This article written after an interview with MOT was edited by Philip Gowman and first published on London Korean Links.
The summer of 2004, MOT’s debut album, non-linear, was my soundtrack of choice. Three years later, MOT have finally released their second album, Strange season, and it’s hard to think of a better suited companion for this rainy summer. Amidst the band’s activities following this recent release, the two members took the time to answer some questions for LKL.
In 1998, Aeon started a one man band called MOT. He soon advertised online for a band member, met Z.EE and gave MOT its present form. They both love Miles Davis and jazz in general, but they do not consider that the foundation of their own music – instead they have drawn influences from Radiohead, Portishead and other British bands. Upon inquiring about their name, as German fan Karin Liegmann had made me aware that there were several allusions to ponds surrounding MOT, I got a colourful description of their sound: “We think our sounds reflects or gives the image and the nature ‘water’, not in the form of overwhelming power nor dynamic movement and energy, but something like in a pond from fairy tales, something mysterious.”
MOT’s primary focus is “balance in every aspect; sound electro/acoustic, traditional/obscure, off-kilter yet accessible.” For their sophomore effort, they experimented with those balance points, but for them change is not an end in itself – “what really matters is making good music”. Their determination to make good music is what kept their fans waiting for another album so long. Instead of pushing out an album filled with compromises, they pushed the release date until the best possible result had been obtained.
A sold out first album was not the only accomplishment of MOT prior to this year, however. Aeon and Z.EE wrote the majority of the score for the movie Some and also contributed to the music of Star. Some independent films, such as Symbolic Her, have also gotten their soundtracks enhanced by MOT and the band is currently considering another film project. Writing scores is more challenging than ordinary song writing, as it requires working to images and footage with split-second timing, but as they can try new things it is also more interesting, explain the two musicians. As long as the movie is well matched with MOT’s music, they don’t mind working on it.
Doing remakes is another thing MOT find interesting. During their concerts they frequently cover other artists and a few of their productions of others’ compositions have found their way onto CDs. While they think that remakes are fun and that remakes can bring out a different side of MOT, there will not be a remake album any time soon. They have had the idea, but they say too many artists are doing them just for the attention and that’s not for MOT.
With a change in distribution companies, that previously sold out first album is now available again. Currently the company is also looking into opportunities to release MOT’s music outside of Korea. Already with non-linear there was a thought about reaching an international audience, carried out through including Japanese and English translations of the lyrics with the CD. The thought was still there for Strange season, but because of the thick booklet, translations were just made available on MOT’s website instead. They’d love to come to the UK some day for concerts, they just need an invitation first.