Korean rock duo 57 are heading off for an extensive tour of the UK and Europe this May and June. Originally hailing from Jeonju, they have gone from strength to strength since relocating to Seoul. In 2015, they won the KT&G Band Discovery contest and reached the finals of the EBS Hello Rookie contest, and then in 2016 they were invited to the UK to perform at the Liverpool Sound City Festival (using the opportunity to perform around the UK for three weeks).
Now 57 is about to embark on an even bigger tour of Europe, spending seven weeks traveling the UK, France, Germany and Poland. The Korea Gig Guide was lucky enough to talk with the group before they flew out.
KGG: How are you guys feeling with regards to the upcoming tour of the UK?
We are crazy excited about the tour. It’s really long and we have so many shows. I hope that people are ready for us to come.
How are you approaching things differently this time compared to last year?
Last year’s tour was centered around an appearance at Liverpool Sound City. We emailed so many promoters and venues. Sadly, we hardly got any replies, just 5 or 6, I think. I think that one problem was that we started a little late last year. We did not realize how intense the competition was going to be. It is festival season over in Europe and so there are so many bands on tour. This year we have been working with Patrick from DoIndie to prepare the tour. We started much, much earlier this time around. I think we prepared the press pack and started reaching out to people in early November 2016. That early start really paid off and he has managed to get us 23 shows in the UK, France, Germany and Poland. Patrick’s family have even been helping out as well. His dad helped us buy a car to use for the tour and they are providing a place to stay as well as lending us their tents, sleeping bags, etc. We really appreciate all the help they are giving.
Having previously played in the UK, how does it feel to venture to other countries?
It always feels great to visit a new place. Every city seems to have it’s own unique atmosphere to enjoy. Also, each time we play a show in a new place, we don’t know if we’ll ever have the chance to go back there so we play it as it if it will be our last time to visit that place. We give it 120 percent and leave everything on the stage.
What was the biggest surprise about the shows last time?
It was a great surprise to me just to be able to be over in the UK performing. Of course, it was always a dream to do something like that, but it still felt like a dream even when it became reality. The whole thing was a bit of a challenge, as it was our first time playing outside of Korea. We learned a lot.
With 23 shows planned, how do you recharge the batteries in between shows, and what will you plan to do when not rocking out?
I have no idea! We will have to be like robots and just keep going. Actually, I am a little worried about that, but we will get through it. The adrenaline of the shows will keep us going I think. Also, Snow’s brother is coming with us to help with the driving and stuff. That means we should be able to recharge a little on the road. We have some days off from time to time as well so we will get a little sightseeing in and and relaxation time as well. I think as long as we eat well and sleep well we will be fine. We will take some energy from the audiences as well and use that to help get us though.
Could you tell us a bit about your debut album and what you’re working on now?
Our debut album consisted of seven songs that were made in the early days. The album’s title is “57” and contains a spectrum of sounds ranging from acoustic to powerful. We self-recorded that first album.
The new album which we plan to release in the summer this year is still to be recorded. We have put down some demo tracks, which are sounding great. But as soon as we come back from Europe we will be hitting the studio. This time round we won’t be self-recording it. It will all be done in a studio with the help of engineers, etc. I think it will be a much fuller sound. It’s going to be great anyway.
What’s the biggest challenge for yourself and other Korean independent bands when it comes to traveling and performing overseas?
I don’t know. It is a hard question to answer. From a booking perspective, I do not think it is any harder for Korean bands than it would be for unknown bands from any other country. Booking shows as an unknown band from anywhere is a real slog. It’s not just like you make the press pack, put it out there and people book you. You need to send thousands of emails and always chase everyone. It is really hard work.
On tour … I guess every band is different. Also, we have never put together a tour like this before, so I am not even sure what challenges we will face. I think the biggest challenge is to face up to your fears, overcome them and get on with achieving what you want to achieve. Even if you do not get the results you wanted from the tour, I think that the band grows and develops naturally from the experience of the tour itself. As the band grows, their music grows as well. I think that by meeting the challenges that arise and overcoming all the hurdles then it will have a positive effect on the band and the music we create.
Any final message for those who might come out and see you perform in the UK?
Please check us out on one (or more) of our shows on the Making Fire 2017 Europe Tour. We will be there, giving it everything we have at each show! We love meeting new people so come and say hi and share a drink with us. See you there!
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For more information, you can check out the links below and for those keep to see them in Europe, the dates are included too.
1) Making Fire:
2017 Making Fire Tour Dates
May 11: Undegun (Focus Wales), Wrexham (UK)
May 12: ROC2 Studios (Focus Wales), Wrexham (UK)
May 13: The Pot, Rhyl (UK)
May 15: Prince Albert, Brighton (UK)
May 17: Dublin Castle, London (UK)
May 18: 81 Renshaw, Liverpool (UK)
May 19: Stramash, Edinburgh (UK)
May 21: Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough (UK)
May 26: Asylum, Chelmsford (UK)
May 29: West Street Club, Sheffield (UK)
June 2: Bei Ruth, Berlin (Germany)
June 7: Chlodna 25, Warsaw (Poland)
June 9: Seazone Music Conference, Sopot (Poland)
June 10: CKN Centrala, Gorzów (Poland)
June 11: Watch Docs Festival, Słupsk (Poland)
June 16: L’Alimentation Générale, Paris (France)
June 17: Lapin Blanc, Réding (France)
June 19: Fuel Cafe, Manchester (UK)
June 21: White Bear, Barnsley (UK)
June 22: The Exchange, Stoke (UK)
June 23: The Saddle, Chester Live Festival, Chester (UK)
June 24: The North, Rhyl (UK)
June 25: Club 147, Llandudno (UK)