[Band Uprising] Music for after lights out

By Korea Herald

Punk band transforms itself to We Are The Night

  • Published : Jun 22, 2014 - 20:28
  • Updated : Jun 23, 2014 - 15:40
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 17th installment of a series of interviews with Korean rock, acoustic and alternative bands. ― Ed.

Attempting to capture nocturnal sounds with a new identity, the former teen punk rock band Rocket Diary reintroduced itself as We Are The Night.

After debuting as the punk band Rocket Diary in 2005 and performing together for nearly a decade, four high school friends-turned-bandmates phatty.H, Little Fish, SUNxxSUN and Scooz felt the need for some kind of meaningful transformation.

Taking three years away from their coveted band life in order to complete their mandatory military service from 2009 to 2012, the musicians finally returned to resurrect the music of Rocket Diary. However, after all the years apart, each of the members felt that the group was in desperate need of a new musical direction and a new image, starting first with a new band name.

This desire to break out of the group’s old punk shell gave birth to the now, synth-pop rock band, We Are The Night.
We Are The Night (Ruby Records)

“Since the beginning, we were always guys who were into pop punk music and that’s what we started out as band,” said main vocalist SUNxxSUN during an interview with the bandmates outside a smoothie shop in Mapo-gu, Seoul.

“But after we all got back from serving in the military, we were exposed to more different styles of music during those years apart,” he continued. “... We all just felt like we needed some kind of change, which is why we decided to mix up our style and start performing under our new band name, We Are The Night.”

“You can tell just by the name of our group that we are looking to encompass the image that you have of music being listened to at nighttime,” bassist phatty.H added.

Last year the bandmates released their first single “Melancholy” under their new identity and soon after released We Are The Night’s eponymous debut studio album, mashing up classic synth-pop and guitar pop while still subtly preserving the band’s past punk rock elements.

“As our first album as ‘We Are The Night,’ we felt that we needed to include a variety of songs that showed people exactly what we are all about,” said SUNxxSUN. “The main differences between the music we did before and the music we are doing now is the inclusion of more electronic elements in our sound. Now, we are starting to mix up a bit of techno to our rock music.”

The debut album’s lead single, “Talk to Me” is an upbeat synth pop track, yet features enough of a tranquilizing feel that one can still numb the senses listening to it while lying in bed at night.

One of the key elements the band members claim most emphasizes their music’s “nighttime feel” is well-thought out lyrics. To some, the images of nightfall often portray moments when people tend to sit alone in a dimly lit room and sink into a sort of mental thought-processing mode ― thus the basis of We Are The Night’s lyrical narration.

“There are certain words or phrases that are just so common you don’t even give them a second thought; but sometimes at night, while you’re in your room and it’s quiet ... these thoughts just have a different feel to them,” the vocalist explained. “For example, you can look down at the floor to see a pair of shoes, but at that moment, the image of those shoes is more than just a word, it’s a memory of a great traveling experience or an unforgettable date with a past girlfriend.”

“See that?” phatty.H asked as he pointed toward a pile of bags next to the table. “We never go anywhere without our laptops, so when inspiration randomly hits us, whether we are at home, in the studio or at a cafe, we are always prepared; as soon as we come up with an idea, we immediately email it to each other.”

However, despite having a pensive base to their music, the bandmates claim that the melody of tracks are nevertheless upbeat enough where the band can still rock out on stage and have the audience dancing its feet.

“When you’re just sitting alone listening to our music, I really hope that you feel some kind of release from whatever sad or lonely feelings you may be having; and if you’re listening during one of our concerts, I hope for the same results only for you to be releasing yourself through dancing,” said SUNxxSUN.

We Are The Night will perform live at the upcoming three-day Incheon Pentaport Rock Music Festival on Aug. 1-3.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)