.
WanMoo: I’m still thinking, I’ve got lots of ideas.
SeongJun: Thinking about it, I don’t really have much desire to be skillful at too much. I’d like to be good at carpentry, then I could have a go at making a house. Or, if I could speak Italian really well then I could go to Italy and try to talk like the mafia. When I saw the movie ‘The Godfather’ I thought that I would really like to try that.
WanMoo: For me, cooking primarily. Cooking, and then a skill that enables me to earn a load of money. Maybe a skill that lets me hit on girls without any emotional attachment? But realistically, the only one of those I would be able to do is cooking. I’d love to be the best cook in the world.
SeongJun: That is such a fucking unrealistic dream.
KyungHwan: I don’t think there is anything I’d want to master. I love myself just as I am. I am living without any inadequacies.
WanMoo: We just released our music video on February 15th, and in March we will release our debut album and have a showcase for it. The showcase will be on March 21st at 신도시 [Seendosi]. We just recruited a new session drummer too.
SeongJun: After we launch the album, perhaps three or four months later, we’re thinking about releasing singles as well. We plan to try and keep the time between future releases as short as possible.
KyungHwan: We are going to play lots of shows as well. Usually when bands make their albums, they keep playing shows as well. We haven't played any shows since we started recording. I’m hungry to play shows.
Interview : A-Lim Lee, Jin Kim, Doyeon Lim, Eunji Kim
English Translation : Patrick Connor & Doyeon Lim
Edited by : Jess Kapadia
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Date : Mar 26th (Sat) 19:00
Venue : Seendosi (신도시)
Tickets : 20,000won
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