All posts by Shawn

Celebrating the Life of a Music Legend

If you haven’t had the chance to check it out yet, today (October 14) is the final day of the “Legacy of Reggae History ‘Rico Rodriguez’ Photo Exhibition” in Seoul. The exhibition features images by Koichi Hanfusa, an extremely talented music journalist, all-around awesome guy, and a person whose friendship has had a huge impact on my life. To say that my life would be very, very different had I never met Koichi is a major understatement.

koichi-and-rico
Koichi and Rico (Photo by Koichi Hanafusa/SmashingMag.com)

Koichi lives in Tokyo but is in Seoul this week to share his photos of the legendary Rodriguez at Gold Star in Hongdae. His first exhibition happened at the end of last year in Tokyo, and this year has seen him take it to several places throughout Japan. His Korean exhibition started on Wednesday – and the opening party featured performances from Kingston Rudieska and NST &The Soul Sauce – and runs today from 5 pm until midnight. The exhibition is free to attend, so do your best to stop by, see some great images, learn about a fantastic musician, and chat with an acclaimed journalist while you’re out in Hongdae tonight.

rico-exhibition

A pioneering trombonist, Rodriguez passed away last year at the age of 80. During his storied career, he played trombone for a number of musical greats including The Specials and released music on his own as well. In 2007, he was appointed MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to the British music industry. And in 2012, he was awarded the Silver Musgrave Medal in recognition of his many contributions to Jamaican music.

Koichi answered some questions for us about his relationship with Rodriguez and his photo exhibition at Gold Star.

How did the idea for your Rico Rodriguez photo exhibition come about?

I visited Rico on June 22 last year and asked him to come to Japan for a tribute show for him. I knew he might not be capable of playing trombone at that stage, but I wanted to do something to thank him for his influence on the ska scene in Japan. If there was a chance, I wanted to do a photo exhibition of Rico along with it. When I got back to Japan, I spoke with a promoter who has been organizing Rico’s Japan tours for a long time about the idea. He said he was thinking the same thing and had already booked a venue for the end of the year. About two months after that, I heard the sad news of Rico passing away. I didn’t want to do anything but mourn for 49 days, which is a very Japanese thing to do. While I was in mourning, I started thinking of starting my personal tribute to this amazing talent of Jamaican music by organizing a photo exhibition mainly featuring the photos I shot for his “Wonderful World” album and some shots I had taken during his tours in Japan. It was like a promise I made with Rico and I was talking to him.

When were the photos in your exhibition taken?

I’m not a photographer. I’m a music photo journalist who takes photos needed to make articles with. I’ve been taking photos for a long time at gigs, but up until the time of Rico’s “Wonderful World” album, I had never done a studio session.

I had heard that Rico was recording an album for himself and I had a meeting with him in London and suggested he record a vocal track of “Wonderful World” along with some covers like “Over the Rainbow,” “Stardust Melody,” and “Work Song.” I was not expecting him to do them all, but he did. Later, I interviewed him while he was making the album. I asked him if he recorded those tracks and he replied yes. But at that stage he hadn’t add vocals to “Wonderful World” so I begged him to do so.

When I heard the completed recording, it made me happy to discover he recorded his vocals on that track and I heard he really enjoyed doing it from one of the guys involved in the project. Then I had the idea for the album’s photos. I imagined him smiling in a formal suit with a trombone. Japan was going to be the first place to release the album, so I approached the record label and asked them to let me take the photos. Luckily they said yes, and I was set to shoot my first ever proper studio session. This was in 1995, I think. Rico didn’t like smiling portraits and there had never been any shots of him smiling if you check his promo images or album covers. But I wanted Rico’s smile, and I did the best I could during the session to get lovely smiles from him. Afterwards, he said “You made me happy and I love it.”

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The session took a place in London. I rented the studio from 1 pm – 6 pm, but Rico was really late arriving as he had a problem. The actual session started around 4 or 5 pm. The shooting was done in almost an hour and I got 800 pictures from it.

