Monthly Archives: April 2014

Dead Buttons Hit Hongdae Tonight, UK in May

Seoul-based rock band Dead Buttons are set to light up the stage at Hongdae’s Prism Hall tonight (Sunday, April 27) as part of the Command 27 comeback show ahead of their first UK tour. After playing at “the largest metropolitan music and arts festival in the UK” on May 2 – 3 that is Liverpool Sound City, they’ll be sharing the stage with Korean indie act Patients across England. Despite being relatively young, the band is not unfamiliar with performing on foreign shores. Less than two months after debuting, Dead Buttons were already performing in Tokyo at the Japan-Korea Punk Festival. They are confident those who can make it out to their shows will not be disappointed. See the bottom of this article for a detailed schedule of their upcoming shows.

Dead Buttons drummer/vocalist Kanghee Lee (left): “I promise you’re going to freaking love us after watching us play.”
Dead Buttons drummer/vocalist Kanghee Lee (left): “I promise you’re going to freaking love us after watching us play.”

First coming together in fall of 2012 after Lee returned from compulsory military service, Dead Buttons was originally a three piece but eventually settled on being a duo in the summer of 2013. With a diverse range of musical influences permeating their sound from stoner metal to blues and country, punk rock is the adhesive that holds it all together. While drummer/vocalist Kanghee Lee hails from Paraguay, guitarist/vocalist Jihyun Hong is also the guitarist for the hardcore act Combative Post and was previously involved in Sweet Guerillaz and Oi! Resolute. The band hit the studio at the end of 2013 to record their eclectic sampler EP, “Whoever You Are”.

Check out this live performance of the last and in my opinion the catchiest track off their EP recorded for Balcony TV.

Korea Gig Guide was lucky enough to be able to interview Kanghee and Jihyun in advance of their UK tour. Enjoy!

How did you guys start making music together?

Kanghee Lee: I was looking to join a band after finishing my army service.  When I met Jihyun, we discovered we had a very similar taste in music so we decided to start a new band together.

Could you tell us the story behind your band name?

Kanghee Lee: I like a lot of bands that have the word “Dead” in their name.  I started calling us “Dead Buttons” as a temporary name.  But at some point we decided just to use it as our actual name.

Jihyun Hong: I liked the name because if reminded me of cool acts like Dead Kennedys and The Dead Weather.

Your sound is pretty eclectic and dynamic. Which influences does each of you bring into your music and which ones would you say are most dominant? 

Jihyun Hong: I think the biggest influence on our sound is Mississippi blues and country music.  We’re both also influenced by punk rock, stoner metal, and psychedelic music.

Tell us about the process of recording “Whoever You Are.”  Given that it’s a pretty diverse collection of tracks, was there an overarching vision or did you just go for it? 

Jihyun Hong: We recorded the album pretty fast.  We wanted to just do one-take of each song, so the whole EP was recorded in only five hours.  “Whoever You Are” is kind of a homage or a tribute album to all the different musicians that have influenced us.

You guys are playing the Liverpool Sound City festival this year. What are you most excited about?

Jihyun Hong: This will be my first time traveling and performing outside of Asia. I’m really excited about getting to play in new venues with new bands for new audiences.  After Liverpool Sound City, we’ll also play shows in Bristol, Southampton, and London with Patients.  Our May 9 London concert at AAA will also feature Asian Chairshot.

Kanghee Lee:  I think this tour is going to be a lot of fun and a great learning experience for us.

Dead Buttons in London

Do you have a message you’d like to share with British fans before you head overseas?

Kanghee Lee: You don’t know us yet, and we don’t know you either.  But I promise you’re going to freaking love us after watching us play and we’re all going to be good friends.  All of our shows in the UK are going to be a lot of fun, so please come hang out with us.

Thank you for your time and good luck with the tour!

Dead Buttons will play at Prism Hall tonight as part of the Command 27 comeback show. The show kicks off at 7pm and also includes The Monotones and The Veggers.

 Command 27 Poster

Here are Dead Buttons UK tour dates:

May 2 – Liverpool, England @ Heebie Jeebies (Liverpool Sound City)
May 3 – Liverpool, England @ Kazimier Gardens (Liverpool Sound City)
May 7 – Bristol, England @ The Hatchet Inn
May 8 – Southampton, England @ Unit Club (WTFest)
May 9 – London, England @ AAA
May 10 – London, England @ Astbury Castle

Dead Buttons UK Tour

Big Phony, Streetguns, and Bad Trip Live at Shake Shop on April 25

Big Phony, Streetguns, and Bad Trip will all team up with bellydancers Eshe and Navah for April’s Shake Shop show. Co-presented by Korea Gig Guide, this month’s showcase of local indie music and shimmying will take place on Friday night (April 25) at Club Freebird in Hongdae.

Big Phony

In February, the excellent Korean-American singer-songwriter Big Phony released two new albums, an acoustic disc titled “Bobby” and an electronic one called “Love Live the Lie.” Both charted very well on iTunes in the US, with “Bobby” reaching no. 75 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter Music Chart and “Love Live the Lie” climbing all the way to no. 10 on the iTunes Electronic Music Chart.

The man behind the Big Phony moniker, Bobby Choy, explains why he decided to issue both of the albums at the same time.

