Monday, September 30, 2013

Interview with Senyt of Dark Mirror ov Tragedy!!

Interview conducted via email in October 2013.

WULF:  Greetings, and thanks so much for agreeing to do this interview!   Who are you?  How would you describe your sound?  Also, would you mind giving us a brief history of the band?

Senyt:  We are Dark Mirror ov Tragedy. We live and play in Seoul, Korea.  We play Dark Symphony Metal (kinda Symphony Black Metal). The band name Dark Mirror ov Tragedy is taken from the Middle-age prophet Nostradamus who saw the through the mirror the dark cursing future. Like the name, our music is the combination of small pieces of harping memories from self life experiences carved by going back and forth from darkness to brightness. Dark Mirror ov Tragedy is formed in 2003. Members are M.pneuma(Vocal, 2003~), Gash(Guitars, 2003~), Senyt(Guitars, 2007~), Reverof(Bass, 2006~), Confyverse(Drums, 2005~), Zyim(Piano, 2011~), Arthenic(Violin, 2010~).

WULF:  We here at the Malicious Intent blog are trying to learn more about the Korean  metal scene...what is your opinion of it?  How would you compare it to the various other metal scenes in Asia?  Also, are there any other strong bands you can recommend for those who are interested in checking out more Korean metal?

Senyt:  Korea culture is narrow. It means most Korean, they enjoy just k-pop. Dance music, ballad music, or a few soft rock music, it's all.  But like us, some bands are still fighting in Korea. Like Method, Oathean, Silent Eye, Vassline, Remnants of the Fallen, The Choppers... Many bands appear and disappear in Korea. We go to Japan 2 or 3 times for a year for the show. So I think Japanese metal scene is same as Korean's. But I heard in Indonesia, Taiwan and some of Southeast Asia counties, there are many metal bands, and Extreme Metal is popular than East Asia.  

WULF:  The atmosphere and lyrical content on your albums is quite dark.  Are your lyrics based on personal feelings and emotions, or are they more fantasy-based?  Also, where does the main inspiration for your music comes from?  Besides musical influences, are there any specific films or literary works you draw inspiration from as well?

Senyt:  Our lyrics are like a novel. For example, in our new album, it's 3rd full-length album, in each song, there is a character like a dancer, composer, sculptor-..etc. and there is something happening.
but it is not just novel. It reflects the world what we live, we see, we feel. We see many tragedies in the world. So our music reflects tragedy, contains, describes present tragedies metaphorically. The character, the dancer in the new song "'Dancing in the Burning Mirror", he is burnt to death. It's metaphorically described the world where the people live who are crazy for mass media, pop culture or k-pop. If you want to know the reason of his death, please check out the lyric.

WULF:  One of my favorite aspects of your band is the incredible atmosphere you pack into each song. Violins, acoustic guitars, a grand piano, melodic female vocals, etc.  Is there a main songwriter who is responsible for all these embellishments, or is your music more of a group effort involving the entire band?  Also, how do you recreate this atmosphere during a live performance?  Do you have a violinist or guest female vocalist or anything like that?   

Senyt:  Before this 3rd album, vocalist and also leader, M.pneuma, he wrote most songs in 1st and 2nd albums. But in the 3rd album, two guitarist, Gash and Senyt participate in writing the songs. We write song personally. and M.pneuma arrange the orchestra parts and each members arrange their parts.
The Violinist, Arthenic, she joined in 2010 but she left in 2012, but she rejoined in this year. So except full orchestra part, we can create the sound like studio album. Also the pianist Zyim has prominent skill for making orchestra sound in live performance.

WULF:  When I listen to your music, my imagination immediately begins to create a scene set in 18th century Seoul, except in my imagination it is very similar to 18th century London or Paris.   There is plenty of fog that obscures the gas-lit, cobblestone streets during the late hours of the evening and early morning, and who knows what kind of demented madmen, sinister vampires, or worse may lurk around the corner of a dark alleyway.   While the setting is also quite romantic, there is also a strong feeling of loss or tragedy as well, as if the protagonists in the story are doomed to failure, insanity, or death.  What images come to your mind when you listen to your music?

