Monthly Archives: February 2014

Crying Nut Take On the World

There are a few essential experiences for any Korean resident – like eating kimchi, a night in the noraebang, a photo from Seoul Tower – to name a few. Another not-to- be-missed experience is to see local legends Crying Nut perform live.

Crying Nut 3

Iconic indie punksters Crying Nut need little introduction. Having formed in 1993, they made their live debut at Club Drug in 1995. Since then, they have released seven albums, sold hundreds of thousands of albums, played every stage possible up and down Korea multiple times, and even made various trips overseas. The five piece are often referred to as leaders of the “Chosun Punk” sound, but labels do not fit well. Their sound has been known to include punk, rock, metal, folk, reggae, rap, and more, all delivered with high levels of energy and their legendary sense of humor.

They are also officially the best-selling indie act in Korea, although that doesn’t stop them from regularly playing in small clubs in Hongdae to this very day – simply because they love what they do and are so brilliant at it. However, 2014 finds them not sitting back, enjoying their fame and being idle. They are preparing to head on their second tour of the US, which will included a stop at the SXSW Music Festival, and Korea Gig Guide was lucky enough to talk to lead singer/ guitarist Park Yoonsik and keyboardist/ accordion player Kim Insoo about their new album, their March American concerts, and how they prepare for their live shows. Enjoy the interview!

How would you best describe your band to new fans?

Park Yoonsik:  I’d say we’re energetic, romantic, and fantastic!

Kim Insoo:  Hmm … how about the kings of chaos?  Or maybe the hardest working men in the party business?

Flaming Nuts Album Cover

When did you start writing songs for Flaming Nuts?  When was the album recorded?

Kim Insoo:  We started recording Flaming Nuts in the winter of 2012, but we took a break from recording to focus on some concerts.  When we started working on the album again, our schedule was really tight because our manger booked our album release concert even though the album was still being made.  And then he went ahead and moved the album deadline up despite us already being short on time.  That bastard!

Crying Nut have been playing music for a long time.  What motivates you to keep making new albums?

Park Yoonsik: Yes, we’ve been playing for a long time, but our thinking has changed a lot between now and when we were 20 years old.  Always being able to approach our music with different mindsets is what keeps us making new albums.

Kim Insoo:  We keep making new music because it’s fun to do.  I can’t think of anything more fun than being in a rock band.

Flaming Nuts has lots of different influences and sounds on it.  Are you ever worried that a new track is too different from Crying Nut’s sound?  How far would you stretch “Crying Nut’s” sound?  Would you ever include country music, hip-hop, dubstep, etc. in a new song?

Park Yoonsik: We don’t worry about our sound too much.  We just make music that we think is fun.

Kim Insoo:  Our other albums have a lot of different influences and sounds on them as well.  Flaming Nuts isn’t so different from them.  It may be tough to work dubstep into a future song because I don’t know exactly what dubstep is.  I have a hard time distinguishing dubstep no matter how much I listen to it.  It just sounds like FSOL to me.

How is Flaming Nuts different from your other albums?

Park Yoonsik: We made Flaming Nuts completely on our own.  We did all the writing, recording, producing, mixing, and mastering all by ourselves.  I’m really proud of all the work we did.

Kim Insoo:  Flaming Nuts is also the shortest album we’ve ever made!

Why are you guys excited about playing at SXSW again?

Park Yoonsik: We’re really honored to be able to play at SXSW again.  I’d love for us to do some busking-style street performances during the fest if we can.  When we played at SXSW in 2012, we met a great band named Melvoy from San Francisco.  I’m hoping me can meet lots more awesome musicians this time around and become friends with them too.

Kim Insoo:  We had a lot of fun in Texas during SXSW 2012, so I’m happy to go back.  Maybe there will be a lot more people at our show this time because of Psy.

What were some of your best memories from your 2012 US tour?

Park Yoonsik:  Meeting Melvoy during a gig they played on the street in Austin was really cool.  I’m glad we could become friends with them.  During our official SXSW showcase, too many people packed into the venue where we played and the police came.  It was definitely a cool rock ‘n’ roll moment!

Kim Insoo: I met lots of Mexican people while I was in Texas.  They were always smiling and really kind.  They bought us beer and tequila too!  During SXSW, some bands gave us free CDs.  They helped inspire us to produce Flaming Nuts on our own.

What are your goals for your March 2014 US concerts?

Park Yoonsik:  We’re going to play some gigs in Texas and California, have a lot of fun, and hopefully make lots of new fans and friends.

Kim Insoo:  I hope that we play hard and drink hard!  I’d love to go to a gun range in Hollywood where you can shoot guns from World War II, but I don’t think there will be time for that.

