(Photo credit: Lim Hyo-jin)
HAEPAARY is an electronic group formed by Choi Hyewon and Park Minhee. The talented duo compose, write lyrics and produce their music using various instruments and vocals.
We’d like to thank the members of HAEPAARY for providing us with an insightful interview, as we wish them the best in all their endeavors.
Hello. Thank you for taking the time out for an interview with us.
Hyewon: I am Choi Hyewon. I make music based on MIDI and play percussion instruments.
Minhee: I am a singer named Park Minhee. My vocal style is based on “Gagok” which is a Korean traditional type of singing genre.
Hyewon: We began working together after Minhee contacted me. After discussing what we liked and didn’t in much detail, we learned that we had a lot in common. We were then given a chance to perform together, which started our journey as HAEPAARY.
Minhee: I happened to watch Hyewon’s solo performance in 2017, and was very drawn to her musical talent and charm, which made me wonder if we could work together. Later, I took the time to see her other works and I proposed that we do a simple collaboration via several emails. After briefly performing improvised music together at a small gig at a club in Hongdae, we could tell straight off that we shared the similar style of handling work and had the same taste in music. So we naturally became a team.
Hyewon: We wanted to avoid naming the group something that relates too much to music. Minhee told me her reason for having HAEPAARY as her username on her social media, I felt that it sounded pretty. Also, since my childhood nickname was also haepaary – jellyfish, that’s how we decided on the name.
Minhee: I saw an unbelievably beautiful jellyfish when I visited an aquarium and thought to myself that I would use HAEPAARY (which means jellyfish in Korean) to name my band one day.
When I met Hyewon, I felt that it was time for me to use that name. The reason I didn’t use “jellyfish” was due to the fact that “HAEPAARY” actually has a distinctive feel to the pronunciation. And after Hyewon and I discovered that we shared something amazing in common, we had to use HAEPAARY as our name.
We want to become something as flexible and beautiful enough to make people even forget to think.
Hyewon: When I was in my lower grades in elementary school, musician Kim Deok-su’s “This is Samal nori” became popular and it became easy to learn Samul nori all throughout the country. The teacher that taught Samul nori at my after-school class was a member of Mr Kim Deuk-su’s art troupe, so I was able to learn the instruments more in depth.
As a child, I was just fickle on what I wanted to be and my dreams switched all the time. My parents told me that by the time I was a grown up, a person could have up to 80 jobs and that it was better to have as many jobs and dreams as possible.
Thanks to their advice, I wanted to become a singer, pianist, choreographer, music program producer, composer and so on.
But all of those dreams were related to art. Looking back, I think the dreams all met at one point now.
Minhee: When I was in middle school, I started singing as a hobby with my father. I was excited to be doing something special. When I later got into high school, I concentrated on majoring in music.
My childhood dream was to be in a punk rock band, produce all the music and direct stage performances myself. I attended a school where they taught traditional Korean music and I was very drawn to it all. I really felt the need to express the beautiful music in such a way through performance.
When I graduated uni, I started working on performing and am currently living my dream. But I haven’t yet been able to fulfill my dream of starting a punk rock band, so my future goal is to become a punk rocker.
(Photo credit: Lee Kanghyuk – Harper’s Bazaar)
Please select one song by HAEPAARY that you find the most appealing to you personally.
Both songs seem perfectly matched to both of our musical styles. Hyewon’s music is largely based on the beat, while I focus more on the textures of the vocals and how they are layered.
I feel that 100 percent of the qualities that Hyewon and I each have completes HAEPAARY. We even dance during those songs. We’ve always wanted to attempt adding movements during a performance, and Ilmoo – 일무 happens to be my favorite form of group dance that I know, so it was a performance that I really wanted to showcase on stage. (*Ilmoo (일무) refers to a dance performed in large groups during the royal ancestral ritual.)
“Beyond a Life of &$!#%” has lyrics that a person living in the current times would want to truthfully express.
We also implemented the genre “Gagok” which was popular in the 17th century and we mixed it with an adaptation of the spirit of modern times. Since this was somewhat a brave move for us, I feel very fond of the song.
Hyewon: Like Minhee, I also like “A Shining Warrior – A Heartfelt Joy” because it was one of the few songs that was proudly selected from the list when Minhee and I first started making music based on “The Royal Ancestral Ritual in the Jongmyo Shrine.”