Senyt:  Impressive imagination! Great!  Well... we know the stories of songs, so when we play or listen to our music, we imagine the character of lyric. The character transcends the time and space. He doesn't live in specific age. He lives in the world where, when the people are enjoying the art. And he is in agony because of tragedy. We concentrate on his thought and emotion, not situation.

WULF:  As far as I can tell, it has been 3 years since you've released your last album, the "Under a Withered Branch" EP.  When can we expect to see some new music??

Senyt:  The process of recording new album is almost finished. the 3rd album. early next year, you can see the best album in the whole world!

WULF:  Your music is full of beautiful atmospheric passages ("Ashen Requiem, A Dirgeful Grace", for example, immediately comes to mind), but I've noticed that, while unique, seem rooted in a sort of Gothic, Western (European) style.  With the rise in Asian bands incorporating traditional folk instruments and melodies into their music (such as Chthonic from Taiwan, Tengger Cavalry from China, Baby Metal from Japan, etc.), have you ever considered experimenting with mixing Korean folk music, such as Pansori or Pungmul, into Dark Mirror ov Tragedy's overall sound?  Also, I hate to ask, but what is your opinion on the recent explosion of K-Pop as a global phenomenon?

Senyt:  It's good question. We don't try to make Korean traditional melodies in our music compulsorily.
Yes, we are Korean, and we know the Asia feelings, emotions are still live in our heart. But Metal is Western culture. The point is metal is not only Western culture anymore. Also, classic music is too.
We are based on metal and classic music. And emotion, thought, feeling are reflected in our music. If you didn't feel any Asia things in our music, yes, we also didn't have any inspiration of Asia style. But if you got some feeling of Asia emotion in some parts of our music, our thought, emotion, blood, and body made that naturally. It is just your feeling and emotion. And that is enough to make you recognize "we are Korean". We don't need any Korean folk music.  (As for) K-pop, it looks like factory production. K-pop is fast food. Kinda hamburger, pizza or kimbab, ramyun.  Some of k-pop are really good. Great composing, great mixing, and great sound. It looks like really good fast food that can be preserved for a long time or make us eat that every time. Anyway, fast food is good for city life. And it makes many sickness like obesity. That's all.

WULF:  Dark Mirror ov Tragedy is going to be performing at the upcoming Hellride: Resurrection of Death Party 2013 in Seoul on October 5th.   What can we expect from your performance?  What are you hoping to accomplish?  Are you going to be playing any more shows after this?

Senyt:  We will play new album's songs. Yes, you should expect the new song. It is the second time of showing of our new song in Hellride. After this Hellride show, we'll go to BEHEMOTH live in Seoul as a support band in Oct. and in Nov we'll go to Japan for the Tokyo Dark Fest.

WULF:   Besides any future live performances here in Korea, do you have any other plans for future, such as new music, tours, music videos, or a DVD?  

Senyt: Early next year, we'll release the 3rd album. and also we are planning to make the music video for our new song. Expect this!  The tours, we try to go tours in Asia first, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Southeast Asia and Australia in next year.

WULF:   I wanted to keep this interview short because I know you're probably busy preparing for Hellride, so that's all the questions for now.  Thanks for chatting with us!  Any final comments to your fans?

Senyt: Dear WULF. we truly appreciate this interview. Thanks!
Dear brothers in darkness,
Expect the new album of  Dark Mirror ov Tragedy!
We'll show the most beautiful and spectacular album in the world.
Thank you.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Interview with Jeong Hyeon-seok of Mara!!

Special thanks to Shin Won-jae (신원재) and Hong Ji-yoon (홍지윤) for all their hard work in translating!!

WULF: I have been to a couple shows in Seoul, but I am still new to the Korean metal scene. What is your opinion on the scene here? How does the metal scene in Seoul compare to the scene in your hometown, Busan?