When did you first meet Rico? What are some of the qualities you loved best about him as a person?

I first spoke to him in 1991 at a Bad Manners show in Japan. He was a member of the horn section. The supporting act for the show was The Ska Flames. He was standing at the side of the stage listening to the band and was smiling and saying, “Closing my eyes, I hear the Skatalites.” I asked him if he wanted to play with the band and he said yes. But the guys were already playing and there was no way to communicate with them. I was trying to send a message with hand gestures and while doing that, Rico started wailing away and then made a surprise guest appearance and a great jam session was born.

He was a teacher to younger musicians. When a band played with him, everyone in the group learned how to play. He didn’t just show them what to do through rehearsals. He taught them that you have to respond with your musical instrument and improvise. Musicianship was the most important thing to him. Not only to play good, but to play good with spirit.

What made you want to bring your exhibition to Seoul?

It was nice to find out about NST &The Soul Sauce and how they made a tribute to Rico and his music. We didn’t talk a lot, but by sharing a love for Rico through music, we had no problem communicating. I just gave them an idea – if you love Rico, why not bring my photos to Seoul and celebrate his life with my photos and your music? I always want to share some time with those loving his music and I feel like this is my mission to talk about Rico and let people know about his music. His music can add something to your life if you really listen to it.

Aside from seeing the photos at Gold Star, will you have stories to share during the exhibition with everyone who visits about the pictures, your friendship with Rico, and his music?

Yes, definitely. I’m ready to share all of the stories of me and Rico and tell about the “Wonderful World” album. After that album was released, Rico told me “You are my producer. That album was a turning point of my career.” After that recording, whenever he played, his vocals on that song became the highlight of the show. But to get back to the question, I am ready to give all I have. If you know the things behind the music, the music sounds even better and takes on much greater meaning.

Once again I urge everyone to take this opportunity to go out and meet Koichi. He’s a fascinating person to speak with. If you love music, having a drink together while talking about music and learning about Rodriguez will be a definite high point of your night.

“Legacy of Reggae History ‘Rico Rodriguez’ Photo Exhibition” finishes today at Gold Star in Hongdae. The event runs from 5 pm until 12 am (midnight) and is free. For more information, check out the Facebook event page here.

rico-poster

Zandari Festa 2016 – Five Questions with Tirikilatops

The fifth annual Zandari Festa is taking place in Hongdae from September 30 –
October 3. To spotlight some of the event’s performers, Korea Gig Guide is asking a bunch of acts five simple questions.

Tirikilatops

For this installment, we’re talking with Super Bodreong from UK act Tirikilatops. Composed of British and Korean musicians, the group’s unique brand of “Avant Garde K-Pop” is wild and a lot of fun. Now let’s get to his answers!

1) Why are you excited to be performing at Zandari Festa 2016?

We are excited to be performing at Zandari mainly due to the fact that we hope to bring smiles to as many people as possible and we have heard that Zandari is a super cool and super fun festival! Plus it is on singer Bom Carrot’s home turf! So there’s going to be family and friends and new friends! That’s exciting!

2) What can people expect from a Tirikilatops live show?

Fun and free fruit and vegetables! We exist to spread happiness, earworms, and dada!

3) For fest-goers not familiar with Tirikilatops yet, what should they know about you?

We are a musical collaboration between Korea and the UK. Bom Carrot, the singer, is Korean and I’m from the UK. We also have a revolving door of extra performers from Korea and the UK, namely, Kangcoo, Sea Robber Potato, Grass Face Wilson and Kangcootwo. We are not yet certain who will grace the stage with us at Zandari, but it will be one of them for sure. We make music that is quite hard to define. It has been described as “Avant Garde K-Pop” and also “What the hell….?” Both descriptions are fitting.

4) Aside from performing, what else would you like to do during Zandari Festa 2016?

Our aim is to see as many cool bands as possible whilst drinking lots of makgeolli!

