When Chris told me that I could write for koreanindie.com, I was half excited (I don’t think it would be necessary to explain this one) and half self-suspicious. What could I possibly write about my life as a musician? To meet everybody’s expectations on a stereotypical student in Paris, I’ll have to begin with a question like “Am I a musician, already?”
Yes, I’m an electronic musician. I have released an album and another EP with my name printed on, and a few scores for films too. But I rarely do gigs (I’m not a big fan of my gigs, I’ll have to confess.) and I’m staying far away from Korean indie scene. Moreover, my present major occupation seems to be writing articles, especially on K-Pop but not authentic nor serious music. Somebody claiming to be my fan even asked me “Are you quitting your music? Are you a musician or an Idol specialist?” I had to answer, to my excitement, “I don’t know. Ask someone else.” I didn’t (and still don’t) mean to be mean, but for quite a time that has been one of my question to self, along with “where the hell (or which hell) my life is heading to?”
All of this confusion came from the moment that Cha Woojin encouraged me to write for weiv, the webzine for which he is the chief editor. If you ask me why he told me to write, a few things come to mind. There weren’t many Korean critics interested in dance music, I was used to analytic listening (as a musician), amd Cha was kind enough.
At first I hesitated. Until then I was a musician-blogger, how simple was that? Trying to call myself a music critic might have caused me many problems. For instance, if I criticize some music, I might ask myself if mine is better. As civilized we all are, we know that this question isn’t really fair. Still, as a musician myself, (and I should add here that I’m quite a jealous one when it comes to talents, yes, it’s true.) I just can’t help asking myself that. It’s just stronger than me. Of course, I’d never – in my best condition, that is – curse somebody for being better than me, and especially not in the form of music critic. But I had to wonder for a long time if I was really capable of writing about others’ music.
Finally I came up with a pretentious excuse: I’ll write, but only about good music. I see some people giggle from their experiences. Yes, it didn’t take long before I write bad things about some music that I found bad. I still focus on finding something good in the music about which I write, but easily I had urges to write bad too. Somewhere in my head I knew this from the beginning. Then why couldn’t I simply choose not to write?
My question was rather, “Why shouldn’t I?” We often say that a musician had better saying with music, and that’s often why musicians try not to write. I strongly and easily reject that. There are things that can’t be told with music if only you refuse to be superstitious. I mean, as if doctors and students could tell something with their charts and their year end notes? Plus, some things are more efficient to be told with words, again, even if you’re a musician. Then one thing led to another, and now I listen to more than 20 new K-Pop releases every month, in order to write I-don’t-know-how-many short or long articles on my webzine “Idology.” Again, where the hell my life is heading to ?
As I look back, actually I hardly dreamed being a musician, ever since I have learned that I’m not really a rock star material. But one day, it just came to my mind that almost all musicians in history had second jobs. By second job, I mean all kinds of activities other than your own music, and that includes giving private lessons, recording or mixing for others, or even teaching at universities. That’s depressing, but promising too. They all do (except Michael Jackson), so why not me ? It’s only natural. I can be a musician, as long as I do something else, which might pay me some real money that music probably doesn’t. (Of course, it would be great that music pays me too.) It’s healthier than being a full time musician without anything to keep whining about and cursing music industry, only to quit it one day.
So, I became a musician. Then came the opportunity to write. So, a music critic could be one of my side job, along with a researcher in music (which is why I’m studying in France). Then… you’re right, those ought to be able to pay me. And researching/writing for real money? This is stupid. If you choose this way for real money, it’s worse than stupid. So basically I’m, at least, stupid. Again, which hell my life is heading to?