Of course it was an outstanding performance. He freely switched from low notes to high notes. The fancy technique of the fast-moving hand movements left an impression on the listener.
The parts he played with overflowing rhythm to match ‘Song of Apollon’ that Do Wook composed also stood out.
Do Wook played the file Kwon Hyul sent one more time.
‘It’s good, of course. It’s good, but…it only makes you appreciate it. It’s not a performance that leaves you wanting to hear more.’
Do Wook thought as he stared at Kwon Hyul’s message asking Do Wook to contact him after listening to it.
A jazz pianist was obviously fundamentally different from a classical pianist who plays in an orchestra or plays a score off sheet music.
Jazz pianists also play concertos, but Kwon Hyul was a pianist who specifically performed solo. He alone was more than enough for a performance. It was rather odd that someone like that would participate in this project.
‘It might be better to listen to it separately instead. It doesn’t complement the song…’
He then worried if telling him his opinion honestly would be the right thing. There was no solution he could think of immediately, and he didn’t want to confuse Kwon Hyul with vague feedback for no reason.
‘He also probably has a lot of pride. It might just make him upset.’
It was almost dinner time, so the members were coming out of the rehearsal hall one by one to go eat.
Jung Yoon Ki gestured to Do Wook.
“Do Wook! What are you doing there? Let’s go eat!”
Do Wook got up from his seat as he answered.
At the same time, he couldn’t just say it was good. The money from the ad aside, everyone was excited to display their talents and work together.
‘Giving him a dishonest feedback would be deceiving Kwon Hyul.’
Do Wook followed behind the other members as he wrote a message to Kwon Hyul with one hand.
Suk Ji Hoon and Park Tae Hyung were still singing the acapella version of ‘Windy Day’, completely obsessed with the song. It was nice to see them getting along and harmonizing together as they walked.
“That was a solo part to match the accompaniment, but if you sing a harmony without the accompaniment I think it’ll be fresh and good.”
Park Tae Hyung nodded in agreement. Suk Ji Hoon looked at Do Wook who was following behind them, as if waiting for his approval.
“Yes. It is.”
“It would have been nice if it had been included in the album too.”
“One of the conditions was to include an unreleased song.”
Do Wook was replying but stopped in his tracks momentarily.
‘That’s right, definitely harmony!’
Do Wook sent the rest of the message to Kwon Hyul.
[I enjoyed listening to it. Since this piece will be included in my song
I think I’ll have to make some edits to the song to compliment the piece too.
I’ll see you at the studio.]
The second official meeting of the ‘Rendez-vous project’, a film studio.
Do Wook, who didn’t have anything else scheduled, arrived first and waited for the other project members.
The ‘Windy Day’ ended its short 2-week active period after sweeping the number one spots in all the music broadcasts. The activities had ended, but thanks to the Apollon promotion, they didn’t fall from the music chart ranking and continued to be in the Top 10.
Do Wook greeted the ad and music video director, Director Hong.
He was the director who had made the nation’s leading music video. Do Wook treated Director Hong with only the necessary amount of courtesy.
‘He’s the best music video director right now, but he won’t continue to be as successful as he is now.’
After this project, Director Hong’s reputation as a music video director would peak. However, he chose to take the downhill path.
He would cause a stir for sexually harassing students at the college he lectured at and would lose his place in the industry little by little.
Personality aside, there were issues with his skills too. He had commerciality as a director, but he had no drive to demonstrate his own style or make his own products.
Do Wook looked around the studio after greeting Director Hong.
As stated in the script they had looked over in advance, there was a grand piano in the middle of the studio. A professional tuner was in the middle of looking over the condition of the piano’s tuning.
On the wall behind the grand piano, there was a large mounted monitor. It was the monitor for the graphic designer Na Eun Soo to connect her laptop to and play her video.
There was also a microphone stand set up. In the surrounding area, there was a skateboard, lacquer spray, etc. marking the area where the B-Boys would dance. On the wall there were torn performance posters.