The repetitive chord that doesn’t change and its techno-like beats suit both of our tastes in music. The heavy music of “The Royal Ancestral Ritual in the Jongmyo Shrine” and Minhee’s voice in contrast, complement each other to show the uniqueness of HAEPAARY very well.
Hyewon: I normally get inspiration from living everyday life. I enjoy sports like surfing and love traveling. I regard the balance of working and playing in life very important, and get inspired by this kind of lifestyle. I especially feel like getting away from everyday life when I am surfing, and can get back to work and come up with fresh ideas afterwards.
I consider myself a simple person, so rather than being inspired by specific things, I tend to accumulate various thoughts naturally and these come into form when I make music. I learned to play the percussion instruments since I was young, so I’ve adapted to thinking rhythmically and a lot of noises that I hear on a daily basis sound like rhythms to me and I develop that into my work.
Minhee: I get inspired from happenings in life. Especially from the attitude and the way we live in our society. I try to utilize those thoughts in my work.
Like many artists who study or produce traditional Korean music, we try to express what we feel from living in Korea due to its geographical conditions, cultural position or environment in the international society.
Since music is not only about producing sounds, I believe the attitude of expressing it, also plays a big part.
Hyewon: I think it’s hard when my skills feel limited and I’m unable to reach what I want to achieve. I get stressed out when things don’t get solved or don’t meet my expectations due to my personal incompetence even when I know what I want to accomplish.
But I also think that the stress derived from work can become a driving force to develop yourself, so instead of blaming myself, I try to gain more experience and make it a habit to work in order to do a better job next time.
I feel the most rewarded when people understand and relate to the purpose of my work. Whenever I work on stuff related to HAEPARRY, I think to myself, “Let’s just do what I feel like doing,” so I work by not caring too much about what other people think. So, I really feel encouraged that there are people who understand and appreciate our work.
Minhee: I find it the most difficult when something that I worked so hard on doesn’t get understood properly by others. I know we all get misunderstood at times, but I can’t help wanting to be understood. Since we formed HAEPARRY, I am grateful and feel rewarded right now because there are so many people out there who show support more than I ever expected.
Hyewon: I enjoy listening to deep techno music, but these days, I’m listening to simple house music. I think the current weather has something to do with what I like to listen to, so I have a different playlist set for different types of weather. When setting a playlist, I save music that my favorite artists follow after checking it out first.
Minhee: I’ve been listening to a lot of SUMIN – Fightman and The Linda Lindas. Since SUMIN’s music is so exceptional in structure, sound, vocals, lyrics, visuals, and is even humorous, it’s great and will get you energized on gloomy days.
The Linda Lindas is the kind of band that I dreamt of becoming in my childhood, so I’m just happy just by watching them. To me, they are the most perfect band!
I also like music by the Korean artist Jang Young-gyu. I am researching and learning how these artists release music and how they produce their music.
I also get inspiration from various artists around me. The newer artists that just got started also have a lot that I can learn from, so I often check out their music as well.
Minhee: Regardless of the genre, we are continuously being inspired by so many artists who are currently active – we admire all artists who create their own way to introduce a new worldview. We have so many that we want to collaborate with.
Right now, HAEPAARY is negotiating with Ram Han, Ghost Shotgun which consists of Gloryhole Light Sales, and .pic (Noh Sangho and Hyeonsu Jeon). We’re working on our performance later in July.
Hyewon: I think I’d be still working on different projects that I want to do while getting stressed out and feeling happy while taking care of myself.
Minhee: I want to be doing what I am doing now, except to enjoy myself much more than now to continue working and contemplating as an active artist. If possible, I want to be able to work to make the next generation proud.
Hyewon: We have our own concert planned this July with a live audience. We also plan on releasing two singles and a full album.
If I had one wish for the future, I wish that HAEPAARY would continue on. I want us to keep going even if things slow down, and hope to put in an effort so as to not lose touch.
Minhee: I wish our music would acquire a universal value within the music industry. It will be a challenge to survive in the business by making the music that we want, in the way we want, so we’re currently planning to achieve that goal.
We’d be grateful if you’d listen to our music and support us!
#HAEPAARY #composer #gagok #electronicmusic #traditionalkoreaninstruments #techno #AShinningWarriorAHeartfeltJoy