Breaking a four-year hiatus, modern rock band Nell returned to fans with its fifth album “Slip Away” last month, already sweeping the country’s music charts thanks to its signature psychedelic and addictive sound.
The new album sounds more spacious, acoustic and profound than before, clearly demonstrating that the members of the 13-year-old band have fully matured as musicians and as men. Now in their 30s, the band members said they wanted to portray themselves in the new album as helplessly accepting the reality that is cruel and bitter, but with a very honest attitude.
“We think that our music has changed a lot. In our 20s, we dreamed of doing things we couldn’t do. But, now 33, we dream about what we can do,” Kim Jong-wan, the band’s leader and vocal told reporters at a private luncheon held in Seoul on Wednesday.
|Nell. (Woollim Entertainment)|
“Suddenly we felt that trying to show off through music means nothing. The music (we pursue) after all, is about telling people how and what we feel right now, not trying to show something big and large,” he added.
Their fifth full-length album “Slip Away” offers ten tracks recorded in Seoul and at the famed Avatar Studios in New York. The album was mastered at Metropolis Studio in London by John Davis, who has previously worked with internationally known bands like Snow Patrol, R.E.M. and Led Zeppelin.
|Nell’s fifth album “Slip Away”|
The band’s leader Kim, in collaboration with Asher Park, has done string arrangements of songs to add dramatic classical sounds.
This is the first album in four years, because all members have been fulfilling their military service.
What makes their new album more acoustic and emotional is the old-fashioned amplifier, produced in the 1950s, that they used, the band said.
“We didn’t want to repeat the same sound. We studied a lot to put the right sound to each song. And we found this old amplifier with a vacuum tube that does not exist anymore.
“The amplifier was stunning as it created the sound we were looking for ... something that is not-so-sophisticated but much more emotional,” Kim said.
Nell came into the spotlight after releasing its first indie album in 2001 showcasing its singular music style, which has been described as dreamlike and gloomy.
The band is comprised of Kim Jong-wan, the lead vocalist, who composed most of the songs on the albums, Lee Jae-kyung on lead guitar, Lee Jung-hoon on bass guitar and Jung Jae-won on drums. Friends since childhood, they formed the band right after graduating high school in 1999.
The band was picked up by the country’s legendary singer Seo Tai-ji while performing at live clubs in Hongdae as an amateur band. Nell became the first band of Goesoo Indigene, a record label owned by Seo, in 2002 but left the company after releasing two albums when their contract expired in 2006.
“We think Seo did the best he could do for us. We were very lucky to have worked with him although he is out of reach now,” guitarist Lee said.
The group plans to hold a series of concerts at small venues later this year to interact more with their fans. It is also scheduled to perform at the Jisan Valley Rock Festival in July, where their role model Radiohead will also be playing.
The band also plans to perform in Japan although that schedule has yet to be set.
“We want to travel around the world playing our music. It doesn’t have to be a big concert, but sharing our music with many people, that is our dream,“ Lee on guitar said.
By Cho Chung-un (firstname.lastname@example.org)