Another exciting interview for today as part of our K-SPOTLIGHT Zandari Festa 2017 specials, with Seoul-based electro-synth pop band ‘Goldmund’! The three members (Hyuntae, Youngmin and Sehwan) have created a distinctive signature sound, and even though they may feel that their work needs further polish, we think much of their music has been fantastic so far.
Thanks go to the brilliant Hyuntae for helping with the interview 😀
Hyuntae’s voice has that ability to portray both an aura of melancholy and hope, moreso from adjustment of tempo rather than using many changes in melody at present. However, we sense the start of change on the horizon! Their tracks encompass a lot of themes relatable to youth and capture images of Seoul through lyrics and interwoven emotions. Although its electronic pop, you can listen to Goldmund’s music with relative ease; there is also that ‘extra something’ about each track that defines and shapes it, a special ingredient that elevates the music to more than just a simple pop song. For example, the idea behind the track ‘Alive’ stems from the notion that everyone is striving and struggling to find something to make them feel complete, to make them feel truly alive.
Even the band name ‘Goldmund’ seems very considered. In the novel that the name was derived from, the character Goldmund travels and experiences the world (both good and bad) in the search for his life’s meaning. He is a wanderer, struggling to live his life as himself. As a metaphor, it is very apt – the band members feel like they still have lots to learn and are finding their own way, seeking the right balance in life to fulfil their hopes and dreams. We feel that there is much potential in Goldmund, and are cheering for them to do well!
Goldmund’s stage at Zandari Festa 2017 takes place at Club Freebird on Saturday 30th September at 5:30pm.
1. Can you introduce each member and ‘Goldmund’ to people that may not know you yet? Where did the name ‘Goldmund’ come from?
Hyuntae: The idea for the name, ‘Goldmund’ came from the novel ‘Narcissus and Goldmund’ by German author Herman Hesse. I was a big fan of him in my early 20’s.
Goldmund consists of members Hyuntae (vocalist and guitarist), Youngmin (producer and keyboard player) and Sehwan (drummer). Hyuntae and Youngmin first created Goldmund in 2013 and Sehwan joined as a drummer in 2016.
2. How did each member start doing music and how did you meet to form the current lineup? What is it that each of you enjoys the most about being a musician?
Hyuntae: Ever since I listened to the song ‘Bye Bye’ by Fujifabric, I decided to create a band. I bought a cheap electric guitar which was of the same colour as the one owned by the guitarist of that band. I wanted to be a person who delivered messages through my music and make changes.
Youngmin: I went to an art institute to learn sculpture, but found that they only wanted me to learn skills for getting into a university, so I quit. When I was attending the institute, I listened to a lot of music and then decided that I wanted to learn how to make music. That’s where it all started for me. To see how much I’m improving and watching my skills develop is my biggest joy now.
Sehwan: I’ve always loved music since I was young. At first it was a hobby but then it became more serious. The idea of pursuing music came about while I was wondering how to live life in the most enjoyable way, and the thought that entered my mind was that ‘I should play in a band.’
3. Do you think that it is more widely accepted in Korean culture now to choose music as a career rather than office work or working for a company?
Hyuntae: It’s better now since the Korean music market has gotten bigger and wider because of the K-pop boom.
Youngmin: I think it’s far better than it was before. That’s why musicians should now work harder.
Sehwan: I don’t think that it has improved. A music career is unstable; there are many older people around me who keep telling me to keep music as a hobby. There are also those who think that we are working on music merely because we are incompetent at doing other things.
4. How do you think ‘Goldmund’ stands out from other artists? How would you describe your musical style? Did you always have a clear idea about the sound that you wanted to create? And what do kind of ideas or stories do you enjoy telling through your music?
Hyuntae: The three of us have really different tastes in music. I like Japanese rock, Youngmin likes indie music from Europe and America, and Sehwan enjoys progressive rock. I think that those differences contribute to making the sound of Goldmund unique. We are just being ourselves, putting each person’s ideas into a song…and then it turns out to be what it should be.
Youngmin: To give you an abstract answer, I want to deliver a story to the people of Seoul with a sound that is cool and bright, but a little dark at the same time.
5. When you are songwriting, what does each member contribute? Having been together for years now, is it easier to write songs?
Hyuntae: I usually write the lyrics and melody. Maybe that is my strength. But I know next to nothing about producing and making a track sound very professional. I hope that I can be good at it before this year passes. That was the goal that I set myself last year. Because I have to work more on songwriting, I think that it’ll be more difficult than it is now.
Youngmin: With experience, songwriting feels much easier than before.
Sehwan: I focus on our live performances. Checking each individual member’s parts and making the team sound balanced and precise when playing together.
6. Is there any other band, group or artist that you admire? For what reasons?
Hyuntae: Fujifabric. I love bands that sometimes make weird or strange songs, but in such a way that they are kinda perfect.
Youngmin: Troye Sivan. Because he sings well, he’s handsome, and obviously does his best and works hard!
Sehwan: Dream Theatre. They are pretty different from Goldmund though. Everyone accepts that they are the best in the genre that I love the most.
7. How are you preparing for your stage performance at Zandari Festa? What is a ‘Goldmund’ show like?
Sehwan: We slow down the beat and play each instrument, from one note to another. Sometimes we will split a song into parts and practice one by one. We don’t practice without thinking and planning first.
