Inspire Me Korea are proud to present an interview with Stereotype!
Stereotype (스테레오타입) are a Korean rock band influenced by Brit-pop and rock. We discovered them last year and immediately fell in love with their sound! We are excited to announce that the band agreed to be interviewed and featured as part of our K-SPOTLIGHT series! In this first part of our special edition K-SPOTLIGHT on Stereotype, we asked the band some questions about their members, their music, their aspirations for 2017 and much more.
There’s nothing better than getting information straight from the source, and we found the passion and enthusiasm that the members have for pursuing music, very admirable indeed.
Whilst liaising with Stereotype and collating their answers for this interview, we were struck by their humble nature and felt that this sincerity was reflected well in their music. Qualities such as this are increasingly hard to come by in an industry where success can often be viewed on a wholly commercial basis. The fact that the music from the band stems from a humble wish to make and share good music, just makes us root for their success all the more.
We hope that you will enjoy this interview as much as we did conducting it, and go on to check out the music part of our K-SPOTLIGHT on Stereotype. We have reviewed and recommended songs to our readers there and it features videos and some more amazing photographs provided by the band themselves. Click here to be redirected to that page on the blog and listen to some brilliant music. Don’t miss out!
We would like to say a BIG thank you to Eurock, Stereotype’s drummer, for answering these questions on the band’s behalf.
1. Can you say a few words to introduce the band? What are Stereotype’s goals for 2017?
A few words? A lot of people tell us that Stereotype sounds like a British style rock band when they listen to our music for the first time. So yes, we are a Korean British style rock band who want to make good and honest music to the world, and not only in Korea.
As for 2017 goals…actually we are planning to produce our first full album this year. We have already started to arrange new songs and hope to finish it in 2017. We are planning to gig on many stages, as much as we can, and we also wish to play in the UK as well.
2. Can you tell us a little about how the band was formed? How did the members meet each other?
Stereotype consists of 5 members; vocal: Keemyoung, Bass: Chang, 2 guitars: James and Dominic, and Drums: Eurock. We started this band at the beginning of 2014. James and I met first; James was looking for a drummer using online sites at the time. I was so interested in his music and finally I contacted him and we had a good open meeting with coffee, and decided to form a band together. James and I both have many things in common in terms of sound and music. After that we found our vocalist Keemyoung and the other members Chang and Dominic joined later.
3. How long have played your instruments? Did you start from a young age?
Chang (who plays bass) and I started to play instruments at an early age. Chang started to play bass at 15 years old, and I also started to play drums from when I was in high school. James and Keemyoung didn’t start music at an early age, they didn’t even have any music lessons. They just played music at home as a hobby which means that they have great talent. Dominic played jazz before.
4. How did you decide what type of music you would make together? Did you always want to make tracks in English rather than Korean?
Unfortunately, we are still not sure about our music. In this band, if someone brings their ideas, we play it together and try and create something new from there. All the members are from different backgrounds and it was quite hard to mix all these up together; everyone has equal opportunity to bring their own ideas to the band but so far everyone follows decisions by James and I. I think it’s because we are the oldest people in the band, and we both have past band experience but we definitely respect each other, it doesn’t matter about ages at all.
Keemyoung and James write most of our song lyrics. They both grew up overseas from a young age so English is easy for them, but we do not mean to write only English lyrics. Of course we will write our lyrics in Korean in the future, but we wanted to test our music to the world in this EP so we wrote all the song lyrics in English for our first EP ‘Come Back James’. We really want to play our music globally. That is our dream.
5. What kind of music do each of the members like to listen to in their spare time?
As I mentioned, our members like to listen to all different music. Vocal Keemyoung listens to pop music like Birdy and Adele. I love Snow Patrol, Chang listens to Nickelback and James is crazy about Radiohead. Dominic loves to listen to jazz.
6. What is the meaning behind the name of your EP, ‘Come back James?’ How would you describe the tracks on the EP for new listeners of Stereotype?
Many people have asked us why we chose that name for the EP title. James is Korean Australian, he was born in Korea but he has been living in Australia from when he was 16 years old. Currently he is staying in Australia with his family for a while. We all miss him and that’s why we decided to name it for him, we are waiting for him to come back.
The EP contains 5 songs. Here are some short explanations about them.
Denmark: We tried to express our feeling about hiding hard times in the past, and to stop hiding and instead embrace a feeling of enjoyment and play.
Falling: Just forget about the world, let’s enjoy this moment with rhythm.
Something: Let’s fix this world together from bad things and bad habits.
How’s doing: Stereotype is saying hello to the world, and asking us to sing altogether
Merry go round: We are all stars, we will be lights someday.
7. How do you begin to write songs? Do you start with melodies, lyrics or the concept/idea? Does everyone work together to write the track, or do you each have separate roles?
Mostly James and I write the songs in our band. Normally James brings new ideas and guitar riffs and we play it together and arrange it to our own style. Keemyoung makes the most of English lyrics. We try to write lyrics about good, bright and positive things. We want to give out some positive energy to the people who listen to us, that is our most important reason for making music.
8. You say that you are influenced by British music. What kind of bands do you admire from the UK?
Yes of course, we adore British pop and rock music, like James is really crazy about Radiohead, I love Snow Patrol, Keemyoung likes Birdy, Dominic likes Coldplay, and recently all of our members love The 1975. British music and sound has definitely given us a lot of influences from The Beatles to The 1975. Someday we hope to play in England, actually it is one of our dreams to play at Glastonbury.
‘We want to give out some positive energy to the people who listen to us, that is our most important reason for making music.’
9. How do you think Stereotype will develop musically in future? Would you like to experiment in different genres or collaborate?
We know that it’s really hard to create something different or unique. Yes, every possibility is open to us. We will keep trying to discover our originality. We are still looking for it and maybe it will never be something we ever find, but we will keep trying our best to find out. That is our final goal.
Yes, if we have the chance to collaborate with other musicians, why not? We really want to do it, definitely it will be a good experience for us. Actually we covered a few songs in our Stereotype style, like Maroon5, Birdy, D’Sound etc. You can listen to these covers on our YouTube channel.
10. What do you think is the most important lesson you have learned since starting in the music industry? Is there anything you would do differently?
We think that music is music. These days many musicians are trying to put more focus on visual things but the most important thing for musicians is to create good and honest music. Everyone knows this, it is a very simple and common thought in this world, but everyone also knows that it is not easy to achieve it. We really wish to make good music with our originality. Also we know that every musician experiences confusion between popularity or identity like us; of course we can’t ignore either one of them, so we want to achieve an appropriate mix.
So there you have it! We hope that our readers enjoyed our interview with this upcoming Korean band, and are intrigued to find out more about their music. Remember to read our special K-SPOTLIGHT music feature that focuses on Stereotype’s releases! There are plenty of videos to check out so please help to support and spread the word about them!
If you wish to support Stereotype, you can buy their debut EP ‘Come Back James’ from iTunes, Google Play or the physical CD from Amazon.
This interview has been edited for clarity with permission from the band.
Featured image and in-article photographs source: © Stereotype. 17.02.2017. All images were kindly provided for use in this article by Stereotype.
© Inspire Me Korea. 28.03.2017