Monthly Archives: March 2013

Bulssazo and Hollow Jan Cooking Up Something Special For Your Ears and Eyes

**KOREA GIG GUIDE HAS FREE TICKETS TO GIVE AWAY FOR BULSSAZO AND HOLLOW JAN’S SEOUL GIG ON SATURDAY. DETAILS ON HOW TO WIN THE TICKETS ARE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST **

Instrumental rock act Bulssazo and screamo/post-rock hybrid band Hollow Jan are teaming up for co-headlining concert on Saturday (March 30) at Sangsang Madang in Hongdae.

The show will have both bands playing their sets behind the venue’s large video screen.  Hollow Jan will have a VJ creating an eclectic array of visuals while they perform, while Bulssazo will make their own soundtrack for an as-yet-undecided film.

“Maybe we’ll use one of the flicks from Godfrey Reggio’s ‘Qatsi’ trilogy or ‘Bakara’ or stupid Korean comedy films for children,” says Bulssazo guitarist Han Sang-chol.  “We’ll pick something on Saturday.”

Both bands will be playing new material at Sangsang Madang.  Bulssazo likely won’t record until next year.  However, Hollow Jan are now in the midst of crafting their long awaited follow up to 2006’s “Rough Draft in Progress.”

“We’ve been recording for a few months now,” says Hollow Jan vocalist Lim Hwan-Taek.  “We’re trying to complete our new album soon, but we don’t know when it will be out yet.”

Bulssazo and Hollow Jan play on Saturday night at Sangsang Madang in Seoul.  The show starts at 7:30 pm.  Tickets are 20,000 won in advance and 25,000 won at the door.   Check out the Facebook event page for the show here.

Want to win a pair of free tickets to see Bulssazo and Hollow Jan at Sangsang Madang? Korea Gig Guide has 3 pairs of tickets to give away for Saturday’s concert.  To qualify for the tickets, simply share this story on Facebook.  Then email us at koreagigguide@gmail.com to let us know that you’ve posted the link to your Facebook wall, and we’ll add your name to the draw.  The contest closes at 8 pm on Friday night (March 29) and we’ll notify winners by 10 pm that night.  Good luck!

Shugo Tokumaru’s Seoul Return

Tokyo multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Shugo Tokumaru will perform this evening (March 24) at Sangsang Madang in Seoul in support of his critically acclaimed fifth full-length, “In Focus?”

Released last fall, “In Focus?” was issued domestically in Korea in January. A fantastic album of whimsical, eclectic pop and folk, Tokumaru began work on the offering shortly after finishing 2010’s equally amazing “Port Entropy.” The drummer for Tokumaru’s backing band, Yoshinari Kishida, contributed to a few of the tracks, but the majority of the music was created by Tokumaru all by himself. This is something he’s done throughout his career.

“I did most of the recording at home,” he says. “It’s basically the same environment I’ve used since making my first album. I don’t remember much about the process of making this record. And to be honest, I don’t want to try to remember it as I was basically just recording and mixing all the time, without much sleep.”

While Tokumaru makes most of his music by himself, he has a group of touring musicians that help him flesh out his songs live. For his Seoul concert, Tokumaru will be backed by a five-piece band which should add a lot more texture to his already wonderfully layered compositions.

“I like playing solo and with a band,” he says. “However, I prefer playing solo in a relaxed setting, so nowadays I only do solo shows a few times a year. In Seoul, I’ll do a few solo songs but most of the tracks will be performed with my band. We will be playing a lot of songs from the new album, along with a few old ones too. Korean fans will be able to see how we’ve developed as a group since our last visit to Seoul.”

Tokumaru previously performed a solo show in Korea in the summer of 2010 and two full-band concerts on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day of that same year. He had enjoyed himself while he was here, especially during the post-gig parties for the holiday concerts, and is excited about his return.

“I can’t drink alcohol, so I just watched everyone else drink and go crazy after our December shows,” he says. “It was fun to spend time with our Korean friends and to watch them abuse my band members by making them drink until the early morning!”

Shugo Tokumaru plays on Sunday, March 24 at Sangsang Madang. Tickets are 40,000 won and the show starts at 6 pm. Achime, Casker, and The Freaks will open the show. For more information, check out the Facebook event page here.

Here are the set times for tonight’s gig
6 – 6:25 Achime
6:35 – 7 Casker
7:10 – 7:35 The Freaks
7:50 Shugo Tokumaru

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On Part Deux

Last month we told you about The Shake Shop – a new monthly concert series that is being co-presented by Dream Dance Studio in Mangwon and Korea Gig Guide.  The Shake Shop features local indie rock bands doing live collaborations with bellydancers.

