AF: 문문 MoonMoon

ROACH” was the first MoonMoon’s song that I heard. A mixture of longing, loneliness, and hope flowing through the guitar strings. The calmness in the sentimental comforts me every time I listen to it. Near the last third of the song when a surge of instruments enter and 이슬 Eeseul loops the chorus, I feel at unease at the surge of emotions seeping into me. As they whisper through my earphones, I feel as though I have to cry, to force my tears to fall, with my eyes closed, imagining a cool summer breeze to hold me.

He portrays himself as a roach, avoiding people as he moves around the world.

This song is a story he believes he can only tell now before it’s too late. A journal entry of his thoughts as a 29 year old. A record of the most beautiful moments of his life.

This was my first impression of MoonMoon.

세상은 너무너무 치사해 가끔 Sometimes, this world is deceitful
앉아서 도란도란 나눌 이 없고 No time to sit and murmur to each other
나이만 무럭무럭 자라 My age keeps growing and growing
애꿎은 사랑만 더 말라갔죠 Our innocent love keeps drying out

Then suddenly he rose to the charts last winter.

비행운 Contrail” from his [LIFE IS BEAUTY FULL] EP, which was released in November 2016, currently sits fourth on Mnet and Melon, and eighth on Naver Music. I’m not sure how, after a year, an indie solo artist suddenly reached mainstream attention. Although a a story roams that when MoonMoon was working at a Chinese restaurant to pay for the fees of producing an album, he gave a napkin to IU when she visited, with a message written: “I have a song called ‘비행운.’ I would really appreciate it if you gave it a listen.” Word-of-mouth helped spread. The power of IU is quite real.

나는 자라 겨우 내가 되겠지 When I grow, I will only become myself
뿔이 자라난 어른이 될테니 An adult with horns
억지로 라도 웃어야지 하는데 I need to smile even if I don’t want to
그럼에도 좀 울적하더라구 But I find myself crying a little

Contrails are created because the temperatures of the plane’s engine and the atmosphere are different. MoonMoon compares the contrails to his “뜨거운 꿈 / hot dreams,” or prospering dreams, to the “차가운 현실 / cold reality.”

My favourite MoonMoon’s song so far (I expect more beautiful songs to come out in the near future) is “앙고라 Angora” from his 2017 Album [물감 Paint]. Listening to this song while walking in the cold winter streets, it slowly embraces me in warmth, like a soft sweater. A sweet melody of cheerful whistles and guitar strums, the egoistic melancholy feels more like a comforting words of love. In the song, he personifies himself into a cat as he shares his childhood filled with moments of being alone.

그댈 잃어버리고 When I lost you
하루종일 헤매다 내 발바닥이 I roamed around in search of you
다 까맣네요 The bottom of my feet is now black
많이 보고싶은데 I really miss you
방이 너무 검은데 도착하면 The room is so dark
꼭 안아줘요 When you arrive, please give me a hug

I find myself constantly being pulled into his songs, and the more I listen, the more I fall in love with his music.

His songs are like a peek into his diary, or rather, his songs are his diary, just with a melody. His songs fill up the lonely night skies, warming your heart like a blanket. His songs are records of the youth before it flies away, telling his most honest emotions navigating through the world.

“그 사람, 그 노래, 그 시절 참 담백했어.”

“that person. that song. that memory. they were so sweet.”

Initially very much interested in becoming a mainstream musician, he slowly realized that wasn’t the life he wanted. He started a band with a group of friends called 저수지의 딸들 Reservoir’s Daughters who was featured in “Diwali” from [LIFE IS BEAUTY FULL]. I failed at finding facts about the band other than that some sources say the band consists of seven members, some photos say five, the above performance video says four. Whichever facts are true, their songs definitely deserve more attention. Their 2015 single “맘 Mom” is an example of the wonderful indie music scene in Korea. You can listen to the audio here.

His real name is 김영신 Kim Young Sin. His artist name, “문문 MoonMoon” comes from his belief that because this world / Earth is filled with so many great music, his music is dedicated to the moon. Not confident in the harsh competition of the industry, he found consolation from looking at the moon. However cheesy that may sound, I think that’s kind of beautiful.

물고기 Fish

해줄 말이 없고 I have no more words to tell you
좋은 소식도 없을 때 When I have no good news to share
아무도 없는 선착장에 I’ll go to the empty dock
몰래 죽어가야지 And slowly die

난 바다를 기억해 I remember the ocean
가고 싶은 걸 어떡해 I really want to go back
어둡긴 어두웠지만 I know it is very very dark
노래를 배웠잖아 But that’s where I learned how to sing

His first album was released in December 2017, concluding the year with a [Long Poem]. In the album description, he explains how a long poem cannot be read in one sitting, but requires more time and investment. As you read, you pause and wonder if you should stop or continue. He wants us to approach his album like that – to keep it in our pocket, take it out when you need, treasure it for awhile. He reminds us that the songs will be boring and dull, but that’s just how life is sometimes.

물 밖은 함부로 나 가지 말랬는데 They told me to not to go out of the water
궁금한 맘으로 고갤 들어봤네 But out of curiosity, I poked my head
내가 본 세상에 제목을 지어봤네 I put a title to the world I saw
행운도 같은데 비행운 같은 이야기 A story of luck like a contrail

MoonMoon is definitely an artist to keep our eyes on, and with the current mainstream attention, I think we can hope for an expected growth. I hope he won’t get too carried away with being MoonMoon as a musician, but keep true to his music and share stories of MoonMoon as 김영신.