Rock Choi has been in our headphones for many years playing for various well-known artists. The South Korean lead guitarist and composer, who has now made his mark in New York City, has toured, and played for some of the world’s biggest bands.
One of his career stand out moments has been working with “NORD LIVE: Jesús Molina” by NordKeyboards in Colombia. We chatted with Rock to talk about that experience.
Hey Rock! You’ve been up to so much recently. Tell us about working with NordKeyboards.
It’s been great guys! The shooting was filmed in Colombia, Bogota. It was my first time to go to Colombia. I was looking forward to this event because I had known about the brand, “NordKeyboards” since I was younger. A total of 10 videos were released, and I was part of 8 of them. The songs that I recorded in NORD LIVE were“Omnipotent”, “CAF”, “Nada”, “Pichi”, “Resurrection”, “Agape”, “Kadoshin”, and “Thankfulness”.
What was the inspiration behind the project?
It was literally Jesus Molina’s official session only with his original music. His playing itself was definitely one of the inspirations, especially while I was preparing songs to be recorded. All of the demo tracks that I received before I went to Colombia for this session, I could hear that he roughly played melodies and solos. I was able to figure out what the vibe of songs and how the guitar tone would work on his music by recording multiple things over the tracks by myself. I remember that he wanted to make this session come out great, and I 100% knew what my role is going to be as a guitar player. It was also an important fact that because he fully trusted my tone and the style of my guitar playing, I felt super comfortable of me being creative when I was playing songs. And I surely learned the fact that music is being created by people, so it is critical to meet and work on music with great people in order to make the better music. For me, I would say that the Nord Live with Jesus Molina was a great example in regard to the fact that I learned.
Tell us about the process you went through?
I received all 8 demo tracks a month in advance of the session. The process on my end was simple. All I needed was “creating great sound and adding my own unique color for each tracks like a painting”. I felt that especially with an instrumental song, each person’s playing as in music phrases, articulations, and the tone of each instrument must be creative. I am talking about the outcome after the recording. The outcome of each music may differ depending on who performed the music. Since it was a project that I got to playing with solid band members, there was no problem for me to be creative as much as I want. I used D’Angelico guitar (Excel Mini DC), Fender Stratocaster (62 Vintage Re-Issue), and one of the amps that were in the Altar Audio studio, which is a Vox amplifier. I believe the amp that I used is AC30.
I was also considering clothes for each song to provide some visual texture. When filming a video, it is important to consider not just the sound but also the appearance. We only had three days to film 10 videos. Day 1, I was just rehearsing for a few hours of the whole setlist with the band members for the first time. Day 2 was the main day of filming. And on Day 3, we edited some tracks for each instrument, and we did final monitoring to see if there is any missing parts or errors.
Every process were super solid and quick with true professionalism. I am satisfied with the process that I have gone through for this project, it was like a perfect Tetris.
That’s amazing! How did you get involved?
Most of the times, based on my experience, it is just a single phone call. I went to Colombia to record and to film videos due to a single phone call from Jesus Molina that he said that “I would love you to be a part of this project”. I believe that the reason why he gave me a phone call to share good news and to request me to be part of this project is because he fully trusts my work. The more musicians I have around me, the more possibilities, and opportunities I will have. And in order to make opportunities to come from people, I will always have to be professional. And to be professionally active, I would have to maintain constant self-focus. My choice of action is to maintain my discipline based on self-trust. Practicing and exploring all the time and being obsessed with my role as a guitar player. There will be at least some people who would recognize that hard work at any time. Making an effort to avoid acting immaturely at any professional workplace is also a good thing to keep in mind. It may sound too obvious or easy to think of, but as far as I am concerned, it is the mindset that the musician need to have. I would just keep going until I get involved in whatever cool projects, something like that.
Which was one of your standout songs from the project?
This project ended up being one of the great memories for me. I love the project in general, and all of the songs that I played. Especially the song “Pichi”, “Thankfulness” and “CAF”. I’m also looking forward to that I will be on tour with Jesus Molina this year. I’m pretty sure that some of those songs that we played before in the Nord Live session would be on the setlist. With arranged and refreshed songs, me and Jesus with fascinating band members are planning to share our sound in various countries.
There will be more updates on Instagram through @jesusmolinamusic and @rockchoii.
Go check out videos on YouTube, the channel is: https://www.youtube.com/@NordKeyboards