After I had written about Coedwig on Indieful ROK many months ago, I ended up exchanging Google Translate filtered messages on Twitter with the band’s drummer every now and then. I got a chance to listen to their EP a
nd enjoyed the mix between straight-forward indie rock and more acoustic cafe style music.
Wanting to learn more about the band an email interview was arranged, but as I got the answers in Korean they were so long and eloquent I had problems tracking down somebody that thought they could make them justice in a translation. After five months of waiting my good friend Ludvig finally took on the task and now myself and the readers of Korean indie can all learn more about this Incheon based band.
Can you please start by introducing Coedwig?
Hello, we’re the Korean indie band Coedwig. The band name means forest in Welsh. We don’t adhere to any particular genre, and base our music on emotions and the various styles that fit them.
The reason we chose Coedwig as our band name was that we felt that we had a similar disposition to the forest, where loads of different plants and animals fit together and creates balance.
We currently have three members:
Vocals (guitar) – Pak Seongryong
Drums – Shin Yeongho
The connection between our members is a little bit special. The drummer and vocalist have been friends since primary school and lived in the same neighborhood. They listened to the same music and grew up yearning for the music of the ones that came before us.
While each engaging in his own musical projects during their childhood, we thought that we’d try to bring the culture of street concerts from Seoul (big city) to the culturally inferior Incheon (small city). We started a team and started working together musically.
Lastly, we have the ace of our team! Stevewig performs all the parts that aren’t guitar, drums or vocal.
Stevewigs name is a combination of Steve Jobs and Coedwig. We adopted him as a result of us failing to recruit more members after the release of our album. He’s a very reliable member. ^^; He never hits the wrong note.
In 2011, our band of three released the EP album 들어본 다음 말할게 (lit. I’ll tell you after I’ve listened) and are currently active (Stevewig will of course stay with us after we’ve recruited all the members we need).
[Editor’s note: Since the time of the interview Coedwig have been joined by a bassist.]
How much of Neofolk’s sound/music can be heard from Coedwig?
Hm, it’s a bit difficult to draw a line between them, but I’ll try to explain. Neofolkis the name that the band’s leader Pak Seongryong used for his solo activities when he was all about street concerts. It was a name he took because he wanted to make progressive folk songs.
However, since great artists such as Damien Rice called their genre neofolk and because my music isn’t that progressive from an objective perspective, we gave up that name and formed Coedwig.
The outline for all Coedwigs songs are written by the leader (vocals) and then discussed with the other members. So in that way it is clearly different from the solo days in Neofolk, because I can’t do everything as I want. :)
Also, because I’m no genius it is great to work as part of a team because the decisions aren’t arbitrary.
How do you describe your music?
Our music is not for parties. It’s not easy listening to create a suitable atmosphere. I think that a good friend is someone who is there for you through difficult and trying times, not just tagging along for the fun.
Our songs are usually about sadness or pain, and the lyrics describe relatively detailed situations. I’d like to say that Coedwig’s music is like a friend who’s there for you through difficult times.
What can you tell us about the EP ‘들어본 다음 말할게’?
I’ll tell you about a few of the episodes we had.
We had some fun with the title I’ll tell you when I’ve listened.
For example at the recording when the engineer outside asked our opinion, we would joke and say things like “I’ll tell you when I’ve listened”, “I’ll tell you when I’ve listened to I’ll tell you when I’ve listened”.
Even when we tried to persuade our friends to buy the CD, they’d look at the title and joke “I’ll tell you when I’ve listened to it”, “I’ll buy it when I’ve listened to it”.
Also, we ran into trouble when we were recording the percussion for our song “꽃다발”. We have a tambourine in that song, and as those of you who have tried it knows, it can be so painful it feels like your arms are falling off.
The original percussionist got so tired that I (vocals) decided to try it.
I swayed my hips so vigorously that the room became a sea of laughter. I realized that time the fact that my groove was in my hips. :)
Our first EP album “I’ll tell you when I’ve listened” is less of a stimulating and unusual nature. It’s warm, giving real comfort and sympathy, and it can become a friend who’s always there by your side as a peaceful retreat.
In the future, we’d like to stay active and make songs that many can listen to and relate to.