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[Band Uprising] Lucite Tokki: classmates-turned-bandmates

Acoustic pop duo finds music in friendship

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Published : 2014-04-06 20:14
Updated : 2014-04-06 21:05

As the Korean music market gains more international recognition, the local band scene is looking to rise up and represent the next generation of Korean music. This is the sixth installment of a series of interviews with Korean rock, acoustic and alternative bands. ― Ed.


Cho Ye-jin and Kim Sun-young of the acoustic duo Lucite Tokki first met during a college music-writing course.

Cho majored in singing while Kim was a guitar major, and as part of a class assignment, the students were asked to split into teams and combine their compositions.

“I thought to myself that the song that I had written would really go well with her guitar playing so I asked her if she would like to partner up with me,” Cho told The Korea Herald.

“After playing together for the first time, we both felt that our sounds really meshed well together,” Kim added. “So any time we had a project or a concert assignment for school, we would always perform as a team.”
Lucite Tokki (Magic Strawberry Sound)

A decade later, they are best friends and still make music together, having released three full albums and four EPs as a lighthearted pop duo.

“As graduation day was approaching, we were really struggling to decide what we were going to do with once school was over,” Kim continued. “A lot of our friends went off to become music teachers, but we both said to ourselves, ‘Let’s make a demo tape together.’”

The two recorded a demo tape and mailed it to talent agencies. The girls’ plan worked out better than they could have hoped, as they were contacted by a label who wanted to sign them. After nearly a year of practicing and performing at small venues, the two music school graduates were able to release their debut album ― “Twinkle Twinkle” ― as Lucite Tokki.

Cho and Kim first came up with the name as a random mashing of words. Kim claimed that people have told her that she looked like a rabbit ― “tokki” in Korean ― and Cho just liked rabbits in general and often drew rabbit-like characters in her school notebooks. They decided to go with the band name “Tokki” but friends soon told them that it sounded too childish.

“One of my hobbies is collecting vintage jewelry,” Cho explained. “And a long time ago, before they came out with plastic, a lot of jewelry was made from this material called Lucite. So one day while I was out shopping for jewelry, it suddenly struck me that adding the term to our name might sound more interesting, so that’s how we became ‘Lucite Tokki.’”

The artists claim that their close friendship was the key to how they managed to continue as a long-time duo.

“We are always together,” Kim said with a chuckle. “I think there are a lot of female duos in the music scene today and even band members that started out as friends, but we ― and we have been told this many times ― are sometimes thought of as being too close because we spend most of our time together. But I think this is actually a real positive factor; our close friendship and how we are so musically in sync with each other can be seen and heard through our songs.”

Lucite Tokki released its latest EP “Getting Through the Winter with You” in January featuring two slow-tempo acoustic ballad singles “TIBI” and “Going Home.”

“In general, both of the singles are about love,” said Cho. “However, the meanings of the songs are not limited to just romantic love. We are talking about the love that you feel for your family, for the words of poetry or even the love you have for your friends. We were not trying to focus on the object of one’s affection; rather we wanted to describe the deep emotional feelings behind the notions of love.”
 
By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)

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