Interview: Hansol Seung of Shorline Talks ‘To Figure Out’

There’s a running theme throughout To Figure Out by Shoreline of consistent, confident surprise. The band’s sound feels like a spine of emo rock, with ribs branching out into hardcore, post-punk, pop (both Western-style and Asian-influenced), as well as, yes, disco.

“Workaround” feels like a modern take on DEVO in the best way possible, but I don’t want to spoil other surprises. It’s a disparate set of influences that works because the band truly care only about the quality of the song, so just let your expectations float away and have a good time. Thematically, there’s the sense that the process of figuring out life only happens in retrospective, so just try your best and let it go from there. The result is a record that feels wiser than its years (wiser than this near-40-year-old), where identity, hope, and the human experience are all things we can figure out together.

Vocalist Hansol Seung shares how they poured their mind and soul into the record, with unexpected results:

“Initially we wanted to write heavy, fast songs but at the same time stay in the emo/punk world. Funny enough I think this record ended up with a very weird but cool pop and disco influence. Loads of demos had electronic beats in the beginning, some even very few actual guitars. We tried to translate that into becoming an actual punk record.

“The whole record has a bigger theme,” he adds. “That would be: Everything is a process, and everyone is just trying to understand how life works out for them. We thought To Figure Out would therefore be a very fitting album title. There’s no title track, but the phrase is used in so many songs, it really stood out to us.”

The album artwork contains a poem which I think is a beautiful extension of the title:

“You can be desperate and hopeful at the same time.

“You don’t need to have an immediate solution.

“You have to figure it out;

“You will figure it out.”

To Figure Out is out Friday and you can pre-order it from Pure Noise Records. Follow Shoreline on Facebook and Instagram for future updates.

Photo courtesy of Frederic Hafner

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