Volume 3 / Chapter 119
[TN: I have the Monday blues. But let’s find out what will happen with Coline and JH.]
“Jun, please do it with us. I’m telling you Alex Zakin himself called!”
“I don’t know. I told you I can’t. And who is that?”
“You don’t know? The top record label in LA. Zakin is the top producer at that company.”
“Then it’s fine. Isn’t it over once you get the attention of someone like that?”
“That’s… To tell you the truth, he could tell at once what you produced and what you didn’t.”
When looking at one record as a movie, the singer is the actor, the lyricist and composer are the scenario writers. The producer is the director.
The first detail checked while deciding on investing in a movie is who the director is. In the same way, the important person in the recording industry is the producer.
Occasionally, an outstanding musician makes the music, performs and sings, while doing the producing. However, there are not very many outstanding musicians. Most records need to go through a famous producer to bring out proper music.
Jun Hyuk dramatized a scenario that actor Coline had brought and directed it in a refined way. Coline knew that if this Jun Hyuk dropped out, Alex Zakin would not take another look at him.
He had not mentioned Jun Hyuk in his e-mail because he had not heard Jun Hyuk’s definite answer yet.
“You said that LA Sound is a tremendous record label, right?”
“Yeah. Not just in LA. It’s now one of the top 3 labels in the whole country.”
“Then there will be a lot of great producers at that company. Those people can do the directing for you since your music isn’t bad. I’m telling you it’s good as long as you do the arranging and producing well.”
Jun Hyuk thought that he was being cold but that he should not drag it any longer. A famous label would not have gotten in contact just by looking at the producing. If they had seen potential in Coline’s music, Coline needs to make that potential a reality.
If he is unable to do that, Coline will have to disband his group and face the choice of becoming a great bassist or cellist.
However, Jun Hyuk did not know that LA Sound’s reason for paying attention to Coline had been greater for something other than his music.
“Ili, go listen to it in person.”
“Excuse me? Is there a need to go in person…..”
A long time ago if they heard rumors of a great band, they needed to fly hours to go meet them in person. After the smartphone and online store appeared however, the tasks of record label’s managers were made easier.
All they had to do was look through the online store for good music. It is now an age where music shows itself by riding the cables.
“You’ve gotten lazy. Don’t you think we need to check for a last time?”
“Ah, are you talking about the bassist?”
“Yeah. If that song on the store is the only thing they have, just get the bassist. It’s not easy to find a player like that.”
If Alex Zakin recognized someone’s talent, he is worth listening to in person. Ili Gotez had to fly to New York in the cold winter.
The New York winter was colder than he had expected, but something more surprising was waiting for Ili Gotez.
‘What is this? Was it a high school student?’
He checked the lists of New York clubs for bands, but there was not a band called Violon. Not performing at New York clubs meant there is a high possibility that they are minors. It is obvious that they are playing by themselves in a home basement or garage.
If they really are minors, he would not be able to see how they perform without them noticing.
If they are high school students, they would have caught a big fish. It is hard to imagine how great they would be in 10 years if they are at this level as teenagers. It would not be bad to maintain a relationship with them and wait to see how they grow.
Ili had no choice but to call Coline.
A young boy running into Starbucks and looking around. For a moment, Ili thought he was being fooled. He is not a high school student.
It is the moment he decided that he would just listen to one song and go back to warm LA.
Ili raised his hand and signaled to Coline.
“Yes. I am Coline Spartos.”
“It’s nice to meet you. I’m Ili Gotez.”
Ili needed to say what he was curious about while looking at Coline who was so nervous he could not speak.
“What’s your profession? You’re not one of those spoiled types who… live off their parents and dream of becoming stars, are you?”
“Ah, of course not. I’m a student at the Clayton-Hoffman School of Music.”
Ili was surprised when he heard this unexpected answer and put his coffee mug down. It is enough to make someone curious. Is it not a place where musical geniuses went?
“Well, I didn’t think you would be a student at the famous CH School of Music. Phew – I was surprised. Then does everyone perform classical?”
“No. It’s only me… The other members are students at New York College.”
“Students at New York College? This is… too dandy?”
No wonder the music had a strong mushy feeling to it.
“Then Paganini? Chopin? Karajan? What genre are you?”
“No. I’m a cello major.”
“Cello? I see. I knew the bass melody line was good. You’re the bassist?”
“Who made the songs?”
He was positive this cellist is the band leader. Rock and roll by model students. What little expectation Ili Gotez had, disappeared. He only wanted to get out of this cold place and quickly get back to LA.
“Let’s end this quickly. I’d like to hear your band perform live first. Is that possible?”
“Of course, Mr. Gotez.”
