I’m quickly becoming a big fan of Soul Park. The first release, A Stroll in the Park, is a great synth and indie rock album that presents a sound similar to Glen Check and The Koxx, but has its own individual sound.
I asked Seven Dials Record if Soul Park would be able to respond to questions I sent via email and the label and Soul Park were nice enough to answer my questions.
Can you introduce Soul Park?
Soul Park is a Korean rock band. Formed in Seoul in 2009, the group consists of singer-guitarist Yonghee Park, drummer Younghoon Kwon, guitarist-keyboardist Joonhee Park and bassist Hyochul Ahn.
Soul Park was started as a solo project by Yonghee Park, who was a singer/songwriter. As Yonghee wanted to have a powerful real drum sound, he asked Younghoon Kwon, drummer, to join Soul Park. When the 1st album A Stroll in the Park released in 2011, Soul Park was just a two men band. After the release, Soul Park invited bassist and keyboardist for balanced live sound.
Joonhee Park, keyboardist/guitarist, is Yonghee Park’s younger brother who performs both Moog synthesizer and electric guitar. Hyochul Ahn, bassist, is a member of Square the Circle together with Joonhee Park who is the front man of Square the Circle. From 2012, Soul Park’s performance is enhanced by strong sound supported by these two new members.
Soul Park’s debut album A Stroll in the Park incorporated the sounds of Britpop, alternative rock, synth-pop. Soul Park’s music was influenced by Smashing Pumpkins, Blur, Sparklehorse, Flaming Lips, and Seo Taiji.
Soul Park recently released EP with 3 songs titled by Shine on me (2012) through Hyundai Card Music Market.
What type of music do you play?
Instrumentally, Soul Park contains guitars, drums and synthesizer sound. Soul Park used lots of Moog sounds for the first album on purpose.
Songwriter, Yonghee, went so far as to not use real bass sound for this album – he intentionally used only guitars, drums, and Moog for this album from the start.
When Soul Park is on stage at live, they use real bass instead of an electronically administered one. Soul Park’s live sound is strengthened compared to the album version by re-arranging existing album numbers, e.g., “Let me in.” They were arranged for the live performance with powerful band sound. You can find the live performance on YouTube.
Lyrically Soul Park used to be inspired by numerous movies and novels. Such as “1984” (inspired by Murakami Haruki’s novel ‘1Q84’), “Let me in”(inspired by Swedish Film ‘Let the Right One In’). Of course, basically Soul Park wrote “Traveler” and “Escape” from the songwriter’s own experience.
A Stroll in the Park released last year, how was the recording process?
A Stroll in the Park was produced, recorded, mixed and mastered in the Studio Sevendials by Yonghee Park from October 2010 to March 2011.
Typical recording process starts with initial song writing using an acoustic guitar. After Yonghee (Guitar/Singer) sketches the songs with guitars, bass, synthesizer, and electronic drums. And then, the band members listen to the music and provide him feedback.
Incorporating band members’ feedback, he completes song recording with guitars, bass, synthesizer and drums in his studio with band members.
For this album, Yonghee played every instrument except for drums because Soul Park was a two man band at that time.
Yonghee’s recording system was composed of PC, MOTU1296 with Cubase. He used gear like Arsenal Audio R20 preamp, RODE NTK microphone, Marshall JTM30, Fender Telecaster Deluxe, Gibson standard, and Martin acoustic guitar.
Yonghee detailed the recording process as following: “When I recorded a song, at first I recorded as many sources as possible.
After that I removed unnecessary sources during mixing process for optimization. In mixing process, I mixed tracks with Yamaha NS-10M Studio.
I used some VSTi, such as API 550A, 560, 2500, TubeTech CL1B, PSP vintage warmer and outboard gear like dbx160xt, Lexicon PCM, DP/4, Roland Space Echo. After finishing mixing process, I upgraded some of the gear.
I bought an iMac, RME Fireface 800, API 512C, and ProTools 9. So I started mastering with the new gear and new DAW.
Basically, I mainly used Pro Tools basic 7-band EQ, Brainworx bx digital mid/side EQ, TubeTech CL1B, and Sonnox Oxford Limiter for mastering. I just focused on making this album sound warm.”
Are there any bands that influence you? International or local?
British rock bands.
Yonghee says: “I went to a Radiohead concert last week for the first time. That was amazing. They always inspire me from when I was a kid. I can’t miss out Blur and Oasis. And I think I also influenced by Smashing Pumpkins, Flaming Lips and Sparklehorse. I like their way to make sound and sensibility.”
What are your thoughts of fans outside of South Korea becoming interesting in Korean music other than Kpop?
It’s amazing and it’s encouraging. Thanks to the Kpop, which has gained in popularity globally over recent years through YouTube, people are becoming interested in other genres and artists of Korean Music. Soul Park wants to say thank you to all fans of Korean Indie music. We hope you and all Kpop fans keep an eye on Korean Indie bands going forward. It will be very exciting if Soul Park have a chance to meet you and other fans in person, hold a show or performance abroad.
There are similarities to The Koxx and Glen Check in your music, is adding synthesizers becoming more commonplace?
Soul Park members also like The KOXX and Glen Check’s music. Basically, Soul Park, The KOXX, and Glen Check are bands applying electronic sounds based on synthesizers. This part makes people feel the similarity among the three groups.
In the meanwhile, Soul Park pursues warmth using the Moog analogue synthesizer. Soul Park, The KOXX, and Glen Check would be great combination of Korean indie band music, and we wish you find out your own way to enjoy it.
I think rock music and electronic music often find themselves in modern pop or rock music by adding synthesizers these days. I think this trend is not limited only in Korea that making convergence over the music genre.
Is there anything you want to say to our readers?
Thanks for reading our interview. We are very happy to meet you guys. You can reach us on Facebook page and official website. Also, you can download Soul Park’s music through iTunes. If you like our music, please come to see our shows someday. We are expecting to see you guys. Cheers.
I have to thank Soul Park for answering my questions. The technical aspects of recording A Stroll in the Park were unexpected, but shows how much work went into the album. Check out their various social network pages and keep an eye on the band. I’m sure there are great things coming in the future.