Indie life may not be easy, but for Adoy it’s ‘Vivid’: Group hopes its signature sound is recognizable in every song’s introduction

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Indie life may not be easy, but for Adoy it’s ‘Vivid’: Group hopes its signature sound is recognizable in every song’s introduction


Indie band Adoy, from far left: Park Geun-chang, Oh Ju-hwan, Jeong Da-young and Zee. [ANGEL HOUSE]

Four-member indie band Adoy may not ring a bell to the mainstream pop music fan, but it is a mainstay in local independent music circles.

Having debuted in 2017, every mini-album the group has released topped the K-Indie chart, a local music chart specializing in indie music.

The band was invited to 15 local festivals this year alone.

Festivals usually concentrate on individual genres, but Adoy’s music, based on synth-pop, blends well with many types.


The cover of Adoy’s first album “Vivid.” [ANGEL HOUSE]

The band’s first full-length album entitled “Vivid,” released late last month, is a good example of the band’s flexible identity.

Starting with the title track “Porter,” a collaborative work with rapper Woo Won-jae, the album includes “Swim,” with a touch of the waltz, and “Moondance,” an instrumental track.

“We wanted to go beyond our image and try something new,” said vocalist and guitarist Oh Ju-hwan during a recent interview with the JoongAng Ilbo.

“All 10 tracks have different feelings, or ‘colors,’ so we named it ‘Vivid.’”

It’s been quite a journey so far. Each of the four members were parts of three and four different bands before they came together to form Adoy.

Oh used to be a member of indie groups Eastern Sidekick and Small O.

Oh convinced drummer Park Geun-chang, synthesizer player Zee and bass player and vocalist Jeong Da-young to join Adoy.

All the members knew the reality of indie band life. They knew they could only become sustainable when they were able to strike a balance between being artistic and commercial.

“I once did hard-core rock music and authentic folk music but couldn’t make money at all,” said Oh. “I was popular inside the Hongdae scene, but outside Hongdae, no one was really listening to my music. I desperately wanted to do music that could appeal to a broader audience.”

Hongdae is the area around Hongik University in Mapo District, western Seoul, that has many small clubs in which independent bands play. Hongdae is synonymous with the Korean indie music scene.

After establishing a company of its own, Adoy set the clear goal of creating a lighthearted signature sound of its own with synthesizers. One of the band’s strategies is to allow listeners to recognize its music by the intros alone.

The band also chose to sing all of its tracks in English except one track, “Ever.”

Their music provides no clues to their nationality. The band’s music can, therefore, appeal to a wider audience.

“We thought English goes well with the melodies of Adoy” said Park. “In addition, young people don’t really care about the language because they listen to a lot of pop songs [from different parts of the world].”

All the members write songs, but Zee does the translating from Korean to English.

Raised in foreign countries, Zee graduated from a college in Canada.

“Zee is also responsible for arranging all the songs. He’s so good at layering [sound],” said Jeong.

Responding to that compliment from bandmate Jeong, Zee said, “The airy sound of our vocals is what makes Adoy unique.”

The members were busy complimenting each other during the interview.

The most basic goal of Adoy was to become a band that “can keep doing music without starving.”

Oh once worked as a reporter for a daily TV show and ran his own business selling clothes. Based on that experience, the street-wise musician is in charge of accounting for the company.

“You can’t keep doing music if you can’t reach a break-even point,” said Oh.

Adoy met the goals it set up earlier.

Park used to work in a restaurant kitchen, but he quit the job. “Now I don’t cook for a living,” he laughed.

In order for an indie band to succeed in Korea, Oh said, “You have to have, at least, 1,000 genuine fans in the local market.”

According to him, such fans follow the group wherever it goes, and they also voluntarily promote albums by the band.

With those loyal fans, Adoy achieved many things this year.

“We couldn’t even think about releasing the debut album if there was no Tumblbug,” said Oh.

Tumblbug is a crowdfunding platform.

“And we couldn’t have done the solo concerts and the world tours without support from the CJ Cultural Foundation.

“We did our solo concerts this year, so our goal for the next year is [doing concerts at] the SK Olympic Handball Gymnasium,” Oh added.

The venue can accommodate up to 7,000 people.

“We’re preparing for world tours starting in February. I hope we could do more music festivals next year, too,” said Oh.


