By Park Jin-hai
|Joe Hahn, DJ and producer of American rock band Linkin Park|
"Super Band" premiered on Friday evening, with many talented contestants and musical prodigies appearing on the show. Five judges ― veteran singer-producers Yoon Jong-shin and Yoon Sang, Joe Hahn of U.S. rock band Linkin Park, popular band Nell's lead vocalist Kim Jong-wan and K-pop duo AKMU's Suhyun ― participate in the show.
The contestants will pair with each other to make their own bands and advance to each round. The final winning band will receive prize money of 100 million won and the chance to have a concert tour.
The "super contestants" as Joe Hahn called them in the press event showed their individual talents in the first episode.
Among them was a young man who had not taken any formal music training but the talent he displayed on YouTube led to him being recruited to sing on soundtracks including that of drama "Mr. Sunshine;" teenage guitarists boasting their elegant musical skills through songs they wrote; a high school graduate who has been busking for five or six years who sang Cold Play's "Everglow" and stole the judges' hearts; and a percussionist, pianist and a cellist who surprised judges with their unique performances.
"Thinking about popular music in Korea, I have a certain perception of it. But looking beneath the surface, I know there is a lot of talent. That talent comes from people playing music," Linkin Park's DJ and Producer Hahn said in a press event at the network's headquarters in Seoul, Thursday, prior to the show's broadcast.
"I love listening to bands and waiting for each member to really stand out and how the combinations of that really become larger than life and that makes me want to see them in concert."
He praised the show's name, "Super Band."
"It's not just a band. There are many versions of bands, but the word super to me reminds me of superheroes," the musician said.
"I love X-Men and The Avengers and all those super teams. But the way those stories are told… It's the really unique abilities of each individual that make up something great for the entire team. Beyond the surface of them using their powers to beat the bad guy, the stories of what their lives as individuals mean to each other and how they're gonna help each other get through life. I see that with members of the show.
Yoon Jong-shin, who has been a judge on a number of audition shows, lamented the lack of band music in the K-pop industry today.
"Usually members of world famous bands are those who grew up in the same neighborhood and have played music together for a long time. In Korea, entertainment agencies don't make bands for economic reasons. Idol has become another word for K-pop music now. It is sad that audition shows have to gather up great talented musicians in one place to launch a band," Yoon said.
He also stressed the importance of developing band music industry-wise. "The influence of popular band music is different from that of solo singers and idol groups. It is not just about the star team; the popularity influences each instrument and the whole music scene," the singer-producer said.
Kim Hyung-joong, producer of the show, said by showing the whole process of making music among the musicians, he expects to bring about a golden age of band music here.
"Music cannot be created solely with the voice," he said. "Despite many music shows, I think no show has featured the entire process of making music. By looking at musicians and them pairing up with other musicians to create unique sounds, I think viewers can enjoy the whole process. In doing so, we hope the viewers' spectrum of music will expand as well."
The show airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on JTBC.