Sorry for the last-minute notice, but I just saw that 3rd Line Butterfly and Pipi Band (aka Ppippi Band, aka PPPB) are going to be playing tomorrow, Dec. 29 at West Bridge in Hongdae. Such a good lineup. If you’re looking for a good gig over the holidays, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything better.
PpiPpi Band was the indie band back when I first arrived in Korea in the late 1990s, totally mesmerizing but also the anti-K-pop group. I think I bought and mailed off pirated versions of their second album to more than a dozen friends.
3rd Line Butterfly is also a favorite group. I really enjoyed them in earlier bands (Huckleberry Finn for Nahm Sang-ah, 99 and other groups for Sung Kiwan). They’ve been doing smart, fun alt-rock for around 15 years now.
The show starts at 8pm on Dec. 29 at West Bridge Hall, the new concert hall across the street from Seogyo-dong Cathedral. Tickets are 35,000 won at the door.
Korea Guide Guide interviewed frontman and namesake Iman just days before they christen their new album with a punk rock rampage across the country.
Iman’s League began as a solo acoustic act in 2007 and has now transformed into a high-speed punk group. Tell us about your transformation.
Initially Iman’s League was supposed to be just a solo project of mine. I kind of “quit” playing in bands after my previous band of 10 years broke up in 2007. That’s when I decided to just take it slow and play lots of originals acoustically. I played a lot of small pubs, community centers, and even weddings.
After a few years of doing that I decided to record an EP called “Crossing Rivers.” I played all the instruments on it. After the EP was released, I decided to bring two session musicians to accompany me during my live performances. That’s when I called up the other two members of Iman’s League, Ishyam and Anhar, to be my session players. I had known them since my teenage years, and we immediately clicked from there. Before we knew it, we were playing numerous shows in Singapore, and we also did a Malaysia tour in 2012. That’s when I decided that this should be a band rather than a solo project. We recorded a second EP, “Forever in 7th,” in 2013 and toured Indonesia and Japan in 2014.
You describe your sound as “anime punk rock.” Could you elaborate on that?
One of my main influences in music is punk rock, and I listen to lots of Japanese bands like Hi-Standard, Dustbox and Total Fat. I also listen to lots of Japanese anime music. I would say that most of the Japanese anime music also has a bit of punk rock influence. I really love the way the music sounds so energetic and melodic. I have also been strongly influenced by American punk rock bands like No Use for a Name, NOFX, MXPX, and Green Day. So we kind of mix both of these influences into our music and decided to call it “anime punk rock.”
Iman’s League have toured Malaysia, Indonesia, and Japan, and now, you are going to play Korea. Have you had any memorable tour moments?
There are lots of memorable moments that we’ve had while on tour. We often wake up late on the final day of tour and almost miss the bus ride home. One of us shouts, “The bus is leaving in 15 minutes!” That’s when all hell breaks loose, and everyone starts panicking. Just last week, Ishyam almost got stranded in Pahang, Malaysia when he got off the bus to buy some stuff, and the bus driver left without him. Luckily we managed to stop the bus.
What can we expect at your upcoming shows in Korea?
For this Korea tour we will be promoting our fourth release, “Destiny”. Our setlist will consist of all the new songs from the album. What audiences can expect is fast-paced punk rock music with lots of jumping around on stage. This is the first time the three of us are going to experience cold weather. We may get sick, but we are still gonna give 100%!
You’ve just made a new music video for the title track off of “Destiny.” What can we expect from the album?
This time around the songs are faster than our previous releases. “Destiny” also represents our personal musical journey as all three of us have known each other for a really long time, yet we only got together to form a band in our 30s. I can say that these has been the best years for us personally as we have accomplished quite a number of things over the last few years.
Iman’s League launch their tour with a show in Daejeon at Mustang (formerly Brickhouse) on Friday followed by Gwangju on Saturday at Club Boojik and Hongdae on Sunday at Channel 1969. More details can be found here: www.tiny.cc/ImansLeagueKorea