5) If you can go drinking with another Zandari Festa act, who do you want it to be?

Patients! We saw them play in Manchester and they were great. They are super friendly guys too, so we expect a few bottles of soju in their company would make for a jolly evening.

Zandari Festa 2016 – Five Questions with The New Investors

The fifth annual Zandari Festa is taking place in Hongdae from September 30 –
October 3. To spotlight some of the event’s performers, Korea Gig Guide and our friends at Do Indie are teaming up to ask a bunch of acts five simple questions.

The New Investors 2

For this installment, we’re speaking with Glenn Müller, vocalist and guitarist for infectious alt-pop band The New Investors from Copenhagen, Denmark. Now let’s get to his answers!

1) Why are you excited to be performing at Zandari Festa 2016?

We’re excited to play our first gigs outside of Europe. We have heard a lot about the music culture in Asia and especially in Korea so we’re very excited to experience it with our own eyes and ears. One of our friends has been to Zandari Festa twice and told us it’s completely insane in a really fun way. He also told us how friendly people are and how enthusiastic everyone is about good music.

2) What can people expect from a New Investors live show?

People can expect a happy surf party where they will experience a band full of summery, beachy energy and sparkling with joy. We really hope people will be ready to party and dance with us.

3) For fest-goers not familiar with The New Investors yet, what should they know about you?

They should definitely check out our music online in advance so they can sing along to our songs as they are quite catchy. If they don’t have the time for that they should be aware that we’re from Copenhagen, but our music sounds like it comes from a much warmer climate.

4) Aside from performing, what else would you like to do during Zandari Festa 2016?

We’re looking forward to meeting and partying with a lot of nice and cool people and music lovers and to experiencing the Korean music scene. We definitely want to check out what the Korean scene is all about to get new inspiration. And we’re all very excited to try some delicious Korean food.

5) If you can go drinking with another Zandari Festa act, who do you want it to be?

Brilliant question! We haven’t really had the chance to check out any of the other acts so far. So any recommendations are much appreciated, we love surprises. Even though most of us are not that much into reggae NST & The Soul Sauce looks like a bunch of fun guys that you definitely want to hang out with. The Barberettes look promising, and Buiret seem like they really have something seriously good going on.

 

 

Still Two Weeks Left to Apply For Zandari Festa ’16

The fifth edition of Zandari Festa is set to take place in Seoul from September 30 to October 3. And for any homegrown talent and overseas acts interested in applying to play at Korea’s largest music showcase festival – guess what … you still have a few weeks left to apply!

Zandari

This fall’s fest will feature 150 acts gigging in 10 Hongdae clubs. Artist applications are being accepted from musicians from all around the world until July 31. It’s free to apply and past artists have included K-pop acts, thrash metal bands, and literally every musical style in between. The English Zandari Festa ’16 application form can be found here.

The lineup for Zandari Festa ’15 boasted bands from 15 different countries including Lightcraft from Jakarta, Indonesia who had an amazing time at the affair.

Lightcraft @ Zandari Festa ' 15
Lightcraft @ Zandari Festa ‘ 15

“We’d never played a show in South Korea before, so to pop our cherry at Zandari Festa 2015 was just perfect,” says Lightcraft vocalist and guitarist Imam Wisaya Surataruna. “We met some of the loveliest people one could ever imagine meeting in one’s life and played to an audience that were just so supportive.”

Having toured in places like India, Singapore, Malaysia, and Canada in the past, the group knew they wanted to make the most out of their short visit to Korea for Zandari Festa. In addition to playing their official festival showcase, they also attended some of the event’s daytime conferences and made their way to the official after party that closes out the festival each year. Meeting as many people as they could, their networking efforts paid off and helped paved the way for Lightcraft to earn an invite to the Liverpool Sound City festival this past spring.

