Korean Indie Interview: Tripper Sound’s Javo Island
So far Beyond Hallyu has brought you 3 interviews from the amazing line up that alternative label Tripper Sound have to offer. Firstly it was Coreyah, the talented folk group mixing lesser known international sounds and blending it together with the traditional tones of pansori. Then it was Phonebooth, the long running Rock ‘N’ Roll band who have fought uphill battles in order to bypass the barriers faced by Rock groups in Korea and come out slightly breathless but still fighting. This was followed by the far from average Garage/Rock group 24Hours who are hitting all the right notes with both Korean and internationally fans after appearing on Eat Your Kimchi’s list of their favourite ‘indie’ tracks. Now we bring you Javo Island!
One of the first things you could say about this group is that their music is never repetitive. In fact, between the melodies and vocals, each song moves along in such a way that the listener will want to keep listening to each track again and again (and, if you are me, this sequence will go on numerous times). What does stand out with their music is the fact that it reminds me of the music that was used in the American teen comedy ’10 Things I Hate About You’. The music mixes bits of pop and rock and is quirky as hell! But that’s what will make you love it. It will definitely take older fans back.
Can you introduce our readers to your group and tell us how you formed?
Hi readers! We are Javo Island and we are a ‘Pop’ band in Korea. I’m Hye Jin An and I’m on the keyboard and I’m Sang Hyun Park and I’m the vocalist and leader. The band was first formed by Sang Hyun in 2004 and I (Hye Jin) joined him in 2006. Since then the two of us have led Javo Island attempting to broaden the influence and the use of pop music within the Korean Indie scene, something which we are still working on.
How would you describe your music to a first time listener in just three words?
Pop, The Band and The Performance!
How do the groups feel about the positive response alternative Korean music is having with fans outside of Korea?
Commonly the ‘Korean wave’ means K-Pop alone and it is big overseas, helping people to pay attention to Korea overall. Thanks to them this attention is finally able to reach the indie bands and this is great because there have been so many great ones in Hongdae. They are constantly being developed and there is so much diversity between them all that they have developed their own history. Of course this diverse music history and branching out doesn’t go as far as the music in Britain and the United States but it definitely shares the passion and selling power. So it’s good that this is finally being noticed but many people.
Does the music you listen to influence the music you create? Who are you currently listening to?
Sang Hyun: When we started out I was listening to music like Jason Mraz, John Mayer and Jack Johnson, so lots of acoustic pop music. Now however I’m listening to Queen and Aerosmith, not because I’m influenced by them but because I’m inspired by them. They are Rock stars from my generation and they remind me of what made me first decide to make music.
Are there any artists you would recommend?
Hye Jin: I would really like to recommend the Korean Indie musician ‘Hi Mr. Memory’. With his music you are able to experience a great mix of things including Korean Folk music and his voice gives off so many emotions as it is deep and vulnerable at the same time.
If you could pick 2 places around the world to tour where would they be and why?
Hye Jin: Of course London! And Barcelona! I visited London last February and it felt like I was in the middle ages. Every corner of London seemed like a huge performance and I was able to gain so much inspiration from my time there. However with Barcelona I’ve never been there. But I’ve heard of the beauty of Gaudi’s works. I want to have a concert there and test the city’s energy and how much of an inspiration it will be.
If you could cover any song by any group which song would it be and why?
Ben Folds Five – Jackson Cannery. To us all the songs are so exciting but amongst others this is a standout, maybe even the best. We are a 1 guitar system band and our keyboardist likes songs that lead up to powerful play so this is good.
What are your plans for the future?
Next January our second full length album will be released, so we are currently working hard on that. Compared to our previous work, various attempts at new things have been made with this album. We really hope the listeners will be able to look at us in a specific way with this one and that we give them a specific image.
Thank you very much to Tripper Sound for setting up the interview with Phonebooth and to the group for taking time out of a busy schedule to answer some of our questions.