The idea for the show was conceived by local bellydancer Eshe.  The first edition of The Shake Shop took place in February.  The Shake Shop Vol. 2 is taking place on Saturday night (March 23) at Club Freebird in Hongdae.  It will see Eshe and her Navah troupe teaming up with Romantiqua, Momguamaum, and Hellivision.

Momguamaum are currently writing music for the follow-up to their 2012 excellent eponymous EP.  Originally formed in 2010, the rock trio struggled to find a sound they were happy with early on.  Deciding to put things on hold for over a year, when they regrouped in the fall of 2011 things came much easier.  Frontman Lee Woo-sung is hopeful history will repeat itself as they craft material for their full-length debut.

“We’re going to focus on making new music for the next few months,” he says.  “We found that we could write pretty good songs together when we finished our last EP.”

Although this will be Momguamaum’s first time to perform with dancers, Lee and bassist Seo Ho-sung have both worked with Eshe before.  Eshe shimmied at several shows with Lee’s old band, Cocore, and she joined Seo’s previous group, The Plastic Day, for a set at the awesome Love Camp Festival in 2009.  Lee is looking forward to collaborating with Eshe and the other bellydancers on Saturday night.

“Beauty onstage is always welcome,” he laughs.  “By their very natures, dancing and music belong together. Dancing is music without sound, and music is dancing without a dancer.”

Psych-drenched noise rock trio Hellivision are also beginning to map out songs for their sophomore offering.  Never ones to follow the norm, while most bands strive to tighten things up when making new music, Hellivision are looking to do the opposite.

“We’ve been trying to regain our sound,” says guitarist Lee Tae-hun.  “Our album last year had us becoming more organized, so we’ve needed time to undo all of that!  I think people may hear us breaking into some weird themes out of nowhere sometimes.  Don’t worry, though, that’s probably just one of our new tracks being shaped.”

Hellivison’s music is awesome, but it’s a far ways from what you’d expect to find at a bellydance show.  And this is one of the reasons why the group were interested in being a part of The Shake Shop Vol. 2.

“I think as long as the dancers and band all look at each other and listen to each other, it will work out well,” says Lee.  “To be honest, we are very curious ourselves what’s going to happen during this set. You should come and see for yourself too!”

The Shake Shop Vol. 2 takes place on Saturday, March 23 at Club Freebird in Hongdae.  The show starts at 11 pm and the cover charge is 10,000 won with one free drink.  Eshe and Navah will perform alongside Momguamaum, Hellivision, and Romantiqua.  Bellydancer Jimin Park will also do a special guest set during the show.  For more information about The Shake Shop Vol. 2, check out the gig’s Facebook event page here.

GALAXY EXPRESS RETURN TO THE US!

One of Korea’s busiest and noisiest bands, Galaxy Express, are getting ready to tour America for the third time.

This year the band have already embarked on a cross-country Korean tour in support of their newly released self-titled third album.  Before heading to the United States, where they’ll play 28 concerts between March 7 and April 6, I managed to sit down with vocalist and bassist Lee JuHyun, vocalist and guitarist Park JongHyun, and drummer Kim HeeKwon for a quick chat about all things GE!

How does it feel to have your third album out?
JongHyun: It feels good, really good.
JuHyun: We are really happy with it!

How different was the writing and recording process compared to your debut double album and the 30 Days Project for “Wild Days”?
JongHyun: The quality of the new album is absolutely much higher than our previous releases, in both the recording quality and the song writing.

So you wrote, recorded, and released your “Wild Days” album in only 30 days, how long did this one take?
JongHyun: The new album? Oh, we started recording it in August.  We started writing the songs right after we finished our spring 2012 USA tour.  And we finished recording in late October.


What song took the least effort to write?
JuHyun: The intro song on the album, “Riding the Galaxy.”
JongHyun:  It was very easy to come up with the music, and  HeeKwon suggested that we have lots of yelling on the song, like “ahhhhhhhhhhh,” which made the lyrics simple to write too!

What song took the most effort?
JuHyun: “How Does It Feel.”
JongHyun: Yeah, “How Does It Feel” because it is kind of a new style for us.

You have obviously added a few new influences on this album, such as on “You and I.” Can you tell me about those?
JongHyun: We wanted to keep the energy of our past albums, but also try some different things this time around. We wanted to try and make things sound a bit more polished too. Some of our earlier stuff was pretty raw.

Are you ever worried that a song is so different from your past work that people will say, “That’s not a Galaxy Express song!”? A track like “Remember the Day” is quite different from your older songs.
JuHyun: We wanted to try some new styles of music, but still make music that we like!
HeeKwon: Sometimes we need to change things a bit in order to keep things interesting for us, and for listeners.

