How Does K-Pop Overshadow Indie Bands? Korean Boy Band LUAMEL Share Their Thoughts + Success In Korea [INTERVIEW]

LUAMEL are a band that will take you to the moon and back. Voices that are out of this world alongside a down-to-Earth appeal, the mystical boy band is reshaping the reality of Alternative K-Pop and how we can enjoy this popular genre of music.

Debuting in 2018 with their song “Untitled,” the five-member boy band LUAMEL has a desire to transform alternative music in Korea and it has become the ambition that helps the group succeed today. Each of the five members offers a unique talent: Son Hwijun as the main vocalist, Heo Kyoungcheol on guitar, Choi Seokjoon delivering the bass, Luke Kang on trombone and guitar, and last but not least, Tak Youngsoo owning the drums. Together, the team is quite the force to be reckoned with.

Despite their other-worldly concept and appeal, these boys are a simple, sincere yet talented group of human beings brought together by the power of music. As the band explores their musical style, they traverse across the universe and bring fans along for their journey with emotional-filled songs and ethereal aesthetics that compel all who listen.

If you don’t believe me, just check out their humbling interview down below and see which song from their massive repertoire will make it to your playlist next!

Q1. LUAMEL – When I first heard the name I felt it was so unique and like a mythical animal! But, it is the combination of the moon and camel- how was this interesting name created?

LUAMEL: “At first, we thought the vocalist Son Hwijun looks like a camel and it would be fun to use it as our symbol. However, just using the word ‘camel’ alone was a bit boring to do, and the name of Luke Kang’s nephew ‘Lua,’ which means ‘moon’ in Portuguese came into the picture. It is a little funny how it came together, but we think it was put together nicely.”

LUAMEL: “처음에는 보컬인 휘준씨가 낙타를 닮아서 낙타라는 동물 꽂혔었다. 근데 낙타로만 하려니까 밋밋해서 합성어를 만들어보자는 라는 얘기가 나왔을 때 멤버 용혁씨의 조카 이름이 언급되면서 합치게 됐다. 만들어진 계기는 좀 웃기지만 너무 잘 만들었다고 생각한다.”

Q2. A desert is a place that is endless, empty and switches between burning heat and freezing cold – does this feeling reflect more in your music or visual concepts?

LUAMEL: “When we envision images of our songs, we not only use the desert but various types of nature as a metaphor. We think about vast open fields or auroras in the sky together when we build up our songs.” 

LUAMEL: “사막 뿐만 아니라 곡의 이미지를 상상할 때 자연 풍경에 많이 빗대어서 설명한다. 드넓은 평지라던가 오로라가 떠있는 하늘 같은 풍경을 생각하면서 함께 곡의 이미지를 만들어나간다.”

Q3. Before debuting in LUAMEL, did any members train with a K-Pop company or try to become a K Pop idols?

LUAMEL:“No. In Korea, typical indie bands usually start their career by meeting colleagues in college with the same Music major. Sometimes they join university clubs and music groups and meet future band members there, too. That’s how Korean bands usually join this industry.”

LUAMEL: “루아멜에서 그런 멤버는 없고 한국에서 대부분은 실용음악과를 나와서 거기서 친구를 만나면서 밴드를 시작한 경우가 많다. 혹은 대학 동아리 같은 곳도 많이 활성화가 돼있어서 밴드 하는 분들 사이에서는 이런 케이스가 더 흔한 듯하다.”

Q4. How did the band come together? Did the members know each other previously?

LUAMEL: “Before the start of LUAMEL, there was a crew where friends gathered and performed shows together. We met there and formed our band. Four of the members met in the crew, and Son Hwijun brought bass Choi Seok Joon and introduced him to the team.”

LUAMEL: “루아멜 시작 전에 친구들끼리 모여서 공연한 크루가 있었는데 거기서 만나서 밴드를 만들게 되었다. 4명은 그 크루에서 만났고 석준이형은 휘준이형이 귀하게 모셔왔다.”

Q5. What do you think a K-Pop band does differently from K-Pop groups?

LUAMEL: “K-Pop is usually composed by various professional composers so the production is very high quality. However, Korean bands have a little more unique, raw sound because the members self-produce the songs and it usually does not follow the standardized format of commercial music. The Asian music market itself is constantly growing so we think a variety of Korean music can contribute to the development.”

