Interview with Moonshine

interview - 09.29.2008 08:00

Interview with metal band Moonshine after the release of their new album, Eternal

In their 15 years in the Korean music scene, Moonshine have become known as one of the forefathers of the metal scene. With their latest album, Eternal, the band showed a shift in style and played their first ever concert. With all of this going on, KoME took the opportunity to ask Giga and Amon a few questions.

Please introduce yourselves to those that don't know you already?

Moonshine: We're Moonshine from South Korea. We make beautiful yet strong music and we just released our 3rd album entitled Eternal on Dope Entertainment a couple of months ago. Go get it regardless of what metal genre you're into because we assure you that you'll find something on it that you'll like.

You're widely regarded as one of Korea's first death metal bands. What inspired you to form the band?

Moonshine: During those days, we challenged ourselves and set our minds on a field that other Korean musicians never tried before, I guess we were 'wild and young' during those times.

Death metal is one of a kind extreme music that exceeds the common sense of contemporary music and it was so new and a lot of fun back then in Korea.

The very first thing that we ever did before starting the band was we bought some metal albums and listened to them religiously, then we became eager to do our own music. That was the beginning of Moonshine.

How receptive do you think Korea is to metal?

Moonshine: In my opinion, Koreans are quite open and easily accept new cultures. As the Internet boomed throughout the country in the late 90's it got even faster.

However, heavy metal is merely a single tab on 24 frets of various Korean cultures. If people can find more interest in heavy metal, then it will be natural for it to become popular. I hope that with many great metal bands coming out of Korea, it will flourish soon.

Your music is easily accessible to non-Koreans. Have you already received some offers to release your new album outside Korea?

Dope Music Entertainment, our label, has a positive taste and attitude toward our music. We believe that our new album will be released in other areas if they find cooperative partners overseas because they're very professional and one the best heavy metal labels in Korea.

Giga: what inspired you to take up the bass? Why did you decide to change to drums?

Giga: Rhythm puts the base of the music before the melodies and chords. I was fond of both, bass and drum at the same time.

The reason I changed is it was hard to find a drummer within our taste during the time that I played bass with Deathrasher during the early 90's, so I changed my position to drums to fill the void.

Giga: you've stated before that you're a fan of the British band Napalm Death, what is it about their music that you particularly admire?

Giga: What I really admire about them is that they are the first one and originator of the genre. They're a great band and on top of the game even today.

Amon: when did you first realise the potential of your voice? Have you always enjoyed singing?

Amon: We tried to put clean vocals on our first album, Wake up the moon, but we've experienced a lot of difficulties in the process so in our second album, Songs of requiem, we decided to not put in that many clean vocals parts at all.

On Eternal, the clean vocal parts sound quite awkward at first but due to constant practicing, song enhancements and recording, it sounds really good in the end. And we're very proud of it.

Amon: How do you decide which type of vocals to use at certain points in a song?

Amon: Unique feelings, lyrics and pronunciation are all things I take into consideration when I select the type of vocals to use in a song.

In fact, Giga made a lot of commitment to vocal producing. He listened to a number of songs of various genres and gave some advice for vocal styles. The result was quite good.

What are the main themes or inspirations for your music?

Moonshine: The early ones are all aggressive due to the fact that we emphasized anti-socialism and disobedience without any particular reasons.

With our new album Eternal, we described stories of agony, and dilemmas of life through our own experiences as we grew older.

On (We) Die cold, it's about the question of whether we're always chasing a meaningless illusion without consciousness that all of us have to die in the end.

Dark Reception, Isolated is a look at ourselves, we're self-oriented and not likely to understand others.

Chaos Lover shows the moments when we were still young in 'chaos' because of the misunderstanding like 'everybody on Earth is trying to be my baby'. (laughs)

Can you tell us a little about your new album Eternal?

Moonshine: Eternal, compared to our last albums, drained us of our energy when we were recording it because we wanted it to be the best and most diverse record we'd ever made. We set our minds that this might be the last one for us so we would squeeze our best into it. We named it Eternal because we want it to be remembered eternally and we hope that our offspring and their offspring will remember it even if we're already gone.

The artwork of the new album was created by Dark Tranquillity's guitarist Niklas Sundin, who has already worked on artwork for other famous bands including Arch Enemy, Sentenced and In Flames. How did you come to work with him?

Moonshine: Yoon-Joong Kim, the president of our label, Dope Entertainment, had already worked with Niklas Sundin several times. Mr. Kim suggested that our new album would be well-suited with Niklas' artwork.