Do you get nervous playing for non-Korean audiences in other countries?  Do you prepare for concerts overseas any differently?

Park Yoonsik:  I don’t get nervous at all, but it is more challenging to communicate with audiences in a different language.

Kim Insoo:  For concerts in the US we do prepare differently.  We need to make sure we have US power adaptors, 110V!  We’ve got no choice over that one!

Crying Nut has released a lot of music.  How do you choose your set list for concerts?  Do you feel guilty if you don’t play popular songs like “Luxembourg” or “Speed Up Losers”?

Park Yoonsik:  We work together to make set lists.  I don’t feel guilty about not playing certain songs at concerts.  I think we’ve got a lot of good songs.

Kim Insoo:  We usually talk about set lists the day before a gig. We have many members, so everyone always has different songs that they want to play.  We decide together which ones we want to play.  We do a lot of gigs, so everyone eventually gets the songs they want in a set list.

What songs from Flaming Nut are your favorites to play live? Why?

Park Yoonsik: I like to play “Lego.”  I think it sounds cool and the lyrics are good too.

Kim Insoo:  I like “Summer” because it sounds like Mexican music.

Crying Nut has played many, many concerts since 1995.  What have been some of your favorite concerts to play? Why?

Park Yoonsik: Our 15th anniversary concert was one of my favorites.  We got to decorate the stage how we wanted and the sound was perfect.  We recorded the show for a DVD too.

Kim Insoo:  It’s hard to choose, but I really enjoyed our Tokyo concert that we played at Shinjuku Red Cloth on February 9.  The person who organized the show is a Crying Nut fan and a friend of ours.  Many fans in Tokyo came to the show even though it was snowing heavily.  I was really touched.

Crying Nut 16

Lastly, if someone is going to see a Crying Nut concert, what food and drink should they have before the concert to get prepared?

Park Yoonsik: They should eat nachos and drink lot s of beer.

Kim Insoo: They should eat dried chili mango and drink beer and Southern Comfort.

Crying Nut will open for Yellow Monsters on Sunday, February 23 at Sangsang Madang in Hongdae.  The show starts at 6 pm and tickets are 40,000 won.  Galaxy Express and Asian Chairshot will also play opening slots.

Feb 23 Gig

Here are the dates for Crying Nut’s US tour:
March 8 Pomona, CA @ Characters

March 9 Los Angeles, CA @ Redwood Bar & Grill

March 11 Austin, TX @ (10:30 pm) Elysium (Official SXSW Showcase)

March 13 Austin, TX @ (5:15 pm) Spider House Cafe and Ballroom (The Texas Rock N Roll Massacre 2)

March 14 Austin, TX @ (4:30 pm) The Dog & Duck Pub (Exchange Entertainment presents)

March 15 Austin, TX @ (6 pm) Antone’s Records (Freddie Steady’s 14th Annual Frontier a Go Go Rock & Roll Hootenanny)

March 16 San Antonio, TX @ Limelight

March 18 Los Angeles, CA @ Cafe Nela

Shake Shop Turns One with Kingston Rudieska, Galaxy Express, and Asian Chairshot

This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of Shake Shop.  The brainchild of Seoul bellydancer Eshe, the concert series debuted in February 2013 and mixes Korean indie music with bellydance.  Co-presented by Korea Gig Guide and Dream Dance Studio, Shake Shop Vol. 12 takes place on Saturday, February 15 at Club Freebird and will see local heavyweights Kingston Rudieska and Galaxy Express along with the fast rising Asian Chairshot all collaborating with Eshe and her troupe, Navah.

Kingston Rudieska

Seoul’s top ska band, Kingston Rudieska are quite accustomed to getting rooms full of people dancing with their uplifting tunes.  So playing while a bevy of beautiful bellydancers move their hips shouldn’t be a big stretch for the gents.  Trumpet and flugelhorn player Oh Jeong-seok shares why he thinks Saturday’s show is going to be a lot of fun.

“In my opinion, bellydance is a very beautiful dance,” Oh says.  “I think it’s also a very flexible dance and is well-suited for every kind of music.   I know Eshe and Navah have danced with many kinds of music and I think having bellydance collaborate with ska and reggae will be a very good match.  Dance and music may be different forms of expression, but they share a common language.”

Collaborations are definitely something that Kingston Rudieska are all about these days.  In March, the band will release a new collaborative EP with German reggae and ska musician Dr. Ring Ding.  The album will be distributed across North America, Europe, and Japan.  And Oh says they the group are also planning to start a new concert series called “Rudy’s Open House” which will have them collaborating with different artists each month.