Hyuntae: If you want to experience something unique, you have to come to our show. That’s Goldmund.
8. What do you think about Zandari Festa compared to other festivals in South Korea? Have you attended the festival as an audience member before becoming a performing act?
Hyuntae: To enjoy a festival you often have to go somewhere suburban, but with Zandari, you can enjoy it in the centre of Seoul. And there are lots of foreign artists so it makes it easier to find fresh and new music.
9. Do you know any other bands or have friends playing at the festival? Which other performing artists would you recommend people to watch?
Youngmin: Aseul and Neon Bunny. You should watch their performances! Zandari Festa offers a great chance to be friendly with other Korean artists and acts from abroad.
Hyuntae: I recommend Da Kooka from Ukraine. The country has strong roots in music and you will find that she embodies that.
Sehwan: I don’t have close musician friends right now but I hope we can make some as we do more shows. We met DTSQ in the final of House of Vans Musicians Wanted and their performance was sick! I recommend that you check them out. And the band, National Pigeon Unity. I’ve been a fan of them since high school.
10. Can you describe your most memorable experience so far? It can be anything you want!
Youngmin: The first overseas tour that we had in 2015 was a memorable experience that we had as a band. We hadn’t prepared that much, so experienced a lot of great things.
Hyuntae: If it can be anything, I would say the moment I saw Mt.Fuji for the first time. I was on a bus to Fujisan station and when I gradually saw it in front of my eyes, I was literally scared.
11. Can you remember the first time you wrote a song together or performed on stage? What were your feelings at those moments? Can you remember them clearly or did the time just seem to pass so quickly?
Youngmin: I’d always worked alone before, so working with a team was fresh and new for me. I remember every moment.
Hyuntae: Actually, I don’t remember the time that well. Maybe I wanted to forget because I was singing terribly then.
Sehwan: Goldmund were a duo before and I joined when they were transitioning to become a band. I was new to this kind of genre, while Hyuntae and Youngmin had never performed with drums, so we had to communicate A LOT. To me, the time went by so fast.
12. When you were younger, you must have had targets and aims that you wanted to achieve. At this point in your lives, have you met your own expectations? Do you plan to develop your sound further, or do you prefer to keep things ‘unplanned’ like the title of your first album (unplanned works)?
Youngmin: I still think we do things unplanned.
Sehwan: I haven’t met my expectations yet so I plan to do my best in the future.
13. Do you think it is any easier now to promote your own band compared to when you started? In your opinion, is K-indie becoming more popular and are people willing to listen to different styles of music now?
Youngmin: Thanks to the popularity of smartphones and social media, musicians without a label or backing from an entertainment company (like us) can promote themselves. K-pop listeners usually like Korean indie music too, so we are gaining a lot from the present situation.
14. We really like your album ‘Alive Part One: Space Boys and Girls’! Was it well received in Korea? How long did it take for you to finish it? Which are your personal favourite songs from all the music you have written?
Youngmin: Pretty well-received I think. It took around a year to make all the tracks in the album. My personal favourite Goldmund song is ‘One’.
Hyuntae: I love ‘SHINKIRU’. It’s a great song. But I always feel like I released it too early, at a time when I wasn’t ready.
15. What kind of music do you like to listen to in your free time?
Hyuntae: I usually listen to Japanese rock music like Bump of Chicken, Fujifabric, Metafive, Sakanaction. But Edu Lobo, a Brazilian musician is my favourite nowadays. His bossa nova style inspires me a lot.
Youngmin: I keep listening to the new album from Offonoff, called ‘Boy’. It’s an awesome album.
Sehwan: I listen to Korean indie band music. I also listen to progressive metal, alternative rock and new metal music from foreign artists. I love those kinds of strong music genres.
16. What are your future plans? Will you release more music and another EP soon? (Alive Part Two?) Or do more collaborations?
Hyuntae: I have some ideas for ‘Alive Part Two’. I’m gonna start to work on it from October. But I still haven’t decided about when we should release it.
Sehwan: I want to try many genres and new styles at least once. It would be great if we could do some collaborations.
17. Describe a typical week for you – what is a musician’s life like?
Hyuntae: I usually practice guitar and vocals at home in the morning. I sometimes work where there are some part-time slots available for the day.
Youngmin: I work like other people do. I come to the studio, practice and make songs. At the moment, I only have music, but I don’t know what will happen later.
Sehwan: I work part-time, so I need to get up early. After that, I go to a studio to practice.
18. How do you like to relax? Do you do other things except music?
Hyuntae: Coffee. There are many cafes in Seoul. I love to visit them.
Youngmin: I like to cook and take walks.
Sehwan: Sleeping is how I take a rest. Sometimes I go to concerts.
(Answers have been partially edited for clarity, with permission from Goldmund)
Thanks again to the members of Goldmund for participating in our interview, particularly Hyuntae for communicating well with us 🙂
We hope you enjoyed learning more about this band! We couldn’t think of a better way to finish this article, but to feature Youngmin’s favourite Goldmund track, ‘One’!
Featured image and in-article image source: © Goldmund. 20.09.2017. All photographs of the band were either provided directly from Goldmund or reproduced from official social media channels.
Zandari Festa performance poster for Goldmund: © Zandari Festa 2017. 29.09.2017. Image was provided directly from Goldmund.
© Interview with Goldmund (Zandari Festa 2017 special). 29.09.2017. Inspire Me Korea.