Monthly Archives: June 2012

Mukimukimanmansu Spreading Punk-Infused Art Folk Around Seoul This Weekend

Seoul two-piece Mukimukimanmansu will be keeping themselves very busy this weekend with gigs on Friday (June 29) at Club Freebird, Saturday (June 30) at Club DGBS, and Sunday (July 1) at Salon Badabie.

Comprised of janggu (a traditional Korean drum) player Muki and guitarist Mansu, the pair met in 2009 and began playing their punk-infused art folk live in May 2011.  Both Muki and Mansu are still university students.  Mansu will graduate in the fall, and Muki will finish her schooling this winter.

“We first got to know each other while working together at our university’s newspaper, but we weren’t really close back then,” says Muki.  “We later became best friends while gossiping about another person.”

According to Muki, the ladies only had three days to prepare for their first concert, which is why they thought performing as a duo would be best.  As for instrumentation, the ease of transporting a janggu played a major role in it being incorporated into the act’s sound

“I learned how to play drums when we first formed the band,” Muki says.  “Instruments are heavy to carry around, so I wanted to play music on a portable drum.  Using a janggu was the only thing that came to mind when I was thinking about portable drums.”

Mukimukimanmansu’s debut full-length, “2012,” was released by local imprint Beatball Records in April.  The label became interested in the group after watching a YouTube clip of the police breaking up one of Mukimukimanmansu’s gigs in July 2011 because of noise complaints.

“Beatball’s president was very impressed with the video clip and contacted us,” says Muki. “We, in turn, were pretty impressed with his taste because he liked that clip.”

Here’s live footage of the concert that helped land Mukimukimanmansu a record deal.

Nearly all of the tracks on “2012” were written last year.  The dozen-song effort was recorded this past winter.  A mix of straightforward acoustic numbers and more experimental cuts with wild, screamed vocals, the group are definitely at their best on the latter.

“We didn’t have enough songs for making a full album so we were still writing songs while we were recording,” says Muki.

“I wanted us to perfectly arrange all of the rhythms and harmonies we were going to play before recording,” adds Mansu.  “But then I realized that keeping things loose would make us a better and more interesting band.”

Here’s the music video for “Andromeda,” the fantastic lead single from “2012.”

Mukimukimanmansu play on Friday at Club Freebird with Unside, Wise Apple, VenEZ, Fellas, Seoul Stead Rockers, and Cheez Stereo.  The show starts at 8 pm.  They also play on Saturday at Club DBGS with 14 other bands including Kuang Program and We Dance.  The show starts at 5 pm.  And Mukimukimanmansu will perform on Sunday at Salon Badabie with Ha Heon Jin, Danpyunsun, and Kim Dae Jung.  The show starts at 7:30 pm.  Tickets for all three shows are 15,000 won at the door.

Mukimukimanmansu will also perform on July 7 at the 2012 Guro Indie Rock Festival.

Long Time Coming for Vassline

Saturday evening (June 23), Seoul metalcore veterans Vassline will preview material from their upcoming album, “Black Silence,” during a special gig at Hongdae’s Club Crack.

The follow-up to 2007’s blistering “Permanence,” “Black Silence” will be the five-piece’s fourth full-length effort. At the Club Crack preview concert, fans can expect to hear four cuts from “Black Silence” – three of which Vassline will be playing live for the first time ever.

“We’ll be playing a few new songs along with songs from our previous albums,” says guitarist Cho Min-young (aka Chainsaw Cho). “It’s hard to have fun when bands play completely unfamiliar songs to the crowd. So that’s why we we’ll be giving just a small sample of “Black Silence” on Saturday. The show’s going to be 30% ‘here’s a sneak peek at our next album’ and 70% ‘let’s go nuts and tear this venue apart.”

Vassline are still in the midst of recording “Black Silence.” The tracks for the album were written over the course of a few months in late 2011 and the beginning of this year. Although no official release date has been set, the group hope to have the completed effort finished and released this summer.

While album release shows are common in South Korea, preview gigs are kind of rare, which should have Vassline’s excited supporters even more fired up for Saturday’s performance.

“It’s been so long since we released our last album, so we wanted to draw some attention to what we’re doing,” shares Cho. “We officially announced that we were writing new material several times over the last few years, and people were getting tired of waiting. We wanted to give everyone something more special than just posting Tweets or updating our Facebook status.”

