Electronic music band Tengger [formerly (((10)))] launch their new EP “Electric Earth Creation” Friday July 5th at 9 p.m at Mudaeruk (The Lost Continent of Mu), Seoul. They talk about living on Jeju island, the sound of streets and markets, annoying their neighbours, and playing gigs in restaurants.


Chincha: Tell us about the launch? Is this a new musical direction for you?

Tengger: The biggest change is our baby Raai. We have been living a nomadic life a bit longer than we thought in Jeju where we wanted our baby to be born. So the new music comes from that. The new name ‘Tengger” expresses our different way of thinking and feelings due to the new environment. 

What’s it like living in Jeju?

Relatively clean air and water, every season is green, you wake up and the birds are singing and the beautiful sea is three minutes walk away.

You are married. What’s your process for writing music?

Nobody has asked that before! Marqido makes a track on the computer based on a first idea. On the top of that, Itta writes the lyrics, records the vocal line, adds some chord progressions and records more layers. Finally Marqido edits and finishes the song.

We use and we add improvised things, so sometimes we make a completely different song during a live concert, but we keep the original basic composition and we repeat the same phrase from the beginning to the end. This is a kind of daily philosophy too.

What else do you do?

We took a year off from the group for Itta’s pregnancy and the baby’s arrival.

During that period Itta worked on a solo drawing book album about the time spent with the baby. She wrote, drew and composed the music. The album is called “There is a bird in me.” We recently got support for book print & CD press from Tumblbug.

And then we launched ‘Tengger.’ This year we have been holding a music workshop for children in Daean school in Jeju. The school is in the middle of a forest. It’s called ‘Imaginary Music Creation Ensemble.’

Who or what are your influences?

So many things. We’re not directly influenced by any musicians when we make music but we could say German electronic music, 90’s Ambient Techno and House music.

But the biggest influence is the environment: nature and our family. We can hear sounds on the street or at a market rather than a gallery or an art space. It’s the noise of a shower, old people’s chatting in loud voices, arguing, loud K-pop from shops on the street or the erratic sound street musicians in Hongdae.

Do you call your music experimental?

We don’t really pay attention to the word experimental. The word experimental is now like a fashion accessory. People have a different understanding about the word experimental.

What’s the strangest thing that’s happened during a concert?

On our first Asian tour in Malaysia, Koula L, the venue was closed so we ended up playing in a nearby restaurant. We had to get all the music equipment there and the gig was three hours late but still everyone turned up. Once in Busan, the neighbours complained about the noise during rehearsal, before we had even started the gig. We had to find a sound proof studio for the actual concert. We were sweating like crazy as it was very small place with a big audience. And then the synthesiser broke. But it turned out the sound was much better than before, so we used it on our tour of China.

What are your future projects?

After the Tengger launch concert on 5th July, we will record our first album in Japan. Then we will do a small tour in Korea. We are spending more time on music work rather than gigs. But we plan to restart the world tour next year as our baby will start walking on his own. We will go back to our nomadic musicians life with the baby.

Buy tickets in advance for 12,000 won by transferring to Wooribank, 1005-401-045303, 김건아 or buy on the door for 15,000 won. More info for reservation and location: 02)332-8333; http://www.mudaeruk.com/

Translation: Julie Ahn