Imugi 이무기 X Laneway 2019

I walked into this old (kinda creepy looking) garage to find three people lying on the floor painting, two of which are IMUGI 이무기 (Carl Ruwhiu & Yery Cho).

IMUGI 이무기 are the third New Zealand band in this series leading up to St Jerome's Laneway Festival. Immediately we all start to chat and get along, so much so I start to forget I meant to be taking photos.

These two North Shorers have such a passion for what they do and the New Zealand Music scene. They are ones not to miss this coming Monday.

Heres another little Q&A so you can find out more about this neat pair.


What is the most annoying interview question that you get asked most?

Carl: When people ask how to pronounce Imugi. It’s annoying but it’s all good not to know. Its a hard G.

Yery: When I’m asked how it is or what it means to be a Korean woman making music. 

What is the song that best represents who you are as a human, represents you? What song describes your fears, your hopes, your beliefs, your wishes your dreams, who you are at your core, whether it is one of your own songs or not. This question is not what is your favourite song or what song you wish represented you or a song that resonates with you. It's if you were a song what would it be?

Carl: ‘Snowy Lava’ by Ametsub. I first listened to this song in intermediate school and everytime I come back to it I find something new that inspires me with my production. I’m always trying to recreate the vibes it gave me

Yery: I can’t say this represent all of me but maybe for who I am and where I’m at right now it could be ‘Cleva’ by Erykah Badu. It’s cool to be at a place where I truly know my worth lies beyond the white/male gaze and internalized expectations that stem from that.


Would Imugi 이무기 have the same song to represent it as a band? Or another song?

Poolside’ by Average Rap Band. 

We on this grind of working to live but also working to live how we want to. We’re usually kinda broke and tired but always moving forwards with expression and having fun

If everything went to plan and all the opportunities were presented to Imugi 이무기, where would you want it to go? Worldwide? What message would you try spread? 

Ideally the goal is to quit our shitty ass day jobs so we can be working at our fullest potentials all the time. We want our music to grow alongside every medium of art.

We hope to spread message of inner peace, acceptance, growth and encouragement of creativity to all marginalized identities. There’s enough space for everyone. To take down the patriarchy and it’s shitty structures so we can thrive in our own strong communities and uplift each other and allow each other to love and live our best lives in the moment!


If you had to teach someone one thing (say a friend or child) what would you teach/tell them?

We’d want to teach that self acceptance is an important journey. Believing in your own worth, self and dreams is really tough and takes a long time to get to a point of being able to live with yourself peacefully and understand how you work and are. But it’s worth it.


Nz music has a special place in my heart, Whos a Kiwi band your most interested in at the moment? 

Honestly there are so many NZ artists that have inspired and continue to inspire us, it’s hard to pinpoint just one. 

-Shiraz & LSJ

-Babyface/ whyfi 

-Church & AP




-Bb Gurl




-totems / milk

- Ladi6

-Bailey Wiley

-High Hoops





-Christoph el’Truento

-Fletcher Valentine

-Carlos Barnett

-Tom Scott and all related projects


-Hugo Jay




-Jack Berry


And a million more. Too many to list.


Where did the name come from 'Imugi 이무기' is there a meaning behind it?

An Imugi is a mythological Korean serpent. The basic story is that it wanted to become a dragon so the Sky God told it to meditate for 1000 years under the lake and he could ascend to heaven. On its journey upwards a pig squealed and it fell.

It relates to us as being in your late teens and twenties, you feel you’re constantly in a limbo, trying to better yourself and reach these goals that seem impossible. 

What are your feelings around playing at Laneways 2019?

When we started out, our goal was to one day play a festival and to maybe work/sign with a label. Now it’s time to set bigger goals!! We making movessss


What started your drive to start creating music?

Carl: I first started out trying to recreate Lil Wayne and Soulja boi beats. Shout out to my brother Ben for constant motivation and support.

Yery: Being emo and wanting to express and communicate. I was a very shy and anxious tween. I feel like this has brought me back to my essence, freedom and truth as a kid

How would you describe your music to an alien or someone who has never heard your music before?

To an alien: vibrating airwaves in your ear canal, creating an auditory experience based on your personal history and cultural context

To a person: it’s ya standard pop formula of chords, rhythm and melody used as a tool for self expression in an electronic context

This interview was fun as heck. Thanks for having us Madeleine!!