Veteran fusion rock band SSaW, or Spring Summer Autumn Winter, has revived its masterpiece, “Bravo, My Life!” restoring it into a package comprising an LP and cassette tape. The band’s vocalist and guitarist Kim Jong-jin called the latest release a “reverential analog product.”
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of the band’s seventh full-length album, SSaW held a press conference in Mapo-gu, west of Seoul, Friday. Kim, who is now the only active bandmate, spoke about the remastered records and its upcoming concert.
“'Bravo, My Life!’ was released 20 years ago when Korea experienced a tough time after getting hit by the ‘IMF crisis.’ The album was widely loved since it gave big energy to many people," Kim said. "In 20 years, Korea is going through another tough time due to COVID-19. I wanted to cheer the people up (with the remastered album).”
The veteran band’s seventh studio album was first dropped in January 2002. Fronted by a lead track of the same title, the 15-track album includes various hit songs such as “Listen to Me, People,” “Love, Maybe” and “By Now You Must Be.” The songs have been loved by listeners for over two decades and the remastered LP version came out on July 1.
When asked about the release of the LP album, he said, “I wanted to introduce the idea of ‘make do and mend’ as an enjoyable culture."
"Members of SSaW have risked their lives to make memorable music. As the ‘guardian of sustainability,’ the band has wished to let the world know that the ones left out and abandoned are still worthy,” he added.
SSaW debuted as a quintet, comprised of Kim Jong-jin, the late Jeon Tae-kwan, Park Sung-shik, Jang Ki-ho, the late Yoo Jae-ha and the late Kim Hyun-shik, in 1986. The band was disbanded a couple of years later but Kim and Jeon teamed up as a duo under the same band name. It introduced fusion jazz numbers in its albums, while ballads were the dominant trend in the local music scene at the time.
The 59-year-old musician further highlighted that the latest album is a special present for listeners who are looking for a unique analog vibe. While describing recently recorded digital music as “too perfect,” Kim said listening to LP records can be a way to stop and smell the roses in a tough world. Because the songs may not sound so clear and perfect, the LP can also leave room for imagination, he added.
The bandmate started preparing for the remastered album at the end of last year. The process brought him back to 20 years ago, he said. When Kim listened to the original tape recorded back then, he was able to visualize himself in the past and Jeon Tae-kwan, the drummer of the band who died of renal cancer in 2018, walking around the recording studio.
“I still think Jeon Tae-kwan is with me whenever I’m onstage. Thanks to the power of music, it can call in even a departed one. … I wish that I could sing onstage to the last moment of my life, too,” he said.
The LP and cassette tape package is set to be released on Nov. 1. The band is also holding a free one-hour concert on Saturday in Seoul, during which Kim will only perform songs that were featured in “Bravo, My Life!”
By Jie Ye-eun (firstname.lastname@example.org)