Jung Jae Il
About Jung Jae Il
Jung Jae Il is a composer and multi-instrumentalist best known outside of his native South Korea for his often sparse and whimsical film scores. A multifaceted musician, he released an eponymous singer/songwriter debut in 2010. In contrast, 2013's The Methodologies was an instrumental work that combined elements of modern composition, jazz, and new age. After scoring his first films in Seoul in the early 2000s, he became associated with director/producer Bong Joon Ho for collaborations including 2019's Parasite, winner of the Palme d'Or and the Oscar for Best Picture.
A mostly self-taught musician, Jung started piano lessons at the age of three, but his interest in rock music had taken over by ten, when he began playing the guitar. He soon added bass guitar and drums to his repertoire. While still a young teenager, he first studied music composition upon enrolling at the Seoul Jazz Academy in 1995. It was there that he met guitarist Han Sang Won. Jung also ventured into film as a teen, contributing to the soundtrack of 1997's Timeless Bottomless Bad Movie. In 1999, Jung was a founding member of Gigs, which featured Jung on bass, Han on guitar, and Lee Juck on vocals. The group released two albums before disbanding. Jung then appeared on the soundtrack for the 2013 animated film Wonderful Days (aka Sky Blue) and was credited as sole composer of the 2004 movie Romance of Their Own. He continued to work in the South Korean film industry throughout the decade, with 2009's Marine Boy among his better-known international releases.
In 2011, the Audioguy label released The Methodologies, a collaboration between Jung and percussionist Kim Chaek. The composer first worked with filmmaker Bong Joon Ho on the 2014 thriller Sea Fog (Haemoo), which Bong produced while Jung served as music director. That led to a position as composer on the 2017 Bong-directed adventure film Okja. It featured an international cast that included Tilda Swinton, Ahn Seo Hyun, and Jake Gyllenhaal. The following year, Jung's music could be heard in director Kim Byung Woo's military action film Take Point. Reuniting with Bong, the 2019 comedy-thriller Parasite was an international arthouse hit, and Jung's score received a concurrent release by the Sacred Bones label. The film went on to win four Academy Awards, including Best International Feature Film and Best Picture. That same year, Jung also composed the score for the animated film Paboos. ~ Marcy Donelson