While preparing her new album “Illusion of You” we discussed with Jihae how she writes her lyrics, the “socially responsible” projects she is involved with and her amazing creativity.
RYL: Let’s start from our favorite song “Lonely Fire” part of your album “Fire Burning Rain”; would you tell us more about what inspired you while you were writing its lyrics?
Jihae: I’m constantly pondering about what’s behind the divide between cultures, religions and nations; what makes groups of individuals violent and extreme towards each other and how we can change that in a non violent way.
Cause and effect is behind most people’s actions but at the core I believe all the dysfunction and violence in people come from the lack of love and support in their environment and upbringing.
Lonely Fire was inspired by teenage mothers.. and adult children who barely know how to take care of themselves that are struggling to raise children who need so much attention, love and support.
RYL: Are you happy about the success obtained so far by the album? What surprised you the most about it?
J: The meaning of success in my world is making great vibrations through layers of sounds, words, and instruments that can move people in a positive way.
I believe I’m doing that so I’m happy. What surprised me most about Fire Burning Rain was the rock opera I co created with John Patrick Shanley based on the album. It was pure magic. I plan to continue that in a recurring way some point after the new album is out.
RYL: Next album “Illusion of You” is planned to be released by the end of 2013, we can imagine this year it is full of work for you….
J: The “Illusion of You” title track single will be released this fall. The LP will be released Jan 27th 2014. It’s been a good 1.5 years of work and much work ahead to release.
RYL: What is your favourite song in the album?
J: That’s like asking “who is your favourite child?” I love all my songs equally but “Illusion of You” is a good representation of the album. When Dave Stewart said the album sounds “like Bowie whispering secrets to Velvet Underground”, I think he was referring to that song.
RYL: The legendary Dave Stewart is producing the album, how it is working with him? Do you have any funny “behind the scene” moment to share with us?
J: Dave’s so much fun to work with.. he’s quite the joker and obviously has a great sense of artistry, song structure, layering sounds, and dynamics.
Like Ringo Starr used to say while working with him, Dave and I always said before recording a take, “Good luck studio!”
RYL: How would you define your “songwriting process”? Do you write your music as well?
J: My song writing process can be short and simple or gruelling… I write mostly on guitar and sometimes it’s a melody that starts off the process, sometimes a riff, and sometimes they all together channel through me.
Those are the magic moments in songwriting. Most of the time some of the topics are in my consciousness or subconsciousness for some time before they pop out into form.
RYL: You are very involved in the socially responsible projects; among them Septem – support for young artists – (www.septeminc.com) and Simon Says (http://simonsayssing4peace.org) for the children affected by war conflict. How much time all these projects are requiring from you? We believe, through them, you were able to obtain “priceless” moments…..do you remember one that particularly impressed you and that you want to share with us and our audience?
J: Both Septem and Simon Says are on going work in process projects. Septem is also a platform for licensing and scoring music for production. I’d love to devote so much more time than I’m able to, but I am planning on a big push for growth this winter.
One moment I never thought I’d see myself in was having a meeting with the assistant to Secretary General of United Nations about Simon Says.
RYL: Let’s talk about the world helping you: the Kickstarter project: (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jihae/jihaes-new-album-illusion-of-you) how is it going?
J: It’s going great so far. We are a quarter of the way there.
Kickstarter is an all or nothing platform.. If the goal amount is not reached all the pre-sale pledges get refunded and I get no budget to finish, market or tour the album.
It’s a tough working processes as it’s high pressure, but I’m confident we can get there with fans’ help. I want to do this album justice!
RYL: From music to fashion, your leather jackets are just fantastic, how did you started producing them? Is design something that always characterised your life?
J: Thank you! I always come up with alternate mediums or extensions to further express the theme of my albums.
For Fire Burning Rain I curated a group art exhibit and a Rock Opera based on the theme of spiritual death and rebirth.
For Elvis is Still Alive, I created a video art installation and the Elvis persona to communicate how we buy into all kinds of lies that are sold to us. And my upcoming album, Illusion of You, focuses on the theme of illusions in our everyday lives as individuals and societies.
I’m collaborating with Hellicar & Lewis on an interactive video art installation. The capsule leather jacket collection is an example of my own illusion of self that can be added on to my merchandise.
RYL: When we can see you live? Any show planned soon?
J: I’m planning some shows for this fall and winter. I’ll be performing a short set at the Edward Tufte museum on the 19th of this month for an art salon curated by Andrei Severny.