“The gigs that we played were unforgettable as well – to have South Koreans approaching us for selfies after our set was pretty cool,” says Surataruna. “The conference was great too, as we managed to meet very important folks in the industry, with one of them being the man behind Liverpool Sound City. It eventually led to us being given the opportunity to play that festival, which was a milestone in our journey. And the after party was amazing too. Free drinks, and a who’s who of the South Korean and international music scene, and you’ve got yourself a party to remember for the rest of your life!”

Lightcraft have nothing but praise for Zandari Festa and Surataruna says the band definitely would recommend for other international groups to hop on a plane and travel to Korea to participate in the festival.

“We’ve already spread the word to our fellow bands in Indonesia and Southeast Asia about performing at Zandari Festa. Let’s hope they’ve heeded our words. It’s a wonderful festival that will only bring about a whole world of good for any act. In fact, we would love nothing more than to play Zandari Festa again if possible!”

Seoul’s Used Cassettes are Zandari Festa veterans. The rock ‘n’ roll quartet participated in 2012’s inaugural bash, and have returned each year since.

“Used Cassettes came up in the Seoul DIY scene so ever since we heard about the festival we wanted to be involved,” says guitarist and vocalist Danny Arens. “We all really dig the international vision of the Zandari organizers. That first year we helped put together a Loose Union showcase at Zandari which is a great memory. The festival has come a long way since then. It’s nice to have such an influx of international bands coming into our stomping grounds in Hongdae.”

Used Cassettes @ Zandari Festa '14
Used Cassettes @ Zandari Festa ’14

The group released their sophomore full-length album, “Rock n Rills,” globally in May and the offering has netted the guys some pretty damn impressive press from the likes of first-rate music publications like Spin, Under the Radar, and Impose.

Fully aware of the benefits that can come from exposing more listeners around the world to your music, like Lightcraft, Used Cassettes also encourage overseas groups to take part in Zandari Festa and experience Korea’s indie scene.

“I do think it can be beneficial,” says Arens. “Ask any band who has toured in Korea and they’ll tell you that Korean audiences are amongst the best in the world. Koreans are awesome. Come out.”

Zandari Festa ’16 is accepting applications to perform until July 31. The English application form can be found here.

And here’s a highlight video from last year’s fest.

Zandari Festa 2015 – Five Questions with Uhnellys

Zandari Festa 2015 will take place in Hongdae from October 2 – 4.  In order to spotlight some of the talent performing at this year’s event, Korea Gig Guide and our friends at Do Indie are teaming up to ask a bunch of acts five simple questions.

Uhnellys Pic

For this installment, we’re talking with Kim from Uhnellys.  Uhnellys are a Tokyo duo whose music mixes hip-hop, post-punk, funk, jazz, and soul all into an awesome musical concoction.  Using looping pedals, Kim plays guitar, trumpet, and raps and sings — often all in the same song!  If there’s one band I’d recommend not missing at Zandari Festa 2015, it’s Uhnellys!  Now let’s get to Kim’s answers!

1) Why are you excited to be performing at Zandari Festa 2015?

This will be our first time performing in Korea. We’ve played in more than 10 countries around the world and had many great experiences in every place. I think we’re going to have an amazing time in Seoul too!

2) What can people expect from an Uhnellys live show?

They can expect to watch a real-time sampling performance. And they can expect to have a lot of fun as well.

3) For fest-goers not familiar with Uhnellys yet, what should they know about you?

Uhnellys’ music sounds like it is made by many people, but there are just two of us – me and Midi! We’ve released several albums and have shared our music in different countries around the world and throughout Japan. And we have played at Japan’s Fuji Rock Festival twice before.

4) Aside from performing, what else would you like to do during Zandari Festa 2015?

I want to find great music by Korean acts. I’m really interested by the Korean language and how different words are pronounced.

5) It’s important to stay hydrated at music festivals. What’s your festival drink of choice?

I like Chamisul soju!

Uhnellys will play in Hongdae on Saturday, October 3 at the Wowbook & Zandari Outdoor Stage at 3:20 pm and on Sunday, October 4 at Amp Live Club at 5 pm. For more information about Uhnellys, check out their Facebook page here.  To learn more about ZandariFesta 2015, you can check out the festival’s website here and its Facebook page here.

