Interview: Korean indie band Kiha and the Faces
While Kiha and the Faces were in the UK for KMusic Week, which is organized by the Korean Cultural Centre in London, we scored the privilege to get an up close interview with them personally. As a critically acclaimed indie band, we were extremely interested in what the band had to say about its music.
Debuted since 2008, the band has gone from strength to strength, and it was interesting to watch this quiet group of six men transform into balls of energy on stage later that evening. The band was extremely busy and after watching part of their rehearsal, we got to share the intimate interview time together with Korean Class Massive.
KCM: I wanted to start by asking a bit about yourselves. How did you all meet and come together as a band?
Jang Kiha: We were actually all in different bands. I was originally in a band as a drummer and I wrote all my own songs. I later decided to form a band and gathered them all together.
KCM: Your songs are quite focused on lyrics, so I was wondering how do you compose new tracks, do you all play a part in making new tunes?
Jang Kiha: I write the melody and lyrics, and then the band gets together and arranges it to fit their own instruments.
KCM: All your music videos have very fun and unique concepts, and I know that you [Jang Kiha] direct them. How do you come up with the ideas, is it just you or do the members get involved too?
Jang Kiha: Yeah, I direct the music videos all myself. I play the music in my head and try to fit the music into a theme for a music video.
KCM: The band name is ‘Kiha and The Faces’, do the other members ever want to be referred to as anything else?
Jang Kiha: [laughs] A lot of Koreans ask us this.
Lee Jong Min: We always answer we don’t have a problem with it [laughs].
Translator: I think he’s being a little sarcastic though.
Lee Jong Min: Do you have any alternate recommendations?
KCM: Kiha and the Handsome Faces?
Kiha and the Faces: Haha, thanks.
hellokpop: You’ve got some critical success, do you think that’s changed your music in some way as you became so successful so fast?
Jang Kiha: No, it’s all fun. I don’t know about other people, but being able to have as big an audience as possible is good. If many people know our music, it’s good.
hellokpop: Do you think this success allows you more creative freedom or do you have more responsibility to create music that will be well received? Do you think you can experiment more with music, being so successful?
Jang Kiha: We can’t help but always remember the fact that we have to remember our fans who have always purchased our music. But, if our music changes because of that, it will make us losers. The great bands we look up to have always produced great music, with or without popularity.
hellokpop: Which bands?
Jang Kiha: A lot of bands. A lot of western bands. Definitely The Beatles, The Doors, Talking Heads, Roxy Music.
KCM: It seems more recently Korean indie has been getting more recognition. How can bands emerging onto the scene establish themselves?
Jeong Jung Yub: Well, we didn’t actually think we’d be this successful…
Jang Kiha: It’s very simple, they have to make good music and be lucky. We were both, making good music and lucky.
Jeong Jung Yub: It would also be good not to listen to the music that’s trendy and try to not follow a trend.
hellokpop: Do you think that you’re here promoting the Korean indie scene or yourself as a group?
Jang Kiha: Obviously, we’re here to promote ourselves, but if it all goes well we would become a representative of the Korean indie scene as well.
hellokpop: Do you think joining this festival here will have any impact on your popularity in Korea? I asked the bands on Korea Rocks (Gate Flowers, Apollo 18, Goonam and Galaxy) and they all said playing abroad was a huge step for them, like being an ambassador for Korean rock music.
Jang Kiha: It doesn’t happen very often that we get to represent Korea in a different country through music. When we get back to Korea, everyone will just think, “well done”.
KCM: How did you choose your set list tonight? Did you think about the fact that there would be English-speaking people in the audience or just choose songs you liked?
Jang Kiha: We were conscious of the fact that there would be many English-speaking people in the audience, and so we kept this in consideration when we were arranging our set for tonight. However, we did pick the ones that were perhaps less familiar to the audience from Britain and ones that had a lot more Korean in them.
hellokpop: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Jang Kiha: When we return to Korea, we’re going to work on our third album. We’re also going to play at City Break which is a rock festival. We’ll be playing with Metallica and Muse who are headlining.
KCM: While you’re in London, is there anything particular you want to do? Will you have time to explore?
Lee Jong Min: I want to meet pretty girls!
Jeon Il Joon: I wanted to ride Brompton bikes but couldn’t.
Jang Kiha: I really like British ale so I’ve been having a pint or two everyday, and plan to continue this. [laughs]
Yohei Hasegawa: I want to buy vinyl records. I collect vinyl records from the 50s or 60s. Mono records, not stereo.
Jang Kiha: He’s especially into mono vinyl.
hellokpop: Do you maybe dream of being produced by Brian Eno or Brian Ferry?
Jang Kiha: Yeah, that would be amazing.
And that’s when we ran out of time as they prepared themselves for the performance later on.
Check out our coverage of the event by clicking here.
Special thanks to the KCC and, Kiha and the Faces.