Hyeon-seok:  In other countries (especially in Western cultures), heavy metal is respected as one popular (or not) genre among various other types of music. However many Koreans still have a prejudice about this kind of intense music. I think it’s still too early for most Koreans to accept heavy metal as a special genre of music. We heavy metal musicians also need to make our music have its own Korean style, and not just copy songs from Western bands.
The most noticeable differences between Seoul and Busan are cultural factors. Compared to Busan, for example, Seoul has more stages and spacious facilities that can accommodate many people. Moreover, a number of various festivals are held annually in Seoul, and they attract diverse audiences.

WULF:   As far as I can tell, it has been almost 10 years since you have released any new music!  Is this true?  When are you going to put out some new stuff??

Hyeon-seok:   In addition to existing songs, we always try to show our own style to audiences every time we're on stage. Thanks to the compilation album "MM" (Metal Man, split with Niflheim, Notrash, and Exodus of Contemporary, all metal bands from Busan), and our unusual mini-album ("I Don't Fear to Be Died"), we won some fame as a heavy metal band.
With pressure to make our first album perfect, however, we are still hesitating to release it. We will practice harder, and finally release a perfect studio album for our fans. Currently we are trying to make our music better by performing concerts and recording a demo.

WULF:  Tell us a bit about your band's history.  Who are you?  Where does your band name come from?  How did your band get started?  Why did you decide to play metal?  Were you inspired by any older Korean metal bands?

Hyeon-seok:  A young boy who was a big fan of Kwang-seok Kim and Huyn-sik Kim (Korean folk singers) fell in love with a guitar sound one day. A growling engine, a clap of thunder, and even the sound of rain sounded like the intense tone of the guitar for him. After that, he started devoting himself to playing the guitar everyday. That became a starting point of ‘MARA’.
Mara means a demon, the personification of temptation in Buddhist mythology. Although I wasn't a Buddhist, I was really interested in Buddhism at that time, and also I thought that the word, Mara, could reflect the struggle for overcoming extreme anger and isolation (loneliness) that I was feeling. That’s the reason why I named our band ‘MARA’.
Like other players, I practiced the guitar at first by listening to and copying songs of Iron Maiden, Led Zepplin, Judas Priest and so on. Especially, I felt a magnetic attraction to the playing style of Marty Friedman (of Megadeth).
I believe heavy metal is the most effective way to express our emotion(sadness and anger). The sound of heavy metal still makes me excited.

WULF:   How would you describe your music?

Hyeon-seok:  MARA’s own music. Once we started writing music, we try to avoid listening to other heavy metal songs to find out our own style. Therefore, I can’t compare our songs to anything.

WULF:  You are scheduled to play at the upcoming Hellride Resurrection of Death Party in early October.  What can the audience expect to see during your performance?  What are you hoping to accomplish?

Hyeon-seok:  Since the vocalist of Silent Eye, Seo Jun-hui (and the former president of WASP club) matched us with Death Party, we have participated in every show up to now. It has given us many chances to play on various stages.

Also, we are quite pleased to take part in this party again. We hope that it will be a meaningful concert for the audiences, and also we wish not only big fans but people who are not interested in metal music to be fascinated with our music at Death Party.

WULF:  Could you tell us a bit about your lyrics?  What are your songs about?  Is your music inspired by any particular books or movies?

Hyeon-seok:  Through the lyrics, we want to convey our attitudes towards meeting Death. I can sum up our all lyrics in a sentence, “I’m not afraid of death, but I might be sad.”
The scene from the movie, 'The Crow', that shows a crow's stare in the darkness provided an inspiration for our work, and then I could organize MARA’s thought (philosophy) after reading Dante's 'Divine Comedy'.

WULF:  What are your plans for the future?  Any new music, tour plans, or maybe even a DVD??

Hyeon-seok:  Standing on larger stages, attracting more audiences, making/releasing memorable songs, etc. We are hoping to achieve these goals in the future. Additionally, contributing metal music which will thrive someday is also one of our dreams.
We will surely produce a remarkable outcome (new album, DVD, etc) within the next year! To achieve it, we are always doing the best we can.

