Rising indie band OurR, made up of Hong Dahye (Vocals, Guitar), WeGom (Guitar, Synthesizer, Programming), and Park Jinkyu (Bass) recently released the dreamy, insomnia inspired single “Beyond the Nights.” The single consists of two tracks, “Beyond the Nights” which provides simple, yet memorable guitar riffs and whimsical melodies to express the abundant thoughts going through the mind of someone with insomnia, and “Pattern,” a track full of heavy rock sounds and husky vocals that describe another sleepless night, but from an opposing point of view. Being known for their unique sound, sorrowful lyrics, and artistic visuals, OurR acquires the impressive ability to convey darker topics such as sadness and internal conflict from multiple perspectives in a delicate, personal way that easily relates to others.
The group debuted back in 2018 with the single “Desert” and in the same year made a statement of their arrival in the industry after performing for indie-pop sensation Boy Pablo’s tour in Korea. That same year, their track “Birthday” landed them a feature in Mint Paper, an online publication dedicated to sharing news and highlighting indie artists, stemming from Seoul’s Grand Mint Festival. This feature showcased their capability to be musically diverse and stand out amongst their peers. The defining moment of their musical identity was in 2019 with the release of their breakthrough single “haAakkKKKK!!!” The single solidified the group’s ability to produce eccentric album artwork, catchy bass, and lyrics full of melancholy meanings and sounds.
The confidence they gained in their identity allowed them to expand out of their comfort zone and experiment with new styles and sounds when working with big named artists such as THORNAPPLE, Clazziquai, and Jinsil of the band Life & Time. Setting themselves apart from other bands, OurR fearlessly approaches the global market. They impressively sold out their vinyl in Japan, and have appeared on a number of global lineups such as Germany’s Reeperbahn and 2021 MU:CON Showcase.
The Kpopconcerts team had the chance to talk with OurR regarding their latest single, experiences in the industry, and more.
KPC: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us! For those who haven’t had the chance to become familiar with OurR, can you share a little about who you are and what you’re about?
All: Hello, we’re a three-piece band OurR from Seoul made up of guitar, vocals, and bass. We write and lay sings with dreamy soundscape and lyrics that speak from the heart and are open for many interpretations. On October 17, we released a new digital single [Beyond the Nights] which consists of two songs ‘Beyond the Nights’ and ‘Pattern’. Pleasure to meet you through Kpopconcerts!
KPC: Congrats on “Beyond the Nights”! Can you explain a little about the creative process and what this song means to each of you?
Dahye: I wrote this song while I was struggling with insomnia. It made me realize the struggle comes not from lack of sleep itself, but because of the thoughts.
WeGom: There weren’t too many candidates for this single. ‘Pattern’ was pretty much the same from the start, but ‘Beyond the Nights’ had to go through multiple changes to reach its final form. Naturally, we were even contemplating choosing ‘Pattern’ as the title track. Yet, overall, we purposefully tried new stuff on both tracks.
Jinkyu: ‘Beyond the nights’ talks about insomnia and ‘Pattern’ is about cheering on the sun to fight against insomnia. Before, I was mainly focused on writing a cool bass line, but the backstory behind the lyrics that Dahye shared with us helped me take a more thoughtful approach. I was rooting for ‘Beyond the Nights’ to become a title track because I loved it so much, and I’m glad it actually happened. This song indeed touched my heart and felt very special.
KPC: When and how did you know that music was something you wanted to pursue seriously?
Dahye: Making music as an OurR member is what really drove me. I was really only doing what I like without a solid plan for the future. All thanks to our team members!
WeGom: I first started taking guitar lessons as a hobby in middle school and eventually settled on it as my major.
Jinkyu: Exploring music during my high school years, I was so fascinated by how enigmatic and deep music can be. That’s how I got a dream to make music for the rest of my life.
KPC: The three of you seem to have incredible chemistry. Can you tell us a little about the formation of the band and how your individual personalities contribute to the group dynamic / music you create?
