Written by Seoul-based contributor: Jeong Eun Sohn
Recently, one of my friends shared his plan for mid 2016; he planned to explore the UK indie music scene with his super talented Korean band: Laybricks. I told him, honestly, that I have never heard Laybricks’ music; so he suggested I drop by their gig, but warned I may not be able to stand still while listening to their music. According to him, their music has the power to get you move your feet on the dance floor. It would be almost impossible to leave the venue without feeling an intense energy. As he predicted, I am fully hooked on their music after my first visit to their gig, and list their songs as some of my favourites.
I believe you too should have the opportunity to know such an awesome band. So here I am, ready to introduce you to LayBricks in two exclusive interviews with the duo.
Could you please introduce LayBricks and yourselves?
Hyejin Yu (Henny): I play drum in Laybricks.
Kwangmin Seo (Kurt): I am a vocalist, guitarist, driver, and…… I actually run most of Laybricks-related errands.
Do you remember the moment you decided to be a musician?
Henny: I started drumming as a member of a school band when I was 20 years old, and formed a band with Kurt whom I met through the school band I was in, and here I am now!
Kurt: After taking the Korean version of the SATs, I looked through a website for college applications. On this website, I found promotional materials about one of institutes of media and arts. Somehow I became interested in learning the arts, specifically singing. This is the moment I first sang. At that time, I preferred singing R&B and hip hop style, but I suffered severe damage to my throat as time went by. I had no choice but to stay away from music for several years. Though, I was attracted to learning guitar after serving in the military. A live performance by Nirvana inspired me so much that I began practicing the guitar by myself. I wasn’t taught music by somebody else. In 2012, I flew to the UK, wondered whether to be a musician or not. But, I encountered a series of coincidences such as my roommate being a DJ who had just formed a band with local friends, and more. At some moment, I felt that I was destined to be a musician.
Kurt: Hyejin was my junior in college. I first met her at the audition for the school band and got a feeling that I should ask her to perform together someday. Before I moved to the UK, we practiced together and recorded songs. I told her to practice hard while I was in the UK. A few months later, her performance had developed more than I had expected, so we ended up with creating a band: Laybricks.
How did you come up with band name Laybricks?
Henny: Laybricks presents our goals to keep moving forward as musicians, not in a hurry, like how people pile up bricks. Moreover, I like the way Laybricks sounds.
Kurt: It took a while to think of an awesome name. I wanted a name that showed we prioritise taking things step by step. To be honest, the bands I was in before always broke up somehow. That is why I chose the word for piling up bricks. Henny said she liked the way Laybricks was pronounced, so there was no room for more brainstorming. Later, I realised that Laybricks is slang for “a big poop,” and liked this name even more.
How would you describe Laybricks’ music to anyone who is not familiar with it?
Henny: We can’t define the specific genre of the music we play, but we can say our music is easy to access and enjoy, and it is perfect for dancing.
Kurt: If you are looking for songs that can move your body and mind, that would be ours. Sometimes it is danceable, but sometimes it is emotional, soft, or flexible. Even if you do not try hard, you can easily get into the songs.
Where do you find inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Kurt: From normal daily moments and the situations I am surrounded by. Sometimes, I am inspired by the things people around me are going through. Simple feelings inside my heart, the wind, or the energy of today’s air can be inspirational as well.
Is there any song that holds a special meaning for you on the first EP?
Kurt: Each song holds a special meaning. Our family went through hard times from the end of 2014 to early 2015. I explained the feelings I had during these times through ‘Moon.’ The lyrics are about whether it is okay to live the way I live now. Many people consider it a love song, but its meaning is rather ambiguous. In detail, I sing a song about my current self and the self I desire to be. That is why I can be immersed in emotion while singing this song more than any other song. ‘Make You Silly’ is a song I wrote while thinking of a former band member. He was always strict about doing exactly as he was taught. While observing him, I questioned whether it was wrong to be somewhat silly. I believe we live our lives seriously as if terrible things have happened. We chose ‘Make You Silly’ as the title song of our album. It is not only a powerful repertoire but also the song captures my thoughts the most.
What song is your favorite to perform live?
Henny: “Make You Silly” is a song that is easy for everyone sing along to. It should then be followed by “Let’s Dance”, a song with rocking energy.
Kurt: We thought “Let’s Dance” always got the most explosive response. However, I met a number of fans who say they were drawn in to Laybricks’ music because of “Don’t Worry”. This was when I realized that we often sing “Don’t Worry” as the first song during our live sets, and by the time it ends, the audience has become so excited that it cheers us up.
You have a lot of experience playing at clubs in Hongdae. What was the most memorable performance and why?
Henny: I have a habit of forgetting bad memories as soon as possible, so most memories left in my mind are beautiful ones. As far as I can remember, one of the remarkable performances was our album release party. We were so pumped up, as the whole audience must be our supporters, who came to the gig to celebrate us!
Kurt: We do a lot of live performances and remember almost every moment. Among the memories, the NAVER X Live Club Day showcase was stunning, more than any of the others. Even though we were super rookies at that time, we thankfully got a chance to perform. We played for a pretty short time, but we devoted all of our energy on the club FF stage. After the gig, I still remember Henny and I were so satisfied that we both smiled. Not only were we satisfied with the quality of the performance, but also we were proud that we devoted all of our energy.
When you are not performing, what do you do for fun?
Henny: I really love to watch movies and soap operas. I watch them almost everyday on my way to work. I used to lead a one-movie-per-day campaign. Ha, ha! Additionally, I spend time exploring YouTube. You do not notice time flying by so quickly when you watch videos on YouTube.
Kurt: I watch movies often. When I’m not watching movies, I do Laybricks-related works, such as editing photos, videos, or writing songs.
I rarely take it easy.
What are your top 3 career achievement as a musician?
Henny: The moment I and Kurt met, our first EP album release, invitation to Liverpool Sound City.
Kurt: My life in UK in 2012, our album release, and invitation to Liverpool Sound City.
In November 2015, Laybricks released their first EP, a hit in Korean indie music scene. Now, they have a reputation for mood lifting, great performance; and have the ability to impress the global music market. To prove that point they’ll take to the stage at Liverpool Sound City this month.
Welcoming the chance to perform in the UK Laybricks have extended their tour to experience UK music scene to the fullest. It looks like it will be a meaningful moment in their career as musicians.
Stay tuned to UnitedKpop & BritROK for the second part of our LayBricks interview, where we’ll find out more about their UK tour.
Follow LayBricks on social media:
- Written by Jeong Eun Sohn
- Jeong Eun is a Cultural Content Promoter based in Seoul, South Korea.
Promoting South Korea, Jasmine has worked for the Korea Foundation, British Council in Korea, and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.
She also leads the Seoul hub of Sofar Sounds, an indie music initiative that brings gigs to intimate spaces around the world.