Volume 3 / Chapter 123
[Did you guys miss me?? Sorry for being away so long! I’m pretty pooped from the trip. I’ll try and get back to my regular schedule asap.]
Jun Hyuk’s party organized their luggage at a small hotel in Westwood and went to LA Sound on Wilshire Boulevard, the center of LA’s economy. As soon as they entered the building, countless platinum albums and posters of stars that LA Sound created caught their eye.
Coline and his members could not hide their excitement and touched their flushed cheeks and wiped their sweat.
“Oh, you’re finally here. What do you think? Isn’t it much better than cold New York?”
Ili Gotez who had been frowning the whole time he was in New York, greeted Jun Hyuk’s party with friendliness as though that had never happened. Jun Hyuk could feel that as Lawyer Baek Seung Ho had said, they would work as colleagues since the contract had gone smoothly.
“First, I’ll introduce you to the boss and then we can discuss your schedule. Boss is waiting too.”
What caught their eye more than the magnificence of the office was the occasional star that passed by. Every time they saw the producers, composers, and stars who had been awarded several times at the Grammys, Jun Hyuk’s party could not take their eyes off of them.
When Texas blues guitar great Jimmie Baughan passed by with the smell of cigarettes, even Jun Hyuk wanted to go after him and ask for a signature. However, they had come for business today. They could not become fans and had to act nonchalant.
When they got off the elevator and entered a conference room with glass walls, the famous Alex Zakin was waiting for them.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Alex Zakin.”
“Hello. I’m Jun Hyuk Jang. You can call me Jun.”
When he held his hand, he could feel the strength. After shaking each person’s hand, Alex Zakin gave Ili Gotez a slight look.
“Alright, our band will have to control their condition, no? Let’s record formally tomorrow and warm up today. You can take a look at our recording studio too. Let’s go.”
Jun Hyuk was about to follow as well when Alex Zakin quickly spoke,
“Jun, can we speak for a moment?”
Jun Hyuk separated from Coline and the band and went into Alex Zakin’s office. Like a leading figure in entertainment, his office could not have been more brilliant and the walls packed with platinum albums caught Jun Hyuk’s eye.
They are all albums that Alex Zakin had produced.
“Jun, I listened to your album. It’s good.”
“Did you compose everything yourself?”
“But the album is a bit of a fusion… The entirety has a classical form but each song was a different genre, right?”
“Yes. I mixed it up a little.”
Alex Zakin lit a cigarette and blew out smoke.
“Did you choose classical in the end? CH School of Music?”
“That’s not all. I’m there for now because I think there’s a lot to learn.”
“It didn’t look like you have a lot to learn. It looked like you could come out as a professional musician immediately without problems from the way you work with various genres.”
“No, I still need to learn a lot more.”
“You’re modest. Is that a characteristic of Asians?”
“No, I’m not that modest.”
“Ha ha. Is that so?”
Zakin who had been sitting back in his chair put out his cigarette and sat up straight.
“I did a bit of research and… in Korea, they say you’re a genius. Have you formally learned producing?”
“I learned a little about the equipment used in a recording studio, but I’ve never learned or done any producing.”
“I heard that you arranged Coline’s song in just a day. What, is it something where notes fill your head and come out if you listen to music? An alien like Mozart who produces thousands of scores automatically?”
When Jun Hyuk said that he is a genius like Mozart without a change in expression, Alex Zakin burst out in laughter.
“Ha ha ha. You’re right. You’re not modest at all.”
Jun Hyuk frowned slightly at Alex Zakin’s laughter. He had not come all the way to LA to talk about such useless things.
“Ah, you can just call me Alex. It’s okay.”
“Fine. Alex, there’s no need to check to see if I’m a genius or whatever. That’s not important. My schedule is a little tight, so I’d like to talk business.”
“Business? Isn’t it your business to start producing Violon band’s music tomorrow?”
“What does he mean business? Alex tilted his head at Jun Hyuk as he said something unexpected. Jun Hyuk took a smartphone with earphones out of his pocket and handed it to Alex.
“First, listen to this.”
Alex Zakin put the earphones Jun Hyuk gave him with interest. Before even a minute passed, his eyes grew wide and he shouted,
“What the f…..”
While Alex Zakin listened to Jun Hyuk’s music for 40 minutes, it was unsure whether the sounds that kept coming from his mouth were of admiration or swearing. While he was engrossed in the music, Jun Hyuk slowly went around the office looking at the platinum albums and star photos on the walls, and the awards.
“This… What on earth is this?”
This is the first thing Alex Zakin said after over 40 minutes.
“What do you mean? It’s music. Did you like it? Ah, I guess it’s something I didn’t need to ask.”
Alex Zakin sitting deeply in his chair while smoking clearly showed his shock.
“Jun. Is this why you came to LA?”
Jun Hyuk nodded as though it were definite.
“Of course. Is there a reason for me to come all the way to LA to record Coline’s songs? There are tons of recording studios in New York.”
Jun Hyuk had an arrogant expression. It felt like he had done what adults call negotiations, alone. A successful negotiation at that. He was proud.
“I learned how to think while attending school for the first time. If you like Coline’s music, all you have to do is sign him on, so I was wondering why you would call me all the way here. My conclusion is that recording Coline’s band is just collateral and I thought that you wanted to see me as an arranger.”
“It’s true. A good musician appeared, so of course I want to see for myself.”
Though they are bantering, the music left in Alex Zakin’s ear did not disappear. He had just thought that he is a youth with a talent of bringing out sophisticated music. That youth was living in an old-fashioned castle like CH School of Music.
The classical world is barely hanging on with the support of millionaires who think of classical as a lofty hobby. On the other hand, the world of popular music is where one can buy a house on the beach in Santa Monica and ride a sports car with just one song hitting 1st place on charts. He wanted to bring that talent out here.
However, he had the thought that he had miscalculated that talent. The music he just heard proved that mistake.
“What is this music?”
“Honestly, I wasn’t really interested in LA Sound and Coline’s band. I only worked on a song because I thought it’d be okay to help out a member of the quintet I’m in. But I didn’t know because I don’t normally check labels when I listen to CDs… but I did a search and saw that LA Sound released a lot of albums that I like. So I made some tribute music to those musicians.”
“Are these 10 songs those tributes?”
“Yes. Show them to the 10 musicians and if they are pleased with it, to have them sing it.”
Sing? They are perfect instrumentals created with the guitar, drums, bass, and piano. There is no space for singing. However, Alex Zakin is one of the top 3 producers in America. He thought of what he had missed after Jun Hyuk’s explanation.
“This piano part is the vocal. Right?”
“Yes. I put it in as the guide for the vocals. It’s fine for the musicians to change it a bit when they actually sing it.”
Jun Hyuk stopped walking around the office and sat in the chair opposite Alex Zakin.
“Then shall we talk business now?”