A calm roller coaster - that is the phrase that would summarize the journey indie band "Broccoli You Too" has been on for the past five years. A year after they met in 2005, they failed at numerous auditions with their first demo album "Kku KKu Kku (2005)" but the group started to get noticed with their first EP album "No More Encore Request" in 2007 and sold over 30,000 copies (2009 estimate) of their first full-length album "Common Song (2008)" merely by word of mouth. But after the release of the first album, Yoon Duk-won (vocal, bass), Ryu Ji-hyun (drum), Kim Jan-di (keyboard) and Ban Hyang-ki (guitar) left their agency to set up their own label which is Studio Broccoli as we now know. And during this time period groundless rumors surrounded the group. The second album "The Graduation" released last month on October 25 signals the group's efforts to take steps towards rising once again. "It was important we find our pace first," said the members. Let us find out how they spent their past year.
* From now on the members will be addressed by their stage names: Duk-won (Yoon Duk-won), Ryuji (Ryu Ji-hyun), Jandi (Kim Jan-di), Hyang-ki (Ban Hyang-ki) and former member Gye-pi (Lim Gye-hwi) [Editor]
10: You held your concert for three days starting October 29 and it was your first time performing on stage after releasing your second album. How did it feel?
Duk-won: The performance was basically an extension from our record-making process. Only after the concert was I able to feel we've actually released another album. We brought our engineers and session players to best relieve the sound in the second album.
Hyang-ki: We played the title track of our second album "The Graduation" during the latter part of our concert. I felt the tension going high after having built up the mood in the first half.
Jandi: Hyang-gi actually shed tears (laugh)
Duk-won: I don't think this will be the last time our emotions go wild when singing "The Graduation." If not, that will be sad, too.
Ryuji: I played for only six hours that day and that was it. It wasn't as addictive as the rumor had it.
Jandi: They say that its pattern is so simple that you can get addicted quickly but then get tired of it just as fast.
10: When recording for KBS2 music program "Yoo Hee-yeol's Sketchbook" last week on November 9, I heard your group was prepared to perform the "Moonlight Fairy Come-From-Behind Grand Slam" composed by late-composer Lee Jin-won.
Jandi: We weren't able to because we ran out of time.
Duk-won: We were going to sing "Lucky Guy" and even prepared introductory comment beforehand (laugh). I wanted to say I was lucky to be a musician who was able to know Lee's music and live in the same timeline as he was and that I will make the audience just as lucky by sharing his music with them in memory of him.
Hyang-ki: When he passed away the twitter time line was all plastered with that news and I was so sorry. I felt bitter that he got all this attention only after he died whilst nobody cared whether he released a song or an album in the past. We have to continue looking for ways to resolve this issue but both the indie music world and public seem to underline only the emotional part.
10: You didn't sing your title track in Yoo Hee-yeols show, either. Was there particular reason?
Ryuji: That is a song that requires lots of emotions so I was against it.
Jandi: This may be beside the point but I have just heard on our way for interview that our "The Graduation" got banned by KBS.
10: Oh my, why? (laugh)
Hyang-ki: Too sensual, hahaha
Duk-won: But I don't feel like changing the lyrics because of that
Hyang-ki: It feels like we have become a true rock band, I am actually proud. (laugh)
10: You didnt consider the risk when writing the lyrics?
Jandi: We went through many issues this year that made us worry about things but I had no idea this would actually happen.
Duk-won: I mean, we did include expressions like "this insane world," after all.
Duk-won: I was not aware of it until I finished the lyrics but they were all about what we went through during our 20s. I pondered what would be the word to summarize all that and came up with the word 'graduation. Graduation is a part of growing up and don't most people go through that stage?
Jandi: There certainly is a world of difference from 'admission'.
10: After the first album vocalist Gye-pi left and you created your own label company Studio Broccoli. That may have been your way of growing up. What was the process like?
Duk-won: Most people believe it was Gye-pi that left but technically it was us four leaving Gye-pi and the company. To put it naively the separation came from differences in taste. It was us four that did almost all the work for the first album, too. We maintained the feeling of "rocking" since the beginning but the company demanded a lighter tone centered on female vocal. There were many parts we weren't able to be in charge of.
10: Although you kept up with your composing, outside the music scene there were lots of rumors about your group from suspending all the activities indefinitely to disbanding altogether
Duk-won: It is hard to control once the rumor begins. But it would be even weird if we rebuke that through media outlets. In order to truly show them with it was important to find our pace first. Working together at ensemble room five times a week helped our members to be even close with each other..
