Korean Indie band The Solutions were playing at The Hotel Cafe in Hollywood recently and I was treated to a very raw and edgy set of rocking dance music.
I got so into their music that I found myself jumping out of my seat and jamming with Naru the lead guitarist.
The Solutions are on the maiden voyage of the Carousel Live Showcase Series in Los Angeles which includes an appearance at The Roxy on November 3. The Solutions are Naru, guitar; Park Sol, vocals; Kwon OhKyung, bass; Park HanSol, drums. While waiting in line to gain entrance into The Hotel Cafe, I met a very knowledgeable fan of The Solutions by the name of Sarah Ortiz. Ortiz has been following The Solutions for quite some time and even made the pilgrimage to South Korea to see them and learn more about the culture that produced the K-POP phenomena.
Ortiz isn’t much different than many of the fans I’ve been speaking to lately as she started with K-Dramas, Korean TV shows, and K-POP. I remember hearing at KCON that K-Dramas are the gateway “drug” to K-POP.
Ortiz has studied music production here and has an aspiration of working in the field of Korean Indie/Underground music as well as K-POP. For now, she is building her rep as a class A studio music producer here in Los Angeles.
Ortiz confided that while she enjoys K-POP, The Solutions perform the type of rock music that is closest to her rocked heart…Korean Indie music which blends the sounds of K-POP melodies with electronic influences and edgy guitar work. The fact that The Solutions like to write songs in English is a top factor for her.
The Solutions cite their music influences as 80s New Wave and Alternative music to EDM acts such as Radiohead and Smashing Pumpkins have held sway on their style.
As for an A-Ha moment, The Solutions inform me that it’s more of a continuous process rather than any one specific moment. Naru states, “I’ve had countless moments when I’ve known I wanted to pursue music; while falling in love, witnessing societal relations and even viewing certain documentaries. These experiences all made me want to express my thoughts and emotions through music and lyrics. Even something as simple as the weather being particularly nice incites a desire to suddenly create music.”
As for their name, all of the guys agree that when they heard the name they thought it was cool and fitting.
The majority of their fan base is in their 20s to 30s, but it is also a younger range of teens.
Korean Indie editor at large Chris Park viewed The Solutions while they were in Texas at the SXSW 2015 and stated that he felt that they were a great dance rock band. The Solutions’ credo is that they always try to do their best no matter where they are performing or who they are performing in front of. The Solutions received kudos for their appearance at SXSW 2015.
When queried about why they feel that K-POP and Korean Indie are so popular internationally, they said that they felt that perhaps it was due to the easy melodies and danceable rhythms. They also felt that K-POP idols have endured lengthy training which shows in their performances; this is also something that Park had said at a panel discussion at KCON.
While touring in America they are targeting everyone and anyone that enjoys their music. They have no specific demographic group that they are targeting. As to what the appeal is for K-POP and Korean Indie and what can wake up the “sleeper” fans is that Korean music has its own vibe from their unique rhythm. They also believe that you can feel the delicate emotions of eastern cultures within the music.
As for the difference between American fans and Korean fans, The Solutions had this to say, “They are all crazy, but Americans are usually more intense and engaging whereas the Korean fans just like to sing along. But, the mood of the audience response is always different depending on the show.”
Ortiz chimed in with a few of her own questions which were eye openers for certain.
Ortiz was very interested in their process for songwriting from beginning to end.
The songwriters chimed in with, “Anyone of us will suddenly be inspired by an idea or concept and from there we will each add to it and begin to build out the format of the song. Sometimes, one member will bring a completed song to the group and we’ll take it from there. A lot of the times our music will be created organically. We’ll all be playing music together and a melody will be naturally created on the guitar and we’ll take it from there. Once the form is somewhat there, we’ll use the computer to arrange and rehearse together.” Naru will usually arrange and work on finalizing the song for public release. The Solutions have recorded some of their current album here. They recently dropped “Ticket to the Moon” in July. It is their desire to play as many shows and meet as many people as they can during their stay in Los Angeles. They are spending a good amount of time in the studio writing new material. Being here in Los Angeles affords them more leisure time and they feel that the amazing weather here will influence their songwriting process and their outcomes. Together since 2012 The Solutions work together on their projects as a team.
“Our goal as a group is to spend a lot of time in the studio here and to bring back to Korea as many demos as possible. We hope to come back to Los Angeles more often,” they stated.