It’s been a busy summer for Seoul punks …Whatever That Means. July started with World Domination Inc. – the label managed by …Whatever That Means’ Jeff Moses (guitar/vocals) and Trash Yang Moses (bass/vocals) – releasing a punk comp titled “Them and Us 2: Korea’s Punks at Thunderhorse Studios.” A week later, the imprint issued Full Garage’s “Vinyl Suit” 7”. And the month ended with …Whatever That Means putting out a split 7” with American punk act Burn Burn Burn called “Blowing Minds & Melting Faces” and touring in the States in support of the album.
Now that they’re back in Korea, …Whatever That Means are hosting a joint 7” release gig tonight (Saturday, August 13) at Club Sharp in Seoul as part of World Domination Inc.’s Second Saturdays concert series for them and Full Garage. We caught up with Jeff and Trash a few days back to talk about everything that has been going on with …Whatever That Means of late.
You played nine shows in ten days all over the American West Coast, how was the traveling?
Jeff: Everyone else got to sleep a lot, and I did all the driving! There were several days where it was just like, wake up, drive for eight hours, get to the venue, and we were on stage 30 minutes later. So it was stressful at times. But I mean, that’s touring. I wanted it, and I knew it was going to be like that.
It had been almost five years since your last US tour. What were your expectations going back?
Jeff: It’s always exciting going back somewhere for the second time. When you pull into a town, and it’s like, “I remember when we ate there, and it was really good, we know the promoter…” So this time was cool because for most of the shows, either they were promoters we worked with last time and really liked, or they were people that Burn Burn Burn hooked us up with and vouched for. So it was a lot less stressful in that way going into it. It was just exciting to go back, and for every show there were some people who’d seen and remembered us from the time before. And just kind of growing that, I don’t know, saying “fan base” sounds douchey, but yeah, building those relationships.
What was the best club or city of the tour?
Trash: The Kraken in Seattle.
Jeff: Kraken was one of the best shows. The Redwood in LA was fun too. It was our last show, and it was a Monday night. So we had no idea what to expect. But there was a really good crowd there. It was the most fun I had on tour. I think just because it was finally all over, and I didn’t have to wake up the next day and drive. Our gig in Corvallis was great as well. It’s where Oregon State University is. We performed in this small coffee shop, and there were like 40 people in there. And the whole front wall is glass, so there were people lined up on the sidewalk watching too. The two promoters for that show were the same people we went through on our last US tour. We stayed at their house, they cooked us food – it was awesome.
Trash: We’re going to definitely go back to all three of those places if we decide to play in the States again.
Jeff: For Corvallis,we played on a Tuesday both times we were there. And the shows were both fantastic even though it’s a Tuesday, which is crazy. We went to bigger places like Portland on the weekend and it was like, “Eh, it’s ok.” I think next time we’re going to hit up some of the bigger cities during the week and hit the smaller towns on the weekend just to see if we can blow it up even more that way.
World Domination, Inc. has been very busy lately. What has been the most challenging aspect so far?
Jeff: Working with Trash! I love my wife, but she is one of the most undisciplined people I know. She’s not lazy, she just doesn’t get anything done.
Trash: Working with Jeff is challenging too! He is really pushy.
Jeff: It’s the only way to get things done! We’ll have a goal, and I do as much as I can because I have lot more time than she does, but then we get to a point where nothing can move forward until she does something. And I will remind her over, and over, and over, and then she gets mad at me and says “Stop pushing me, I’ll get to it.” We argue and then it’s two weeks later and it’s still not done. There are projects that we’ve been talking about for years that have never happened because we get to that point and then it just fizzles. But she worked really hard on all the graphic design work that needed to be done before the tour. She did the artwork for our 7” and the new 7” that we put out for Full Garage. And she did all our merch and Full Garage’s merch too. And everything for the “Them & Us 2” compilation we put out in early July. She only had like three weeks to get it all done while she was working fulltime, tutoring at night, and doing a tattoo apprenticeship.
What are your plans for World Domination, Inc. in the second half of 2016?
