Billy Carter are playing a special album release concert tonight (June 13) for their debut EP at Ruailrock in Hongdae.
Playing a mix of blues, rockabilly, and garage rock, the Seoul trio are quickly gaining steam in the local indie scene for their rollicking performances. And with a new self-titled EP to celebrate, tonight’s show will likely get extra wild.
“People can come or not come – it’s their choice,” offers vocalist Jiwon Kim. “But it’s better to come, that way you won’t regret missing it!”
Tonight’s gig takes place as part of the monthly punk showcase Seconds Saturdays, which after taking a four-month hiatus following the closure of Club Spot was re-launched in March.
“We respect the concept of Second Saturdays and we’re really happy to be releasing our EP at the show,” says Jiwon. “Four great groups are helping as guest bands and there is going to be a happy hour where you can get two beers for the price of one! And we’ll be giving everyone who pays to come to the show a free copy of our EP too. It’s more than a great deal! We won’t make any profit with this show, but that’s okay because we just want to see the club packed. We’re going to do a 12-song set that will include all of the songs from our EP along with two acoustic songs that we don’t play very often.”
While Billy Carter have been playing as a trio for the past year, the act was originally formed in 2011 as a duo between Jiwon and guitarist Jina Kim.
“Jina and I had been friends for a long time,” Jiwon shares. “We actually met at university. When I saw her for the first time, I knew we would be friends. I thought we had the same taste in music and more importantly I saw that she was the only person who smoked the same brand of cigarettes as me. So I thought if we were friends, I could borrow one off her when mine ran out! One day we had a chance to smoke together and I asked her if she liked punk music. She said she liked Iggy Pop and we became friends.”
Prior to forming Billy Carter, Jina sang and played guitar in Kickscotch and Jiwon had made guest spots on albums by Rux and Skasucks (she’s now a full-term member of Skasucks) and sang live with Attacking Forces sometimes. The two actually came together as Billy Carter for a very specific goal – to play together while traveling in the UK.
“We’d decided to go to London together and thought it would be more fun if we could play there,” says Jiwon. “So we made a two-piece band and started playing. Billy Carter was a kind of a project band for our journey in the UK. But after coming back to Korea, we decided to keep it going.”
The two spent nine months together in London and played as much as they could while they were there.
“We didn’t have any connections or people who could help us so we just looked for anywhere we thought would let us perform,” says Jiwon. “We once found a place looked like a pub with a small stage and went in to ask about auditioning. It turned out the place was a gay cabaret so we couldn’t perform there. But the staff told us about another place and we took part in an open mic night there. The promoter liked us and we started to play there regularly. We landed up playing almost every weekend at many different clubs and pubs and the receptions we got from people were great.”
All of the tracks on Billy Carter’s self-titled EP were written prior to drummer Hyunjoon Lee joining the band just over a year ago. And while they have more material to share, they felt that they weren’t quite ready for a proper album just yet. But on the plus side, after listening to their solid eponymous EP most fans are definitely going to be waiting for more new stuff from Billy Carter. And as far as I’m concerned, the idea of “always leave them wanting more” is a very good adage to follow.
“Our sound is totally different from our former incarnation and we need more time to still develop our sound together. One year is not a long time for us and we don’t like to be in a rush to record songs. Instead we prefer to practice lots and play many gigs to make the sound of each member gel before recording. So if we were to have started with a full-length album, everyone would have to wait a lot longer for a record from us.”
Billy Carter play at Ruailrock on Saturday night as part of Second Saturdays. Tickets are 15,000 won and includes a free copy of Billy Carter’s new EP. The show starts at 9:30 pm and A’z Bus, … Whatever That Means, Command 27, and Pegurians are also on the bill. For more information, check out the concert’s Facebook event page here.