In our latest installment of Indie ID, we’re examining one of the most intriguing female artists to ever grace the Korean indie music scene. Jane Ha, solo alias “Pika,” has successfully stood out from her time at Tune Table Records with the alternative rock group Loro’s, in which she plays the cello. As a soloist, the bop of Pika’s electro-pop cascades across the senses, crafting a unique musical experience that’s right up our alley.
In 2004, the Korean-American originally from San Jose, California, found herself living in Seoul, lost in a sea of self-discovery without knowing a lick of the language. By 2007, that new-artist smell had worn off, as she was already lighting up Hongdae’s indie underground as Pika, stretching her legs on records like the Live Club Bbang Compilation 3: History Of Bbang with the kaleidoscopic track, “Open Your Eyes.”
Not long after Pika’s electric sound and often lower vocals (that belie her pixie-blonde appearance) etched their mark onto Hongdae’s diverse musical backdrop, she picked up a cello, and joined forces with the indie geniuses behind Loro’s. As the six-member collective of Loro’s utilized the ingredients of Pika’s cello, voice and synths, the group gained recognition and released an award-winning first album named Pax in 2008.
Here’s a sample of what Loro’s is all about from their 2009 EP, Dreams.
Fast forward two years, and Pika’s male counterparts in Loro’s were forced to begin their mandatory military time as all males must do in Korea. Seizing the opportunity, Pika crafted her first solo album in 2010, entitled Pika’s Metamorphosis. A bit of a literary buff, her stage name was based a play by Herman Hesse called Piktor’s Metamorphosis. Get it, Pika/Piktor? She’s even laid claim to inspiration from Kafka’s Metamorphosis, and told Korean Indie, “I chose [Pika's Metamorphosis] as the title because I want to metamorphose, and I hope to change constantly, within my music…I want to change towards being closer to who I really am. I’m always trying to dig deeper and metamorphose into something that I was and that I had forgotten.”
To check out the full Pika’s Metamorphosis album, see here.
Six bizarrely entertaining tracks make up Pika’s Metamorphosis, the most intriguing of which might be the ProtoF Remix for “Furi Kuri.”
The album does well to blend weird, out-there tracks like “Space Note” with happier, bopping tunes. Take for instance, Metamorphosis‘ first track “Dandelion,” which kicks off the album into a more spritely trance.
So what’s Pika been up to since 2010? Her Loro’s band mates have finally returned after finishing up their military time earlier this year. Over the summer, they returned to the shoegazing carnival of lyrical euphoria via a variety of indie concerts throughout Korea, that they hadn’t collectively explored together in two long years. Pika has been noted as saying that on numerous occasions throughout her band’s hiatus, that she missed her Loro’s comrades and couldn’t wait until they got a chance to reunite. So perhaps there might be something musical coming soon….
That doesn’t mean however, that Jane Ha has said so long to her soloist tendencies. Pika has no plans to staunch the personal evolution that she has fostered via her Korg keyboards. It’s just that right now, Loro’s been missing the ebb and flow of Pika’s spacey style. From what we’ve heard from her solo work, we would be too.
Do you have any bands that you would like to see in our next installment of Indie ID? Let us know…