Zandari Festa 2015 – Five Questions with Nature Airliner

Zandari Festa 2015 will take place in Hongdae from October 2 – 4.  In order to spotlight some of the talent performing at this year’s event, Korea Gig Guide and our friends at Do Indie are teaming up to ask a bunch of acts five simple questions.

Nature Airliner

For this installment, we’re talking to Japanese vocalist Eiko Hosaka Tiernan and Canadian guitarist Laurier Tiernan from the Tokyo husband-and-wife folk duo Nature Airliner.

1) Why are you excited to be performing at Zandari Festa 2015?

Eiko: We are looking forward to meeting musicians from outside Japan, mostly from Asia.

Laurier: We were looking for a chance to play overseas more, and had been told by some industry insiders that we’d go over well in Taiwan or Korea, so this is a good chance to get that ball rolling.

2) What can people expect from a Nature Airliner live show?

Eiko: People have told us that they walk away from our shows feeling “refreshed” and “healed”.

Laurier: We’re pretty intense on stage, despite it only being two vocals and one guitar, because our personalities are quite different. So, our interactions tend to create sparks, both when we’re playing, and in our onstage banter.

3) For fest-goers not familiar with Nature Airliner yet, what should they know about you?

Eiko: We are a wife-and-husband folk duo, so when we sing love songs, those are real love songs.

Laurier: We are old-school folk. We like to keep it simple and clean. We strive to bring quality songs to people in an unmitigated way. I guess we strive to inspire, like Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Joni Mitchell before us.

4) Aside from performing, what else would you like to do during Zandari Festa 2015?

Eiko: I’d like to get to know other musicians and make connections in the Korean music industry.

Laurier: Yes, I’d like to network as well.

5) It’s important to stay hydrated at music festivals. What’s your festival drink of choice?

Eiko: Water.

Laurier: Yes, water, always. Please.

Nature Airliner will play in Hongdae on Sunday, October 4 at West Bridge Rooftop at 8 pm.
For more information about Nature Airliner, check out their Facebook page here.  To learn more about Zandari Festa 2015, you can check out the festival’s website here and its Facebook page here.

Zandari Festa 2015 – Five Questions with Shima Shima Electric

Zandari Festa 2015 will take place in Hongdae from October 2 – 4.  In order to spotlight some of the talent performing at this year’s event, Korea Gig Guide and our friends at Do Indie are teaming up to ask a bunch of acts five simple questions.

Shima Shima Electric

For this installment, we’re talking with bassist Natsuki Hirano from Japanese bass-and-drums rock duo Shima Shima Electric.

1) Why are you excited to be performing at Zandari Festa 2015?

We want to perform around the world and we want people from all over the world to know about our band.  Zandari Festa is Korea’s largest showcase festival and features many great Korean and overseas acts so we feel really honored to be performing there.  We hope we can learn lots of things from all the other bands we’ll meet and play with.

2) What can people expect from a Shima Shima Electric live show?

We have only a bass-and-drums setup, but the deep and profound sounds we create will make you think that there’s more than just two of us playing!  Since both of us sing, we’re also able to use our voices to add more depth to the music.  I think the thrilling sounds of our bass-and-drums-driven songs will excite people at Zandari Festa who are seeing us for the first time.

3) For fest-goers not familiar with Shima Shima Electric yet, what should they know about you?

Yoko and I started Shima Shima Electric in March 2012 and released our first music video in June 2012 for our song “Space Pusher.”  In July 2014, we put out our full-length debut, “Kagakuno Kodomo.”  We’ve collaborated with Yuji Katsui from the popular Japanese band Rovo in the past, and in March of this year we did our first American tour.

4) Aside from performing, what else would you like to do during Zandari Festa 2015?

