The K-SPOTLIGHT series is bringing our IMK readers some Zandari Festa 2017 special interviews with the musicians whom we feel are the best of this year’s line-up! One of the bands that we like a lot is ‘Laybricks’. They consist of two members (vocalist and guitarist Kwangmin Seo, and drummer Hyejin Yu) that make some of the catchiest music we’ve heard. They’ve gone through a lot, learnt from mistakes and had to overcome many obstacles to get to where they are today, so we are happy to support such a hardworking band!
A big thanks to Kwangmin and Hyejin for answering our questions in this interview! 🙂
‘Laybricks’ have so much positive energy about them, and a love of music that extends from the instruments that they play. We watched a short video recording that showed the last part of a stage performance, with Kwangmin rocking out on his guitar with the captivated crowd in the background and Hyejin really giving every beat of the drum everything she had – it was such a great ending when she threw her sticks in the air as the song finished! This was only a glimpse of the magic that Laybricks have whilst on stage.
Kwangmin is such a driving force of Laybricks; his guitar riffs ensure certain songs burst the air with addictive melodies and his vocals contribute a large part to the identity of the band. Hyejin is coolness personified; a drummer extraordinare, with remarkable self-awareness and musicianship.
You just get that feeling that Kwangmin and Hyejin truly come alive when they are on stage, that every fibre of their being is being expressed in each song. And that’s what we call the essence of amazing performers. We definitely recommend that those in Korea check out their set at Zandari Festa 2017! Go to Club Steel Face for an 8pm start on the 1st October to see them play 😀
Please support ‘Laybricks’ by buying their music! You can access digital tracks via Bandcamp and iTunes.
1. Can you talk a little about your background and how you arrived to the point that you are now? What kinds of things did you learn about each other after working together for several years and touring together?
Hyejin: When I was young, I always wondered about the drums. I used to listen to the drum parts of music even when I had no ideas or knowledge about drumming.
When I was 20 years old, I started to play them for fun in a school band. I felt so happy to be part of a band during my university years, and I also met Kwangmin at that time (he was in the same band). A few years later he asked me if I wanted to form a new one together. It’s already been 4-5 years since then that we have been working alongside each other.
Kwangmin: Actually…I was very bad at music, so I hated music class when I was a high school student. I only liked singing songs. Incidentally, I went to a musical university, so I learned about audio engineering. I quit that university because I felt that there was nothing I could learn (I didn’t want to become a carbon copy of the usual musicians) and attended another. However, there wasn’t any music club there (or school band) so I formed one with my friends. A few years later, I met Hyejin, said ‘let’s play together’ and that was the beginning of our working relationship.
For several years, we learned so much, fought so much, experienced many happy and satisfying times, and gained courage. In addition to songwriting, I learned more about who I was as a person, and how to have good relationships with people.
2. Two-piece bands aren’t that common, did you always see Laybricks as having 2 members or did you ever consider adding more?
Hyejin: We were a 3-piece and 4-piece band in the early days. There have been several member changes. Through such a process, I often felt fear about losing someone that I liked. Still, I think that PEOPLE come before the work (in this case, music). Since the last time we were a 3-piece band, we decided not to focus on ‘the 3rd member’. Though, of course we want to play with a bass player or synth player. We will slowly consider the addition of a 3rd member if a chance comes along later.
Kwangmin: I’ll take my time and we actually don’t spend much energy worrying about it.
3. Who were your heroes growing up?
Hyejin: My hero has always been Michael Jackson.
Kwangmin: Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, Coldplay and the Foo Fighters.
4. Hyejin, how many instruments can you play now?
Hyejin: I play drums, acoustic guitar and other guitar-like instruments. I’ve always had a fascination about the sounds of instruments that I’ve never seen before.
5. Kwangmin, how did you learn about the business side of doing things for the band? And are you able to work on music as a full-time job?
Kwangmin: Nobody taught me about how to navigate the business side of the music industry, and I don’t want to be a guy who does business. I just want to become friends with many people; that is my view of how music is for me. I’ve always said “I never work for business, I work with friends.”
Some musicians work on music for 4-8 hours a week and they say they want to be full time musicians. That’s impossible. I think if anyone wants to be a full-time musician, they should be dedicated to working on their music everyday for more than 8 hours. Because typically, office workers do those kinds of hours for their jobs.
“I just want to become friends with many people; that is my view of how music is for me.”
Kwangmin (vocalist and guitarist of Laybricks)
6. Hyejin, what did you study at university? And what was your first impression of Kwangmin?
Hyejin: I studied design at university. When I was a freshman, Kwangmin was ‘top of the seniors’. He helped us to keep playing music.
7. What is your songwriting process like nowadays? Are you quite critical of your own work? Or quite easygoing about what you make?
Hyejin: At first, Kwangmin writes parts of a new song using his acoustic guitar. I listen to it and arrange it if the ideas are okay. Then I make a MIDI and seek Kwangmin’s approval. If he likes it, we build it up into a complete song together. I think that I’m quite critical of my work. I also feel that I rely on Kwangmin’s opinion a lot because I have faith in his music sense. Maybe it is the same for Kwangmin.