Jeff: We got the Seoul 7” release show this weekend. And for October’s Second Saturdays we’re organizing an acoustic show on our rooftop. So far it’s …Whatever That Means, Skasucks and Angie from Wasted Johnny’s. We’re going to try and get one or two more bands. At our apartment in Sinchon, we can be as loud as we want whenever we want. After that, we’ll have Still Alive 8 which is our yearly Halloween show.
Trash: And we’re working on the subtitles for the Fat Wreck Chords documentary.
Jeff: One of the guys who did the Descendents documentary is also working with the Fat Wreck Chords documentary so we’re doing the translation for those subtitles. So we’ll have a Second Saturdays show where we screen the Fat Wreck Chords documentary and all the bands will play cover songs from Fat Wreck Chords bands. And we’ve got new songs we’re working on. Hopefully this winter we’ll be back in the studio recording something else.
It’s been a couple of years since your last record. How was it doing a split 7” with Burn Burn Burn?
Jeff: It was cool. I mean the whole thing just took a long time to get everything done. Every time we’ve recorded it’s been a completely different process. With our “Sixty-Eight Twenty-Two” album, we recorded the whole thing at home. And this time we decided to step it up a little bit. We still did all the recording ourselves, but we kind of bounced around to different places. It’s definitely the highest quality recording that we’ve had up till now.
Trash: I hope we can keep making our albums sound better and better.
Trash is more prominent in vocals on the new EP, which adds a great balance to Jeff’s vocals. What brought about the change?
Jeff: I write all the songs and when working on them I hear them in my head with my voice. On the last album, I really enjoyed the songs that we took turns on. So I tried to do a little more of that. It’s kind of more about having her voice in my head sometimes when I write. It’s been a process learning how to write songs for someone else. But it was definitely a conscious decision to have Trash’s vocals be more prominent on our new songs. Plus over the last few years I have had a lot of problems with my voice. I was blowing out my voice a lot. We were really worried we wouldn’t be able to tour anymore. Like can my voice handle singing ten days in a row? So I wanted to write songs for her to sing, so that I wouldn’t have to sing everything every night.
After yet another Seoul live club closing, Second Saturdays has found a new home at Club Sharp. How is the new club?
Jeff: I love it. It’s nice just having a shitty basement covered in graffiti with a stage that’s not tall enough to stage dive off of.
Trash: It’s cool because the owner is not about making money. The owner wants to actually support the scene.
Jeff: Back when Second Saturdays were at Spot, it was so easy to get people to come in because there are always lots of random people hanging out at the park. At Ruailrock, you would still get some random people, or people would be wandering around and they’d find it. At Club Sharp, you know people have decided to come, which makes it a little bit more difficult. But luckily a decent amount of people have been deciding to go there. At Ruailrock, if you had 20 – 25 people, it felt like the room was full enough to have energy. Here you need about 40 for it not to be people spreading out, standing around. If you’ve got 40 people, then you can have a good amount of energy. We only did a couple Second Saturdays here before we left on tour. We didn’t do that many. So, we’re just getting started again.
Saturday’s show has several other great Hongdae bands joining you for the release party for your new 7″. Who are you most excited to have on the bill?
Jeff: Every band is so different and so good. Dead Chunks are playing first and it might be their last show, and I hope everyone shows up at the beginning and stays till the end. Unfortunately, when we set things up we didn’t realize that the concert fell on the same weekend as Pentaport. We were like, “We’ll do our release at the Second Saturdays after we get back,” and then the week before we left, we were like “Fuck, it’s Pentaport that weekend and Weezer and At the Drive-In are coming. Damn it.” But this is Weezer’s third time in Korea. So don’t pay 130,000 won or more to go see Weezer again, pay 15,000 won see lots of awesome groups and get two records.
Trash: Yes, if you want to see a cool show with friends then come to Club Sharp this Saturday!
…Whatever That Means will be playing an album release party for their new “Blowing Minds & Melting Faces” 7” on Saturday at Club Sharp in Mangwon. The concert will also include performances from Full Garage, The Geeks, 57, and Dead Chunks. Doors open at 8:30 pm and cover is 15,000 won. Everyone who attends will be given a free copy of …Whatever That Means’ new 7” and Full Garage’s “Vinyl Suit” 7”. For more information, check out the gig’s Facebook event page here.