Volume 3 / Chapter 98
A few professors were eating lunch in the cafeteria with Professor Ju Yong Tae in the center when Um Ki Jun greeted them and joined.
People let their guards down the most while eating. Um Ki Jun did not lose his chance and spoke in passing,
“I saw some kids interested in contemporary music these days…..”
“Who? Among the students? Could that happen? They’re all pretty similar. How could kids who stumble even with Debussy be interested in contemporary music?”
Professor Ju Yong Tae added to one professor’s response pushing off Um Ki Jun’s words lightly,
“Music isn’t the object of criticism and theory. It’s a tool for emotion. Contemporary music plays the same role as a discussion, throwing a question. It can be used for research, but it’s unreasonable to treat it as music itself.”
The most old-fashioned Professor Ju dismissed everything with his continuing words,
“Um. I told you, didn’t I? Don’t look in that direction. We’re overwhelmed just by trying to understand Bach, Beethoven, and Marlowe.”
“Oy, Professor. Of course. My taste isn’t in that direction either. I just thought I heard something like that, so I was wondering if you might have given the students an assignment.”
“That kind of assignment would be fitting for a master’s course. Wait a second… Um, you’re a little suspicious.”
“Ha ha. Surely not. The subject of my Ph.D. thesis is Sibelius.”
The reaction they had expected. Um Ki Jun thought that there would be unnecessary misunderstandings if they kept discussing it, and quickly stopped. He decided it would be faster for Park Jin Kuk to do the search, and quit looking for the composer inside the school.
Jun Hyuk went to the recording studio after getting a call from Jo Hyung Joong. The recording studio was reminiscent of a garbage dump when it greeted Jun Hyuk. The stairs going down to the basement had a few empty dishes from Chinese take-out and when he opened the door to go in, the first thing he saw was the sound engineer asleep on the sofa.
Energy drinks and canned coffees were rolling around near the sofa and throughout the recording studio.
“Oh Jun Hyuk, you’re here.”
“Yes. You look… You look like you haven’t even gone home in a few days.”
“Huh? Ah, that’s all of us. We used to do this all the time, but to be honest, it’s been easier these days because people only work on singles. I feel like I’m really working for the first time in a while. It’s been years since I’ve had to work on 10 songs at the same time.”
He looked so tired that his chubby face had become gaunt, but he looked happy. He is creating real music, not the kind that does not even cover the basics unless it was touched up with equipment, with its mechanical effects and a simple hook inserted repetitively.
In order to receive the evaluation that it is an outstanding album, Jo Hyung Joong did not permit even the smallest mistakes and demanded perfection. Thanks to this, the staff he worked with were becoming zombies.
“Jun Hyuk, listen to this first. It’s the guitar you’ll record. Let’s talk after you listen to all of it.”
Jun Hyuk took the CD from Jo Hyung Joong and listened to a total of 6 guitar instrumentals through headphones. An acoustic guitar melody rang through his head and he became lost in the music. Jun Hyuk listened to it a few times before taking the headphones off.
“Teacher. This guitar… Who performed it?”
“It’s killer, right?”
“Yes. Who did it?”
“Teacher Ham Chun Suk. Do you know who he is?”
“No, I’m hearing the name for the first time.”
“I bet. The musical area he works in is a little different.”
Ham Chun Suk.
The best acoustic guitar session man from 1990 until now.
When the best singers in the country needed an acoustic guitar, they always went looking for him. They looked for him even when they did not need an acoustic guitar to see if their song might be better with an acoustic guitar. It is common to see his name in albums that sold well in the country.
It is also a fun fact that this expert in the guitar who sees it as a tool to relay emotion instead of technique, majored in singing.
“But why is 6 songs it?”
“Since one song is heavy metal, I’m going to leave it entirely up to you, and I arranged the other 3 songs without the guitar. And you know about the last song. We’re going to end with a piano instrumental.”
“Ah, I see. But…..”
“Why? Is there something you don’t like?”
“No. It’s just that of these, there are 2 songs that are so good I don’t think I’ll need to play them again. Even if I play them again, I don’t think they’ll come out better than this.”
“What? Only 2 songs? Then you’re saying you’ll modify the other 4 songs? I’m pretty sure you’re the only person in our country who listened to Teacher Ham Chun Sung’s guitar and said there’s something to fix. Ha ha.”
After laughing for a bit, Jo Hyung Joong’s eyes sparked.
His name often appears in movies. He is great who gets paid just for listening to music and saying, “This doesn’t need the guitar. It’s good just like this.”
The fact that he could find something lacking in the guitar of Ham Chun Sung who expresses the beauty in marginals. It is wonderful to see how he develops everyday.
“Then, should we start?”
The first song Jun Hyuk played in the recording booth was heavy metal. When he got to the middle, the sound engineer shook his head and tried to hit the stop button, but Jo Hyung Joong made a fuss.
“Hey! Why? What are you doing?”
“It seems like the BPM went over 170. We arranged this to 150.”
Jo Hyung Joong lightly hit the back of the sound engineer’s head.
“Why are you being like this when you’ve been doing this for so long? It’s 150.”
“Excuse me? Isn’t the guitar acting completely on its own? I think 170 is pretty low.”
“Are you going to keep doing this work? Don’t you think you have to change this now? Man, it’s not fast just grand. It’s okay for a lay person to make that mistake, but you’re a professional. How is it okay for you to not be able to tell the difference? And… you don’t know that kid? He has a metronome embedded in his head.”
When Jun Hyuk came out of the booth, the sound engineer could not look him in the eye and Jo Hyung Joong had a satisfied smile.
“Is it too hard?”
“Huh? Oh, no. It’s hard but light. It’s good. Let’s use this the way it is for now… We can talk about it again if there’s something to change in the completed song.”
When the following guitar and piano accompaniments were finished, Jo Hyung Joong could see a more matured Jun Hyuk.
Jun Hyuk showed him what was lacking in Ham Chun Suk’s guitar. He picked at the strings slowly, but he kept the flow going without a single disconnected note. It was to the point where he thought it was a waste to use as an accompaniment. This alone is excellent independent music.
Today is a day full of regret for Jo Hyung Joong. It is the last day is he able to listen to Jun Hyuk’s music alongside him. He did not know how he would hear Jun Hyuk’s music going forward, but it would only be possible through a media like a CD.
Studying abroad also meant that he was going into the world of classical, farther away from popular music.
It could be that he is embarking on his own path. There is someone who assessed his Symphony No. 1 as nothing more than noise. However, Jo Hyung Joong was sure that if he received formal education and associated himself with others including the greats, there would be someone who appreciates his music.
“Jun Hyuk, the kids are going to start coming in to sing tomorrow. What do you want to do? Do you want to come and watch?”
“No. I’ll listen to it once it’s all over.”
“Alright. I guess there’s no real reason to remember their faces. Their sounds will remain.”
Once Jun Hyuk left the recording studio, Jo Hyung Joong began to bother the staff again.
“Don’t even dream about the sauna until Jun Hyuk’s guitar is complete.”