WULF:  That's all the questions for now!!  Thank you so much for doing this interview!  Any final comments?

Hyeon-seok:  I could look back on MARA’s 10-year-life during this interview. Especially, while answering your second question, I could realize that it is also important for us to produce visible results while continuing to make music. We really appreciate you giving us a chance to look both back and ahead.

Original Interview:
1. 저는 서울에서 몇 번의 쇼를 봤었는데 여전히 한국의 헤비메탈의 모습은 생소합니다. 한국의 메탈의 모습에 대한 당신의 생각은 어떻습니까? 당신의 고향인 부산과 비교해 봤을 때, 서울의 헤비메탈의 모습은 어떻게 다릅니까?
┗개인적으로 한국메탈의 문제가 아니라 일반대중들이 메탈을 바라볼 때 가지는 선입견이 문제라고 생각한다. 다양한 매체에 의한 자유로운 문화가 자리 잡고 있는 외국에 비해 국내는 많이 좋아지긴 했지만 대중들이 받아들이기에는 아직도 시기가 이른 것 같다. 물론 밴드들도 외국밴드를 카피하는 듯한 메탈에서 벗어나 좀 더 한국적인 메탈로 대중들에게 다가갈 수 있는 다양한 시도를 해야 할 필요가 있다고 생각한다. 서울과 부산의 차이는 역시 위에서 말한 것처럼 문화의 차이라고 생각한다. 부산에 비해 서울은 좀 더 많은 무대, 페스티벌, 다양한문화를 수용할 수 있는 공간적인 여유가 있기 때문에 관객들의 폭이 넓다. 하지만 서울보다 메탈팀이 적은 부산은 밴드들이 힘을 모아 열심히 하고 있는 중이다. 소수의 부산 메탈메니아들 역시 언제나 큰 힘이 된다~!

2. 제가 알고서 말할 수 있는 한, 새로운 곡이 발표된 지, 어연 10년이 다 되어갑니다. 언제쯤 새로운 곡을 발표할 예정인가요?]
┗새로운 곡이라기 보단 앨범발매를 말하는 것 같은데 기존의 곡과 새로운 곡, 또 다른 색깔의 마라를 보여주기 위한 다양한 시도를 매번 공연 때마다 하고 있다. 부산메탈연합 “MM"컴필레이션앨범과 국내에선 생소했던 미니싱글앨범으로 마라가 알려지긴 했지만 정규 1집이라는 무게감에 망설이고 있다. 조금 더 신중하게 준비해서 완벽한 정규1집을 보여주고 싶다. 현재는 공연활동과 데모녹음으로 내실을 다지고 있다.

3. 당신의 밴드의 역사에 대해 좀 말해주세요. 당신은 누군가요? 당신의 밴드의 이름은 어디에서 따 온 이름인가요? 당신의 밴드는 어떻게 시작하게 되었습니까? 당신은 왜 헤비메탈을 하기로 했죠? 혹시 한국의 예전 헤비메탈 밴드에서 영감을 받았나요?
┗김광석,김현식(포크송)을 좋아하던 한 소년이 어느 날 헤비메탈을 듣고 전자기타소리에 빠져들었다. 버스엔진소리, 천둥소리, 빗소리에서도 전자기타소리가 느껴졌다. 그 이후로 소년은 미친 듯이 기타연습에 열중했고 그때부터 MARA가 시작되었다 MARA는 내안에 자리 잡고 있는 사악한 악마라는 뜻의 불교용어이다. 종교가 불교는 아니지만 불교사상에 관심이 많았고 내 자신이 품고 있는 극한의 분노와 고독, 그리고 그것을 극복하기위한 자신과의 싸움이 잘 표현된 용어라고 생각했기 때문에 “마라”라는 이름을 짓게 되었다. 여느 헤비메탈 연주자들처럼 나 역시 처음엔 Iron maiden, Led zepplin, Judas priest등의 음악을 듣고 카피하며 연습했다. 특히 Megadeth의 Martin adam friedman의 연주에 매력을 느꼈다.  나에게 헤비메탈이란 , 사람이 가장 슬프고 분노할 때 표출할 수 있는 극한의 감정표현이다. 메탈사운드는 아직도 날 흥분시킨다!

