Ogon : Indie Musician

Work Hard For What You Love

Indie artist Ogon talks life, inspiration and music

Story By: Amy Benham

Translated By: Becky White

Photos By: Amy Benham

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Ogon is an artist known for first playing electric guitar in the EDM band Luna Pirates, though lately he has been branching out onto his own. Recently Groove Korea sat down with him to chat about his newly released single, what inspires him, and just why the perfect late night snack is cereal. Equipped with a bright smile, sweet voice, and sentimental lyrics, Ogon is someone who should definitely be on your radar.

Firstly, can you introduce yourself to our readers.

I’m a singer-songwriter called Ogon. Nowadays, I have been preparing for the release of my new single. I debuted about four years ago and had some transition periods, but I officially began making music about three years ago.


Can you tell us about yourself personally? Where were you born and raised, and what brought you to Seoul?

I’m from Ulsan, a city located just above Busan. When I was 20, I came to Seoul for university. I had always wanted to do music from a young age and so I came to Seoul to pursue it more sincerely.


So you came to Seoul especially to study music?

Yes. Do you know about jae-see? (The cramming period to study for university entrance exams.) I failed to get into university, so I studied for another year in Seoul, and then I started university to study music. 


Can you describe your music for those who haven’t heard it before?

Sentimental. Melancholy. I create many songs like that. Of course, I also sing about warm love and those kind of songs about fluttering love. But maybe it’s because I like sentimental and melancholic songs, so I have been making music like that. Next week the song that comes out will be about a past love. It’s not extremely sad, or anything that will make you cry. But it’s like looking at my last love from far away. 

You have a lot sad songs!

It’s not my intention, but it comes out naturally. I like upbeat music too. Usually I’m a bright and energetic person. But my music just seems to have naturally been melancholic for the past few years. 

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That melancholy feeling, when it comes, do you just enjoy it or try to get rid of it?

I’m the kind of person that doesn’t feel loneliness easily. So if I feel melancholic, I just feel it and acknowledge it it “Ah, I see I’m experiencing melancholy,” and enjoy it alone.

Which of your songs would you recommend to to first time listeners?

Personally, because they are my songs, I love them all. But I would recommend the songs that people around me seem to enjoy the most. For example, “줄까해” is a song I released last April, and the response was quite good. As well as a song from two years ago, “지구에서 니가 제일 좋아해” (“In this Earth, I like you the most”) which is a very sweet song. Many people seem to like these two songs these days, so I tend to recommend them. 

What’s the story behind “줄까해”?

After breaking up with my ex-girlfriend, though the initial hurt that remains after an ended love might pass, there of course remains that small bit of feeling. That feeling is not like super sad, but after time you know you still feel as though you miss that person. So it’s a song about that. It was me saying that this song is for you, for the last time I will write this song for you, and now it as though my heart has truly accepted that we are broken up. Through this song, just singing it alone to myself “I let you know what I want to say, I don’t know if you’ve heard it but now I’m really over it”.


Do you write your own songs?

I usually write my songs myself, including the lyrics and melody. Sometimes I ask others if something isn’t going well or if it isn’t going the right way, then I ask someone who I think will do well. If I need some drumming and I can’t do it, I will ask someone. These days I had a hard time writing in English, so I ask someone who is good at writing English to help me out. But usually I do write songs alone. 

What or who are your musical influences? How do you get inspired when making music? 

First, exploring. Not going on huge trips, but just traveling to nearby places. I like history. So I go to historical places, they’re pretty. I go alone and walk a lot. I go to places I like, walk around and think. Through those thoughts, I get ideas. As I think about the past, the present, the future, it helps me emotionally and and gives me inspiration. Also, when I listen to good music. If the feeling is good, I get inspired. I suppose like other musicians might, I like movies and books, so I get inspiration through them. For artistic things, the feelings are similar, so we get inspiration from those things. 

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

BTS!! And Black Pink. These days I don’t know. There’s not a specific group that I definitely want to do a collaboration with. If the feeling is mutual and good, then I’d like to collaborate with anyone. Doing solo work is nice, but working with other people has a different feeling. Musically if we are similar then I’m happy to collaborate with anyone. Not a specific group. But if I have to choose a specific one, then BTS.


What kind music do you like to listen to?

Basically, I like acoustic music, I listen to it a lot. Rather than just focusing on the genre, I listen to the actual feel of each song, regardless of the genre. I like EDM and Hip-Hop though. So if the song itself is good, then I listen to it. No matter what kind of genre I listen to, I think I can recognize a pretty good song.


What do you do in your chill time when you aren’t making music?

As a hobby I play computer games a lot. Or exploring, I explore historical places. I read lots of books and watch movies a lot. I like walking, too. I always walk and explore. I pick a theme and then travel according to that it. Even just traveling in Korea or Seoul, if I pick a theme, I explore it. I like exercise too so I often play soccer, basketball and go bike riding. I often ride bikes to travel alone. It’s difficult to go bike riding in winter, but I definitely play soccer no matter how cold the weather is! I have been doing it every week for the past 10 years!


Favorite late night snack?

Cereal. I don’t like cooking... I can’t cook. Cereal. You can just buy it with milk. If you just have cereal it’s fine. It’s cheap. I also like bread. Usually at night bakeries are closed, but convenience stores are open and you can get just get cereal and milk.

What can we expect from your upcoming single album?

This song also was created whilst thinking about things in the past, the things I thought I miss. Other people may feel the same way too. They might hear this song, understand and agree. I’m not expecting anything whenever I make a song (however if there was a big result it would be great) but for those people who listen to the song, even if there is one more person who listens to my music and identifies with me in the song, I think I will be happy. 


Where do you perform?

Festivals, Hongdae clubs, cafes. Places that are similar to where other indie artists perform.

Do you have any upcoming performances you would like to share with us?

Well, I’m thinking about that. Up until 2017 I did so many concerts. I did concerts like 5 times a month. As I was previously performing so much I changed my mind in 2018. I did less concerts. I decided to make more music instead.  Through concerts, I wanted to meet more people for collaborations, hoping to meet them, but it didn’t happen. In fact, it became less *laughs*. Next year, I am thinking of doing many concerts. I will more aggressively pursue more performances. I’m considering that soif I have them, I will invite you guys! In February I will definitely do one.


Is there anything you want to say to our readers (and the world)? Express yourself!

What a big thing to ask! To the whole world?! To the world… I am sincere when I say that these days, people work to rest. For me, I’m  the opposite. I think I can work hard, crazily, but at that time you should do it for yourself. Around me my friends say they’re having hard time and that they are depressed. I understand them. But for me I am the type who works really hard every day however even as I work hard, I have some freedom. It’s because I do what I like. Lots of people work really hard. I know that working hard is a good thing, keep working extremely hard. But work hard and sweat in your own way, a way that makes you happy. Like with soccer, it’s hard, it’s like a fight and a competition. When it doesn’t go well, you fight and get angry. And even curse. Especially if guys do together; they fight, sweat, and swear and sometimes it’s so physically harsh that you want to throw up from the effort. But afterwards, when you shower you feel so happy. That’s how I want to live. Living and working with all my effort, but living as myself. So I want to tell everyone, work hard but live as yourself, do what you love. 

Any last thing you’d like to say?

When this magazine comes out, the new song will be already be released. After that song too, more songs will keep coming out. So I will be really grateful if people listen to them. Thank you!

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Ogon’s Music: https://www.melon.com/artist/song.htm?artistId=725545

Special thanks to M1CT coffee for hosting our interview:

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Sean Choi