10: There were many tracks that sang the importance of talking and telling the truth like 'Understanding Communications' and 'A Matter of Heart.' Were those songs reflection of the past experience?
Duk-won: I don't really write in detail about provocation from outside or other outer-events. I touched on only the simple and logical parts. I wanted to write as simple as possible the irreversible part of life such as encounter and separation. While Words get strict in numbers in that sense. Writing down the lyrics I revised the words again and again thinking how certain parts can be misconstrued which led to me write things that are more intimate.
Hyang-ki: Lesser the words, larger the space for empathy.
10: That may be why people say Broccoli's songs are "songs of comfort."
Duk-won: To be honest I get embarrassed when I hear that. I didn't mean to comfort anyone but to share the pain that is hard to be comforted. When people are busy seeking only their happiness they usually forget those feelings. They want to push down those emotions because it only leaves them uncomfortable and disturbed. But it is important that we confront those feelings. The piece "Not Even Comforted by Words of Love" too sings of a suffocating ache that cannot be comforted.
10: If you do much of the revising during lyrics what about the sound work?"
Duk-won: After making the lyrics and the length of the song as "thin" as possible we start running from there.
Jandi: Duk-won shows us his composition and tells how he wants it to be done but he never forces certain emotions or feelings to us. We don't really talk about it, either.
Duk-won: Even if we start with so little it is not that much of a problem because we still have rhymes and rhymes. The only tricky part is to bring the different interpretations of those rhymes and rhythm together but we have been lucky so far, seeing accord in most parts.
Hyang-ki: This is thanks to the time we spent together as members for all those years.
Duk-won: By minimizing the using of melody we tried to bring out more of our sentiment than usual. We were so much freer in the process because we could keep doing variations while repeating the riff. If one person makes variation we would start moving on from there, again and again.
Jandi: It was really fun.
Hyang-ki: An hour went by just like that. (laugh)
10: I believe all six sang to the song "Half Past Five" for the final hidden track.
Jandi: We recorded the song that our viewers sang together at the outdoor theater Sangsang Madang in September this year.
Duk-won: We performed that song for the first time but they sang to the music.
Ryuji: I almost cried.
Hyang-ki: They were good, too.
Jandi: Perfect in tone and the beat.
Duk-won: Why is audience singing better than me? (laugh)
Hyang-ki: I felt warmth in the air.
10: Duk-won came out as a main vocal, singing together with Ryuji. How was the change in the arrangement?
Ryuji: Hmm...because I was not a singer to begin with I did have this burden. Because I'm not the kind to do any fancy singing I tried to make the songs come out as comfortable as possible.
Hyang-ki: There isn't anyone in our group who is out to prove something big. Rather we worry more about how to best deliver the music.
Duk-won: It seems like hiding behind the song.
10: Looks like no one wants to stand out among others exactly.
Hyang-ki: I may be a guitarist but I hate the solo time. Usually guitarist likes to come forward from the band to show off their style and such, sometimes even fight for it. But that is not me.
Duk-won: None of our members like to stand out among the crowd so we just do our own thing to express our sentiment otherwise. That may be our advantage.
10: What kind of responses do you want for your second album?
Duk-won: I wish people can immerse deeper into our music than the first album. I wouldn't mind our album becoming more widely known but more than that, I wish the album to be truly meaningful for someone.
Hyang-ki: I wish our album to be played more frequently rather than widely.
Ryuji: I wish both?
Hyang-ki: That would be the best.
Duk-won: Yeah, we must dream big.
10: Here's the final question. When can we listen to "No More Encore Request" again?
Duk-won: We receive lots of request for that song whenever we perform too. But the session arrangement for the song changed since the release of the album and we havent practiced enough yet.
Hyang-ki: Because there are lots of people who like that song we want to excel in the actual performance too. We are just looking for the right time.
Duk-won: We had people demanding this piece in the final day of our exclusive concert after we went through encore session of all other songs. Even we start to reconsider if upon receiving demands to such extreme - but we stopped ourselves on the last minute. Besides isn't it weird to sing a song titled "No More Encore Request" as the final piece? Not that this isn't my best hit song! (Laugh)
Reporter : Lee Ga-on
Photographer : Lee Jin-hyuk eleven@
Editor : Heidi Kim heidikim@
<(c)10Asia All rights reserved>