Interview by Lindz Riot

 

Out of California comes a quirky band by the name of Clandestine. They came together in early 2006 and has since been a powerhouse of musical releases for those into complex alternative rock and  heavy riffed progressive metal. Their biggest achievement so far is the creation of their full length album “The Invalid” mixed by producer Sylvia Massey. Just being signed to Nightmare Records, the album will be released worldwide in early 2011 along with a music video. The band is in hopes of making it over to Europe soon to perform to their growing fan base there. Fronted by the powerfully voiced June Park, a South Korean native who’s endured quite the adventure over to North America, I had the chance to interview her via email to pick at her brain and see exactly what the bands all about:

It was a natural choice to express this sound and image for us. Progressive music and ideas, human psychology and surrealism have influenced us both musically and mentally. The challenge is how purely and effectively we can deliver such visions without being forceful or redundant. 

Clandestine stands for mystery, secret, deception and a hidden meaning. Do you find this word describes your music perfectly?

I think it’s quite effective in the sense that I’m lyrically expressing what is beneath our minds – the thoughts or ideas that you know are there but you try to suppress, ignore or hide from others. I’m not a psychologist but I tend to overanalyze the state of mind and strive to find the personal interpretation of it. The music we write goes along with that theme to complete the showcase of our world or secrets.  

Are you the main lyricist and song writer of Clandestine? What is your favorite part about creating your music?

I’m the only lyricist in the band and writing the vocal melodies is also entirely my job. For “The Invalid” I and our guitarist Dan Durakovich equally collaborated on writing the music. I expect to involve everyone else in the band to take part in the writing process for the next album, because one of my favorite parts about creating music is fusing different influences into something that is fresh and not easily expected. 

So which song is closest to you? Did you fully write it?And what’s the story behind it? 

The album’s title song, “The Invalid” is about a patient who is suffering from an incurable disease longing for their right to die. First of all, I’m not one of such patients but I used to get very ill for no apparent reason. It kept coming back periodically for almost 10 years, haunting and paralyzing me in agony each time it hit. That really made me think about the people who are experiencing much more pain than me, such as the ones with a terminal illness or unidentified disease. I tried to imagine the unfathomable amount of pain they must go through while I was sick. In the song, I’m not trying to say that people in such conditions should be able to choose life or death. What I wanted to express was the physical and mental suffering that cause some people to involuntarily yearn for such an extreme choice. I truly support the idea that every minute of life is precious, but also can see how every minute of it can be so cruel. 

You have quite the education behind you. Are you a believer that knowledge is power?What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned along the way?

Knowledge could be a powerful thing but it depends on how we utilize it. I have learned that there is nothing wrong with not knowing something but having no desire to learn is a problem. It’s not from the academic stand point; it’s about life in general. Some people hold the idea of changing in abhorrence because they are used to what they think they know.They always say they hate this and that for no apparent reason. They don’t want to accept the fact that someone else knows more about something than themselves and disapprove of others for their efforts to change the world to be a better place. I could have been one of those people if I didn’t continue my education. I used to have a very unidirectional attitude toward what was happening in the world. I believe it was because of my fear induced from the lack of knowledge. Now I can better embrace different aspects of society with comfort.  

The Musician’s Institute is world renowned for its excellence in producing top quality musicians. How has your experience at M.I. been for you? Do you find it super challenging? 

It was great!I learned to come out of my shell which was a very valuable lesson. I grew as a person too because I was taught what my strengths and weaknesses were.They were honest about it and willing to help. MI is full of resources – not only the faculty or musical content, but also the people you meet while you’re there. As long as you stay on top of things and be a good student, you will get a lot from it.It gets challenging if you challenge yourself but I wouldn’t say that’s everyone’s case.

I read on your personal MySpace page that you have been to Canada for schooling. Are you originally from there? How did you like Canada? How did you find the music scene? And what do you miss about Canada?

I was born and raised in South Korea. I decided to relocate to North America to pursue a music career and I arrived in Toronto when I was 17. First I went to college for ESL programs and then I went to an audio recording school in London. I miss that city because it was such a lonely place but I felt very creative. It was very safe and clean and the people were nice too. I don’t have much experience with the music scene in Canada which is a shame. I didn’t go out because I was still a minor and wasn’t very comfortable with English at that time. I wish I could go back to experience Canada all over again.   

At what age did music start for you? Who influenced and supported it?

I always liked singing since I was a little girl. My mother is a great singer. Although she never pursued it professionally, just being around her influenced me to sing. I started listening to rock/metal when I was around 13 and I realized that I found what I really wanted to do. I told my parents that I wanted to learn electric guitar and they thought I was crazy. My mom felt sorry for me and sent me to classical guitar lessons which I didn’t enjoy very much. A few years later, my parents finally decided to support me. My father bought me an electric guitar when we took a vacation to America. I started writing on my computer when I was 15 and soon after that I left home for my journey. 

How long have you been singing for? What is your background with singing? And is there any style of singing that you prefer?

I always sang by myself but didn’t have any lessons until I was 20. I prefer to sing with range and power. Although it’s a lot of work, I tend to sing that way because my voice has the most quality in that style. I would like to develop different styles that are more comfortable and relaxed though. 

Who are your biggest influences that have made you the musician you are today?Who are some of your favorite singers?

I know it’s going to sound cliché but I will have to say it was my mother who influenced me to sing in the first place. She had a powerful voice, artistic visions and personality that surprised everyone and I wanted to be like her. On the other side, I was involuntarily affected by the negative side of my life. I was quite dark through my childhood and teenage years, mostly because of family problems and being ill-adjusted in school. Although I’d rather not recall those memories, I know they developed me into who I am today. I could be doing something different if I didn’t have those kinds of experiences. My favorite singers are Maynard James Keenan, Bjork, and Jonas Renkse from Katatonia. They all have their unique ways of expressing themselves which is brilliant. 

Rock and Metal for many years has been mostly dominated by males, but things have changed drastically the last decade for female musicians sharing the stage.Are there any women in music that have hugely influenced you ever at any point?

There are a lot of great female musicians in rock and metal but I never thought about becoming a rock singer because of a woman who was doing it. I was influenced by the music itself and most of the bands I liked had male singers.It didn’t bother me because I was never insecure about being a girl. I accepted the fact that I can’t sound like a male singer but I was confident that I could perform the task in my own ways. Just like anything else, there will be people who like it and don’t like it, and it’s their choice to listen to my music or not. 

Are there any bands out there currently that you are really taking a liking to?

I’ve been listening to Katatonia a lot.Their recent two albums have the right amount of doom and progressive influences, beautiful vocals and words which I enjoy very much. 

Either that singing do you play any instruments?

I play some guitar and keyboard.

What’s something really interesting about yourself that no one would expect to hear? Something like a weird talent or unique hobby you have? 

When I was little I was an unprecedented animal impersonator, but I lost that superpower as I approached adulthood. Now I’m just an avid animal lover. I live with four small parrots that eat much better than me.I would cook for them even if I have only time to eat ramen or frozen food. I trained some of them to talk, shake hands, fetch a ball, play basketball and roll over on the ground. I also love horses and go for a ride once in a while to unwind. I was once the youngest equestrian in a jumping competition in Korea.

 

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