Niklas successfully expressed his passionate, strong artwork within our concept of Eastern mystery, and I am sure that it will be remembered 'eternally'.

Eternal shows less black metal elements than before and is more in the gothic/dark field. Was this a natural evolution or did you deliberately try to make something different from your previous albums?

Moonshine: Our change is a natural evolution, and we don't think we changed 'a lot' since yesterday. We've always challenged ourselves to make beautiful, sad melodies but music with power. Our new album is very near to our ideal form of music.

Eternal includes 4 bonus tracks in Korean. Why did you decide to include these songs? Do you think your lyrics are as important as your music?

Moonshine: Most of our fans are Korean. When we were working on this album, we decided to include Korean songs (lyrics) because we want our non-English speaking fans to also feel what we want to express in our lyrics and not just musically.

In addition to that, some fans thought we were a foreign band consisting of foreign members, that's why we somewhat wanted to prove them wrong by putting extra/bonus tracks in Korean.

On your MySpace page, we can see that Paranoid (female vocals) and M (bass) have now joined the band. Are they official members or support members? Could you please tell us a bit more about them?

Moonshine: As of now, Mynn (bass) and Katastroph (keyboard) are only session players. An associate of mine introduced me to Katastroph and she is the keyboardist of Dark Mirror ov Tragedy (Korean black metal band). Mynn has been working as a visual staff member from our 1st album and he acted as bassist at our first public live.

The band doesn't seem to tour a lot, is there a reason for this? Do you have any plans to tour in the near future?

Moonshine: Until August 23rd we were only focused on doing albums and didn't have any plans to play live because we couldn't find the right members for a live setting. Now with our session players, we are ready to take our music into the live scene. The first live show that we did was last August 23 and we're going to be on stage when we have the chance to.

If you had the opportunity to be the opening act for an international band of your choice, who would it be and why?

Moonshine: They would definitely be Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax. They were the bands we always admired and listened to during our school days up to now. It would be our glory and honor to be an opening band for them.

Have your tastes in music changed at all since the band's formation?

Moonshine: In more than 10 years of Moonshine's existence, our musical taste changes through the years.

Aggressive, extreme, speedy death and black metals are still good, yet melodic middle tempo ones sound better nowadays. In our case lately, we felt that we could express our feelings more to people in melodic and middle tempo songs.

If you compare our old songs to our new album now, you can tell that the change in our musical taste has greatly affected our current sounds now. And I guess it's for the better.

What do you think of the Korean metal scene today compared to 10 years ago?

Moonshine: Bands of different genres have grown in numbers compared to before. I guess that it's a natural thing caused by the Internet.

However the market size has become smaller compared 10 years ago and I blame the rampant illegal downloading of MP3's for this.

Today, winner takes all indeed.

It's been 15 years since the formation of Deathrasher. How do you feel about the Deathrasher days looking back on them?

Moonshine: It's certainly the case that more advanced, state of the art instruments, devices and systems are available now than during our Deathrasher days. Business models and systems got more stable too.

However, we miss 'ourselves' and fans from when we were Deathrasher.

15 years ago, we and our fans were so true and innocent. We (Deathrasher and our fans), could easily be satisfied with small and simple things and there was constant communication between us and our fans. Those days are gone but we will cherish it in our hearts.

For example, during our Deathrasher days, we made a demo on our own by cassette and posted on magazines and telephone-connect BBS (bulletin board system) for requests. It appealed to the fans and we received lots of tape requests with fan letters from all over country because it was very uncommon to do such things before. Now we get much fewer e-mails (laugh).

What are you ambitions for the future?

Moonshine: Like most bands, we want to be a headliner of an arena show or a very huge festival that only successful bands can experience. We also want to have more fans that enjoy our music. And last but not the least, we want to do a worldwide tour and be able to share our music with new fans worldwide.

What do you enjoy doing besides making music?

Moonshine: Amon is always drowned in music. He likes anything related with his music such as guitar collection and recording.

Giga studies about financial investment from time to time. Actually he invested in Chinese and BRICs investment funds and a number of companies' shares (He's been trying to buy a good drum set by his earnings yet he still uses his 'oldies but goodies' set so far).

Any last messages for the readers?

Please look around and listen, there's good music around Asia. Thanks a lot for the interview. We really enjoy it. For those who want to know more about us, please do check and please support our new album, Eternal. It is a must for all fans of metal.

Special thanks to Moonshine and Allan Dayco at Dope Entertainment for making this interview possible.

KoME's review of
Eternal can be read here
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