Last night, I got the rare opportunity to see the K-Indie band, Lucite Tokki, as part of Korea Society’s K-Indie Spotlight series. It’s a new program but I sincerely hope that they keep it up. I occasionally have the opportunity to see mainstream K-Pop artists in concert but that’s not the same for indie bands. Unless you go to Korea and see them doing guerrilla concerts on the streets or small venues, you never really have the opportunity to get that live connection.
Lucite Tokki has been around for about 10 years but only in the last year or so have I been listening to their music so I don’t really know much of their earlier work. However, what was really special about the K-Indie Spotlight series is that the audience could have that intimate dialogue with them and the creative process behind their music. The group is a duo made of Cho Ye Jin and Kim Sun Young who have been friends since college. That’s where the group was formed and due to Kim Sun Young resembling a rabbit (aka 토끼 or Tokki in Korean), they named the band “Tokki”. Later they added “Lucite” after Ye Jin discovered a lucite necklace and Lucite Tokki was born.
“Go” is the track that got me into the group. It’s the title track of their latest album, “Grow to Glow” and it’s upbeat and quirky but the song originally came out on their first single, “self,” in 2007.
I do wish I captured their performance of “가마니 (Ga Ma Ni)” as it was my favorite performance. Not to be confused with “가만히 (Ga Man Hee)” which means to stay still, motionless. The former is a type of straw sack but that’s not they using the word in the context of this song.
The song is about friends who are no longer friends, lovers who are no longer lovers and moving on from those relationships. Not all relationships that end, end badly. But sometimes you can’t be there for each other the way that you used to and you wish them well but you still have to part ways. I love that explanation of it and the song was beautiful. I’ve lo0ked everywhere for a video or audio clip and couldn’t find it but if I do I will post the song again perhaps in a playlist post.
“5월의 나무 (May’s Tree)” is a slow ballad and what inspired Cho Ye Jin to write the song is when she was walking along Garosugil in Seoul and all the trees had bloomed for Spring but there was one tree who had yet to blossom. As she wrote this song while she was going through a hard time, she had hope the song would be of some comfort to people who were going through their own difficulties. Sometimes you feel like the only, lonely person in the world when you’re going through hardships but eventually there will be a day when you’ll have your Spring.
“Grow to Glow” is another song off their latest album. As Kim Sun Young is experimenting more with electronica, the song has an even more upbeat poppy sound than the style the group was formally known for. It took me awhile to get in this song but now I’ve come to really love it.
They ended the performance section of the night with the title song from their first album, “Twinkle Twinkle” called “12월 (December)”. As audience member questioned why a recurring theme of the group’s music happened to revolve around certain months or times of the year, they replied by saying that they didn’t adapt to school all that well as creatives but the moments they remember most from life are special times of the year like holidays where they were with family and friends. And I think that’s clearly reflected in a song like this one.