SXSW Interview: From The Airport

Zee and Milo at the Seoulsonic showcase at SXSW
Zee and Milo at the Seoulsonic showcase at SXSW

It’s always fun to sit down with a band and get to know a little about them and their music. And chatting with Zee and Milo, the two members of From The Airport was no different. Plus there was the added bonus of finding out their Canadian connection (keep reading to find out what it is).

The Interview

Hi, can you please introduce yourself and tell us how you formed From The Airport?

Zee: We’re an electro-rock band called From the Airport. We consist of Zee, myself, and Milo.

Milo: I’m Milo.

Zee: We met I think around in 2011, late 2011 or early 2012, I can’t really remember exactly when. We were introduced by musical friends. We met and then we decided to just jam. That’s when the song “Colors” came out so we decided to formally form and release it to iTunes. That’s how we started From The Airport.

If someone wasn’t familiar with your music, what song would you suggest they listen to in order to become familiar with From The Airport?

Milo: “Timelines”, our third single was named “Timelines”. It’s our favourite song.

Zee: It’s very catchy so it’s easy for first-time listeners. We like “Timelines”.

How would you describe your music? What are you trying to portray with it?

Zee: I think the most important part of our music is the message. We spend a lot of time writing the lyrics and thinking of concepts. So I guess, the lyrics are really important. And also the musical balance between electro and rock & roll. We are still trying to find the perfect balance for our style of music. You can’t really see it a lot in other music, I think it’s pretty unique, the balance is very unique. That’s the merit of our music.

Zee at the Seoulsonic showcase at SXSW
Zee at the Seoulsonic showcase at SXSW

You were in the U.S. last year. How was it different performing in the U.S. than in Korea? Or was it different?

Zee: It was different. First of all, the atmosphere of the festivals was really good because there was a lot of international bands. Often cases in Korean festivals there are a lot of Korean bands that we already know. In the case of Culture Collide in San Francisco, there was a lot of international bands that we could interact with. Even the sound engineers were really good.

And the fans are kind of different because Korean fans, I guess they care about the atmosphere itself. For example, Americans, they don’t really care about the person next to them and what they are thinking of them. If they like it, they just express it. If they don’t like it, they just leave. So it’s very clear whether we are doing a good job or not.

But then the Korean fans are kind of more loyal. So even on a kind of bad night, they stay and cheer. I guess that’s the difference between the two fans.

Would you consider touring in Canada or coming to perform in Canada?

Zee: Yeah, definitely. I used to go to university in Canada. But I haven’t been to Vancouver yet and I’d like to go. I’ve been to Montreal and Toronto, they’re really good. I would like to go in summer.

Toronto has a really good music scene. There is a festival called Canadian Music Week in May.

Zee: Yeah, we actually met some Canadian Music Week people at Culture Collide in L.A. They liked our music but I don’t know. We wish we could go.

Milo at the Seoulsonic showcase at SXSW
Milo at the Seoulsonic showcase at SXSW

How do you usually get your inspiration for your songwriting

Milo: I think from life.

Zee: We don’t really get inspiration. We kind of just live our life and as we think of good messages, we write them down. And we think of concepts out of it. I don’t even know what inspiration is, to be honest. But I guess we can call it inspiration but we just get it from anywhere. We also like to watch a lot of movies as well.

Milo: Airports

Zee: And also from airports as well. We like plane rides. We should take more.

What are you looking to doing or accomplish at South by Southwest?

Zee: Watch a lot of shows, attend a lot of parties, meet new people. This is our first time so we don’t know what the atmosphere it’s going to be like until tomorrow I guess. I kind of want to know the atmosphere. It’s a really famous festival, we’re just glad to be here actually. We wanted to be in this festival for the last three years. So this is our first big step to this scene I guess so we’re really excited.

I have a couple of fun questions. What do you like better, soju or beer?

Milo: Beer.

Zee: Beer for me too.

Milo: I don’t like soju.

Zee: He don’t like soju.

Zee and Milo at the Seoulsonic showcase at SXSW
Zee and Milo at the Seoulsonic showcase at SXSW

What is the most fun thing about being in a band?

Zee: For me, it’s that there is no set schedule. There is no working hours, it’s kind of free. For example, if you want to go on a vacation, you can. I think that’s the biggest perk. A lot of my friends are working, and especially in Korea there are a lot of after-work hours. They are super stressed about it. I think we are kind of free from that. But I guess there is a different kind of stress from being a musician because you have to kind of make something out of nothing.

Milo: I think a lot of musicians are bright and more pure.

Finally, what are your plans for the rest of 2015?

Zee: This is the first big thing, so we’re going to do well on the show, I hope we do well. We are also attending EMF Korea, it’s an electronic festival in Korea. So we are excited about that. We might also have a big concert as well, it’s kind of undisclosed. We have plans though. We are planning on some music. We don’t know if it’s a single or what but we’re planning on releasing something before the end of the year. We don’t know what it’s going to be but we are preparing for it.

Final Thoughts

Huge thanks to From The Airport for taking the time to answer our questions at the festival (and to Jeffrey for facilitating it). I always introduce myself before the interview and say I’m from Toronto (when the interview doesn’t take place in Toronto) and it was neat to find out that Zee went to McGill University in Montreal. They were both friendly and fun to chat with. Plus, I enjoyed their set at the Seoulsonic showcase, they are super fun to see live. Check them out if you haven’t already, their album You Could Imagine is super fun! You can find their music on iTunes or bandcamp.

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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