So why has it taken so long for the band to make “Black Silence?” Well, their previous guitarist Park Jin (aka Tiger Jin) parted ways with the band at the end of 2007. Finding someone to properly fill his role was no easy task, but after more than two years of searching they found Lee Kang-to and their current lineup was cemented.

“Kang-to joined the band in 2010 and it took a year for us to get used to each other,” explains Cho. “Last year we finally started working on our new album. Kang-to’s fresh new ideas, guitar playing, and songwriting techniques have given us a great new source of energy on this album.”

Last week, Vassline were added to the bill for this summer’s Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival. They’ll play at the event on August 11. And on September 1, they will open for British grindcore legends Napalm Death at Seoul’s Rolling Hall. Vassline are also beginning to plan a big headlining concert for sometime in the fall or winter that will see them doing a two-hour set.

Tomorrow’s gig takes place at Club Crack. The show starts at 6 pm and tickets are 25,000 won at the door. 13 Steps, Hollow Jan, Knockdown, and Jambinai are also on the bill. Check out the Facebook event page for the show here.

Here are the set times for the concert:
Knockdown 6 – 6:40
13 Steps 6:50 – 7:30
Hollow Jan 7:40 – 8:10
Vassline 8:30 – 9:30
Jambinai 9:40 – 10:20

Ta-Ta-Ta-Ta-Ta-TA

This weekend, Hongdae’s Club Ta celebrates six years of live gig action with four nights of wonderful music.  Thursdays has come and gone, but there are still three more chances to see some of South Korea’s best acts in the intimate and warm surroundings found at Club Ta.  We threw a few questions at Q from Club Ta about the venue’s birthday celebrations.

KGG: How does it feel for Club Ta to be turning 6 years old?

Q: It feels like we were working on getting the stage, the sound equipment, the lighting and everything ready only yesterday.  It’s been six years already.  Anyway we survived, and are hoping that we can say this next year, too.

KGG: How have things changed since you first opened in terms of the live music scene?

Q: Well, so many other venues have opened and some of them are just like Club Ta.  Also there are many big rock festivals that are doing better than they were six years ago.  It’s good, but the live music market is still too small.

KGG: Tell us about this weekend’s lineup.  Who are you most looking forward to seeing?

Q: Well, basically we have the best bands right now playing.  Every band on the bill is so hot. Magna Fall, Rose Motel, and the Tatles are just a few of the acts that will make a wonderful time for everyone.

KGG: Along with the more established acts, are there any newish bands in the lineup that people should see?

Q: Nowhere, Fantastic Drugstore, and Bye Bye Badman are all must see acts!

KGG: What has been different about the last year at Club Ta compared to the five before it?

Q: Well, basically we upgraded the sound and lighting equipment and the drum set.  We hope that performers will feel more comfortable onstage, and that the audience will know it.

KGG: What can people expect from the celebrations this weekend?

Q: It’s going to be an all-night rock ‘n’ roll party with wonderful bands for four days!  Our sixth anniversary lineup this weekend is better than some of the rock fests out there.  Do you need anything more?

Here is the line up for the last three days.  Things will start at 6:30 pm tonight, tomorrow’s concert starts at 6 pm, and Sunday’s show starts at 5 pm.  Tickets for all the gigs are 25,000 won at the door.  Happy Birthday, Club Ta!

Friday, June 15: Huckleberry Finn, Yellow Monsters, 3rd Line Butterfly, Harry Big Button, The United 93, Nowhere, Re-ska, Vanilla Unity, Momguamaum.

Saturday June 16: Ash Gray, Bye Bye Badman, No. 1 Korean, Lowdown 30, Magna Fall, Dot, Fantastic Drugstore, Nevada #51

Sunday June 17: 10 cm, Rose Motel, NY Fish, Cold Cherry, Cho Gil Sang, Going Home

This week in reunions: Suck Stuff

What’s that you say? Suck Stuff isn’t broken up? No, but they’ve gone through different phases since their beginnings in the early 2000s, and this reunion with some of the older members should be a trip back to the halcyon days of Skunk Hell.

To find out more Korea Gig Guide cornered Paul, a half-Korean American citizen who played guitar for the band from 2005 to 2007. In his brief time he took over as co-songwriter and co-vocalist, leading the band in a new direction, as well as touring China and Japan with them and recording a ton of great music.

