As the Korean music market begins to receive more international recognition, the local band scene is looking to rise up and represent the next generation of Korean music. This is the seventh installment in a series of interviews with Korean rock, acoustic and alternative bands. ― Ed.
The mild and melancholic acoustic pop trio Cold Cherry, comprised of Kim Bbal-gang, Yu Hyun-jin and Lee Yu-han, got its start in the Hongdae music scene playing at any venue that was willing to have them.
With so many local bands looking to find their big break in the all-too-competitive music scene, the young musicians of Cold Cherry decided to set themselves apart through their lyrics and style of music, rather than by putting on rather wild and cliched rock shows.
Even the band’s name is meant to convey the genre of music the trio is known for. After hearing the term “cold cherry” while watching an episode of the hit American TV drama “Dexter,” the members immediately felt a connection and knew the name was a perfect fit for their style of music.
“‘Cold’ represents something dark and depressing while ‘cherry’ represents something sweet; we really liked the idea of having a name that encompassed a mixture of the two dueling meanings because this is really the case in most of our songs,” said Kim during an interview with the bandmates at their studio in Mapo-gu. “We like to think of ourselves as a band that takes heartfelt lyrics and adds them to a kind of mainstream melody.”
|Cold Cherry. (Rolling Cultureone)|
“Because we are the type of band that really places a lot of emphasis on our lyrics, we always write the lyrics first, before we start to come up with the melody,” he added. “We are not a kind of hardcore rock band so we try to grab listeners’ attention through our songs about life and about love.”
Cold Cherry first formed in 2009 and made its official debut two years later with the EP “After the Rain.” Despite being adamant about pursuing their dreams of making music for a living, some of the members admitted to being doubtful about whether they would be able to release a professionally produced and widely distributed album.
“‘Can we really release an album?’ This question ran through my mind constantly when we were first starting out as a band,” Yu said. “After we released our first album, one of my friends told me that he was sitting in a coffee shop and he heard our song playing on the radio. That was the moment when I first thought to myself, ‘Wow, we actually did it, we are real musicians.’”
The band has since released six EPs including the single “Growing Pain 2,” which was made popular after being featured on an episode of the hit Korean drama “The Heirs.” Although the trio is still relatively unknown to the mainstream music-listening public, the members are making strides to widen their public scope without compromising their musical integrity by doing what many acts tend to do ― succumb to chasing the current trend.
“Trendy is not something that we are looking to be,” Kim explained. “What we are trying to do through our music is to strike up a deep connection with our listeners. You know sometimes when you hear a song and you listen to its story, you can actually think back to a day and remember how the weather felt and even remember certain smells; we want to make the kind of music that is like a time machine, transporting your emotions and your mind back to a specific moment in time.”
In February the trio released its latest EP, “Before the Rain,” which includes tracks that were composed soon after Cold Cherry was formed. Compared with the band’s past releases, which mainly incorporated acoustic guitar, drums and bass, the bandmates claimed to have put more of an emphasis on adding new and different sounds.
“With our latest EP, we really tried to expand our sound further in terms of instrumentation, including keyboard. ... I think these songs are a little more easygoing than ones we have released before,” said Kim.
“Even if you download it illegally, please just have a listen to our music,” he added with a smile.
Cold Cherry will perform at this year’s Beautiful Mint Life music festival on April 27 alongside other popular names in the local indie rock scene including Kingston Rudieska and Thornapple.
By Julie Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org)