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 14th installment of a series of interviews with Korean rock, acoustic and alternative bands. ― Ed.
What initially started out as a band of four musically inclined travel-lovers unexpectedly transformed into the now, 10-member local indie band “The Tourist.”
Meeting a majority of their newest members online via social networking sites, the band is a unique collaboration of vocalists, musicians, an engineer, travel photographer, music video director and even an illustrator. The group also includes a number of composers ― two of whom used to write music for popular K-pop acts TVXQ and IU.
“We are all just people who love to travel,” said producer Kim Dal-woo during an interview with some of his bandmates at the Sony Music Korea office in Seocho-gu. “Eventually we all got together and decided make music about traveling and that’s how ‘The Tourist’ came to be.”
The band’s love of exploring new places, both abroad and locally, is the catalyst behind its music, which needless to say, has to do with the feelings and experiences one may encounter while traveling.
The Tourist debuted in April 2012 with its first single “Spring + Romance Part 1” and has since released a steady slew of albums and EPs, including the band’s first eponymous full album in November that same year. The bandmates stated that they strive to release a new single every one to two months and the newly released “Guidebook to Excitement” is the group’s second full studio album. It is comprised of a collection of previously released singles plus one new song.
|The Tourist. (Sony Music Korea)|
“I think the main differences between our first full album and this second one that we just released is, the first album really focused more on emotion, while our second album really emphasized traveling scenery,” said Kim.
The music video for The Tourist’s newest single “Delayed” was filmed while some of the group members were traveling in Macau, China. The basic premise of the song touches upon the notions of delaying love; taking too many detours and missing out on the chance of meeting one’s true love.
“Delayed” also marked the group’s fourth music video that the members filmed overseas. The Tourist previously released videos shot throughout Japan including Yokohama, Kyushu and Akita.
Aside from the band’s slated theme of travel, one of the main attributes that allows The Tourist to stand out from other local indie bands is the amount of effort and detail that is placed upon every one of the group’s songs.
With a professional illustrator, photographer and video director as part of the band, The Tourist presents music that is not only pleasing to the ear, but music that is visually stunning. The band’s physical album is filled with picturesque travel photos, and with every single the members release is also an accompanying music video.
“My most memorable travel experience was when I went to Lake Louise in Canada, it’s where I proposed to my wife,” said Kim. “So in memory of this, the music video for the third track on our album was shot with a lakeside background.”
All ten members each have their individual role that allows the band to create music to the artistic extent thus far, and continue to strive toward in their future releases. And in the true spirit of traveling, the members state that they never go somewhere for the specific intent of writing a song; rather they enjoy the moments away from home and use the memories and experiences to inspire their music.
“The thing with us is, we never write or work on songs while we are traveling around individually,” said vocalist Park Hye-soo. “When we are on our travels, we just simply enjoy the experience.”
“I, personally, while I’m traveling may sometimes jot down some of my thoughts and on occasion just use my phone to record various sounds, that way I can listen to them when I come back home and it can transport me back to the same feelings I was having,” said Kim.
“But honestly, when you think of the term ‘travel’ in a broader sense, to me it refers to more than just going a distance,” Park added. “Even going someplace nearby your house or in your neighborhood can become a sort of travel experience.”
The Tourist will be holding a solo concert at the Seongsu Art Hall in Seongdong-gu from July 25-27.
By Julie Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org)