KGG: What’s happening this weekend?

Paul: Saturday June 16th at DGBD we will be having a reunion show consisting of the old Suck Stuff line up (with opening bands Captain Bootbois and Skasucks).

KGG: Why only 5000 won?

Paul: Because shows in Hongdae have gotten way too expensive. Not only is this show meant to be about the old lineup but also the way shows used to be. They used to be for kids that were really into music, not just for the super rich/trendy.

KGG: Why is the band having a reunion show?

Paul: I joined the army and left Suck Stuff in 2007. After serving a tour in Iraq and some time spent stateside I came down on orders for Korea.

When I called Chul-hwan and told him the first thing he asked is if I would like to play a reunion show. Of course I would, with the old line up.

KGG: Will this be a one-time thing, or will Suck Stuff reform for good?

Paul: Suck Stuff has changed considerably since I left and this may be the only opportunity to see Suck Stuff as it was a few years back. Unfortunately I think this will be a one-off.

I am planning on starting a new band that might sound a bit like the old Suck Stuff, a punk rock band with heavy rock and roll and country influences. I have been writing some acoustic material and may just stick with that but I would really like to start a new band. However, finding a good drummer and bass player is proving challenging, even for someone with as many contacts and connections as I have.

To RSVP for the show or get more information, click here.

The show is also the release of the 14th issue of Broke in Korea, the longest-running English-language punk zine in Korea, which was co-founded by Paul in 2005.

Rux Riled Up For Their Live Return

On Sunday (June 10), stalwart punks Rux and screamo act Hollow Jan will be making their live returns at a co-headlining concert at Seoul’s Rolling Hall

Rux played their last hometown show nearly 10 months ago during a release party for their 2011 “5000 Years of Hallucinations” EP. Shortly after that gig, the band went on hiatus as vocalist Won Jong-hee moved to Australia. Along with fronting Rux, Won also works as a tattoo artist. His frustrations with South Korea’s tattooing laws influenced his decision to relocate to Brisbane and take a job at a tattoo studio called InkSanity.

“One of the main reasons I wanted to leave for a while is that tattooing is illegal in Korea,” explains Won. “Although I’ve done a lot of illegal things in the past, I wanted to start doing things legally. Why is tattooing illegal in our country? It doesn’t make any sense.”

During Won’s absence, the rest of Rux focused on their other musical pursuits. Guitarist Lee Hyun-hee and drummer Ryu Myung-hoon also play with hardcore band 13 Steps. And Bassist Yoon Hyung-sick is a part of the punk groups Gukdo and Swindlers. In Australia, Won practiced a few times with some bands, but was more focused on his tattooing work.

Missing many things from home, Won returned to South Korea in early May and soon after reunited with his bandmates.

“I missed my girlfriend, Seoul’s punk community, and my country,” he shares. “I also missed Hyun-hee’s bald head, Hyung-sick’s tone-deaf voice, and Myung-hoon’s small penis. And I really missed the Hongdae Makgeolli Man.”

While Rux’s gigs are always high energy affairs, expect Sunday’s comeback show to be even more raucous as riled up band members and fans bounce and shout out the lyrics to Rux’s anthemic, charged cuts. This is definitely going to be a memorable affair.

“I’m extremely excited for Sunday’s gig,” says Won. I’ve been waiting almost a whole year for this. Honestly, I’m so wound up right now that I can’t even sleep. Things are going to be very wild and intense at Rolling Hall. We’ll be spitting fire on stage. People coming to the show should wear protective body gear. Consider this a kind warning.”

In July, Rux will enter the studio to start recording. They’ve got four new songs ready and plan on crafting more material for a release that they hope will surface before yearend.

“I’m not sure if we’ll make a full-length or an EP,” Won says. “I guess it depends on how quickly we can spit out our new thoughts. There are going to be songs about how much we love life, finding identity, respecting one’s pride, tattoos, and more.”

Sunday’s gig takes place at Rolling Hall in Hongdae. The show starts at 6 p.m. and tickets are 25,000 won at the door. In addition to Rux and Hollow Jan, Apollo 18 and The Coin Rocker Boys will also perform. Here are the set times for the concert:

6:00 – The Coin Rocker Boys
6:40 – Rux
7:30 – Apollo 18
8:20 – Hollow Jan

Check out the Facebook event page for the concert here.