Band of the Day

2014.02.18

Big Baby Driver

Tender acoustic guitar picking led by the honeyed croon of a South Korean folk singer-songwriter
You’re blessed by the sun but your sun is stupid, and your life is like a broken joke.
lyrics from Your Sun Is Stupid

Big Baby Driver is the solo project of Atombook. Big baby is an acoustic guitar model she used to play with (although the Martin guitar was used on this album). 380,000km is the distance to the moon from earth, on average. She heard this somewhere but fail to memorize the number properly and it turned out as “38,000”. “Big Baby over 38,000 away“ is the song about her and her guitar. This particular number means her longing for the music and the guitar. When it comes to love, you feel happy and sad at the same time. This song is about those kinds of feelings; happy and sad, hope and helpless. Big Baby Driver’s debut album is a product of her strong feelings about “an acoustic guitar” and music. She founded a band called Atombook back in 2002 and fronted it for several years. But the band was basically on and off. First debut EP Hello? was released in 2002 and a full length, A Warm Hello From the Sun, followed in 2008 and was licensed in Japan in 2010. The short track “Every Place is Your Playground” from A Warm Hello appeared on the soundtrack to the TV drama Triple in 2009. Sp begun her solo project under the Big Baby Driver moniker while still in Atombook. She wrote pretty much all of Atombook’s songs, so people don’t have to adjust much to get on board with her solo music. But Big Baby Driver is more acoustic blues and folk, while Atombook is rather indie-pop oriented. Also, Sp respected and was inspired by 60s and 70s Pop Music like the Carpenters and Bee Gees too, there’s always been a hint of classic pop music in her songs. But above all else, Big Baby Driver is Sp’s acoustic blues/folk solo project. At least, for the time being, she favors these genres.

Likewise, self-titled album Big Baby Driver is a collection of folky blues songs. The opening cover of Blind Blake’s “You Gonna Quit Me blues” makes this connection explicit. Blind Blake was an American blues and ragtime guitarist and singer in 20s, and original version of “You gonna quit me Blues” is quite raw. Big Baby Driver reinterpreted the song in her own way, folky and bluesy but very gently. The following track “38,000” repeats this atmosphere and equally reflects her intense longing for music and guitars. (“38,000” already appeared on OrgelTanz’s debut album with whom Sp worked as a bassist for a short time and contributed a few songs.)

Big Baby Driver's music is led with her acoustic guitar sound, which resembles the soft footsteps of the wanderer meeting her voice. There are sun-shiny folk songs like “Your Sun Is Stupid”, “I’m Leaving Here Now”, and “Let’s Breaking Down”, alongside calmer and even darker tunes like “I am a River Dolphin." But the two hearts of the album are “Constantly Vanishing Me” and “내일(Tomorrow)”.

Big Baby Driver mostly features a solo Sp on acoustic guitar, but on several tracks she's accompanied by other musicians like Kim Mok-In (piano on “Marca’s Wedding”, HuSe-jung (harp on “I Am a River Dolphin”, “Let’s Breaking Down”), and members of Atombook (finger snapping and whistling) which adds simple beauty to those songs.