From being buskers, partaking in the vibrant and extremely prominent Busking Culture of Korea to being the Runner-up of JTBC’s reality show ‘Super Band’ in 2019, this 4 member band ‘LUCY’ has done it all!
An All-Vocalist group, the band consists of Shin Yechan (Leader and Violinist), Shin Gwangil (Drummer), Choi Sangyeop (Guitarist), and Cho Wonsang (Bassist and Producer).
LUCY which made its debut on May 8, 2020, is the very definition of “Unique”, as, right from the name ‘LUCY’ to the instrumentation and the creative process of making music, there is nothing common or typical about them. It is with such an especial and extraordinary band that KPOP HIGH INDIA interacted with, exploring their distinctive musical undertakings, their roots and future aspirations, and their interest in Indian music and culture.
<LUCY’S GREETING >
LUCY: Hi, we’re LUCY! LUCY is the four-member band of Yechan Shin, Sangyeop Choi, Wonsang Cho, and Gwangil Shin who were the Runner-up of JTBC’s ‘Super Band’ in 2019. We are a unique band (having a violinist on the team) and our goal is to show various genres of music, painted in LUCY’s colours!
KHIGH: The naming of your band seems really unique and intriguing. Can you please tell, how it came about? What does it signify?
Wonsang: It was named after the dog that was in our studio. We’re also usually active like puppies. When Gwangil said “How about ‘LUCY’?”, there were no disagreements. LUCY also carries the meaning of Light [arising from the Latin word “lux”], and through this neutral-sounding name, we wanted to present music that was without any prejudice.
This Dog-lover even wrote a groovy song just for his pet, Holly titled ‘Don’t Look at Me Like That’:
KHIGH: One of the distinguishing factors that make LUCY different from the others in the K-indie band scene is the incorporation of the sounds of a Violin. How much of an impact, do you think, it makes on your creative process and the output?
Yechan: The violin is as powerful as an electronic guitar but can also express itself more delicately and emotionally than any other instrument. Hence, it is quite impactful [in our creative process].
Check out the Cover of the OST track, ‘Merry Go Around’ below, for an eargasmic experience of LUCY’s instrumentation:
KHIGH: “Ambient Pop” is the term you had used to describe your music, i.e., music that immerses the listener in a specific setting. Your tracks like ‘Flare’ use the sounds (fireworks in this case) to create this imagery in the listener’s mind. How did this ingenious idea of “ambient pop” come to you? Can we expect a further evolution of this creative genre by LUCY?
Wonsang: The first time we used Ambience’s sound was during the stage of the show, ‘Super Band’ where we performed ‘Swim’. It’s a song about water. I recorded it near the Han River to include the water sounds. I didn’t plan it from the beginning and just wanted to share fun experiences with the listeners [through it]. Even now, LUCY’s music is naturally accompanied by Ambience Sound. I’m further studying how to meld it perfectly, and I think I can show you more of it, more diversely in the future.
Get lost in the water realm of LUCY’s ‘Swim’ performance:
KHIGH: Your use of rare musical instruments and sounds is one of the main appealing aspects of LUCY’s music. Which Indian instrument’s sounds would you choose to incorporate in your music?
LUCY: We want to play the Indian instrument, “Sitar”. We like pirate, Viking-like music, and Sitar goes well with it.
KHIGH: It’s rare to see a band consisting of all-vocalists, especially when all of them vocalize together on a track (even the drummer). Do you think this vocal advantage and use of atypical instruments give you an edge over the other K-bands?
LUCY: We think Gwangil’s vocal singing while playing the drums is the edge we have! Main vocalist Sangyeop’s voice is also attractive, but the voice of Gwangil, which comes out briefly [in our tracks], can always give listeners a fresh feeling.
Listen to the cover of ‘Chaotic Spring’ by Drummer and Vocalist, Shin Gwangil to discover “the edge” they talked of:
KHIGH: South Korea is known for its Busking Culture where band performances on the streets of Hongdae and other districts seem to be a common sight. How significant do you think this culture is in forming of an artist/musician like yourselves?
Yechan: I think it’s very important. I can communicate with a lot of people [through busking], and essentially the street itself is a stage. Therefore, it also helps a lot in our stage practice.
Sangyeop: When we perform [on stage], people who know us come [to see us]. However, Busking is something where even people who don’t know us come to the streets; they can just walk by and see us. So, I think it’s a good opportunity to play our music in front of such people.
Gwangil: When we can’t go on a big stage, I think Busking is the best stage we can do!
KHIGH: One of the things that really won the support of many Walwal (your fans) is the considerate Sign language version you released of your debut track, Flowering. What made you harness the expressive power of sign language in your music?
Wonsang: ‘Flowering’ [in sign language version] had a clear message to convey. We aimed to deliver LUCY’s message of cheering up and support with sign language which would be inclusive and accessible to all!
KHIGH: South Korea had been enforcing strict restrictions to mitigate the pandemic. Was the process of working on the second album affected by the pandemic in some way as well? Keeping in mind this growing threat, how have your future plans changed?
LUCY: It’s too bad we couldn’t perform in 2020. So last year, we made lots of YouTube contents, and using that channel, we were able to communicate with our fans. If the COVID-19 situation continues this year, we plan to communicate with our fans through various other contents. However, we still hope COVID-19 ends as soon as possible!
Check out their promised, 2021’s first music release, ‘INSIDE’ which features 3 tracks- ‘Hero (title track)’, ‘Stove’ and ‘Outro’:
LUCY: George Harrison, a member of the global band ‘The Beatles’, was very interested in and inspired by Indian music. We are also really interested in Indian music. One of the compliments we received was that “The Korean Beatles are born anew”. If we have a chance in the future, we will go to India to see our Indian fans and get lots of musical inspiration. Thank you for your interest in LUCY!