In 2004 I came across some pretty fantastic music as I somehow stumbled upon Kafka‘s self-titled debut album – I fondly remember a long lost favorite playlist of mine from that time featuring strategically chosen songs from Kafka alongside Yellow Kitchen and ZzzAam (whose 3rd full length album was released about the same time) that I would listen to over and over again. Although as so often when you come across something unique and interesting in Korean music, as time goes by you begin to think that was all you were going to get. Kafka has surprised me twice in that regard: with the release of Nothingless 3 years later, and again just last week – another 3 years later – with the release of The Most Beautiful Thing. I took this opportunity to approach them with a few questions which they kindly answered:
Could you please start by introducing Kafka?
KAFKA was comprised of two members, Chaiyoung & Changyeol.
KAFKA was organized and named after Franz Kafka in 2000.
Since then we’ve had concerts at clubs in Seoul, Korea.
KAFKA’s first album was released on March 11 2004. And our 2nd album was released on October 22 2007. And our new album was released on June 29 2010.
When you released your first album, your compelling sound was quite different from just about everything else in Korean music at the time. Who would you say were your biggest influences when creating it?
Well, nobody influenced in our music. In fact, when we create our songs we don’t think about anything or anybody. We’ve created every song by instinct. That’s why most Korean people who have known our music tell us our music isn’t kind to them.
How would describe the progression of your music since?
We’ve done artistic work just in Korea for over ten years.
It’s very hard for us to do our music work in Korea. Because most Korean people don’t want to listen to electronic or something else except Popular music. So we’d really like to do our music career in many different countries in the future if we get the chance.
We hope our next album will be released in other country.
What can you tell us about The Most Beautiful Thing?
The Most Beautiful Thing, it’s the title of our new album.
But the true title of this album is Silence.
This album means so much to us.
This is because we could rise from the ashes of despair through working for this album and we found our own label, Moon Song Records because of this album and we did everything we could do to make our this album for ourselves for the first time.
When we were creating all the songs in this album, we had the oddest feeling, a mix of hope and despair.
To be honest, we had had feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, sadness and anger, especially from 2007 to 2009 because of our private matters.
So we hadn’t done any music career for about three years.
And then one day we just woke up, and that’s when we created this album.
As for the meaning of this album, The Most Beautiful Thing is what we wanted to tell ourselves. All we are saying is that the most beautiful thing is Hope.
Hope for the Silence, all kinds of hopelessness, helplessness, sadness and anger.
Quite an instinct for music there, I’d say! 3-6 years later their songs still sound as interesting to me as when I first heard them. “A subtle combination of both experimental sound and pop melodies With the added bonuses of Electro/trip-hop and Dream pop” is how they describe their music on MySpace, where there is much more to read about it. Visit KAFKA’s YouTube channel to hear some of their new songs and watch a couple of music videos!