Today marks twenty years since Within Temptation’s debut studio album, Enter. Considered one of gothic metal’s most influential albums, Enter contains dark instrumentals and a heavy, somber mood. Unlike later albums, which centre around fantasy, love and nature themes, Enter focuses on ghosts, darkness and war.
Celebrating 10 years of Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
you’re entering adulthood but still growing, music can hit you in
such a deep and meaningful way. At least for highly sensitive
creative types, there are moments of musical discovery that touch you
and speak to you as though the songs were born inside of you, and you
had just been waiting for them to be realized over the airwaves. This
is where I was in 2007 when Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
came out. I had been moving through high school and college consuming
new and different music like a kid in a candy store, and I was neck
deep in sweets during the years I worked at my college’s radio
the promo ad for of Montreal’s 10 year deluxe anniversary vinyl set
for Hissing Fauna
begins playing the opening notes of “Suffer for Fashion” in
my Facebook feed, I relive the whole experience of the album. I do
not just mean all of the songs. I mean the experience I felt
listening to the album in 2007 – something singular and
this time in my life, someone who I had been friends with in high
school said something to the effect of, “You won’t care about these
bands in ten or fifteen years. They are just a phase you are going
through right now.” (For the record, never say this to
someone. Just let people like things.)
The bands I were engaging with at this time included The Mountain
Goats, The Blow, The Silver Jews, The Go! Team, and others. I believe
most of them have aged well. John Darnielle is hailed as one of our
greatest modern story tellers, and I listen to Paper
Television basically any time a
romantic partner rejects me. And any time since it’s release that
I’ve listened to Hissing Fauna,
it has felt like the first time.
Fauna has been referred to as a
concept album, and when I started listening to it in 2007, I took
this idea and fully extrapolated it in my brain. I looked at each
track as a musical number on a stage. Our protagonist: a key member
of a community of friends, musicians, and performers. He is plagued
by depression and inner demons. They isolate him from his loved ones,
plague his relationship, and keep him locked inside. Midway through
the show he evolves – he comes out of hiding in a new persona. He
is fabulous, aggressive, prone to flourishes and infidelity. In the
end, he comes around, gets healthy, and is grounded by his family.
I could see this clearly. I staged
it out in my head. I came home for summer break, and I tried to share
the album with friends and family, but how can you translate
something so personal and beautiful? How can you explain art that
transcends regular songs?
Kevin Barnes in a weird coffin during the Hissing Fauna tour.
fictionalized version of Hissing Fauna
is merely a dressed up, stretched out version of Kevin Barnes’s most
personal album to be released at that point in his career. He did
suffer from depression. He did, I’m sure, hole himself up, have
trouble writing, falter on tour, and eventually come through to be a
father and husband to Nina Barnes and his young daughter. But these
truths come through layers of upbeat, glamourous sound.
Montreal has an established history of bizarre, sometimes psychadelic
pop records, and on a first pass, tracks like “Heimdelsgate like a
Promethean Curse” sounds sassy and drug-induced, but when Barnes
sings about “chemicals,” he is actually talking about side
effects of anti-depressants. The song is a plea to the depressed
brain, begging, “Please. Please work like you’re supposed to.”
The bass line on “Gronlandic Edit” can read as upbeat,
particularly while Barnes’s vocals cascade up and down the track.
Meanwhile, however, the lyrics describe someone who is too depressed
to leave his home.
“I spent the winter with my nose
buried in a book trying to restructure my character because it had
become vile to its creator.” Barnes sings this right before the
album’s turning point. The lyric is a farewell to the narrator that
the listener knows. The following track, “The Past Is A Grotesque
Animal,” marks the mid-point of the album where our singer morphs
into Barnes’s alter-ego, Georgie Fruit. From here, the songs take a
more agressive tone. Songs like “Bunny Ain’t No Kind of Rider”
and “Labyrinthian Pomp” are catchy and fun, but they carry
a serious sass and assertiveness that the earlier tracks give away in
favor of more vulnerability. Georgie Fruit means business.
