Jeff Schroeder, the Guitarist for the Smashing Pumpkins Releases a Solo Single ‘Haenim’

Jeff Schroeder, long time guitarist for the Smashing Pumpkins

By Anita Stewart, Managing Editor

New Single Release: “Haenim

Release Date: July 14, 2021

Jeff Schroeder, the long time guitarist for the Smashing Pumpkins released a solo track and video, the traditional “Haenim,” a pop-like, shoegaze song that features the extraordinary Korean vocalist, Heeya So. The song was written back in the early 70’s by the Korean guitarist Shin Joong Hyun and featured on a 1973 album titled “Now.”

The song is about finding a certain type of spiritual rejuvenation out in the countryside—being refreshed and renewed by the experience of being close to nature,” Schroeder says. “I really liked what it was about, particularly considering what the world has gone through for the past year.” Recording the track also gave Schroeder a chance to give a nod to his family’s roots in Korea. “Much of my life, my existence of who I am, is because my mom was born there, and was from that generation,” he says. “‘Haenim’ really connects me to that culture.”

Jeff Schroeder

Schroeder recorded the single at The Cave Studio in Los Angeles and Schroeder gathered bassist Arion Salazar and drummer Shane Graham to assist him in rounding out the track. Vocals were added remotely by a Georgia-based artist, Heeya So. Other sounds and tracks were layered in later at Schroeder’s home studio. “I had to find someone that was comfortable singing the song in Korean, but also understood the vibe,” he says. “I wanted someone who could bring a Nico-esque character to the vocal performance. Heeya did such a great job.”

Schroeder was living in LA during the early part of the lockdown and spent many hours bike-riding through Koreatown. During his rides he eventually connected with other Korean artists who desired to chronicle their history and cultural artistic endeavors. “It was kind of like ‘If we don’t embrace it, this stuff will be forgotten,’” he says. He was inspired by Koreatown’s artists and creativity. It wasn’t long before he was able to blend what he was seeing with the music he was making.

Schroeder says that while playing in the Smashing Pumpkins, the experience inspired him to become “a better technical guitar player. There’s things that I hear in my head that I want to be able to play, and so when you reach the kind of technical frontier where you’re like, ‘Okay, there’s certain limitations here,’ I just decided, ‘Okay, I want to be able to play some things in my head that I can’t technically do.’” When Smashing Pumpkins was off the road, Schroeder studied jazz guitar and contributed to recordings by the shoegaze band Ringo Deathstarr and electro-pop act Night Dreamer.

What’s influenced me more than anything is an internal spiritual journey,” he says. “You realize at a certain point in your life that you have all these experiences within yourself—all these tastes and likes that I have, and things that I enjoy—and then there’s part of you that has to translate that and present it to the world.” Rock at Night says: “This is an ethereal song and the listener gets the whole message of “peace from nature” from hearing the beautiful vocal arrangements and viewing the images in the video. From the beginning riffs all the way to the fade out, the song itself has some of the most intricate guitar work I have ever heard. Just dreamy, stunning and a classical vibe. The song could go on forever!

Anita Stewart
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