밴드는 다 배고파야 하나요, 인디밴드 통념 깨는 4인조 아도이

4인조 밴드 아도이(ADOY)는 인디 음악계에서는 이미 대세 반열에 들어섰다. 2017년 데뷔 이래 미니앨범마다 K인디차트 1위에 올랐고, 올해만 15번의 페스티벌 무대에 섰다. 페스티벌마다 장르가 달라도 이들은 신스팝을 기반으로 다양한 음악을 받아들인 덕에 자연스레 녹아든다.

지난달 말 발매한 첫 정규앨범 ‘비비드’는 래퍼 우원재가 피처링에 참여한 타이틀곡 ‘포터’, 왈츠가 가미된 ‘스윔’, 연주곡 ‘문댄스’ 등 통상 밴드와 어울리지 않는 단어들의 연속이다. 서울 홍대 인근에서 만난 이들은 “기존에 아도이가 가진 청량함을 넘어설 수 있는 시도를 해보고 싶었다”며 “수록된 10곡의 색깔이 모두 제각각이어서 앨범명도 ‘비비드’로 붙이게 됐다”고 말했다.

아도이 결성 전 거쳐온 팀만 네댓개인 이들은 ‘커머셜 인디’ 같은 상반된 화두를 툭툭 던진다. 상업성과 독립성처럼 양립 어려운 문제가 해결돼야 ‘지속가능한’ 밴드가 될 수 있다는 판단에서다. 이스턴 사이드킥·스몰오로 활동했던 오주환(기타·보컬)은 같은 팀의 박근창(드럼)과 같은 회사에 있던 프럼 디 에어포트의 지(신시사이저)를 끌어들이고, 도나웨일·트램폴린 등을 거친 정다영(베이스·보컬)을 모셔왔다. “거칠게 때려 부수는 록도 해보고, 완전 포크도 해봤는데 돈은 못 벌었어요. 홍대에서만 인기가 있었지, 밖으로 나가면 듣는 사람이 없었던 거죠. 이번엔 진짜 많은 사람들이 듣는 음악을 해보고 싶었어요.”(오주환)

회사를 직접 꾸린 아도이의 지향점은 철저하게 ‘듣는 사람’을 향했다. 뿅뿅 거리는 신시사이저 소리와 함께 듣는 순간 아도이의 음악임을 알아챌 수 있는 시그니처 사운드도 그 예다. ‘에버(Ever)’ 한 곡을 제외하면 여태껏 발표한 모든 곡이 영어로 쓰인 것도 특징이다. 팝인지, K팝인지 알 수 없는 초국적성이 두드러진다. 박근창은 “받침 없는 영어가 아도이의 멜로디에 더 잘 어울리기도 하지만 젊은 세대는 국적과 무관하게 팝송을 많이 듣기 때문에 낯설어하지 않는다”고 설명했다.

멤버 모두 작사·작곡에 참여하지만, 아도이만의 색깔을 만들게 된 것은 각자의 한국어 가사를 영어로 재가공하는 지의 공의 크다. 지는 해외 여러나라에서 자라 캐나다에서 대학을 졸업했다. 정다영이 “편곡도 지의 몫이다. 레이어를 겹겹이 잘 쌓는다”고 칭찬하자 지는 “소리보다 공기가 더 많이 들어간 보컬이 아도이의 특색”이라며 서로를 치켜세웠다.

과연 어느 정도면 “굶지 않고 음악 하는 밴드”가 될 수 있을까. ‘생생정보통’ 리포터부터 의류사업까지 다양한 경험을 살려 회사 살림을 맡고 있는 오주환은 “내수시장 기준으로 ‘찐팬’이 1000명은 돼야 한다”고 말했다. 그는 “우리가 뭘 하든 쫓아오고 스스로 홍보대사를 자처해 주위에 퍼트려 주는 사람들”을 ‘찐팬’이라 정의했다. “애초에 크라우드 펀딩 텀블벅이 없었으면 데뷔 앨범도 못 내고, CJ문화재단 지원이 없었으면 단독 콘서트나 해외 투어도 힘들었을 거예요. 손익분기점을 맞추지 못하면 계속할 수 없잖아요.” 박근창은 “밴드 하면서 주방 일을 오래 했는데 그래도 이제 칼은 취미로만 잡게 됐다”며 웃었다.

오주환은 “올해는 예스24라이브홀에서 단독 콘서트를 했으니 내년은 핸드볼경기장이 목표”라며 “2월부터 아시아·미주·유럽 투어도 준비 중이다. 그쯤 되면 페스티벌 무대도 환한 낮 말고 어두운 밤에 설 수 있지 않겠냐”고 말했다.

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