At one point during the Hissing Fauna tour, Kevin Barnes rode this friendly horse on stage.
all of the glitz and odd song titles on Hissing Fauna,
part of the album’s charm is how straightfoward the tracks are. Of
Montreal knows when to be high concept, but they also know when to
cut to the chase. Lyrics like “Somehow you’ve red-rovered the
gestapo circling my heart” exist next to others such as “There’s
the girl that left me bitter. Want to pay some other girl to just go
up to her and hit her.” And all of it fits beautifully together.
remember watching of Montreal in concert during the tour for this
album. This was not a live show. It was performance art. I could not
coherently describe the show to you now, but in the moment, when I
was watching in awe, I fully understood every stage prop, every
splash of body paint, each dark body suit, and how they all pertained
to the narrative of Hissing Fauna.“
I remember fully appreciating of Montreal more than I have ever
appreciated every other band. I admired how all-incompassing the
experience was, from the arc of the album, to the show, to the album
art. Certainly similar pieces of music have been created by David
Bowie or other bands outside of my frame of reference, but as a
junior in college, of Montreal seemed untouchable.
albums following Hissing Fauna
seemed different than the ones preceding it. Certainly the band was
now creating music after receiving unprecedented critical acclaim. It
was as though their new material was specifically an offshoot from
Hissing Fauna (a
feeling reinforced by their following albums sporting titles that
could be found in the lyrics of Hissing Fauna).
A post-Hissing Fauna
of Montreal was a different animal, with Georgie Fruit making his
presence known in the new material.
cherish every time a favorite artist of mine reinvents his or
herself, and of Montreal is a prolific band with an expansive
discography. But Hissing Fauna
will always live in my heart as a ground-breaking album, an album
that made me love music in a completely new way.
(caption under the photo: Sooyoung is known as the member who knows the best places to eat. “I’m the type of person who has to take the members when I find out about a good, tasty place.” Sooyoung has the utmost love and friendship for her members.)
-Girls’ Generation’s 10 years of friendship according to Sooyoung
Even when we go to overseas concerts now, we gather in one room and chat. Most of the members have shared a third of their lives together.
Sunday morning, August 5, 2007. Inside a 45- seat bus heading to the SBS Open Hall in Deungchon-dong, Seoul. It was the ride to their first stage on SBS ‘Inkigayo’ following the release of their debut single 'Into the New World’. Inside the silent bus, the members couldn’t look at each other. Because they thought they’d cry if their eyes met. In order to avoid making eye contact, they looked outside, but they couldn’t see properly. At the time, the outside of the bus was wrapped with Girls’ Generation’s photo. While looking out at a scene they couldn’t see, the members tried their best to hold back their tears. And they got up on their first stage. Girls’ Generation held back their tears and completed their stage. While returning to the waiting room, the members started crying, one by one. Their parents, who came to congratulate them on their first stage, cried with them. The tears were hotter than any shed during their time as trainees, at the shortest 3 years and longest for 7. The girls returned to their dorm and cried again. We met Sooyoung at the SM Entertainment company building on the 21st, and she reminiscenced. She said, “I remember looking out a window you couldn’t see out of, sniffling. It was a stage that we went on after practicing our kick for 1 year,” and smiled. The kick Sooyoung is talking about is a point in the choreography for 'Into the New World’.
“The secret to our 10 years is friendship and being considerate/respectful, beyond the members.”
What might be the secret behind being able to maintain the group for 10 years?
“It’s the closeness between the members. We’ve been able to come a long way because we aren’t simply connected through work, but meet as friends. Just because one person is older, they don’t try to control another member. I think we’ve been able to come this far by being respectful, considerate, and yield to one another regarding what each other might like or dislike.”
If it’s been 10 years, don’t you end up not meeting as often?
“We still have a lot of things to talk about. Being together for 10 years is really an amazing thing. Most of the members have shared a third of their lives together. Half of my life that I’ve lived so far has been spent under my current company (SM Entertainment). It’s to the point where I don’t have friends my age other than my members. We talk about everything from our worries, work, and family. The members are all those kinds of friends.”
I heard during your early debut days, you had time to talk everyday.
“We had a '5-minute talk’ time for a while. Everyday, we would have mandatory talks together. While ending our day, we would talk about things like what was sad, things we should pay attention to and improve on. (After leaving the dorm) Everyone got their own space, or started living with family, and we haven’t been able to do that, but we did for a while. Even when we go to overseas concerts now, we gather in one room and chat.”
Do you talk about dating or works (dramas, etc.)?
“We talk about the littlest things like 'What should I wear tomorrow?’, as well as work advice like, 'Do more of this in the future’. Because we are hearing about a different female celebrity who has also been doing this for 10 years, it works as a stimulant and challenges us.”
Is it an obligation going to support another member when they do something different?
“I think the most important thing to the members isn’t money, but time. Not too long ago, I felt sorry asking my members to come to a benefit concert. Because they have to use that precious time. But Tiffany took the time out herself and came, already assuming 'she’s probably not asking because she feels sorry’. And she even performed. I also go and support the members when they release a solo album or film a drama. That’s the biggest and most valuable present to one another.”
“10th anniversary album, the best event we’ve anticipated since last year.”
