Monthly Archives: March 2015

Broke in Korea celebrates 10 years of underground music

About one decade ago, I was sitting around with Paul Brickey (guitarist of Rux, Suck Stuff, Heimlich County Gun Club). “We should start a zine,” Paul told me.

Things took off from there. Determined to find a name with “ROK” in it, we considered RagnaROK (too metal), bROKen, and unbROKen, before finally settling on bROKe, which suited us fine as at the time we were both unemployed and living off of more stable women.

Paul started the Broke in Korea message board, and I put together the first zine, released sometime in early spring 2005. Since then, over ten years, we’ve averaged two issues per year. Broke is always available for free, and usually we only print a few dozen copies and hand them out at a designated concert, serving formally or informally as a release party.

This time, marking its 10th anniversary, Broke in Korea is releasing issue 20 at Jogwang Studio/Jarip HQ in Chungmuro, with eight musical acts packed into the night from 19:00 to 23:00 on Saturday, April 4.  The show is 10,000 KRW.

These bands include some familiar names, as well as several new ones. The show will be headlined by melodic punk band …Whatever That Means, as well as hardcore acts Yuppie Killer and the Kitsches. Also supporting the lineup are anarcho-punk band Jordan River and experimental soloist Tyler Brown. The show will also introduce new audiences to Joongshiki, a rock group fronted by Jeong Joong-shik, former frontman of punk band Tungbin Braza, as well as the raw punk band Chong-kook and new wave band Her Collection.

Many of the acts will also be profiled in Broke in Korea 20, which will be available free of charge at the concert.

posterwebClick to RSVP.

For past issues of Broke in Korea, you can visit this page to download PDFs.

Return of Second Saturdays

It’s been almost half a year since the closure of Club Spot, and the punk scene in Hongdae still feels untethered, lacking a home like what Spot (and before that Club Drug/Skunk Hell) provided. But one of Korean punk’s best showcases is returning this Saturday, March 14, at its new home in the subterranean club Ruailrock next to Rolling Hall, near Sangsu Station.

“We were looking at several different places to move to, and Ruailrock just felt like the right place,” says Jeff Moses, the man behind World Domination, Inc. and the melodic punk band …Whatever That Means. “We really like the simple punk rock basement feel that it has. In general, the simplicity and size of it kind of reminds me of the local punk shows I grew up going to and the old days at Skunk Hell.”

The first Second Saturdays event of 2015 will feature five great bands from around Korea. As usual, …Whatever That Means will anchor the event. They’re joined by ska-punk stalwarts Skasucks, Gwangju skatepunk band BettyAss, garage rock band National Pigeon Unity, and fiery female-fronted rock band Diealright.

11010618_10152870327016492_3669075967133829977_nClick to RSVP

“When we started booking Second Saturdays, we just wanted to make a fun show where people could come out, have a good time, see bands from different genres playing together, and have a few drinks,” says Jeff. “And with how hit or miss weekends can be here in Hongdae, we wanted everyone to know that at least once a month, there’d be a regular show they could count on. That’s it. Good bands. Good people. Good times …and cheap drinks.”

Victim Mentality To Preview New Album at SXSW Send-Off Gig

Korean glam rockers Victim Mentality are one of 15 Seoul-based acts traveling to the States this month to perform at the massive South By Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival in Austin, Texas.  Before leaving for SXSW, the quartet are playing a special show on Friday night (March 6) at Club Ta in Hongdae to preview cuts from their soon-to-be released full-length debut, “Heavy Metal Is Back.”

Victim Mentality New Album Cover -- Heavy Metal Is Back

Formed in 2009 as a duo, Victim Mentality’s first recording, 2013’s five-track “Magic Finger,” was crafted by guitarist Kyungho Sohn and vocalist Krocodile.  Bassist Scorpion was brought on after the recording was finished.  When Victim Mentality started gigging behind “Magic Finger” they did not have a drummer yet.  So a drum machine was used at concerts until Tarantula was finally hired to handle drum duties.

Now more than year after the addition of Tarantula, Victim Mentality have finished their first album as a quartet, “Heavy Metal Is Back.”

“From the beginning, we wanted to be a foursome,” says Sohn.  “Working with four people is much easier and better for us.  I know there are some people that play as one-man bands, but I think it’s important for each member to be able to focus 100% on their instrument.  And a one-man band style doesn’t necessarily fit with the image of a ‘80s heavy metal band!

“When making ‘Magic Finger,’ I recorded the guitar and bass parts, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with the results.  On ‘Magic Finger’ we needed a bassist to make the arrangements.  On our new album, we have that!  The same thing goes for the drum parts.”

Following a similar sonic path as “Magic Finger,” “Heavy Metal Is Back” sees Victim Mentality continuing to pay tribute to the past by banging out anthemic cuts heavily inspired by ‘80s glam and hair metal.  Although the group are very serious about what they do, they don’t take themselves too seriously which is evident by their flamboyant costumes, and playful lyrics and stage antics.

According to Sohn, they like to have fun when working in the studio too.

“We laugh a lot when we record,” he says.  “Watching Krocodile record his vocal parts was quite the spectacle.  We also like to misbehave a bit when recording as well!  We told a lot of dirty jokes while we were recording the song ‘Is It My Child?'”

Photo by Esthero
Photo by Esthero

Although “Heavy Metal Is Back” won’t be officially released until the end of the month, the group will be taking copies of the disc with them to SXSW.  If the band’s suitcases are checked at all by customs workers, the albums will be easy to talk about.  The bullwhip that Krocodile uses during live shows, however, may be a bit more challenging to explain.

“We’re planning to bring the bullwhip with us to the US but haven’t given any thought to what we’ll say if any airport staff ask about it.  But if they don’t let us bring the bullwhip in the US it doesn’t really matter.  I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to find another one in Texas!”

Victim Mentality perform on Friday at Club Ta.  The show starts at 8 pm and tickets are 22,000 won.  Mimi Sisters will open the show.  And here are the band’s concerts during SXSW:

March 18 Austin, Texas (4:30 pm) @ Club Metropolis (Heavy Metal Pool Party)
March 18 Austin, Texas (9 pm) @ Karma Lounge
March 20 Austin, Texas (12 am) @ The Majestic (Korea Night II: Seoulsonic)

Victim Mentality Club Ta Poster