When I was in Seoul last year I had the immense excitement of visiting the headquarters of ZANYBROS and chatting to co-CEOs and Directors Hong Wonki & Kim Junhong. I love the work they produce and I have a huge amount respect for the “Bros”. Being able to talk with some of my biggest inspirations was a surreal moment.
Not familiar with the name ZANYBROS? You are probably more familiar with them then you think!
Have you watched BTS’ War of Hormone? Girls Generation’s I Got A Boy? BAP’s 1004? VIXX’s Voodoo Doll? Roy Kim’s Love Love Love? After School’s First Love? 4Minute’s Crazy? TVXQ’s Something? FT Island’s Pray? SHINee’s Your Number? 2PM’s Go Crazy? AOA’s Miniskirt? Hyuna’s Roll Deep? Super Junior’s Devil? 9Muses Hurt Locker?
Yeah, I thought so ^.^
ZANYBROS are responsible for almost all the Kpop MVs for these groups and more! Their work is always incredible and is some of the most loved by fans.
In my chat with them we talked about the beginnings of ZANYBROS, the process of making K-Pop music videos, the differences in creating music videos for different music styles, their favourite music videos created and artists they want to create music videos for.
Check it out!
On the process of making MVs-
ZANYBROS favourite MVs-
Filming MVs internationally-
Transcribed interview (available at http://www.theaureview.com/asia/interviews/zanybros-south-korea-on-creating-k-pop-music-videos-and-more)
How did the ZanyBros begin?
We started twenty years ago. We started while studying at university. Twenty years ago, when we were making a music video as a project, we planned to start a music video production company after our graduation from university. For a project at university, we made the music video of Marilyn Manson’s Beautiful People by ourselves. This was the starting point of the ZanyBros. Twelve years ago we established ZanyBros studio.
What does the name ‘ZanyBros’ mean to you?
Zany means clown, crazy, stupid. Stupid brothers. So we are ZanyBros. The pronunciation was different before. However, the pronunciation we use now is easier for Koreans to pronounce well. So we named it the way Koreans say it.
What is the process of creating a ZanyBros music video?
First of all, we listen to the music to understand the overall flow of the song. Then we come up with the concept of a music video. After that, we make a storyboard. It’s the same process as other visual productions. Movies, dramas, commercial films… it’s all the same process. For a music video, we focus on music. Then we hold a consultation with the artist. We prepare all things including costumes, hairstyles and make-up in the pre-production stage. Then we shoot the video. We edit the video including the composition in post-production. After all that, the final product comes out. It’s almost all the exact same process. Whether it’s for TV shows, films and music videos, it’s the same process.
As it’s a music video, the important part is of course the music. It’s what makes everything work together. It’s like the root of a tree: it connects everything in the music video. The root decides the appearance of the tree. Nowadays, for K-Pop, we focus on researching the choreography which is used for the song. If the music video is for a female K-Pop idol group, styling (costume, hairstyle, etc) is very important. For K-Pop music videos, the most important thing is the music, but other things including styling and costume are important too. We also put ideas from the song into the music video. Music is the origin of the music video. Visual images which can make the artist more beautiful are important parts for a music video – the purpose of a music video is to make the artist beautiful.
How is it different creating music videos for artists in different musical styles?
I will explain it to you with the example of videos of K-Pop idols. As mentioned before, for K-Pop videos, it is important to consider colourful settings and lighting. It is important to make members of K-Pop groups stars – making them stars in a music video. Another important thing is the choreography. It is the most important element for K-Pop music videos. And as for different genres… for music videos for hip-hop and rock, we focus on music. Rather than making them stars, the main focus for these genres of music is about how well the visual images express the message of the music. For hip-hop and rock, it has an element of genre. Lyrics and other elements of music including performance are important. For K-Pop idol music videos, it is important to focus on members of the group. It differs. Some videos focus on artists, others focus on lyrics.
Do you have a favourite music video you have created?
That’s a hard question. We love all the videos we’ve made. Rather than having videos we liked the most, we have videos that are the most memorable to us. The most memorable videos were rock videos which we made in the early days. Nell, Epik High… we also produced hip-hop music videos in the past. Not that K-Pop idol music videos are bad, but music videos of those artists are our roots, our works form the beginning, so I remember them the most.
The memorable videos for me are videos we had a hard time filming. The most difficult one was Seotaeji’s Moai which was filmed in Chile. I remember that the most. Very hard work! It was an exotic experience. We were able to show many different things which cannot be seen in the US, Australia and countries in Asia.
If you could create an MV for any song, what would it be?
I listen to heavy metal and hardcore music. So artists I want to work with are Metalica and Amuro Namie. They were my idols when I was young, so it’s symbolic to work with them.
What are the differences between filming overseas versus filming in Korea?
First of all, no matter how you look at it, it’s pretty much the same. Filming, working hard to set up…being tired, that’s all the same. What is different between Korea and overseas is about time. There is a difference regarding time. In Korea, we do not have certain time limit. We always keep going until we finish filming. In overseas, we need to follow the country’s rules as we work with crew members there. There is a strict time limit for filming. We need to understand the differences in culture including time before we film videos in different countries. We have to understand these things. But on the other hand, as there are an increase in Korean production team going to those countries for filming, some countries tend to match the needs of the Korean production team as much as they can. But there is always a time limit. For example, in Australia and USA, it is hard for us to do filming..because..filming in Australia is more difficult than the USA.
I think that Australia is more difficult to film videos than the USA. It has more stricter rules for filming than the USA. In Europe, they don’t care. Sweden totally doesn’t care at all because European countries are for travelling. Tourism is the main industry in those countries, so they understand our needs. Australia and USA…it’s different. We prefer USA than Australia as it is easier for us to do filming there. Because of this reason, we travel to the US frequently for filming. Also, USA is similar to Korea.. but Sweden is the best. Sweden is the best country for us to work in.
If you could film a music video in Australia, what would the concept be?
Australia is different to the US. It has a beautiful nature. Forests or deserts, Australia is the best country for filming beautiful nature. We filmed the music video for Seotaiji’s song ‘Juliet’ in the Australian desert. We filmed a music video in the desert near Sydney. We also filmed at the Central Park (National Park in Central Coast). There was a great environment for filming. All cities are the same. London, New York and Sydney are very similar. So we choose countries in which we can work more comfortably. Something happened once in Australia, its hard to get permission for filming in Australia due to strict rules. We went too places where other film production teams were filming and it was difficult to get a permit to film. So, we went places for filming with the minimum number of crew members and filmed videos quickly and ran away. Australia is famous for its beaches. When asking Koreans in Australia, many talk about Star City.
What does the future hold for ZanyBros?
We want to film videos for international artists and groups like Metalica, Davichi and Shakira. We have connections with Asian pop stars in China, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia. We want to do more filming in broad countries and work with a lot of different artists which is why we have Angelina in our team. Our new global slogan ‘Global ZanyBros… with Angelina’. We will do our best for it.