KimC should require no introduction. It’s a name wellknown even in the mainstream through his years on the popular variety show 1 Night 2 Days (1박2일). He’s also been a regular on several other variety shows and has done a bit of acting on top of that — most recently spotted in Shut Up! Flower Boy Band. And most importantly, he does music. He’s been the vocalist and guitarist of Hot Potato for well over a decade already with the band’s latest album, the ‘imaginary soundtrack’ Seesaw (시소), being one of the top albums of 2010. Fans of Korean indie music may also have picked up on his work as one half of Lonely H’s Band (the other half being Lee Sun Kyu of Jaurim fame) the same year.
After leaving 1 Night 2 Days in 2010 KimC relocated to Berlin. When he came back he did so prepared to offer his first solo release, and last week he re-released Priority on vinyl. Thanks to Kimmy of Daeum Entertainment I was able to learn more about Priority through a small email interview with KimC who generously shared his thoughts.
What has Berlin meant to you and your music?
I have always wondered how would it be like to live in a place where nobody recognizes me. Some place where my ordinary life is allowed and a place with great cultural assets.
I needed a change in my monotonous life. I thought that my repetitive life cycle does not help an artist like myself so I decided to leave for Berlin.
I moved to Berlin because I have heard that Berlin is the most affordable place in Europe and where my requirements can be fulfilled. In Berlin I could look back at myself. I was tired from the life in Seoul.
In Berlin I could listen to music, ponder about things, form parallel friendships and just live an ordinary life.
(It was bizarre how I get to meet so many Swedish friends. Professional models Johan and Mikaela, musicians Ninos and DJ Samir. All the stories about Swedish art and culture from them. I miss them. If you guys happen to bump into this article, Hi!)
I told myself that I would not do any kind of work in Berlin but after spending 6 month in the country I have found myself writing and composing songs. I have promised myself that I would not give in to loneliness but I was a helpless human afterall. Sometimes it was tough but I have managed to express the things through my music.
I did not know what I loved in my life. But through the life in Berlin I have found what I really loved.
I found out that I can make myself most passionate when I am expressing something.
Every country has their own beats just like they have their own cultures. Electronic music is pop music and it is not something new in Berlin.
This album was made with the things that I have felt through my entire body not just through my ears. It is my first piece of result of my expression.
How was it to work on Priority compared to an album for Hot Potato or any of your other bands?
One of the ways for a band to maintain harmony is to compromise and just barely complete your role in the band.
Taking full responsibility may give you good results but it could negatively affect the future of the band.
In contrast when I was working on the solo album I had to take the full responsibility of every little thing. The album is a form of expression of my own so I had to take enough time and repeat the cycle of fixing and dismantling.
Working with the producer Dalpalan who had way better understanding of electronic music than myself has helped me to lay out my thoughts right. After working on this album I have realized how important a producer’s role is.
Why did you decide to release Priority on vinyl?
As the time changes the meaning of music has generalized.
From vinyl to cassette tape to CD and to several other formats along the way and now the main format in Korea is mp3.
I do not resist a change. Extinction of physical album which caused by the iTunes is progressing fast in Korea as well. Now the hard reality is that even the major musicians struggle to reach ten thousand album sales these days. But music is heard and it will continue to be heard.
The truth is that it is a shame to listen to music that has been made from a Hi-Fi system on small computer speakers.
It is like a painting with 12 different colours portrayed in just 3 colours.
Although it may cost more to listen to music on vinyl and it may be a pain in the ass rather than romantic, I still think there are people who listen to vinyl records in Korea.
By releasing my new solo album on vinyl I feel like I am providing the fans with the high quality sound which they deserve.
Furthermore I am planning to make a 5.1 channel mix version and I just revealed this first on Koreanindie.com
What are you planning on doing next?
We just worked on some wirings and did some equipment checks in our new recording studio for Hot Potato’s new album.
The time has come to endure the pain of creation. But I am excited because there is the joy of embracing the result at the end of the sufferings.
We are performing at Pentaport Rock Festival in August and in October we will be doing gigs with the release of Hot Potato’s new album. And of course I will always make time to do nothing.