Posted on June 19, 2018
# Please introduce yourself (Shin Hae Gyeong) to our fellow Doindie readers!
Hello! I’m Shin Hae Gyeong, I just released a single called ‘Damdadi’ a few weeks ago.
# You were active in the music scene for a while between 2014 and 2016, originally using the name ‘The Mirror’. Why did you end up changing your name?
First of all, many people around me told me that the name didn’t really stick in their minds well enough. Also, I just wanted to change it anyway. I think my music style has changed a lot from before, so it felt right to change my name as well.
# Your showcase concert is coming up soon (on June 22nd). How are you feeling about it?
I think it’s kind of weird, I guess. I sometimes think it’s strange that I am one of those people who do shows. I am also trying to make this concert better than my live shows in the past, so I have an engineer working with me now as well. I am trying to rectify those things that were insufficient before. I hope that everyone who comes to the show this time really enjoys themselves.
# Have you made any special plans for this show, to make it stand out from other performances you have given in the past? Please tell your fans what they have to look forward to.
I have prepared lots of cover songs by artists I like. I reworked them to fit my style of music. I am also trying to get some of the songs that I didn’t or couldn’t play in the past into the set. I think my whole style has changed a lot, so people who have seen me play live a lot in the past are in for a treat and it should all feel new and refreshed.
# When I read your past interviews and when I listen to your music, I get the impression that you are somewhat of a perfectionist. I read that you have done all your recording and mixing yourself. Could you tell us more about your style of working?
Yeah, firstly, I guess I’m one of those people that tends to not listen to others very well. When I first started out in music, I immediately thought “right, I’ve gotta do all this myself”. Also, I didn’t really have anyone around to help me back then either. I guess that I have become fixed in that way of doing things ever since. Seeing as I have always done everything myself, it always feels kind of new when I work with other people at practices or at shows. I spend a lot of time alone at home as well, so I think that has probably pushed me towards doing things alone as well.
# Are there any particular pros and cons to doing it alone?
At shows? Ah, you’re talking about when I make the music? Actually, I also wonder why I am doing it alone! Anyway, my original aim, right from the start, was to do it all alone. Even though I’m still learning, I always tended to think about doing everything, from the composing to the recording of the songs, myself. In all honesty, I wanted to do all the mastering myself as well, but my skills have not been sufficient to stretch that far to date. It’s hard enough to just get the mixing done myself. My aims keep changing, but I think it will always be an aim of mine to compose all the music myself. Having said that, as I get older and older, that may change as well! ha ha! For now though, I am sticking with the ‘do as much as I can myself’ mantra.
# The cover of 'Magical Girl Pretty Sammy' that you recently uploaded to Soundcloud and Naver’s Musician League is really cool. Was there any special reason why you covered the song?
I didn’t have all that much to do after making the album, and after hearing the song I just decided to cover it. I have always enjoyed watching animation. I remember I listened to that song a lot when I was a kid. It was broadcast on KBS2 TV in 1999, and I remember that I was often excited about watching it at the time.
# What is your favorite animated work?
There is a Japanese comic book called ‘Glass Mask’, I recently read the first edition. It is right up my alley (ha ha)! Do you know it by any chance? I read that and ended up thinking ‘right, I need to make more of my life’ as I don’t do as much as these guys do with their lives. I’ve only read the first book so far, but I’m really impressed by it. It warmed my heart and gave me some kind of passion about living life to the fullest.
# Your love for (modern Korean author) Yi Sang’s writing is well known. What is your favorite work by him? Aside from his work, are there any other writers who you are particularly fond of?
Actually, I don’t share that opinion exactly, I’m not THAT big of a fan. I have just read his collection of works once or twice. The reason I used the name ‘The Mirror’ for my past projects was not because of Mr Yi Sang, it was because of my teacher, who is in the band Wings of the ISANG (a band named after a book by Mr Yi Sang). However, at some point I did begin to really get into his writing, and because I liked it I kept reading more and more. So, it is right to say I like his writing. However, i don’t think it is right to say I like all aspects of his work; I like the overall flow of the works and also the emotion of the writer as well. Perhaps the sentiments I feel in those words… I think I tend to be attracted to lethargy. So when I make music, those images are unconsciously projected onto it.
# Ok, so aside from him, are there any other types of literature or writers you admire? Or a book you read recently that sticks in your mind?
I don’t read so many books these days. I did read the Beatles’ biography and I watched a lot of movies / documentaries about them and The Beach Boys. The book I read most recently was ‘Glass Mask’. And my favorite work would be Natsume Shoseki’s ‘His Mind’. It’s a beautiful work that I read during high school.
# I read some poems written about your latest single [Damdadi- released in April] by the poets Kim Min-jung, Eunoh and Park Joon. Which of those were you most pleased by?
Actually, all three of them are amazing and talented people, I was so thankful and honored that they would write about my work like that. I don’t tend to analyse in detail the literature I read. Rather than picking my favorite, I’d rather just say a massive thanks to all three of them for taking the time and effort to write about me.
# I heard that some previously unreleased tracks from around the time of your last EP [My Reversible Reaction] will be included on this first album. So I would like to ask what kinds of emotions you will be unraveling throughout the first album. Please give our readers some album spoilers!
