SXSW Interview: EE

Photo courtesy of EE
Photo courtesy of EE

As our first interview with the Korean musicians attending South by Southwest 2015 (SXSW), we chatted with the Korean electronic duo, EE via email about their band, their music and what else they are up to in 2015. Keep reading to hear what they have to say and don’t forget to check them out at SXSW if you can. They have a really fun sound, I can’t wait to see them live.

Editor’s note: Big E is Lee Hyunjoon and lil E is Lee Yunjoung.

The Interview

Hi there, please introduce yourselves and your band to our readers.

Big E: Hi, we’re EE.  We try and do lots of fun and interesting things by mixing and matching different things together.

lil E: You can think of us as kind of a culture general store.  We have everything you’re looking for!

What made you start/form EE?

Big E: EE started when I met my wife.  We decided to combine our interests and talents together and EE was created.

lil E: Love made everything possible.

What does EE mean?

Big E: The letter “E” is very useful in the alphabet and is included in many different words.  We do work in lots of interesting fields like music, art, fashion, design, and other things so we like that just like the letter “E,” our work can be used in many different ways.  Also “EE” is in our family name, “Lee.”

Photo courtesy of EE
Photo courtesy of EE

Who (or what) influences your music and songwriting? What is your usual songwriting process?

Big E: Maybe the internet influences us?  I’m not sure.  We’re married and live together so I think a lot of our inspiration comes from our daily life.  As for songwriting, we don’t have a set process.  But that’s what makes it fun!

lil E: Personally, I’m influenced by old memories, feelings, and contemporary issues.  I talk about these things with Big E, and then we naturally create stories and concepts based on them.  All the things we fight and laugh about while talking go into our songs and performances.

You have played Coachella in California in 2011, how was it different from playing festivals or shows in Korea?

Big E: Playing at Coachella was a lot of fun.  It’s always a great experience to get to play in new places.  But I don’t think there were any big differences between that festival and festivals in Korea.

lil E: Festivals in Korea have developed a lot, so Coachella was similar to them.  But I was impressed with the audience at Coachella because they didn’t know who we were, but they still came to see us with open minds.

Photo courtesy of EE
Photo courtesy of EE

Has anything interesting or unusual happened while you were on stage? Do you have any fun stories from performing?

lil E: At Coachella, there was an artist who worked with robots.  The robots came on stage and did a dance choreography to our song “Eyes, Nose, Mouth, Ears.”  We felt honored when we saw it.  It looked cool and was a lot of fun.

What can fans – and people new to your music – expect from your upcoming performance at South by Southwest (SXSW)?

lil E: We’re still getting everything organized for our showcases at SXSW now. People can expect to be surprised by what they will see and also to have fun and feel stimulated.

Photo courtesy of EE
Photo courtesy of EE

How would you describe your music to new listeners?

Big E: We perform music that has weird forms but is still danceable.  So the best way to describe it is to say it’s amusing? Fun? Weird?  I’m not sure.  People should check it out and decide how they feel.

lil E: freak flag fly

Editor’s note: “freak flag fly” is one of their songs, to check out “freak flag fly” (and more of their music), click here to visit EE’s Soundcloud

What do you like to do when not playing music?

Big E: I like to work on art and have exhibitions, take care of our baby, and go dancing.

lil E: I like to work as a stylist and be a mom.

Photo courtesy of EE
Photo courtesy of EE

We are seeing more and more Korean bands coming to North America, which is great. Do you think the North American music scene is becoming more receptive to Korean bands?

Big E: I’m not sure, but that would be great if it happens.  Korea is small but cool.  I hope the talent level of artists in Korea continues to improve and that artists can get more recognition for their work in Korea and abroad.

Do you have any other plans for 2015 that you would like to share with our readers?

Big E: I am planning to have a project exhibition at the Venice Biennale in May.  

lil E: I’m working on new songs and videos.  And I’m also studying other forms of performance.

Just the facts: Social Media

Final Thoughts

Huge thanks to EE for taking the time to answer our questions. If you can, catch one of their shows at SXSW in Austin, Texas! They will be playing on:

  • March 18 (11 pm) @ 405 Club 
  • March 19 (10:30 pm) @ Elysium (K-Pop Night Out)

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

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