It cannot be stressed enough, Korean music is not limited, fortunately, to Kpop. Behind this overhyped scene, the Land of the Morning Calm has many artists and bands brimming with talent and inventiveness. This is the case of Linus’ Blanket, which for almost 15 years we offer superb jazz-pop music carried with the smooth voice of the talented and charming YeonGene. And what could be better than an interview with her to learn more about Linus’ Blanket.
Hello and thank you for accepting this interview. Can you introduce Linus’ Blanket for people who don’t know you ?
Hello, my name is Yeongene from Linus’ Blanket. Linus’ Blanket is a solo musical act which produces jazzy pop music and more.
Your name, Linus’ Blanket, was inspired by the American comic Peanuts. Tell us about that.
Linus always takes his blanket with him because it makes him feel secure. I wanted people to feel secure like Linus when they listen to my music.
Linus’ Blanket formed in 2001. Tell us a bit about the origins and the evolution of the band.
At first, 5 people including myself, formed Linus’ Blanket to play some Christmas tunes for a Christmas party. We had a lot of fun at that party and decided to continue this band and make original songs.
After a while some members began to pursue their own thing and eventually it became just me making music for the band.
Same, listening your releases, there is an evolution in your music, which always more jazzy. Can you also talk about the musical evolution of Linus’ Blanket ? How would you describe the current music of Linus’ Blanket ?
Basically I love vintage jazz music so as I got to know this kind of music better, it influenced my style heavily. Still I feel that I have a lot to learn about music and enjoy exploring other genres. So it’s important for me to listen and learn about all types of music.
Since the release « Show Me Love », in 2011, Linus’ Blanket became a « solo project ». How was the transition ? What impact this situation had on the music of Linus’ Blanket ?
It’s more comfortable to focus on my own music. These days, when I record a new album, I can collaborate with which every musician fits the song. On the other hand, I feel lonely sometimes because I have to compose and arrange by myself.
You use mostly English in your songs. Why this choice ? What are the musical differences between English and Korean ?
English and Korean feels very different in music. English feels more creamy and fluffy while Korean feels a bit more staccato. I love that creamy feeling of English so I wrote my songs in English and I wanted my songs to feel fresh when Korean people listen to them.
Tell us a bit about the topics of your songs and what you want to share through your music.
Mostly about love. I want to spread the feelings of tenderness and passion of love through my songs.
In your influences, you mention American artist Blossom Dearie. What she has influenced you ? More generally, what are your sources of influence / inspiration ?
I think her voice is so rare in Jazz music. It’s somewhat playful, but also sensual. I like this versatility. Luckily, I think my voice has a similar playful and sensual side, so I wanted to develop my voice, pronunciation and singing skill like Blossom Dearie. And I also love her compositions. She is my role model.
One of your most famous and popular song is Picnic. I actually discovered you through this song. Can you tell us a bit about this song .
I was sleeping in the middle of the night then suddenly woke up and had an idea for the song. I wanted to go travel with friends like but in a light-hearted way… like having a picnic. I wanted it to bee that when people listen to the song it would make them happy.
On your latest album, Magic Moments, you worked with a lot of indie famous artists. Tell us about this album and these collaborations.
‘Magic Moments’ is Linus’ Blanket’s 2nd EP album after full-length ‘Show Me Love (2011)’. There are 6 magical songs about various moments and feelings about love. Guest musicians are :
Jowall (from Byul.org Underwears Band) : composer, arranger, etc for « 어느새 (Uneusae) »
DJ Soulscape : co-producer, co-arranger, recording & mixing engineer
Kim Taechun : guest vocal for « Love Me », lap steel guitarist for « Summer Night Magic »
Juyoonha : guest vocal for « To You »
Bily Acostie : guest vocal for « Summer Night Magic »
Yunseokchul Trio : session musician for « Summer Night Magic », « Love Me », etc.
Kim Ganji x Ha Heonjin : session musician for « Bye Baby »
There are other great guests like guitarist Lee Taehun (from ‘Second Session’), vibraphonist Lee Heekyoung, drummer Seo Hyunjeong (from 3rd Line Butterfly), bassist Jeong Joongyeop (from Kiha and the Faces) and more.
For this album, you made a nice black and white MV for the title « Love Me ». Tell us a little about this song and the MV (artistic choices).
« Love Me » is the song about the passion of a girl who’s crazy about love. On the other hand, a boy seems not as enhusiastic as her. But instead, he’s got a big picture about love like protecting the girl from the cruel world. The music video is a little bit different from this story. A girl is expecting a passionate type of love but the boy seems not interested, so the girl gets frustrated and is upset at the boy. But the boy is actually hiding a ring in her wineglass and when she finds it they live happily ever after.
The MV is black and white because I wanted it looks very classic and classy. The male actor is my beloved Korean blues musician ‘Seedless Watermelon Kim, DaeJoong’.
Yeongene in addition to Linus’ Blanket, you have also a solo career under your name. Can you tell us a little about that. Musically, what are the differences between your « two careers » ?
I think there are no differences since Linus’ Blanket became a solo act. When I was doing Linus’ Blanket with other members, I did my solo work under my own name. But now I usually use the name ‘Linus’ Blanket’ rather than Yeongene for both. There’s only one album ‘Me & My Burt’ under the name ‘Yeongene’ and it’s an cover album of Burt Bacharach songs.
We talk a lot about Hallyu and Kpop. Do you think these movements are good to Korea and the Korean music ?
I think it’s good to spread Korean music internationally but the problem is Kpop is too focused on « Idol » music so it’s difficult to get attention for musicians doing other kinds of music. But, I’m very thankful to Kpop fans abroad and please support K-indie music, too.
For people who discover you with this interview, what song would you recommend them as the most representative of your universe ?
‘Summer Night Magic’, ‘Love Me’ and ‘Mommy’. Recently I’m very into Hawaiian music.
End, do you have a message for your French listeners ?
I heartily thank you for loving my music and please keep supporting Linus’ Blanket till the end of the world !
Thank you very much to YeonGene for this interview.