Despite its small community, KAIST has brought forth quite a few well-known music bands. Among those bands is Band E.T. This band repeatedly shows up on the lineup list of many live band clubs or music festivals in Daejeon. The band’s music is as peculiar as its name, with its characteristic space-like sound that you cannot find anywhere else. The KAIST Herald met with the band members to hear more about their music and the band culture at KAIST.
Nice to meet you. Could you briefly introduce your band?
Hello. Band E.T. stands for Extra-Terrestrial, just like the movie of the same name. One of our members, who is a huge fan of science fiction, suggested we name the band as Band E.T. Just like our name, we create sounds that are related to space and the universe. We first started playing music as part of Sturgeon, one of the rock band clubs at KAIST, and have been actively performing as a band for a year.
Could you explain more about your music?
The genre of our music is post-rock. It is characterized by the use of instruments and the absence of lyrics and vocals. When we make music, we choose a theme and try to express whatever we want without being restrained by formalities. We often choose a grandiose and profound theme and try to communicate with the audience using only instrumental sounds. Because themes vary for each song, we pursue different styles of music each time and try various sound making techniques. But in the end, we want to lead the audience into a state of ecstasy through our music.
Could you please tell us about your album, We Make Contact?
Because we are not professional musicians, we did not intend to make an official album for commercial purposes. Rather, we made this album to use as a demo tape for experts to promote our band. Making this album was very difficult, as we did not have the necessary equipment and skills needed for recording. We had to buy the equipment and teach ourselves all the recording procedures. Borrowing a recording studio was very costly, so we worked in the Sturgeon clubroom. The music on this album all have something in common in that they create the sense of space and the universe. However, the ideas we try to express vary for each theme.
What are your current activities? What was the most memorable experience?
We mainly perform at live band clubs in Daejeon such as Budgie live club, Cantina, and Howl Atthe Moon. Recently we participated in the Daejeon Sound Festival and also performed at the U Day Festival in Hong Dae. The most memorable experience was when we tried out for the EBS Hello Rookie Program. For many indie bands, this program is a gateway to success as you get immediate recognition from the public. Jang Kiha & The Face and Guckkasten are also from this program. So we were very excited when we made it to the top ten.
What are your prospective plans?
For now, we are going to hold back on the performance part and just focus on making music. It’s been a year since we started and now we want to create music that distinguishes us from other bands. We hope to make music that people can immediately recognize as ours upon listening. For now, we are not going to make an official album yet because we are planning to concentrate on how to express our ideas and improve our music.
What do you think about the band culture at KAIST?
KAIST has very favorable conditions for musicians. Because students live in dorms, they can make the most out of this opportunity to practice. Many clubrooms are available for practice. We can stay up all night practicing without being distracted. Even compared to some of the bands in other universities, KAIST bands show a very high level of competence. Because we have various types of bands at KAIST, there are many exchanges of ideas and music between these bands. The funding that the school provides for club activities has also increased over the years, and I believe that these factors contribute to the large number of bands and the flourishing band culture of KAIST.
Do you have any tips for students at KAIST who are interested in creating a band or starting their careers in music?
As KAIST students who are constantly under the pressure of a heavy academic workload, it is not easy to hold onto both your studies and music at the same time. So before starting a band, I think you should ask yourself whether you have a strong passion for music. You need to know whether you love music enough to withstand the opportunity cost that comes along with starting a band.
Do you have any last comments for the readers?
Though the band culture is growing rapidly in and out of Daejeon, we are not so well known among the KAIST community. So I hope many students can become interested in our music. Also, I hope KAIST students will not only spend time studying but also find some time to enjoy good music. Try many different types of music; find what suits you the most and just enjoy it like you would a good book.