Galaxy Express

Trippy garage rock trio Galaxy Express are in the process of writing material for their fourth full-length album.  The band’s 2008 “Noise on Fire” debut won “Best Rock Album” at the 2009 Korean Music Awards, their 2010 “Wild Days” sophomore effort helped them net “Musician of the Year” at the 2011 Korean Music Awards, and their 2012 eponymous disc was nominated for “Album of the Year” at last year’s Imagene Awards.  Based on that track record, it is not a stretch to assume that whatever Galaxy Express are cooking up is going to be pretty damn good.

“We’re working on new songs right now,” say bassist Lee Ju-hyun.  “We want the new songs to be more vivid and feel more alive than our previous work.  We’re planning to record in April or May and hope to have the album out this summer.”

Although Galaxy Express’ raucous music isn’t what you would usually expect to hear at a bellydance gig, Lee says the act are happy about the collaboration.

“Our music is very different from traditional bellydance music, but I’m certain things are going to turn out well,” he says.  “We’re so excited about playing at Shake Shop!”

Asian Chairshot have a bit of experience with working with dancers.  The fantastic Korean butoh dancer Hong Ra-moo stars in the band’s “Mask Dance” music video.  But Shake Shop will be their first time teaming up with bellydancers.

“We’re always down for working together with other art forms,” says drummer Park Kye-wan.  “I think collaborating with other kinds of art allows our music to be seen in another way.”

This past December, Asian Chairshot recorded their debut full length in Seoul.  Smashing Pumpkins’ guitarist Jeff Schroeder produced the album and Ryan Grostefon was the recording engineer.  Grostefon was also the engineer on Smashing Pumpkins’ 2012 acclaimed “Oceania” disc.  The still untitled album will come out sometime in April.

“We had a great time recording with those guys,” says Park.  “I think our new album has a more varied sound than our (2013) ‘Mask’ EP.  Some of the new songs are very heavy and some have a very mellow, melancholy feel.  All of the songs have different feelings and emotions.”

Asian Chairshot

Shake Shop Vol. 12 takes place on Saturday, February 15 at Club Freebird. The show starts at 8:30 pm and the cover charge is 15,000 won with one free drink. Eshe and Navah will perform alongside Kingston Rudieska, Galaxy Express, and Asian Chairshot.  For more information, check out the show’s Facebook event page here.

Here are the estimated set times for Friday’s show:
8:30 Asian Chairshot
9:15 Navah
9:30 Galaxy Express
10:15 Kingston Rudieska

Shake Shop Vol 12

Mogwai and Daughter Live in Seoul on February 16


Scotland’s Mogwai and England’s Daughter are teaming up for a Seoul gig at Uniqlo-AX on Sunday, February 16.

Mogwai Band Photo September 2013

Formed in Glasgow in 1995, Mogwai have firmly established themselves as one of the world’s top post-rock acts.  The band made their Korean debut in 2011 with a late November concert in Seoul while they were on the road in support of their awesomely titled “Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will” disc.  On their second visit, they will be showcasing material from their new album, “Rave Tapes.”  The band’s eighth full-length, “Rave Tapes” was released on January 20.  Like its predecessors, the album has been garnering plenty of positive press with Exclaim calling it “perhaps their most engrossing effort since the Young Team’s debut.”  The group’s February 16 Seoul concert comes as part of an Asian tour that will also have them playing in the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore.  After Asia, Mogwai will be gigging in Europe and North America with their itinerary including stops at major fests such as Coachella, Sasquatch, and Primavera Sound.

Hailing from London, Daughter’s music is a mix of folk and ethereal dream pop.  The trio issued their debut full-length effort, “If You Leave,” in March 2013.  It won “Independent Album of the Year” at last year’s AIM Independent Music Awards.

On February 16 at Uniqlo-AX, Mogwai are scheduled to give a 90 minute headlining performance and Daughter will offer up a 50 minute opening set.  The show starts at 6 pm and tickets are 88,000 won in advance.  Advance tickets can be purchased in English here and in Korean here.

Mogwai Daughters Poster

Want to win a pair of free tickets to see Mogwai and Daughter play at Uniqlo-AX? Korea Gig Guide has two pairs of tickets to give away for February 16 concert courtesy of Private Curve. To qualify for the tickets, simply share this story on Facebook or Twitter. Then email us at to let us know that you’ve posted the link to your Facebook or Twitter page, and we’ll add your name to the draw. The contest closes at 12 pm on Thursday, February 13 and we’ll notify winners by 2 pm that day. Good luck!