Kwangmin: Yeah, same!
8. How do you look upon yourself and your music now compared to when you first started? Are you aware of any changes or was everything a natural progression?
Hyejin and Kwangmin: We seem to be at the start line of change. Our first full-length album will be released this November. This album will also be our first as a 2-piece band, so we have had to change our arrangement method but we think that we are at our best for this new album.
9. Which Laybricks songs are your personal favourites?
Hyejin: I like ‘Make you silly’ the best. That song is the oldest in our discography, we wrote it first.
Kwangmin: I like the new songs, you will like them too!
10. Is there anything that has happened during your time performing as Laybricks that has really surprised you?
Hyejin: When we were touring in Russia, I cannot forget the welcome that I received in the city of Kazan. They prepared some items to welcome us, including flags and presents!
Kwangmin: The audience was very appreciative of us, and we were so grateful to hear so many people saying ‘thank you for coming to our city.’
11. Sometimes musicians say they have a love-hate relationship with music, because there are times when music can become frustrating or the process is not as straight-forward as it appears to be. How would you describe your relationships with music over the years?
Hyejin: In my case, there have been times when music doesn’t generate no matter how hard I try, and other times when it pours out like water. So music makes me feel alive and satisfied, yet at the same time, makes me feel desperate. It seems that the ‘love-hate’ relationship is really true.
Kwangmin: Yeah, true. These days music doesn’t love me. So I’m really sad…
“…there have been times when music doesn’t generate no matter how hard I try, and other times when it pours out like water.”
Hyejin (drummer of Laybricks)
12. Do you notice much difference between audiences in the different countries that you have toured in? And Kwangmin, how did you avoid straining your voice after doing so many shows?
Hyejin: There are some differences. I felt that Russian audiences prefer the songs that have similarities to EDM. Audiences in Japan prefer songs with lyrical melodies. When we were touring Russia, many audiences from all cities already knew our songs and lyrics!
Kwangmin: As to my voice, I am always careful about my throat condition, so when I feel like I’m gonna get a cold, I take honey! I think that it is good for it.
13. Hyejin’s designs are amazingly cool, are you planning on making any new merchandise?
Hyejin: I’m glad you like it 🙂
Of course new artwork will come out when the new albums are available. I’m not sure what the new merchandise will be yet, since we are still considering several options.
14. How are your preparations for Zandari Festa going? What can people look forward to from your show?
Hyejin and Kwangmin: Firstly, we hope many people will get to know LAYBRICKS and our SONGS. All of our songs are excellent! We are going to play tracks from the 1st EP and also some new ones. If you see our show at least once, you’ll feel our positive energy and it will be so memorable. All we want is for people to just enjoy our music, get dancing and keep singing along with us.
15. Do you know a lot of other bands or people involved in music already? Is it quite easy to approach and start conversations with people you didn’t initially know at festivals?
Hyejin: We already know some that we met in the UK, Russia, Japan, China and so on. Actually I’m kind of an introverted person. When I talk to someone, I’m a little shy. So Kwangmin always helps me because he’s not. What a relief! 🙂
Kwangmin: Actually, I’m a shy guy! But it’s always good to make a new friend 😀
16. Have you seen any other bands that you thought were amazing to watch live? Any recommendations?
Hyejin and Kwangmin: Julia dream, Phonebooth, Silica gel and I want to check out many bands from abroad.
17. Laybricks have been steadily building a reputation as energetic performers on stage, and more and more people are finding out about you. What are your thoughts on that?
Hyejin and Kwangmin: Live music is all about a sense of realism. This is very important to us. The audience watches, listens and enjoys us. An ‘energetic performance’ is related to this sens e of realism that we always pursue.
We think our reputation is based on the fact that LAYBRICKS music is so good!
18. How has your songwriting been progressing this year? Are you working on any new material at the moment?
Hyejin and Kwangmin: Nowadays we are busy preparing a new album for release in November. We are making all of the songs and recordings by ourselves. This is our first experience of ‘DIY music’ so the whole process is hard and tough. But we are trying our best!
19. If you could only save one possession/item with you out of everything you own, what would you choose?
Hyejin: Definitely my mac-book Pro. That contains all of our work!
Kwangmin: And my acoustic guitar, because I always write songs with that.
20. Do you ever get a chance to take a break from working on music?
Hyejin and Kwangmin: Nowadays we have no break from music for months. When all the work ends, maybe we’ll disappear!
(Responses have been partially edited for clarity with permission from Laybricks)
Thank you to Hyejin and Kwangmin for answering our questions ahead of their busy preparations for Zandari Festa! We hope you have fun there 😀
We will finish with some music from the band – ‘Make you silly’ which is Hyejin’s favourite! Enjoy!
Video source: 여신슬기 YouTube channel
Featured image and in-article images source: © Laybricks. 20.09.2017. All band images were provided by Laybricks for use in this interview.
Zandari Poster: © Zandari Festa 2017. 15.09.2017. Laybricks official Facebook.
© Interview with Laybricks. 28.09.2017. Inspire Me Korea.