WeGom: Dahye and Jinkyu were just helping out as friends on the album I was producing, but it just crossed my mind that it’d be fun to make a band together. The reason why we don’t have a drummer is simple- I have a very small circle of friends/acquaintances, and I didn’t know anyone well enough. Dahye and Jinkyu are obviously very talented musicians, but their personalities and how well we got along were the biggest reasons for teaming up with them.
Jinkyu: After I’d gotten in touch with WeGom, we talked about making a band and he introduced me to Dahye. We’ve been making music together ever since! At first, we had to get to know each other a little bit, but now we’re super comfortable sharing our thoughts and such. The creative process got smoother as we started to bring out the most in each other.
Dahye: We’re not exactly a loud bunch. Our team members are more on the reserved side, but we do have our laughs and inside jokes. I guess that rubs off on our music style as well.
KPC: What were each of you doing before you formed OurR?
Dahye/Jinkyu: We were university students majoring in applied music.
WeGom: I was freelancing for various clients as a music producer.
KPC: Can you share how you came up with the name OurR? What were some alternative names you considered?
Dahye: I think we just chose a name that looked and sounded nice at the time.
WeGom: Choosing our band name was a pretty simple process. We had a couple of alternatives, but they don’t come to mind since we never thought that deeply about the meaning.
Jinkyu: I think first someone came up with the name “Todam,” or something- dam, which was ruled out right away because it sounded like a name for a Korean restaurant.
KPC: OurR has a very unique and distinct sound, who are some of your musical inspirations?
Dahye: I think a lot of inspiration comes from listening to a wide variety of music and seeing new scenes in life. I always try to look at and listen to new stuff.
WeGom: I don’t really have a hobby, so music would be the biggest inspiration for me. I like music with vivid imagery, so I’m trying to take the same direction with OurR’s music as well.
Jinkyu: Friends, teachers, landscapes, changes in weather, and all the music I’ve ever listened to. A lot comes out of other fields of art such as fine art or film.
KPC: The release of “Beyond the Nights” marks another milestone to add to your growing list. What does OurR hope to achieve next?
WeGom: Definitely our first full-length album. Nowadays album formats aren’t that big of a deal, but for artists, it’s still a very important milestone. I definitely have high expectations.
Jinkyu: Every time, I notice things I could’ve done better or things I missed. I’d like to be more precise, and get back to our fans with even better music and live performances!
KPC: Most of your music represents melancholy themes, can you share a little about the reasoning behind that?
Dahye: Mainly because I’m into melancholy music. The kind that makes you think and leaves an imprint. I like that kind of music and the lyrics I write are influenced a lot by it.
WeGom: I don’t really have a definite reason. We just do what feels right, although it’s fair to sense a certain consistency given that three of us are always the main involvements in the creative process.
Jinkyu: I think it’s our common denominator when it comes to music taste.
KPC: How did the creative process for “Beyond the Nights” differ from that of your other songs such as “Swing” and breakthrough single “haaAakkKKK!!!”?
Dahye: What stands out most for me is that this time, I pitched in a lot in the arranging process. I’ve always taken charge of writing, but not recording and arranging. I even sketched out a draft album cover design and showed it to our label’s graphic designer.
WeGom: I tend to take a more lighthearted approach when working on singles, but ‘Beyond the Nights’ sparked a desire to show the best I could and I ended up putting even more effort into it than I imagined.
Jinkyu: The objective for ‘Beyond the Nights’ was definitely clearer compared to our past releases. Personally, I thought all three of us had pretty much the same direction in mind.
KPC: OurR has collaborated with some pretty big-name artists in the Korean music scene such as Jinsil of Life & Time, THORNAPPLE, and Clazziquai. How were these experiences and what are some things that you learned or took away from these collabs?
