Longtime Smashing Pumpkins guitarist Jeff Schroeder has released his debut solo single: “Haenim,” a cover of a song originally written by Korean guitarist Shin Joong Hyun, who pioneered the rock scene in the country in the ’60s and ’70s. As Schroeder tells ABC Audio, the track is a fitting introduction to who he is as a musical artist now, and who he’s been as a person his whole life.
“People like Shin Joong Hyun, basically their gigs were to play these clubs that were for U.S. military people, because that kind of music really wasn’t popular amongst the Korean population,” Schroeder explains. “It was really for, I think, a lot of these military base nightclubs where these musicians would go and play.”
Since his mother, who’s Korean, met his father when he was stationed there in the military, Schroeder felt a kinship to Shin’s musical identity.
“My personal connection as a rock musician and Korean American and this song is all interwoven in this bigger, larger sociopolitical history of the U.S. and Korea,” he explains. “So [‘Haenim’] really felt like the right place to start this new chapter of, at least, my musical life.”
From the musical side, “Haenim” features dreamy guitars reminiscent of the Pumpkins, punctuated by classic metal-style solos that really help the song soar. Schroeder credits the inspiration of those to a friend named Max, who had recently passed away.
“I said, ‘What would Max tell me? If he was here, what would he encourage me to do?'” Schroeder recalls. “‘Cause I was, like, ‘Oh, I can definitely do the more shoegaze-y type of lead thing here…or should I just totally go for it?’ And I was, like, ‘No, Max would tell me to go for it.'”
Schroeder is currently prepping his debut solo EP.
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