Montreal’s mysterious band, Seoul

Seoul’s new album is out on June 9. Press Photo.

Seoul looks to share their dream pop music, not the intimate details of their personal lives

Seoul's new album is out on June 9. Press Photo.
Seoul’s new album is out on June 9. Press Photo.

“Blue, breathless, gentle and absolute,” is the only descriptor you’ll find if you search the homegrown dream pop trio, Seoul. The mysterious lack of information about the band and the ambiguous veil that is consistent throughout their social media platforms has rendered their fans curious and slightly suspicious. As were we, before we sat down for an interview to find out more.

Unlike most contemporary groups, Seoul opted against creating a virtual connection to their fans by materializing their personalities on social media. Rather, they allowed the anonymity of their sound to reach out to the like-minded individuals out there. To the band, putting the music first was more important than familiarizing their fans with images of their faces and trivial details of their personal lives. In a sense, their impersonal platform has allowed their listeners to create a relationship beyond your usual material digest. It may not be a marketing ploy—but it’s definitely effective!

Despite the band’s peculiarity, the boys, Nigel Ward, Dexter Garcia and Julian Flavin were very open to answering all of The Concordian’s questions. When asked about the significance of their name, the band explained that it was not mindlessly evoking the city, as none of the band members have actually been to South Korea. It was meant to simultaneously conjure an urban feeling by alluding to the metropolitan capital, and the solitariness one can sometimes feel in a big city.

Flavin and Ward met when they were kids and worked on various music projects. The two met Garcia when they were in college and stumbled upon the vague idea that they would want to make a record when they finished their various degrees in music and cognitive science. In the summer of 2011, they hit the studio where they saw their work come alive. The band explained that, for them, the studio manifests itself as an instrument that affects every element of the composition process. They thoroughly enjoyed this recording process, and were drawn into the musician-lifestyle immediately. Seoul wanted to continue the tradition of studio composition but they also wanted to make their electronic music feel life-like, not too sequenced or robotic.

Breaking into the live scene provided some challenges for Seoul. One of the hardest things the band had to learn to do was to incorporate their recordings into a live set. They went for the non-computer route and wanted to perform with real instruments on stage. It was a big hurdle for them and a true exercise of their artistry. Each band member has a unique creative talent that they wanted to display.

Whilst many contemporary bands work with one lead singer and one or two composers, Seoul has three creative voices that all sing and contribute to the vigor of the collaboration. Thus far, they have still been figuring out how to embrace the diversity of their group, while giving each member the necessary space to grow. The idea was to be able to break apart into little spaces on stage during a performance, and to create a visually stimulating show rather than using one central computer to automate their sound. When asked where their favourite show has been so far, they all unanimously chorused “Paris.”

The band explained that the combination of the set and the sound created a magical show and almost perfect circumstances for their performance. They played to a small intimate crowd that gave them a great reception, which they will never forget.

Seoul is currently on the front end of their North American tour, which has been in anticipation of their LP, I Become Shade, that is set to come out on the June 9. The band will be playing on April 16 at Bar le Ritz.

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