Interview by Maisha A.
Recently, OneHallyu had the privilege of interviewing one of the most popular Korean indie bands, Urban Zakapa. Their name stands for “Urban + Zappy + Kaleidoscopic + Passionate”. Originally a group of 9, the group underwent various changes until they settled as the current Urban Zakapa as we know it: Kwon Soonil, Jo Hyuna, and Park Yongin. They are known for their sweet vocals and beautiful songs, and through this interview, we were able to learn more about them as people and as a band.
OH!: Hello, can you please introduce yourself to those who may not know you?
저희는 두 명의 남자 멤버, 한 명의 여자 멤버인 권순일, 박용인, 조현아로 구성된 싱어송라이터 혼성 그룹입니다.
UZ: Urban Zakapa is a singer-songwriter group. We have two male members – Kwon Soonil, Park Yongin – and a female member, Jo Hyuna.
OH!: How did Urban Zakapa come together as a group? (asked by user Genki)
친구로 만나서 같이 음악 이야기를 나누고 음악에 대해 공유하다가 팀까지 만들게 되었습니다.
UZ: We started off as friends, but while sharing and talking about our stories about music, we made a group.
OH!: Recently, Kwon SooniI and Park Yongin, collaborated with Soyu on “The Space Between”. What was it like working with Soyu?
즐겁고 재미있는 작업이었습니다. 평소 어반자카파에서는 해보기 쉽지 않은 작업이었기 때문에 더욱 기억에 남네요.
UZ: It was fun and interesting for us. This kind of work isn’t something Urban Zakapa does often, so it’s a very memorable and impressive piece/record for us.
OH!: Jo Hyuna also collaborated with many different artists such as Geeks, Jang Woo Hyuk, Leessang, Block B’s Park Kyung, and more. Which one was your favorite?
그 분들의 음악을 다 좋아합니다. 누구 한 명을 선택하기는 힘드네요.
UZ: We love all of their songs so we can’t choose just one.
OH!: Which western artist would all the members of Urban Zakapa like to collaborate with?
너무 많아 선택하기가 힘듭니다.
UZ: We can’t choose just one because there are so many musicians we want to collaborate with.
OH!: What warm ups do you use for your vocals before a show? (asked by user Guitargeekette)
충분한 수면을 취하고 말을 쉬지 않고 해서 목이 잠기지 않게 합니다.
UZ: We get a solid amount of sleep and talk constantly so our throats don’t close up.
OH!: Currently, what songs do you listen to frequently? Who are some of your favorite Korean musicians? (asked by user Guitargeekette)
‘비긴 어게인’ OST 들이 전부 좋아 즐겨듣습니다. 좋아하는 한국 뮤지션은 이소라, 윤종신, 조규찬 등등 싱어송라이터들을 좋아합니다.
UZ: Recently our favorite songs are the tracks from <Can a Song Save Your Life?> Original Soundtrack. We love all the songs from the soundtrack. Korean musicians that we respect are mostly singer-songwriters such as Lee So Ra, Yoon Jong Shin, Cho Kyu Chan and so on.
OH!: What do the members like to do in their free time?
쇼핑, 야구, 영화관람, 콘서트관람 등을 즐깁니다.
UZ: We enjoy shopping, baseball, and watching movies and concerts.
OH!: Have you guys begun working on ‘04’? When do you think it will be released?
마무리 단계에 와 있고 11월 초에 04의 전곡을 들어보실 수 있을 듯 합니다. 그리고 이제는 많은 해외 팬 분들께서 저희 음악을 사랑해주시는 만큼, 좀 더 손쉽게 저희 음악을 즐기실 수 있게 글로벌 뮤직 어플리케이션 ‘Bainil’을 통해 동시 발매할 예정입니다.
UZ: We are at the finishing stages, and we believe that we’ll be able to release all the songs of 04 in early November. And since now, there are so many international fans who love our music, we decided to simultaneously release our new album to be available all over the world through the brand new music application called ‘Bainil’ (www.bainil.com). We believe this will make our fans more easily enjoy our music.
(Author’s Note: You can download the Bainil app through the Apple App store and the Google Play store to gain access to all of Urban Zakapa’s digital albums.)
OH!: What kind of artists do you guys consider yourselves as now? (asked by user Jessica Sooyeon Jung)
꾸준히 사랑받는 아티스트가 되고 싶습니다. 오래 음악을 하는 것이 세 멤버의 가장 큰 목표입니다.
UZ: We want to be artists who are constantly loved. All three of us consider doing music for a long time as our biggest goal.
OH!: How long have you guys known each other for? (asked by user Jessica Sooyeon Jung)
10년 정도 되었습니다.
It has been about 10 years.
OH: For international fans, can you tell us more about the song “Like A Bird” which was released earlier this year. What is the song about?
보사노바 풍의 달달하고 서정적인 멜로디가 돋보이는 곡입니다.
The song was made in classic Bossa nova style with a sweet and lyrical melody.
OH!: You all have different kind of voices, but they match so well in your songs. What do you think is the most important thing to do to make your voices match your songs? (asked by user d.onutboy)
서로의 보컬을 잘 듣는 것입니다. 개성이 강한 목소리가 3명이나 같이 노래를 해야 하기 때문에 자기 목소리만 들어서는 좋은 에너지를 낼 수 없습니다.
UZ: Listening to each other’s vocals carefully. Each member has a unique voice, and since all 3 of us have to sing together, we can’t aim to just have our individual voices stand out.
(Translator’s Note: They’re saying that they can’t be selfish and have to work in harmony without trying to stand out.)
OH!: What’s your main inspiration to write a song? What are the things you want to talk about in your songs? (asked by user d.onutboy)
일상들. 친구들 사랑이야기. 혹은 내 사랑이야기. 사랑이 주제가 된 곡이 많은 편 입니다.
UZ: Daily lives and our friends’ love stories inspire us. A lump of our songs are also about our own love stories. Most of our songs are about love.
OH!: How do you feel about being so appreciated in South Korea without being like the classical idol stereotype? (asked by user d.onutboy)
감사하게 생각하고 있습니다. 본인의 감성을 노래로 풀어내는 젊은 싱어송라이터들이 더 많아졌으면 좋겠습니다.
UZ: We are grateful to hear such high praises. We hope that there will be more young singer-songwriters who express themselves through their songs.
Urban Zakapa was the first indie band I discovered and fell in love with when I was trying to get out of the Kpop zone and listen to different genres of music. The song that made me a fan was “Cafe Latte”, which is one of their most well known songs! Various artists such as BTS and Geeks have covered this song, but as the saying goes, nothing beats the original (for me personally). Their songs are perfect to listen to on a rainy day or if you’re stressed. With soothing melodies and gorgeous harmonizations, their songs usually have a calming effect. Urban Zakapa never fails to deliver music with the highest quality. If you’re new to the Korean indie scene or just searching for some good music, make sure you check them out!
Thank you Urban Zakapa and Fluxus for allowing us to conduct an interview! We hope you continue to make music for a long time.
Also thank you to the Urban Zakapa fans at OneHallyu who contributed in sending in some questions for this interview.
Finally, a huge thank you to Fluxus for translating this interview, as well as thatssosoo for editing the translations.
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