Sunday, April 5, 2015

Interview with Total Art Performance Group, EE

I had the chance to ask a few questions to a personal favourite group of mine, EE, who recently released an EP titled Dear Door and performed at this year's SXSW Festival. Mixing elements often found in modern fine art with music, EE calls themselves a "total art" performance group, not limiting themselves to just music. Lil E (Yunjoung Lee), the one-half of the husband-wife duo, answered the questions. Be sure to check out their EP "Dear Door," and their crazy music video for "Wiggy Dawn" below!

Hello! Please introduce yourselves first. 
We are EE, also known as EETOTALART. You can consider us as an amalgamation of culture, hidden in the city, more than simply a music group. 

How would you describe your latest EP, Dear Door? What does the “door” in the title mean? 
“Door” is a symbolic word that creates curiosity. It’s also the biggest medium in traveling between spaces. What happens when you open a door further symbolizes the escape from reality, and the thirst for something new. 
“Wiggy Dawn” is about a mother’s door to temptation, while “Knock the Door” is about a door of fabrication. “No.417” is a story about the door that will never be opened again.

I feel like when you first encounter EE’s music, they become engrossed in the catchy sounds and the striking visuals. But once you start listening to the lyrics properly, you begin to think, ah, this isn’t just some silly music. Even on the latest EP, track titled “No.417” is about the Sewol Ferry incident, right? How did you come about writing this song? 
We were personally affected greatly by the incident, and wanted to find something we could do. We didn’t try to approach it politically, and instead chose to tell the story of that day from a 16 year-old girl's perspective. We are hoping that it won’t be ever forgotten. 

Are there any other particular issues or topics you want to talk about in your art in the future? 
We will continue to talk about the small and big issues of the contemporary society. We’ve done so since the beginning, and there aren't any positive or negative opinions on our end about that. So sometimes our messages are misunderstood by the listener. 

Electronica is at the basis of EE’s music but from your first album Curiosity Kills to the recently-released Dear Door, there’s been a significant change in sound. Do you actively try to change your sound with each of your releases? 
There’s nothing we are actively pursuing. Musician, genre, vocal abilities, things like these aren’t important to us. As most stages available to us are pop stages, those are the ones we go on. It may appear like pop, but if you look closely [at our art], there’s something very fun and complicated inside. You could consider it an artistic performance. 

I personally love EE’s music videos! The music video for “WIGGY DAWN” that just came out was really interesting too. How do you conceptualize the visual elements for your videos?
It hasn’t been the easiest for us financially and we were in a hurry. As we tried to take care of it ourselves, we came up with the photo booth idea, something we often played around with when we were living in UK. This is the first time we’ve gotten so many “WTF” comments. We love it. 

Hyeonjoon is active as a visual artist as well as EE. How do EE’s “total art performance” and his personal artworks differ? 
It seems very different but similar at the same time.
It’s just like his personality, the performances and videos are his complete EE side. But Lee Hyeonjoon as an artist is like an old man, who only focuses on his art without saying a word. Even when he’s working with the same topic, it’s completely different…

Yunjoung is also part of the legendary PiPi Band, and 2015 will be PiPi Band’s 20th anniversary since debut. I remember seeing an article last year that Yunjoung will be having a comeback as Pipi Band... Can we expect a Pipi Band album any time soon? 
I think it will be out before the summer. This is just a teaser, haha.
We’re progressing really quickly, as if we’re meeting everyday.

And how was your experience at SXSW?
We went, believing that we will open their mouths and make them jump. And it was proven. Not only that, performing in the streets was very memorable. It feels like we had an unforgettable party with numerous musicians. If we are offered another opportunity, we want to prepare an even crazier and fun stage.
We want to applaud everyone who enjoyed our stage!

What are your plans for EE? 
We’ve had so many exciting things happen without planning, and we continue to fall into the most interesting situations that come to us. Coachella was like that, and same with SXSW, performances at National Museum of Contemporary Art. We arrived at our desired destinations as we ran towards what we wanted. If anybody wants to have a strange but a fun experience, give us a shout.

EE's Dear Door EP can be purchased on iTunes US here.
EE on Facebook | Soundcloud 

All images in the post belong to the band. Interview translated from Korean by Sangha. 

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