We’d like to showcase something different for this special edition of the K-SPOTLIGHT, and are pleased to present an interview with the inimitable ‘In the endless zanhyang we are’, a group of musicians that make remarkable compositions of a new type of shoegaze music that takes inspiration from the folk genre. But that is not to say that their music is not accessible, we feel that their music is some of the most artful and beautiful of them all! We shall be reviewing their latest album EP (‘Inevitability under consecutive coincidence’), click on the link and read it on the blog now!
The members of ‘In the endless zanhyang we are’ (we will also refer to them as IEZWA for short!) were brought together by singer-songwriter Ahn Dayoung and the final lineup was actually the result of a series of happy coincidences! They create compositions that build a little at a time, so what starts rather humbly can become a wondrous symphony. Their sound fills every space of a room. That is why we think that they are an exciting group of musicians, and to top it all off they are very sincere and kind too! They have performed fundraising activities in the past in addition to their other stages.
Please give this group a chance and listen, and offer your support if you like what you hear! You can buy their music digitally on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play. Make sure to purchase to support the artists and help them to continue to make good music!
We shall kick off the interview now! Special thanks to vocalist Ahn Dayoung for helping us to coordinate the interview. And we thank Geonseok, Haram, Sunghoon and Wonwoo for answering our questions too.
1. You have an interesting name for your group! How did you think of the idea?
All of us: At first, we spent some time deciding on our name as there was a general consensus among us that a sentence would be more suitable than a simple word. So, we named ourselves after the title of a Sigur Ros album, which contained words that we liked.
2. Can you please introduce your members; can each person choose one other member and say something interesting about them?
Wonwoo: Sunghoon is a drummer. He is also especially good at ‘interplay’ (which is a type of instrumental play where players give and take from each other – like mutually reacting to each others’ music). He is very good at it. He is also great at reacting; especially when playing games.
Sunghoon: Haram speaks slowly but with detail. So he never misses anything with what he says. Although he is the youngest member of the team, he acts maturely.
Haram: Dayoung is the ‘older sister’ of our group. This doesn’t mean that she is literally the ‘oldest’, but she leads us and catches your attention. You can see her powerful side on the stage!
Dayoung: Geonseok is a bassist and he has been my friend since I met him at the age of 21. He wears fake glasses. He often went out for drinks with me during the time that we were students.
Geonseok: Wonwoo is a guitarist and also an artist who can play various instruments. But his sense of humour is terrible! He wears real glasses.
An outdoor photoshoot! The team surrounded by the beauty of nature © In the endless zanhyang we are. 21.03.2017. Credit: No Songhee.
3. How did you first meet? Was it an easy choice for each of you to become musicians? Did you work well together from the beginning, or did it take time for you all to understand each other?
Dayoung: I met 3 of the members at college. Haram helped me with a session when I performed as a singer-songwriter under my own name ‘Ahn Dayoung’. What happened was this; exactly a day before the performance, a session player we found said he could no longer play, so we had to search for an alternative player. Dayoung’s school friend suggested his roommate, and since then, he kept playing for our team. There’s also another one whom we headhunted when starting this new band. Actually, what I was worried about at first was mainly whether we would get along well with each other (you know…personality issues…), and not about whether our musical work could blend well together. But as time passed, we came to understand each other more and more.
4. How would you describe the type of music that ‘In the endless zanhyang we are’ likes to make?
Dayoung: Some people have described our music as ‘post rock’ or ‘shoegaze’, but we don’t care about those labels. We say that the expression of our music is like a ‘slow dance’. We move slowly, but ‘explode’ soon after. Actually, it doesn’t matter what we are described as, the most important issue to us is ‘are we having fun?’
Haram: Fun music! Having fun is the most important thing.
“We say that the expression of our music is like a ‘slow dance’.
We move slowly, but ‘explode’ soon after” (Dayoung)
5. Which song are you most proud of? What is the reason for your choice?
Dayoung: ‘till the night there’. I felt that it contained just the right emotions to be ‘fun music’ which I felt when I first played it with our members.
Wonwoo: ‘Greensleeves’. I can never forget the intensity it conveyed when I first listened to it.
Sunhoon: Me too, ‘Greensleeves’.
6. What part of being musicians satisfies you the most? The songwriting? Rehearsing or performing?
Dayoung: The fun that we have?
Wonwoo: The heart. Don’t you think that you can just be a musician if you believe that you are?
Sunghoon: Rehearsing. We need to practice hard to deliver what we want to deliver well.
A glimpse of In the endless zanhyang we are performing, from the audience perspective! © In the endless zanhyang we are. 21.03.2017. Credit: Kim Jin.
7. Congratulations for winning a prize at K-rookies this year! Do you think that many more people know you now because you took part in the competition, and do you think that it has helped you?