The project member to arrive at the studio after Do Wook was Kwon Hyul. Do Wook greeted him.
Even though it was their second time meeting and they had even exchanged messages, Kwon Hyul was still difficult to approach.
As soon as he got to the studio, Kwon Hyul sat in front of the piano and started to warm up.
Plink plonk. After pressing the keyboard keys hard once, he started playing a melody. He was just moving his hands however he wanted as a way to warm up, but it felt like a performance.
Do Wook had already warmed up his voice in the car, so he stood in front of the microphone and did a sound check.
“We’re going to start shooting now so, uh, do whatever you feel is right!”
Director Hong yelled.
The staff worked diligently and got into position. There were about 12 cameras in total. 4 cameras were attached to the ceiling and walls like security cameras, and 4 cameras were installed in front of the piano, microphone, monitor, and dance platform, one in each area.
There were four other cameras. Four cameramen held the cameras on their shoulders and surrounded Kwon Hyul and Do Wook, filming them.
“I listened to your piece and I made some changes to the song.”
“Yes. I think this version will go better with the piece.”
Do Wook casually took out the new Apollon model from his pocket. He then played the rearranged ‘Song for Apollon’. It was an MR* without the demo version recording.
(TL note: MR stands for Music Recording, meaning just the instrumentals without singing.)
Kwon Hyul, who had been sitting on the piano bench, closed his eyes.
The bridge. It was the section that was edited and fine-tuned the most. It was also the section where Kwon Hyul’s fast playing would be added.
Kwon Hyul, who had been listening briefly, opened his eyes wide and started playing.
The Director was a given, but also the staff, including the Yoo Sung Electronics Marketing Manager, shared surprised glances over the amazingly captivating performance.
Kwon Hyul’s performance was the exact same flashy performance as in the file he had sent Do Wook. At the same time, it flowed better with the song now, making the listener ecstatic.
Do Wook changed the bridge melody. For the section that was left open for the piano part, he filled it with a low-pitched melody that would go well with the piano part. He eliminated the high notes.
The piano performance mixed with the suitable MIDI* melody to create a surprising harmony.
(TL note: Per Wikipedia, MIDI is a technical standard that describes a communications protocol, digital interface, and electrical connectors that connect a wide variety of electronic musical instruments, computers, and related audio devices for playing, editing, and recording music.)
Kwon Hyul, who had been playing, soon realized the changes in the reorganized song. He immediately caught onto Do Wook’s intention.
Kwon Hyul was laser-focused and made a score. It was less flashy than before, but it was a melody you couldn’t help but get drawn into.
Do Wook grabbed the microphone and started to sing. His low-pitched voice echoed throughout the studio.
We, who are like the sun’s passion, Apollon―Apollon―Apollon―
Even though the lighting of the studio, which was purposely made to look like a worn-down warehouse, wasn’t that bright, people somehow felt ‘it’s dazzling’. It was truly blinding. It felt like the Greek God Apollon had actually appeared.
The cameraman who had been standing in front of Do Wook moved the camera and slowly zoomed in on Do Wook’s face.
Oh Bin and Na Eun Soo, who had arrived late, were entranced as they watched the two of them perform.
Tap, tap. Na Eun Soo casually headed towards the laptop behind the piano. She then played the video she had prepared.
Oh Bin and Nae Eun Soo had met earlier to do a shoot for Na Eun Soo’s video project.
Oh Bin’s dynamic movements, as he did a tumble and a head spin, were sequentially divided into 4, 8, 16, 32 and moved around frantically.
It was movements the two of them had made as they looked into how to effectively make something dynamic in a video.
Black and white pictures of the city passed by with a static noise transition effect, then vibrant color pages appeared.
Kwon Hyul playing the piano, Do Wook singing, and the video on the monitor in the back were all captured in one angle and made one scene of the advertisement.