4. 당신이라면 당신의 음악을 어떻게 비유하겠습니까?
┗마라만의 음악이다. 곡을 만들기 시작한 순간부터 다른 헤비메탈은 가능한 듣지 않고 나만의 색깔을 찾기 위해 노력했다. 그렇기 때문에 마라의 음악은 다른 것에 비유할 수 없다.

5. 당신은 10월 초에 Hellride Resurrection of Death Party에서 연주하기로 일정이 짜여 있습니다. 청중이 당신의 공연을 보는 동안 어떻게 할 것이라고 생각하십니까? 당신이 이루고 싶은 것은 무엇입니까?
┗예전 WASP클럽 사장님이자 현재 Silent Eye보컬인 ‘서준희’형과의 인연으로 매번 Death Party에 참여해 왔는데 그 계기로 서울에서도 많은 공연을 하게 되었다. 10월 5일 다시 시작되는 Hellride Resurrection of Death Party에 참여하게 되어서 기쁘게 생각한다. 마라에게도 뜻 깊은 공연인 만큼 관객들에게도 뜻 깊은 공연이 되었으면 좋겠다. 메탈매니아들뿐만아이라 호기심에 찾아준 관객들도 메탈음악의 매력을 느낄 수 있는 계기가 되었으면 좋겠다.

6. 당신의 가사에 대해 말해줄 수 있나요? 당신의 노래는 무엇에 관한 것입니까? 당신의 노래가 어떤 특정한 책이나 영화에서 영감 받았습니까? 당신의 미래의 계획은 무엇입니까? 어떤 노래나 투어공연, 혹은 DVD라도 소식이 있습니까?
┗가사를 통해 하고 싶은 말은 죽음을 마주하는 자세에 관한 것이다. 모든 가사의 내용을 한소절로 표현하자면“죽음은 두렵지 않다. 다만, 슬퍼질 뿐이다”정도가 될 것이다. 마라의 색깔을 잡는 것은 영화“CROW”에서 어두운영상속에 펼쳐지는 까마귀의 또 다른 시선이 도움이 됐고 마라의 생각을 정리하는 것은 단테의 “신곡”이 도움 되었다. 음악하는 사람이면 당연한 생각이겠지만 좀 더 큰 무대, 많은 관객, 기억에 남을 만한 음반을 제작발표하는것이 미래의 목표이다. 그리고 새로운 멤버들이 좀 더 안정을 찾아서 분명 다시 한 번 찾아올 메탈의 부흥에 기여하고 싶다. 공연은 항상 하는 것이고 내년엔 기필코 만족할만한 결과물(음반, DVD)을 보여줄 것이다~!그것을 위해 현재도 연구하고 공부하며 데모녹음을 계속하고 있다.

7. 이것이 현재까지의 질문입니다. 이 인터뷰를 해주셔서 매우 감사합니다! 마지막으로 하실 말씀 있으십니까?
┗이번 인터뷰로 어느덧 10년이 지나버린 마라를 다시 한 번 되돌아보는 계기가 되었다. 특히 두 번째 질문을 받고 음악을 계속하는 것도 중요하지만 눈에 보이는 결과물도 중요하다 는걸 다시 한 번 느끼게 되었다. 날카로운 질문에 감사하다 ㅎㅎ
메탈이란 장르가 대중적이지 않다는 것은 누구보다 잘 알고 있다. 하지만 메탈음악이 좀 더 부흥하기 위해 모든 메탈인들이 힘을 모을 수 있었으면 좋겠다.
마지막으로 인터뷰할 수 있는 기회를 주어 감사하다.