Mini-interview with Stretching Journey

I have yet to hear more of what Stretching Journey has to offer than the samples at Hyang and a bunch of noisy vids at YouTube, yet I’m confident that their self-titled album debut will give me more than my money’s worth. The band’s bassist, Hahn Vad (perhaps better known as Amature Amplifier), was kind enough to give comprehensive answers to the questions asked when I wanted to learn more about the band.

How would you like to introduce Stretching Journey?
Stretching Journey is 4 man piece rock band from South Korea.

Our position in band is like below.
1.Vocal, Rhythm guitar : Choe Yoon-seong
2.Vocal, Lead guitar : Baek Jae-joong
3.Vocal, Bass guitar : Hahn Vad
4.Vocal, Drums : Heo Chan

We first banded summer of 2006. At that time I was playing as amature amplifier in many clubs around Hongdae-scene and also was managing a live club “Ladyfish Pop Hall” (it’s a kind of rock bar). I planned many gigs and shows for weekdays and weekend for the club. So I already know Choe, cause he’s a solo psyche-folk musician. He played many times in my club. Once We’ve had a show together at that time. One day, Choe told me that how about Punk rock band together. I pleasantly agreed with him, cause I was thinking of making punk band too at that time. That was a first step for our band.

In those days, I was a member of ‘Zzuerjjeong-Yier-Fahrenheit’‘ which is a experimental and improvised rock band. Baek was a guitarist in this band. Choe and I were agreed that Baek will be a sufficient guitarist for our band. We told Baek. Baek instantly joined band as a lead guitarist. Then Choe told Kim nam-yoon who is member of 3rd Line Butterfly that how about drummer for our band. Kim joined as a drummer. So, our first line-up was organized.

Near the end of 2007, Kim leave the band cause he’s very busy for his job-film OST music production. 2008, Baek suggest his junior in his school as a drummer. So, Heo joined as drummer. This is our 2nd line-up for the band till now. After Heo’s joining, we performed many shows in clubs and festivals. Songs were piled up, then we decide to make an album by ourselves.

What can you tell us about the music of Stretching Journey?
We first intended to make and perform punk rock music. Cause the ENERGY from Punk rock music was our pure respect. But as our practices and live shows going on, the music from our band was not exactly Punk rock music. We progressively recognized that punk music cannot be forth by the man’s intend. So we made an effort to find which music genre or band we should reference. 1st principle was our music from our body playing. Different from other member, I thought that DEVO or Gang of Four would be our reference. Cause the other members’ thinking and influenced points was different, our music can not be that style, DEVO or GoF. Finally I think our band is Post or maybe Proto-punk style rock band. Also new wave music is in it. Just we can feel that from our live shows. If you listen to our CD, newly released at Hyangmusic, you can feel that. One guy who listen to our live show in these days’ album release show told me, “Your band’s songs are like Stooges or Johnny Thunders or Ramones.” Anyway, many music genre is melted inside our music as each members have each taste.

From the samples I’ve heard, Stretching Journey seems to have something of a psychedelic sound going. Are there any bands in particular that have influenced you?
At that time I was younger and as a listener I liked brit pop, punk, post-punk (Joy Division), new wave (DEVO) and synth pop(!)-ABC, Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode music from UK, also I liked from Doors to Nirvana in America-I think these bands are my hardness’ origin. I also like new wave rock bass playing-A Flock of Seagulls, etc. But because I didn’t deeply listen to Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music, so in our music’s hard rock style and heavy metal-ness is mainly from Choe or Baek. So this is just my opinion. I will tell you by each songs.

1. 060
Intro progression and beat is influenced by south american rock band-Los Bunker‘s song. Our chorus is something like “Koyote“-korean dance pop duo style I think.

2. Shimonosekki (시모노 새끼)
My bass playing specially influenced by the bassist Kasiwabara Yuzuru‘s walking bass playing. Kasiwabara Yuzuru was bassist of Fishmans which is a Dub-rock band from Japan.

3. Cheommilmil (첨밀밀)
Maybe, uhmmmmmm, nirvana or beatles??? We wanted annoying and noising sounds, then we played more complexed crossing 2 guitar progression playing. Bass guitar two cord go-return playing is very exciting moment I think. It’s very simple and heavy. But my playing was not so good.

4. 1,2,3,4uck
I think this music is purely from our body or Beach Boys(???) Drummer Kim made this song and sang. After Kim leaving, Heo sings. Lyrics is starting like “Sun is shining in California and lone rate is progressively going higher…”

5. Nan Neon (난 넌 넌난나는 너의ㄴ러를)
Someone saying this song is from Blur…maybe brit pop influence.

6. Dancing Hero (댄싱히어로)
80s Manchester or New wave influence, I can not deny. Cause I like that style of music. ‘Mood‘ is the core of this song. Original song is from amature amplifier.

7. 3ZoneMaAe
Bass intro, that was a small dream achievement of my bass playing. After playing this song, we recognized that the song from Galaxy Express was very similar with this. That was not our intend, so we changed some melody line.

8. 28
This song’s cord playing and melody line was from Choe. Standard Hard Rock style I think. My friend said to me, “I feel like this song is from MC5!!”

9. A Runaway Dog (집나간 개)
This song’s heaviness in our live show made us shocked then we love and love and love and love it. I think this song represents our music. My vocal has some naive style.

Hahn Vad, you’re making music in several different constellations. What sets Stretching Journey apart from the rest?
I know more and more the band is hard to manage. There’s many reason for the band to disband I think. Many years ago I quitted Oyster Boys. I want more power and friendship in the band. I want to give and take the energy which all members have. So communications with each members are very important to keep going on. (I lost at that time in Oyster Boys) And I wanted to make punk music-later I understood that I need any music which have power or energy. In this Stretching Journey, we have power and energy fully effecting to the audiences and each others. And all members are very kind and thoughtful. I also realized that more practices result more nice songs. So this band is very important to my music life. But it’s not conclusion. Band music’s quality is another problem. Apart from the rest, the friendship is also there inside.

Don’t know about you, but at least it makes me even more eager for the arrival of Stretching Journey in my mailbox! Brief samples for tracks 2, 5 & 9 are available at Hyang Music.

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