When I first heard of Kite Operations I was pretty obsessed with just about anything Korean coming out from Pastel Music and so extremely eager to hear this new band, featured on the Korean disc of the Pastel Music 3th Anniversary Sampler. I took a liking to A Wonder as soon as I heard it, and decided that Kite Operations was a band I just had to keep my eyes on after falling in love with the amazing Effervesence. The years have passed and the sound of Kite Operations evolved into something completely different, but nonetheless Kite Operations remains an interesting band. Guitarist & vocalist Joseph Kim answered a few questions on this:
Could you please start with an introduction of Kite Operations?
we are an experimental-rock band based in new york. before kite operations began, david and i had a band called theselah that made three albums between 1998 and 2002. after that band broke up, the desire to make music was still quite strong, so we rounded up some friends and carried on as kite operations. this year, we are putting out our third album festival, our first for actually, records based in chicago.
What can you tell us about the upcoming album, Festival?
i think it may be a difficult listen for some people, and even people who are fans of our previous work might not really get it. so far, we’ve seen some pretty polarized responses. some of our friends think it’s our best music ever, while others, as politely as possible, let us know they aren’t too keen on it.
the songs on Festival may sound chaotic, but actually they are pretty structured. each song has certain goal-posts that we have to execute precisely. a melodic idea, or a rhythmic idea, or some sort of event that has to be synchronized with the other members. at the same time though, the songs allow for free improvisation within certain sections. a lot of these ideas came from our interest and love of free-jazz. particularly the late-era recordings of john coltrane.
The Kite Operations sound now and that from Dandelion Days four years ago are vastly different. Although some sort of transition was noticable already on Heart Attacks, Back to Back the question must be asked: how did this happen?
i definitely agree that the sound is vastly different, but the change was so gradual that it actually felt natural. looking back on the previous albums, i think there have always been clues on each one as to where we were going next, although we ourselves didn’t realize where that might be until we were already there.
the band has always been about deriving joy or comfort from the music that we make. over the years, our standards and tastes have changed naturally just from growing older, being open to new experiences, and taking inspiration from various things in our lives. we just follow the muse wherever it leads without much thought to maintaining consistency with things we’ve done in the past. but that said, one thing that seems to have been a constant is a fascination with noise and how to control it and use it almost like another instrument. we still look back on our older work with fondness and plan to bring back some of it into our live performances.
In which regions of the world can we expect promotional activities from Kite Operations this time around?
the band has taken us to many places we might not have visited otherwise, and we are thankful for all the opportunities that we have had. i’m not sure where it will lead us this time around, but we are definitely itching to play for our friends in california, and of course, in korea, which was hands-down the most amazing tour experience for us so far!
If you want to learn more on Kite Operations’ tour experience in Korea, check out the tour diary at koreanpop.org!
And something more about Festival, which will get released on November 3: the band was so kind as to send me a copy a few weeks ago so I’ve already had a few listens to it. Though I had been warned in advance that I might not like it I was not the least bit prepared for the challenge my ears were met by – the once so lovely band with the occasional estranged guitar sounds had now created some kind of post-noise album. Now, with a bit of effort I have successfully managed to enjoy some noisy stuff in the past, but if there’s one thing I simply can not stand to listen to it’s free-jazz. Yet here I had to deal with both at the same time!
Fortunately the kind Joe set me up with an explanation to the whole thing and when I gave the album another go this past weekend it did have a much greater appeal. Nothing I’d keep in the background while reading, but definitely something I can listen to every now and then. Basically what I’m trying to say is that even if you don’t like it at first, if you have the time and seek out a way to listen that suits you it could prove quite rewarding.
As an example, here’s a new favorite music video of mine:
And if you liked Dasepo, you can download it here!
That video is the cutest thing I have seen today.^^
I really enjoyed Effervescence.
I would be interested to hear the Coltrane-inspired free-jazzy tracks myself.
Dasepo is certainly not the kind of song I would expect from anyone under Pastel, so I guess it’s understandable why they switched labels.
Best wishes to them <3
Will keep my ears perked for more!
Kite Operations are behind K.O.A. Records (and consequently the great K.O.A. Zine) so I think they’ve released everything up till now under their own label, but with Pastel releasing a Korean version of the first full length :)
Here’s the label “resource link” where there’s a bit more information and more new album samples: http://actuallyrecords.com/promo/ko.htm
Oooh I see. Gotcha gotcha.
Hehe, how cute they have a song named ‘Beyonce’ (I’m abusing the word ‘cute’ today ><)
Hm, sampling through the tracks, I would have to say…I would probably enjoy their earlier works more. Although I do enjoy some experimental music, their new songs fall too heavily on my ears. :[
But I am still thankful that you did do this interview, b/c now at least I know about them and can enjoy their earlier works! :]