I was introduced to 화분 by Seong Rock of Bomb & Tree. He sent me an email talking about a band he was producing and asked if I would take a listen to their album. When described as a samba band, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.
As someone who knows a little about Latin percussion and rhythms from previous experience, I thought the idea of a Korean band playing the style as really interesting. I didn’t know what kind of result would come from listening to the album for that particular style of music.
The result of listening to 화분 gave in an insight to yet another sub-genre of Korean indie. Bands playing Latin styles is very unfamiliar because it’s so unexpected so I asked Seong Rock if 화분 would answer some questions. The answers I received explain a lot more the history of how 화분 started playing the samba style.
Can you introduce the band?
We are Korean samba band, Flower Pot, consisted of Jiyeon on melodihorn and vocal, Yeop on percussion, and Taehun on guitar. We’ve been playing on and off for about 3-4 years in Seoul and finally released our first album last week.
Can you describe the music?
We got started playing samba classics in ‘Pagode’ style, then at one point became more ambitious in putting in our own sound. The originality came from our different background in music and eventually became “Flower Pot” sound.
While we tried to venture into more adventurous harmonic/melodic structure, we also maintained the very essence of samba, the groove. And the result is what you hear on our album. So in one way it could be seen as a generic bossa nova album, but if one listens to it more closely, we hope that our listener will hear the groove and start dancing.
Where did the idea of acoustic samba came from?
It is actually a prevalent band form in Brazil and we just thought it would be awesome if we could be one in Korea. All our instruments before starting the band was acoustic, so that must’ve been one reason.
What are your influence? Is there a band that you like that doesn’t influence your music?
We are mostly influenced by great Brazilian artists, Maria Bethania, Mart’nalia, Tom Jobim, to name a few. But we are also deeply inspired by jazz, funk, rock, metal, Korean traditional, and Cuban/Latin music. One way or another, I believe these genres find their way into our music.
What Korean bands are you fan of?
Probably people we play with. Primavera, Na Vida, Rapercussion, Siesta, and so on. There actually quite a few bands that play Brazilian music.
Are there any places in US you want to play?
Nowhere in particular. But it would be nice to play in the Bay area or San Francisco, since it’s where I (Taehun) first had a samba experience.
How do you create your songs?
Each member writes differently. I (Taehun) like to bring in themes and sections to a practice session and jam on it with other members until we figure out the best way to dress it up with breaks, sequence and full arrangement. Jiyeon likes to bring in the finished composition. And Yeop is much the same way with me. Then sometimes when we just jam, things just come out and we give them right context and story.
Anything you want to say to international readers?
Thanks for reading all this! Hope you enjoy our music and we sincerely hope someday we can play for you in person.
For one reason or another, samba was our initial exposure to “groove,” and it became very vital to us.
Flower Pot on Facebook.