Following the release of their 5th official album, 'Lion Heart’, in August 2015, Girls’ Generation has been doing individual activities. This year, in particular, Yuri took on her first lead role in the SBS drama 'Defendant’, and Seohyun will be starring in the MBC weekend drama 'Bad Thief, Good Thief’ starting in May. Yoona enjoyed the success of her first film 'Confidential Assignment’, which released in January. Sooyoung started acting early on in November 2011 through the daily sitcom, 'Unstoppable Marriage’.
Yuri and Seohyun seem to be rising as actors.
“For her role in 'Defendant’, Yuri studied a lot about the occupation of a lawyer. She worried a lot about her Girls’ Generation image overlapping with her character. But as the episodes went on, she seemed to adapt to the character. As a friend, I feel like she overcame it well, so I was proud. Seohyun has good emotions. She always surprises me. I worry if she will be able to do something well, and she does. She’s the youngest sibling that does everything well without us having to worry.”
Of the 20 years of Korean girl groups, Girls’ Generation takes up 10 years. The pride you have must be great.
“Until 2 years ago (promoting as a group), I didn’t realize how much meaning the work I’ve done so far had. I think I didn’t understand how difficult and big of a deal it was winning a daesang, going on overseas tours, and doing other things as a girl group. I was busy just doing what was in front of me, and getting on stage. Doing individual activities made me think how the things I do as Girls’ Generation is the most valuable thing I can do. I’ve received love that exceeds my abilities. I was able to ride the ship called Girls’ Generation because it was with all 8 of us.”
I feel like you would have felt the most empty(?I think) when your debut colleagues Wonder Girls broke up.
“I really admired seeing Wonder Girls transform into a band. If someone told us to attempt a change like that after putting on performances for 10 years, I wonder if we could have done it. I was curious about their transformation, so I looked up all of their interviews. Wonder Girls were a good stimulant, and we were a good driving force to one another. (Their breaking up) made me sad as a fan, but I’m still supporting them as colleagues. Because we can still listen to their music.”
I heard your 10th anniversary album releases in the summer.
“We are going to do (a 10th anniversary album), it’s matter of fact, and all the members showed a desire for it since last year. It’s the biggest event the members have been anticipating.”
“Hope to be remembered as the byword for Girls’ Generation forever.”
'Into the New World’ was sung by Ewha Women’s University students to unite them during a rally. It also rang out during the candlelight protests, pressing the impeachment of Park Geun-hye. Girls’ Generation was like a language amongst those in their 20s who enjoyed idol culture. The language of the heart that makes you feel united through music.
What meaning does 'Into the New World’ hold for Girls’ Generation?
“I think it’s a classic amongst girl group debut songs. Haha. The thing idols have to keep up to appeal to the masses is self-confidence. Having a song that people of different generations can sing together is something worth being happy about.”
According to Yomiuri in Japan, TWICE is being focused on as 'the K-pop group to succeed Girls’ Generation’.
“I’m proud that they’re being introduced as a group 'to succeed Girls’ Generation’. During our generation, every rookie was called 'the 2nd BoA’. Now, 'the 2nd Soshi’ is going to be coming out.”
How does it feel seeing girl group juniors nowadays?
“They’re really pretty and do well. Our girl groups don’t show their personal emotions. Because we always have to smile/laugh. How can you be happy every day; I want to applaud them for maintaining a smiling face all the time.”
What’s Girls’ Generation’s strength?
“We try to take after each other’s good points. If one person works hard, the others do as well. If one person does a good deed, it influences the others. Another strength is that we greet people well. More than anything, we didn’t succeed at once, so we don’t forget our 'hungry mindset’. We also know how precious popularity is.”
What’s a good way for Girls’ Generation to be remembered?
“I hope we will be the 'byword’ for girl groups forever.”
If you had to pick a crisis during Girls’ Generations 10 years, it would have to be Jessica’s leave from the group. I think that might be what made Girls’ Generation become stronger. Sooyoung recited a well-known line from a popular drama.
“I liked everyday we spent together. Because the days were good, because the days were not good, because the days were just enough…”
[PIC/TRANS] FTISLAND’s Cosmopolitan Magazine June 2017 Interview
FTISLAND is celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. Honestly, in Korea, it is not an easy thing to maintain a group, let alone a band, for 10 years.
Hongki: Yes, indeed. When we were younger when we were going to debut, we didn’t really want to debut. Since we debuted when we were still really inexperienced, (now) music-wise, we still have so many things that we want to try, and we have so many things that we still want to do better. Honestly, for several years, we didn’t really have the ambition to have promotional activities since we came to do music. The numerical figure of “10 years″ somewhat holds a heavy meaning to us now.
To be able to stay solid for a long time, what do you think is your driving force?