Coline called the other 2 members to hurry up and get to the practice studio and went with Ili Gotez on the streets of Queens to the studio.
“Alright, you know the song on the online store? Let’s hear that first. Both versions.”
“Excuse me? What do you mean 2 versions?”
“I’m talking about the version before it went through arranging and producing. That’ll be your real music.”
With Coline’s signal, they performed the two songs for an audience of one. There is only one person, but that person is more important than the countless general audience. They put all of their strength into giving a perfect performance without room for a single mistake.
When they were done playing the 2 versions of the song, Ili Gotez’s straight face changed. It is not a performance worthy of admiration, but he could clearly see that there is potential.
“But you guys… have never performed live?”
“No. How did you know that?”
Ili looked at a surprised Coline and laughed arrogantly.
‘How would I know. I know since I looked through all of New York club lists.’
There is no reason to tell him the truth. He needs to give the airs of an expert.
“I can just tell by listening. And… I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to play the songs other than the one on the store in a performance.”
“Your band’s music is for listening. It’s not for live performances. It’s too grand and complicated for the audience below a stage to cheer for. It’s impossible for them to try to leave their bodies to the music.”
It is too grand.
Coline remembered where he had heard Ili’s words before. Jun Hyuk had said the same thing.
He needed to forget about Jun Hyuk from Ili’s continued words.
“Just do one thing.”
“The cello or bass – do one. The same goes for you guys. It’s impossible to succeed in this industry while getting As at New York College.”
Coline had gone around saying that he is working towards becoming a professional, but he started to be scared when he heard that he needs to learn to be a professional from an expert in the industry. There was fear in the faces of the other two members as well.
“Quit your studies at New York College and start performing at New York clubs for $50, $60. There’s no way to know what your music is like even if you practice by yourselves without an audience for 100 days.”
Ili’s words were not of criticism, but caution. He is telling them how to become a professional band.
“You’ll come to know what your music is like once you perform in front of an audience drunk off of beer with their cold response, ragging, cursing, or worst case, ragging on you while throwing their bottles at you. And then you’ll learn how to bring out the cheering from those people.”
Ili Gotez continued with his warnings while looking at the guitarist who also took on the vocals.
“Once you start touring, you’re on a bus for at least 10 hours. A private plane? That doesn’t exist. You sleep inside the bus. You eat at highway rest stops. And rehearsals, performances… You’ll have to spend a year with a tight schedule like this. Will your voice be able to handle that? How about your stamina? Music comes after that. What good is it if your music hits 1st on Billboard charts when you can’t even handle a tour?”
During the 9 years that Bon Jovi did not have a name, he performed at clubs from 7 at night to 5 in the morning every single day. The reason why he still has not lost his vocal power is that he created a strong voice in this period. The Beatles also performed for 7 hours in Germany when they were unknown. Paul McCartney could not endure much more and suggested splitting up the singing, bringing out the members’ skills.
“Your band’s music is good. The song isn’t bad and your playing is on par. Prove that music in a real situation. Start here in New York. Make all of the clubs in New York want your band. That’ll be your first gateway.”
Their music and playing skills are good. Ili Gotez’s last evaluation made Coline more inspired.
Ili saw all three of their faces brighten and went on to say his 2nd reason for flying to New York,
“Now tell me honestly. You made the first song perfectly. What happened with the rest?”
“You’re saying it’s still a secret? Ha ha.”
“No. It’s not a secret but a promise.”
Coline quickly spoke so that Ili would not misunderstand them.
“Yes. It’s because he promised to help us just one day, with just one song..…”
Ili Gotez was gripped by the words that it was one day. He had brought out the essence of a grand and complicated song to make it receivable to the public. In the short period of one day.
“By chance, did that person all do the arranging? Guitar and drums?”
The bass had been the same as the original. Leaving something that does not need to be fixed alone is the arranger’s ability.
“In one day?”
“I guess so, since he heard the music in the morning and we recorded in the afternoon.”
Ili Gotez found his reason for flying to New York in this cold winter.
“Then would I be able to meet this person as well?”
“He’ll be at the library now.”
Coline scratched his head with an uncomfortable expression.
“Library? Is he at the same school? CH? Or New York College?”
Ili looked back and forth at the students of the 2 schools.
“He’s a student at our conservatory.”
“Then that means he’s a classical boy… What’s he doing at the library? Do music students study scores in the library?”
“No. He’ll be studying history, physics, or math right now.”
“What? What are you talking about? I thought he’s a music student?”
“He is but he has some circumstances.”
Ili looked at Coline’s uncomfortable expression and spoke quietly,
“Won’t you tell me what those circumstances are? Your band’s future could be riding on this.”
Coline gulped at Ili’s straight face. The future is riding on this.