BALMING TIGER - PROOFING EQUALITY WITH MUSIC
equality factor: collective equality
our favorite song: Kolo Kolo
based in: Korea
I met Blaming Tiger while I was preparing an article for what was to be the 2020 edition of South by Southwest (SXSW) one of the most influential and important music, television and film festivals in the world, which was among the first mass events to be canceled due to the pandemic that put the world on pause. That was just the beginning of a wave of cancellations that included the Korean band's visit to the spring of Berlin as part of "The Tiny Tour II" in other cities in Europe and the UK.
From the beginning, I was interested in the band, not only because of the attraction of its music but also because it is a group where all its members stand out collectively and individually in a fascinating way "We understand each other and grow together with making up for members’ fault. So, each member plays important roles in the team" told us the Balimg Tiger family. We had the pleasure to conduct an interview with the music group composed of Omega Sapien (Rapper), Sogumm (Singer-songwriter), Unsinkable (Producer, DJ), Wnjn (Singer-songwriter), Mudd the Student (Rapper, Producer), San Yawn (Director, Chief Manager, DJ), Jan’ Qui (Film Director, Producer), Abyss (A&R, Director), Henson Hwang (Marketer, Editor). In our interview, we obviously talked about the importance of equality, the music scene in their country, among other very interesting topics.
"Our final goal is to give our creative inspiration to people all around the world."
What does gender equality mean for everyone at Balming Tiger?
We support not only gender equality but also all kinds of equality. Oppressed people, minority, and disadvantaged. We wish they always are happy and have a carefree life.
Why is it important to stand up for equal rights? In your opinion, do artists have a special responsibility for this?
We already realize although our motto is everyone in the world should be equal, the reality is not. Since the media has been developed, and the gap between countries is narrowed, artists can effectively deliver the meaning of equality to many kinds of listeners who listen to their arts. Even we also become team members who have different gender and background. We are like a Jjamppong (it is a Korean Chinese food which is cooked with boiled noodles in spicy seafood soup. It is one of the most popular food among common people in Korea, and it is also Korean idiom which means “to mix things together”), so we are mixed with members who are equal but different talents. That is why we think the music will be one of the methods to prove that everyone is equal.
"The things to build creative worlds in a completely equal environment are the development of technology and platform, and people’s creative mind."
How would you say that race, origin, and gender affect people in the music industry?
Even though someone releases an album which has the same quality and theme, depending on ethic, background, and gender, people accept and understand music in a different way. So, even now, the influence of many creative works is decided by the chances of various circumstances. We also think although there are many talented artists and creators, their status is not equal. The things to build creative worlds in a completely equal environment are the development of technology and platform, and people’s creative mind. It is also connected that we make post-nationalistic creative works.
Coming from South Korea, where pop music is a huge export product, do you as artists ever feel pressured to adapt to the “idol” stereotype?
We absolutely understand how K-pop has been made, and how it is very enthusiastic. We think the K-pop Idol scene is also continually going to be evolved.
K-pop is including not only idol cultures but also various subcultures. Of course, we know that we are way different from general Korean idols, so, we sure that people will not compare us with other idols in stereotype.
Is the sense of pressure to conform to Korean norms the same for your male and female members? How does it manifest itself?
We don’t get the pressure that we must be suitable with Korean conventions because Korean society is quickly changed, so since the generation has continually been changed, the awareness for new things has also been changed. We don’t feel much uncomfortable thing because of different gender or age. Probably, it is also because each member has relatively not been restricted in Confucianism, and our musical creative work is to desire freedom out of any set rules.
"Now, we are pioneering a new genre, Alternative K-pop which is gathered by our musical identity and various characters of K-pop."
Would you say you are trying to define your musical identity outside of the“idol” archetype, or do you embrace KPop and its influences?
Interestingly, the question already has the answer to our musical identity. We could not be a general K-pop idol. However, our life has coexisted with K-pop. People could listen to K-pop on the street or at bars, and they even could enjoy K-pop artists’ album stories and idols’ characters by games or animations. We bring these interesting sources of K-pop and then mix them into our music. Now. we are pioneering a new genre, Alternative K-pop which is gathered by our musical identity and various characters of K-pop.
Where do you take most of your inspiration from? Does Korean music play a big role in that?
We got musical inspiration from all sources around the world. Each member has individual interests, knowledge, and tastes. However, we accept these things, and these are our musical inspirations to each other. We are very humorous and lots of curiosities. Since the internet has been developed, we could have chances to listen to music which was released all over the world. However, Korea is our root, so we all had been influenced by K-pop. Some of K-pop came down through parents’ generation, others were shared with friends. Furthermore, we have naturally watched all histories when new pioneers appear in each generation. So, we think various of our musical ideas have been naturally inspired by these K-pop.
Balming Tiger is without a doubt a band that expresses its truths freely without an established rule, they are innovative, charismatic, talented and above all they are united, they feel proud of what each one of them achieves together, or separately, it is a band where equality is much more than respect among themselves, it is a band that supports its peers, and that serves as a great influence for all.