Next to it, Oh Bin moved his body and demonstrated his B-Boy tricks in sync with the rhythm.
Then the song finished. Five seconds after the song finished…there was a lingering feeling throughout the studio.
Everyone just stood frozen in their place. Director Hong broke the silence by clapping.
Kwon Hyul, who had fallen under the spell of the lingering feeling the most, stood up from the piano and headed towards Do Wook in front of the microphone.
“My performance must have been awful.”
“Sorry? Not at all. No. It was amazing.”
“No. It probably didn’t go well with the collaboration. A thoroughly self-righteous solo performance.”
At Kwon Hyul’s blunt words, Do Wook turned silent.
“One reason I’m participating in this project is to stop that self-righteousness.”
Do Wook was only then able to perfectly understand Kwon Hyul. Kwon Hyul was a ‘true genius’ who was trying hard. His current position was probably enough, but he was endlessly taking steps to develop himself.
“But you fixed the song, Do Wook.”
“Things as they are now are good too, but it’s frustrating to only receive help. I’ll also try harder.”
Do Wook smiled lightly and nodded.
He turned around and watched the video playing on repeat. The video matched well with the song and had a clear theme.
He had watched Oh Bin’s dance while he had been singing. His dancing had a completely different power and discipline than Park Tae Hyung’s style. It was very fitting for the splitting rhythm in ‘Song for Apollon’.
Director Hong and the Marketing Manager approached the four of them.
“Ah…you all did really great today too. Dare I say today’s work will be the final product?”
When the Marketing Manager said that, the four of them laughed faintly. They did find parts that needed minor editing, but it was definitely a satisfactory shoot.
“Hearing it live, the song is really much better. I’m looking forward to the music video. I hope there wasn’t any problem with mine either.”
Na Eun Soo muttered. The Marketing Manager replied that she need not worry. Director Hong, who had good judgment when it came to videos, also spoke up and praised it.
“The shoot in two days will be the final shoot. The location will be this studio’s rooftop.”
At the Marketing Manager’s words, Director Hong gave a detailed explanation of the concept.
In short, passion and energy, explosion. He explained that he would like to see those things.
And two days later, the final shoot that took place on the rooftop wrapped up without a hitch. Kwon Hyul’s playing, Oh Bin’s B-Boying, Na Eun Soo’s video. And even Do Wook’s singing. Barely two days had passed but they had made progressive edits. It was even more harmonious because they matched each other.
It was so perfect that it would be believable if someone said it had been put together by a performance team that had been together for a long time.
With Director Hong’s editing, the ‘Rendez-vous project’ advertisement not only aired with the national television commercials during prime time, but also on the electronic billboard in the middle of GwangHwa Gate.
Everywhere the ad was playing, there were people stopping by to watch it as if they had been possessed by the eye-catching and memorable ad.
The music video and even the making-of video were also posted online through MyTube.
The project members meeting, them exchanging messages, the rehearsal on the second meeting. And even the performance on the rooftop.
‘Song for Apollon’ created a huge response among young people; besides making it into the top of the music charts, it also received the highest award at the Advertisement Awards that happened a month later.
Do Wook’s ‘Kiss, Lucas’ shirt that he wore in the video and the earrings Oh Bin was wearing started a fad and sold like hot cakes.
Kwon Hyul’s concerts were sold out, and Na Eun Soo ended up doing a collaboration with Korea’s top video art creator Chun Nam Joon.
During that time, KK got stage experience as they performed at different autumn festival events with Do Wook, who had become the icon and role model for young students, as the lead.
Album activities as well as activities as an advertisement model ect. It was starting to feel like they were in the eye of a storm.
However, KK would soon be nominated for the Best New Artist award.
And Do Wook came to realize that the storm had not passed, but that it was the calm before the storm.
Translator’s comments: Thank you everyone for making it through Volume 2 with me! See y’all next week for the beginning of Volume 3.