You released a documentary about your 2012 USA tour called “Turn It Up to Eleven 2: Wild Days.” Tell me about the film.
JongHyun: It was made by the same director that made the film “Turn It Up to 11″ about us and Tobacco Juice a few years back. His name is Seunghwa Baek. He’s a good friend of ours and is also the drummer in Tobacco Juice. Seunghwa filmed the documentary over our whole spring 2012 US tour. It was like the camera was literally a part of his body! He followed us and was always filming.
JuHyun: It is like a diary of our trip!

What was it like being in a documentary?
JongHyun: Oh, it’s the same as our real lives.
JuHyun: We are just extras in the film!
JongHyun: But we are happy because the film will be screened at CAAMFest in San Francisco this month. It’s pretty cool that it’s going to be shown at an overseas film festival.

How are you approaching this tour differently compared to your two previous visits to the US?
JongHyun: We’re not approaching the tour itself any differently. But we’re going to play a lot more shows this time, and we’ll be visiting 14 states. It will be the biggest tour we’ve ever done.

What are your overall goals for this US tour?
JongHyun: We want to have lots of fun, meet lots of new people, and make some good friends. If we can make it through our month-long tour without getting in any car accidents, that would be good too!

With three full-length albums and four EPs under your belts, how do you go about making set lists nowadays?
JuHyun: Everyday is different, but most of the tracks are from our third album as we want to promote it and share the our new music with people.
JongHyun: And we also include some of our older popular tracks like “Jungle the Black.”

What music are you listening to now?
JuHyun: The Rolling Stones’ “GRRR!” compilation with their old songs and a few new ones too.

What’s your fave Stones song?
JuHyun: “Let it Bleed” – I listen to it all the time!

Aside from your upcoming American tour, what else do you have planned for 2013?
HeeKwon: We will release our new album in Japan at the end of May.
JongHyun: And we want to tour there too!
JuHyun: The Japanese version of our album will have one bonus track. It will probably be a cover song.
Jong Hyun: Maybe we’ll do a Ramones track!

If you ever ended up relocating to another country, where would you want to move to? Why?
HeeKwon: North Korea!
JongHyun: I think that Kim JongUn is young and studied overseas, so he must like rock ‘n’ roll!

Can you recommend any new or up-and-coming Korean bands?
JuHyun: Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio are really good. They have funky garage rock hybrid sound. The Wasted Johnny’s are cool too.
JongHyun: And Seokyo Group Sound. Their new album is good!

Is there anyone local or international that you would like to collaborate with?
JuHyun: Doing something with Apollo 18 would be awesome. Their music is really powerful and has a lot of energy!
HeeKwon: Girls’ Generation because I like Taeyeon!

You can check out Galaxy Express’ latest album on Bandcamp here.

Here are Galaxy Express’ USA tour dates:
March 7 San Francisco, CA @ Broadyway Studios
March 9 San Angelo, TX @ The Deadhorse
March 10 San Antonio, TX @ The Korova
March 11 Austin, TX @ Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill
March 12 Austin, TX @ (5 pm) Mark McCrimmon Law Office (6th Annual Dart Music International House)
March 12 Austin, TX @ (12:30 am) Elysium (Official SXSW Showcase / K-Pop Night Out)
March 13 Austin, TX @ (3 pm) Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar (GnG Presents: West 6th St. Block Party “Louder Than Everything Else”)
March 13 Austin, TX @ (1 am) Easy Tiger (SPIN House Official Showcase)
March 14 Austin, TX @ (2:30 pm) The Grackle (Grackle Rock 3!)
March 15 Austin, TX @ (3:45 pm) Guero’s Taco Bar (Guero’s International Showcase)
March 16 Leander, TX @ The Carlton Ranch
March 17 Lufkin, TX @ The Factory
March 19 Hot Springs, AR @ Low Key Arts (The Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival)
March 20 Memphis, TN @ 1884 Lounge
March 21 St. Louis, MO @ Blank Space
March 22 Indianapolis, IN @ Melody Inn
March 23 Milwaukee, WI @ Yield
March 24 Chicago, Il @ Township
March 26 Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
March 27 Lincoln, NE @ The Zoo
March 28 Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
March 29 Salt Lake City, UT @ Bar Deluxe
March 30 Las Vegas, NV @ Bunkhouse Saloon
March 31 Phoenix, AZ @ The Lost Leaf
April 3 San Diego, CA @ The Void
April 4 Fresno, CA @ Audie’s Olympic
April 5 Oakland, CA @ Eli’s Mile High Club
April 6 Los Angeles, CA @ Dim Mak Studios