Keeping up with South Korean “Commercial Indie” Band ADOY
A quick catch-up with the band backstage at Karpos Live Mix 9
I’m not particularly good at remembering ADOY’s songs by name. Their track titles are simple and are usually just a few letters long––Grace, Laika, Wonder, Young––and I could probably count the number of songs that have titles longer than two words on one hand. But, when I scroll over ADOY’s discography or hear their music come on shuffle, I come to the conclusion that their songs are remembered by feeling rather than name.
This is the song I listened to on repeat when I quit my job.
This is the one that made me feel like I was on top of the world, music blasting through my earphones as I took off for my first solo trip.
Ah, this song reminded me of a person I haven’t spoken to in a while.
This is the one I was listening to when I had a bad day, phone speaker pressed to my ear while walking to the bus station because I’d lost my earphones again.
Listening to ADOY’s songs feels like looking at a snapshot of my twenties. It’s nostalgia-laced and heavy with the flavor of adolescence, like an ode to youth still in the midst of unfurling. Something about the lyrics––written completely in English despite the band hailing from South Korea––speaks to the soul. Their dreamy, synth-laden sound captures that lingering happy-sadness that we all know too well, distilling a feeling that’s normally so hard to put a finger on.
Ahead of the release of ADOY’s first full-length album, we caught up with the band backstage at Karpos Live Mix 9. Scroll ahead to see vocalist and guitarist Juhwan, bassist Dayoung, keyboardist Zee, drummer Geunchang and their session guitarist Jarry talk new music, travel essentials, and their love for their fellow Karpos Live performer, FKJ.
Welcome back to Manila. How does it feel to be back for another show with Karpos?
Zee: It feels great, because last time was a festival and this time it’s like a separate show. Every opportunity to play in venues outside Korea is really great for us, especially in Manila because last time we had a really good experience as well. Also, FKJ is an artist [performing tonight] as well and we really like his songs. When we got the offer we were like, ‘Okay!’.
You guys performed at Wanderland Festival in the past, so you’re familiar with how much your Filipino fans love your music. Is there a particular song you’re excited to perform for your fans?
Zee: All our songs, but there’s a song called POOL, it was released as a single last month. We’ll play a brand new version of POOL, a remixed version. It’s our first time playing it ever, so we’re kind of excited but also kind of nervous at the same time.
Let’s talk a little about each member. What are three things you never go on tour without?
Geunchang: Waterpik (a water flosser).
Zee: Just before going somewhere, I buy a lot of these masks.
Jarry: Me too, me, too!
Zee: It makes me feel more comfortable.
Dayoung: This Korean alcohol, Chungha.
Juhwan: The merch.
If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Dayoung: (laughs) FKJ?
Geunchang: Since we’re meeting FKJ we want to talk about doing a collab.
This question is for Dayoung. I can’t help but notice your makeup looks whenever you guys perform. Do you do them yourself?
Dayoung: I do it myself. Because we go up onstage and need confidence, doing that [kind of makeup] gives me that confidence boost.
VIVID is being released very soon. How would you say this album differs compared to your previous releases, CATNIP and LOVE?
Zee: It’s our first full-length, so it took longer. We have a featuring artist, and we’ll be doing a genre we’ve never really done before. It’s like, house plus rap, so it’s kind of unique. We have an instrumental track, and we have a track with Korean lyrics. We’ve never had a song in Korean before, so we wanted to try stuff that we couldn’t try with the six-track limit. There’s some new ADOY stuff that’s gonna come out.
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You’ve released two songs from VIVID so far: Pool and Swim. Can you tell us which your favorite song off VIVID is, and why that song?
Zee: I like the second track, the featuring track. We haven’t released who’ll be featuring in it yet. It’s a Korean artist and it’s a new genre. I personally like that genre, but I couldn’t really do it before ADOY.
Juhwan: I like POOL the most, because it’s a really exciting, upbeat song.
Dayoung: I also like the second track. When you listen to it, it makes you want to dance––it’s got that kind of beat.
Jarry: There’s a song called EVER. In this album, it’s the song in Korean. I like it the most.
ADOY’s first full-length album, VIVID, has just been released. Stream it on Spotify!
Special thanks to Karpos Multimedia
Photos Cessi Treñas
Art Alexandra Lara