Wonwoo: I’m not sure if the competition helped us become known to the public. But, it united us.
8. What is it that inspires you to write music? Has this changed from when you started?
Dayoung: Nothing has changed. I usually prefer to tell my own story rather than others’. I write lyrics based on my own hands-on experiences.
9. Before a performance, do you plan a lot about how your stage will be? Or do you prefer to do the rehearsal first and then see how it turns out?
Dayoung: I prefer the latter one. We decide a setlist on the very day of the performance, taking into consideration the atmosphere of the concert hall (venue) and so on.
10. What would you like to achieve this year? Do you see any challenges ahead?
Dayoung: There are some competitions that we can take part in, but we haven’t decided yet.
Haram: I want to release one more single this year.
Sunghoon: I want to be better at what I do.
Success at the K-Rookies competition (IEZWA can be seen bottom left). © KOCCA (K-Rookies). 06.02.2017. K-Rookies official Facebook
11. Can you name the first song that you heard that made you think, ‘wow, this is very good?’
Sunghoon: RHCP – ‘can’t stop’
Wonwoo: Our song, ‘Greensleeves’
Dayoung: Bon Iver – ‘Perth’
Haram: ACDC – ‘Back in Black’
Geonseok: Michael Jackson – ‘Butterflies’
12. If you were given one perfect day, what would you choose to do and with whom?
Geonseok: I would like to drive alone in a small car.
Dayoung: I would switch off my phone and choose to go abroad for a trip all of a sudden.
Seonghoon: I would spend 5 million won in a day!
13. Are you friends with any other groups or musicians? If the answer is yes, what do you in common except music?
All of us: The band ‘Silica Gel’.
Haram: Every member has their own characteristics.
Dayoung: There are 5 instrumental players.
Haram: We love drinking.
14. Would you like to say anything to listeners who are discovering your music for the first time? What do you think is different about ‘In the endless zanhyang we are’ and your music compared to others?
Dayoung: I hope that it is interesting music to you.
Haram: I wish that this music will come to your mind someday.
Dayoung: Our music is slow but strong. If you listen to it once, you will wonder about our live performances.
Haram: It’s true. Actually, there are some differences between the live performances and the recorded ones. It makes for another interesting aspect of our music.
15. Who are your role models in life and musically?
Wonwoo: My role model is my youngest uncle. He is a firefighter.
Geonseok: My parents. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to start music.
Dayoung: My puppy. He has affected my life so much. He’s also my role model. He sleeps, eats, sleeps and eats everyday.
Haram: Jimi Hendrix and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. I want to create my own sound (music) like them.
Dayoung’s beloved puppy, Jini! So cute!!! © Dayoung Ahn. 18.05.2017.
16. What advice would you give to anyone thinking about choosing a music career? What would you say is the most important thing you have learned so far?
Dayoung: Don’t let the fun aspects of music be overshadowed by other things. And the most important part of the process for me was when I started composing.
Haram: You can make music as much as you like. Sometimes it’s hard to make because your interest in music depends on how you are feeling at the time. But that makes the music much more interesting.
“…you can just be a musician if you believe that you are” (Woonwoo)
17. What other things do you enjoy doing when you have spare time?
Wonwoo: I watch American or Japanese TV shows.
Haram: I make some music casually. Sometimes I read comics.
Dayoung: I watch British TV shows.
18. A final question just for fun! If you could only pick 3 items to take with you to a desert island, what would they be?
Sunghoon: Fuel to make fires, food and a ship.
Wonwoo: A packet of Zzapagetti (a type of Korean instant noodles) and…I don’t know what else.
Dayoung: Beer, blankets, and my puppy.
Geonseok: My own wings, Shoes of Hermes, and the spear of Poseidon.
Haram: A button which would allow me to return home at anytime, a high-tech SUV car and an acoustic guitar.
(Answers have been edited for clarity with permission from In the endless zanhyang we are)
And that brings us to the end of our interview with ‘In the endless zanhyang we are!’ We hope you enjoyed it; they really answered well and comfortably. We thank Dayoung, Geonseok, Haram, Sunghoon and Wonwoo for doing this interview with us!
Remember to read our track review and recommendations article on IEZWA’s recent album!
It’s available on the blog now!
Please support ‘In the endless zanhyang we are’ by buying their music on iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play!
Featured image source: © In the endless zanhyang we are. Credit: Doo Eunjung. 21.03.2017. Image was provided by the group for specific use in this article.
In article images source: © Naver Onstage/In the endless zanhyang we are/K-Rookies/Dayoung Ahn (as indicated under each image with credit as outlined). Images were provided by the group for specific use in this article.
© Interview with In the endless zanhyang we are. Inspire Me Korea. 21.05.2017.