“I was working on an electronic album mainly because it was something I was dabbling in that turned into a lot of fun,” shares Choy. “As I was getting closer to finishing that project I had the idea of releasing a stripped-down acoustic album that featured the sound and style that people mostly associate with Big Phony. I wanted people to know that although I was releasing an electronic album, I wasn’t changing genres necessarily. I’m still a singer-songwriter at the end of the day.”

Last month, Choy showcased his new material during a string of US dates that included a stop at Texas’ famed South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival. According to Choy, the trip had a lot of positives and one minor (but quite enjoyable) downside.

“My tour went incredibly well,” says Choy. “I met so many great people along the way and loved playing night after night. I think my vocal chords improved because of it! The singer-songwriter showcase I performed in at SXSW was a really special night for me. It was a great crowd and perfect venue for my kind of music.

“I gained some weight during the tour as well. I had a lot of BBQ in Texas, and I drank lots of beer, whiskey, and fine wines. Also, for some reason there was an abundance of Girl Scout cookies everywhere I went.”

Eshe and Choy have spoken a few times about performing together at Shake Shop over the past several months, but due to scheduling conflicts the collaboration wasn’t possible until now. Both are very happy to have Big Phony’s name on the bill for Shake Shop Vol. 14.

“I’m so happy that we were able to finally find a date to do this,” says Choy. “I’m not entirely sure how this will pan out but I have faith in Eshe and Navah and in their artistic choices. I’m thrilled that they’ve asked me to take part in what I’m sure will be a memorable night.”

Streetguns Photo

Rockabilly band Streetguns made their live debut in March, but these hep cats are far from newbies. Streetguns is composed of members from the popular Seoul indie band The Rock Tigers. The Rock Tigers parted ways with their front woman, Velvet Geena, late last year. Wanting to make a fresh start, they hired a new male crooner named Chulsoo and re-branded themselves as Streetguns.

“We’ve all been working hard doing this for many years, so everyone agreed that it was maybe a good time to make some changes,” says guitarist Tiger. “We’ve got a new vocalist but our musical style has not changed that much. We’re still playing kimchibilly and are looking forward to building upon the career we established with The Rock Tigers.”

Members of Streetguns actually attended a past Shake Shop event and enjoyed the concert making them very open to the idea of collaborating with Eshe and Navah.

“We went to the Shake Shop show with Kingston Rudieska and Galaxy Express,” says Tiger. “It looked like a lot of fun and we thought that we’d like to be a part of the concert one day too. Shortly after that, Eshe contacted us and asked us to perform. The timing was good for us, so we decided to join the ladies for a special performance. Rockabilly with bellydance is a definitely a unique combination, so I think this is going to be a cool night.”

Bad Trip

Bad Trip’s tunes are a mix of hard rock, garage rock, punk, and psychedelic sounds. The trio issued a three-song single titled “Rain Drop” late last year through Steel Face Records. According to guitarist and vocalist Kim Young-saeng, the act plan to issue more new music sometime this year.

Kim previously played with the psych-tinged alt-rock band Humpbacks. In 2012, Humpbacks invited Eshe to collaborate with them at their CD release party. Kim liked the experience, and is eager to work with bellydancers again with his current group.

“Last time I performed with Eshe, our pairing felt so fresh and new,” says Kim. “When Eshe suggested doing something together with Bad Trip it was our pleasure to accept her invitation. Bellydancing and Bad Trip’s music are very different, but I think that is what will make it interesting to see.”

Volume 14 of Shake Shop takes place on Friday, April 25 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 Big Phony, Streetguns, and Bad Trip. For more information, visit the show’s Facebook event page here.

Here are the set times for tomorrow night’s gig:
8:30 Big Phony
9:15 Navah
9:30 Bad Trip
10:15 Streetguns

Rocking out in Daegu for Big Day South

This weekend, there will be a whole helping of noise rocking from Daegu during the city’s first Big Day South festival.  With a focus on not only putting on a great night, but also striving to showcase a taste of the talent and creativity that exists in the area, the organizers are also keen to bridge the gap between the foreign and Korean communities.

Big Day South Picture

[b]racket Magazine, I Like Many Records, and Angle Magazine have teamed up to present this event that promises the cream of the crop from not only Daegu, but also Busan and Ulsan, and there are even a few top-quality acts traveling from Seoul to perform. Two great venues, craft store Social Market and iconic music hall Club Urban, are sharing the hosting duties that will see musicians, dancers, and even spoken word performers take the stage.

Dogstar, November on Earth, Colours, The Curses, Say Sue Me, Yamagata Tweakster, Yukari, and many others are to be joined by Andrew Blad, Mine Lee, as well as art demonstrations from Leon Choi, William Joseph Leitzman, and Moke. There will also be food for sale, with all proceeds going to local charities. More details can be found on Facebook, including directions, so follow the link below and do support this great event.

Where: Social Market (12 – 4pm) & Club Urban (5pm – late)
When: Saturday April 26th
How much: 15,000W for a day ticket. Concessions will be available for those wanting to enjoy just one of the venues.
PLUS: The first 70 people to buy all-day tickets at Social Market will receive a wonderful screen-printed poster from [b]racket magazine’s very talented Jess Hinshaw.

Find out more about Big Day South here.

Big Day South Poster