In the case of [My Reversible Reaction], I deliberately made up stories for some parts of it. However, the first album actually incorporates narration and constitution. The title of the new album will be ‘Sokkum Sokkum,’ and it was inspired by a famous phrase from one of Mr Yi Sang’s writings. While working on the album, I constantly thought about making an album with a narration to it. Put simply, I wanted people to be able to recognize what I had been contemplating while working on the album, I also wanted them to feel a flow of consciousness throughout the album. I’ve been working hard to find a way to develop my old songs in a new direction. I’m getting tired of my current musical expression. I’m not trying to get rid of it or anything like that; I’m searching for a way to expand on it.
# I thought the album cover of [My Reversible Reaction] was a good match for the sentiments in your music. Do you have any plans to work with Kang Hyuk Lee (the photographer) again for your next album cover? Or are there any particular illustrators or photographers you have in mind?
Um, I really don’t have anything in mind other than the music at the moment. But even so, I really like working with Mr. Kang Hyuk Lee, because I love his entire photo collection. I don’t ever really plan ahead or look forward to working with any particular person, since making music is my top priority. However, it would be an unconditional ‘yes’ if I could work with Mr. Kang Hyuk Lee again.
# You seem to have a close relationship with [musician] Kirara, as can be seen on ‘Danae (a Kirara Remix)’ and your SNS postings. How did you guys become so close to each other? Since you both focus on contrasting musical characteristics, I’m curious about how you first made contact.
I’ve met her quite frequently and I really like her work. We chatted a bit, and ended up doing a remix together. There’s two different versions of it and I like them both. It’s quite astonishing how my music ended up like this. We still manage to visit each other quite often. But really, I mainly like staying at home.
# Is there any other indie musician you would like to collaborate with?
As I said before, I have a strong belief that I should do things myself, so I rarely think about doing collaborations. [My Reversible Reaction] has only 6 tracks and my first album is yet to be released, so I think it’s too early to do many collaboration-type things. The reason I’m preparing so hard for ‘Sokkum Sokkum' is to try to cement my style and also get better at it. When this is all over, I think I will be more open to other projects such as collaborations… I hope so, anyway.
# Is there any particular music that you are into these days?
First of all, there a remix album by The Beatles called [Love]. I was listening to it on my way here. And I listened to GongJoongGeuNeul’s album ‘Line.’ These days I always listen to songs that I’ve heard before. And I’m very busy preparing for my concert. I bet GongJoongGeuNeul will have a big hit one day.
# Is there any movie that you particularly like or that inspired you while working on the album? And please tell us if you have a favorite movie director.
As I mentioned before, the reason I was so impressed with the comic book ‘Glass Mask’ is because I feel good when I witness someone trying hard to do something that is not easy to accomplish. So, I enjoy movies that project feelings like that. I love all of Japanese director Kurosawa Akira’s movies. I also love ‘Interstellar’, especially for its ending, and I love ‘2001 A Space Odyssey’ as well. I like the ‘Alien’ series; I have watched all of them. I think the ‘Alien’ series is a classic hit. Honestly though, when I first saw ‘Interstellar’ at the movie theater I fell asleep, but I regretted that later, after I managed to watch it properly. Also, when a movie has made a deep impression on me, I am one of those people that will just keep on digging deeper into the nitty-gritty of it all. I will look up how the movie was made, when it was made, who directed the movie and what prizes the movie was nominated for, etc. In the case of the ‘Alien’ series and ‘Interstellar,’ there are hidden meanings in the movie. I like that kind of thing.
# When I listen to Shin Hae Gyeong’s music, I get a feeling of deficiency or the realization of unconsciousness. Have you read Sigmund Freud’s ‘Psychoanalysis’? You seem to have a deep understanding of the innate nature of the human mind.
No, I haven’t. Honestly, I don’t incorporate any narrative when I am writing the lyrics. If I could pick songs that I’ve put actual endeavor into, it would be ‘Damdadi’ or ‘Downfall.’ It’s about infusing my feelings rather than a certain narrative. I write my own lyrics, but I’m embarrassed to say that some song has a certain message within the lyrics, because actually, on the whole, they don’t. That was the same when writing ‘Downfall.’ After writing the song, I told stories about this and that, and that’s how the song’s title became ‘Downfall.’
# When do you normally write music? Is there a time when you become inspired the most?
I’m not standing against the question itself, but I actually am not very inspired at all. I don’t really know what inspiration is. When I wake up in the morning I just turn on my computer and sing while playing the guitar. Sometimes I go ‘ah’ and end up making something. I actually had a hard time writing the song ‘Damdadi' because it was the first time I had started composing a song with the specific aim of putting it in a certain place on an album, like a brick in a wall.
# Please let us know your future plans and any last words to our readers.
It is my primary goal to make a good album, and I really appreciate the fans who listen to my music. Also, I feel thankful to Doindie readers. I will work hard to make a good album.
Shin Hae Gyeong Concert <Hyundai Card Curated 43. Shin Hae Gyeong>
Date: 2018.06.22 (Fri) 8PM
Venue: Hyundai Card Understage
Ticket: advance 44,000won
Ticket in advance: Melon Ticket
To find out more about the band, follow the links below:
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/shinhaegyeong/
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/shin_hae_gyeong
Interview : Chae Yeon Park, Jung Ha Lim
English Translation : Patrick Connor, Robin YeongGuk Jo
Edited by : Patrick Connor, Rock 'N' Rose