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Band No Brain

Posted September. 20, 2007 07:51,   

한국어

“We used to go to great lengths not to lose the reins of a free-spirited life. I guess our songs were kind of rebellious music aimed at angst-ridden youngsters. These days, we don’t care whether they loosen their reins or not. It’s their life anyway. Now, we just want to sing about life without over-inflating our egos,” said Lee Seong-woo, vocalist of the band “No Brain.”

They have gained composure by throwing away their bravado. The indie rock band “No Brain,” who made their debut 11 years ago, has just released their fifth album after a two-year hiatus. However, their coarse and powerful sound on the 17-track album is still absolutely breathtaking. However, if you look at their lyrics carefully, you will notice words like life, memories and youth.

Their title track, whose lyrics starts with “That’s the youth. If you are extremely anxious about your life, throw your desperation in the toilet,” is an anthem for those who have passion in life regardless of age. “Come on, Come on! Masan Street!,” the autobiographical song about leader Lee Seong-woo’s 10 years of life after coming to Seoul from his hometown Masan, and “Tomorrow, Tomorrow,” which tells listeners to put everything off to tomorrow and let life flow on its own, and whose chorus, sung by Koonta and Sugar Flow, uplifts the audience, are the songs most representative of No Brain’s style.

We met up with No Brain in Aramnuri, Goyang, on September 18, before they started their concert rehearsal.

“These days, we frequently perform with popular singers, rather than indie bands. We are also planning to advance to the Vietnamese music market in the later half of next year,” said No Brain members. After releasing their fourth album in 2004, they appeared in the film “Radio Star” where they play “East River,” an immature rock band in a rural town. Thanks to their impressive performance in the movie, they gained a reputation as rookie actors and became a popular band. However, it was irony that a band with a 10-year career rose to stardom because through a movie, rather than their music.

“Some people criticize that our music is so poor that we eventually rose to stardom through the film. But it’s important to note that we didn’t play gangsters or somebody else. In fact, we played ‘No Brain’ as it is. Although our acting was a little awkward, I’m sure that even Rain or Se7en will not be able to perform our roles as well as we did,” said members of the band.

No Brain, who have even appeared in two commercials, are now financially stable; so much so that they are now capable of supporting other indie bands. However, they now feel greater pressure. Above all, some fans criticize that No Brain has given up the indomitable spirit of true indie bands. However, its members, who have endured difficult times, some when they could even afford a dollar for a meal, don’t seem bothered by such criticism.

“People automatically associate rock music with rebellious, hungry musicians wearing leather jackets. But that’s just one side of rock. In fact, those who pretend to be good sons or daughters at home, and only scream and become rebellious on stage, do not know the essence of rock. That’s fake rock. We will make more delightful rock music,” said bassist Jeong Jae-hwan.

They say that they named the band “No Brain” because they wanted to focus on music and nothing else. Their role model is trot singer Seol Un-do, who always wears a happy smile throughout his entire performance. No Brain members, who call themselves “entertainers,” or “clowns,” told us their version of the story of an ant and a grasshopper.

“Everyone thinks the grasshopper is lazy. But, in fact, it is the grasshopper that perks up the ant and makes it possible for him to work with pleasure. As much as the ant diligently carries food, the grasshopper is also doing something productive for this world. Can anyone play an instrument? It takes a lot of painstaking effort to practice,” said drummer Hwang Seong-hyeon.



salthj@donga.com