WeGom: I was a producer before OurR, and suddenly realized I wanted to do my own thing which was what led to the formation of OurR. I mostly collaborated with other artists as a session player after starting my own band, but if I come across some interesting work, it’d be nice to go back to producing again.
Dahye: For me, recording as a featuring vocal for other artists was the hardest. I couldn’t grasp if I was getting it right. Even if they tell me I’m doing great, it was hard to be sure because I hadn’t written the songs myself.
Jinkyu: Collaborations have really opened up my ears in the recording studio. My work has gotten increasingly detailed, and now it’s easier to put my thoughts into words when we’re working on albums.
KPC: Can you explain how you were discovered by your record label and the emotions you felt when signing with them?
Dahye: We performed ‘Birthday’ and ‘Cycle’ at the label audition. Practicing together as a band for that audition was a totally new thing to me, and we only got to practice about three times before the actual audition. I remember being very nervous, but our music made it through!
Jinkyu: I never even knew anything about labels. WeGom suggested it, and honestly, I had a lot of fun practicing as if preparing for a concert (although we didn’t get to practice a lot). When we heard that we were the finalists, I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t expect it. I remember being really giddy about the whole thing.
KPC: Can you share a bit about your experience as an indie artist in the Korean music scene?
WeGom: I guess you could say despite being an underground scene, we have so many cool artists and music to look up to. I appreciate it a lot.
Jinkyu: This would apply to indie scenes everywhere, but I would say the way everyone is so hardworking and super dedicated to their music and developing their own style is really inspiring.
KPC: Is there anything about the industry that has surprised you?
WeGom: I am amazed at how much it takes to create an album and how complicated the process is. Whenever I compile the credits for an album, it reminds me of how many people are pitching in to help us make music.
Jinkyu: Same for me. I realized there were so many things involved in releasing music. I’m also grateful for everyone who always makes sure our music comes out right. Another thing, I was a big fan of the band THORNAPPLE, and for me, who didn’t even know record labels existed, signing with the same label as them was incredible!
KPC: OurR has achieved some incredible things such as opening for Boy Pablo, featuring on some major Korean music festival lineups, participated in Germany’s “Reeperbahn Festival,” and completely sold out your vinyl in Japan. What have been some of your favorite moments since starting the band?
Dahye: Working on our latest single. We were burnt out due to the stress that came from both the outcome and process of our past releases, and I can say for sure we had the most fun working on ‘Beyond the Nights’. A good outcome is important, but now I’m certain what’s more important is the process which will, in turn, definitely lead to good outcomes.
WeGom: Our first concert after the release of [I], our first EP. Releasing an album made strictly out of the things we loved, and the fact that people were coming to hear that album live to an actual concert made me very happy.
Jinkyu: Everything was a ‘first-time’ thing and brought joy for me, but just like Dahye, I think I was happiest when we were working on our recent single. It’s our latest event, and learning how to work with new people in the industry was a nice experience. I’m forever grateful for all the warm words. Thank you, everyone!
KPC: What are some things that your fans can expect from you in the future?
WeGom: First of all Jinkyu is leaving for mandatory military service, which is quite huge. On the positive side, it seems like the restrictions regarding COVID-19 have been relieved a bit. I think Dahye and I will carry on doing shows and promote our latest single. When I have to leave as well, OurR will take a short break from live shows, etc., and focus on working on our full-length album. To be honest, I don’t think we’ve reached our expectations yet through our past releases, but knowing we have fans who keep up with our work and support us consistently gives me a huge sense of accomplishment. It may be a while, but we’ll be back for sure with our first full-length. Thanks for the support!
Jinkyu: Many thanks to everyone who’s checked out our music even once. We’re prepared to put even more passion and soul into our work on our full-length album. Until then, I hope everyone stays safe and healthy!
Accomplishing so much at such an early point in their careers, the future holds nothing but untapped potential for OurR. Make sure to stream “Beyond the Nights”on Spotify and check out the official music video on Youtube!
Thank you to OurR and MPMG Music for this interview opportunity!