LUAMEL: “K-Pop 음악은 보통 작곡가들이 작곡을 해서 프로듀싱이 고퀄리티로 들어갔다면 한국 밴드는 밴드원들끼리 직접 곡을 만들고 작업을 해서 조금 더 유니크한 사운드가 많이 있다고 생각한다. 요즘 아시아 음악이 점점 떠오르는 추세인데 다양한 매력으로 느껴질 수 있다고 생각한다.”

Q6. LUAMEL shows many styles from upbeat and quirky to smooth and sensitive music. Do you have any musical influences or inspirations behind your music such as a specific artist, nature, or emotion?

LUAMEL: “As mentioned before, LUAMEL uses nature as a lot of symbolism. media contents like movies and games inspire us too. We’d like to shout out British bands Coldplay, The 1975, and London Grammar, and we always try to discover new music from new artists and try to challenge ourselves a lot.”

LUAMEL: “앞서 얘기했지만 자연에 빗대어서 얘기를 많이 하는 편이다. 또는 영화나 게임 같은 미디어 컨텐츠에서도 영감을 얻는다. 우리가 항상 언급하는 아티스트들은 Coldplay, The 1975, London Grammar 같은 영국 밴드들이 있고 항상 새로운 아티스트들의 음악을 들으며 새로운 도전도 많이 하려고 한다.”

Q7. Many of your songs have a natural or cosmic sort of title. What is the inspiration behind names like ‘Comet,’ ‘Orbital,’ ‘River,’ ‘Forest’ etc?

LUAMEL: “First, we wanted to fill ‘Orbital’ with unique themes rather than typical topics like love and daily life. Since our music is influenced by Ambient/Post-Rock genres, something broader like the space or nature would fit us.’

LUAMEL: “일단 앨범 인간위성 : ‘Orbital’ 은 보편적인 노래들의 주제처럼 사랑, 일상 등에서 가져오기 보단 특별한 것을 원했었고 노래의 분위기들도 엠비언트 포스트락 기반으로 시작한 밴드라서 우주적, 자연적인 것들과 음악의 색깔이 어울린다고도 생각했다.”

Q8. What song would you recommend new fans to listen to first?

LUAMEL:“If you listen to our song ‘War,’ it is a song where our energy and pop sounds blend well. If you prefer something calmer, we also recommend ‘Path.'”

LUAMEL: ‘War’라는 곡을 들으면 밴드의 에너지와 팝 적인 사운드가 잘 결합이 된 곡 같다. 좀 더 잔잔한게 좋다면 ‘path’도 추천한다.”

Of course, we recommend it too!! Check it out below!
Q9. Is there any hardships indie bands like LUAMEL face that other groups or idols do not?

LUAMEL: “Everyone has their own struggles, but as a band one of the concerns is that there are not many big stages for bands to shine. Festivals were a huge opportunity, but it’s mostly been put on pause due to COVID-19. Not many indie bands get a chance to be introduced to mass media and TV so we can’t really count on that. It’d be more motivational if we have more chances to meet bigger audiences.”

LUAMEL: “모두가 각자의 어려움이 있지만 대부분의 밴드들의 고민 중 하나는 한국에서는 밴드를 위한 큰 무대가 많지 않다는 것이다. 그나마 있던 페스티벌도 없어지고 있고 인디밴드가 방송에 출연하는 것은 흔하지 않기 때문에 거기에 희망을 걸기도 어렵다. 큰 무대에 올라갈 기회가 많아지면 다들 좀 더 즐겁게 활동할 것 같다.”

Q10. Do you have any messages for your fans?

LUAMEL: “Thank you for listening. Stay tuned for more from LUAMEL.”

LUAMEL: “들어줘서 고맙다 앞으로 더 기대해달라.”


luamel2

In the end, LUAMEL is a boy band that continues to share a special image and sounds with fans of K-Pop and listeners all around the world. Whether it is on a big stage or not, members Son Hwijun, Luke Kang, Heo Kyoungcheol, Choi Seokjoon, and Tak Youngsoo continue to let their fantasies escape the stage and enter the hearts of fans with each and every sublime song.

If you enjoyed the interview, take the time to wander into LUAMEL’s universe and follow them on SNS! You will surely enjoy all of their other-worldly songs~

Discography 

2018.10.05 DS ‘Untitled’ 

2018.12.13 EP ‘LIVELAPSE’ 

2019.01.10 DS ‘화장을 할 때까지’ 

2020.05.26 DS ‘Horizon’

2020.07.16 DS ‘Path’

2020.09.24 DS ‘Covet’

2020.11.30 EP ‘Live Session #1’

2021.06.22 DS ‘War’

2021.06.29 EP ‘인간위성: Orbital’

2021.12.27 DS ‘마들렌’

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