If we have time, we would like to eat Korean food and experience Korean culture.  This will be our first time visiting Korea, so we’re looking forward to walking around the streets and meeting Korean people.  In Japan, many people love Korean dramas, study Korean, and are very interested in learning about Korea.  We want to be able to speak Korean one day.

5) It’s important to stay hydrated at music festivals. What’s your festival drink of choice?

While we’re in Korea for Zandari Festa, we want to drink baekseju.  A friend gave us some before and it was so delicious!

For more information about Shima Shima Electric, check out their Facebook page here. To learn more about Zandari Festa 2015, you can check out the festival’s website here and its Facebook page here.

Still Time to Apply for Zandari Festa 2015!

Seoul’s annual Zandari Festa is the largest music showcase fest in the country, and since launching in 2012 has rightfully sat high on autumn’s list of things to do for many indie music fans in Korea.

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Zandari Festa 2015 is happening in Hongdae from October 2 – 4. For any musicians out there, Zandari Festa is accepting applications from acts until July 31. The festival is open to all performers regardless of nationality or musical style. Want a shot at playing? Just fill out the English application form here. Something very cool about Zandari Festa is that while many international music showcase festivals charge acts to apply, Zandari Festa doesn’t.

This year’s event will feature over 200 Korean and international bands performing throughout Hongdae in more than 20 different venues. And just like past editions, fans can access all of the shows with one wristband.

Korean post-rock/post-hardcore hybrid band Apollo 18 have played at every Zandari Festa that has been held so far. The group’s bassist, Daeinn Kim, is a big fan of what Zandari Festa is trying to do.

“I think Zandari is a big party,” he says. “It’s kind of like Korea’s SXSW. Zandari is only a few years old now – and is still growing up – but I think it’s going to become a very famous fest in Korea.”

When asked why Zandari Festa is good for Korean and international bands, his answer is simple.

“Famous bands, not famous bands – every band can play at Zandari. All musicians can enjoy this cool festival together.”

Crying Nut played at the first Zandari Festa and returned to perform again last year.

“It’s very, very fun,” says accordionist Insoo Kim about the event. “I got to hang out with lots of musicians and music industry people from all over the world at Zandari Festa 2014. I had a great time with people from England, Germany, and also Russia too. But I think I drank too much last year!”

As part of Crying Nut, Insoo has toured in Asia, North America, and Europe and has performed at large club-style festivals like SXSW in Texas and CMW in Toronto. And even with having played at those renowned outings, Zandari Festa is still tops in his books.

“I think it’s the ultimate city festival in the world,” he says. “All bands and musicians are considered equal and are treated like friends. And for musicians and music fans, we have the chance to make new friends from all around the world during Zandari Festa.”

Zandari Festa 2015 will be accepting applications until July 31. For more information, visit the fest’s official website here.

Zandari Festa 2015 Poster

Billy Carter Releasing Their Debut EP at Tonight’s Second Saturdays Gig

Billy Carter are playing a special album release concert tonight (June 13) for their debut EP at Ruailrock in Hongdae.

Billy Carter 1

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.”

billy carter 2

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.

billy carter poster

Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio Touring and Recording in France

Seoul dance-rock act Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio started their France tour at Midem in Cannes last night as part of the K-Pop Night Out showcase at the festival.  Along with their appearance at Midem, the group will also be playing gigs in Saint-Étienne and Paris before returning back to Korea on June 17.

Rock 'N' Roll Radio

Formed in 2011, the quartet were all formerly techs for YB and members also played in a number of smaller local acts including Go Go Beat, Anti-Roman, and Burning Flowers before coming together as Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio.  The group started last year on a high note by winning the Korean Music Award for “Rookie of the Year” and went on to do US tours in both March and October that saw them playing at SXSW, CAAMFest, CMJ, and Culture Collide.  Before their performance at the latter, LA Weekly pegged the band as one of the top groups to see and gave them a glowing recommendation saying, “…when you hear their laser-funk guitars and epic choruses, you realize Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio is light years ahead of what most Americans associate with K-Pop. In other words, they’re the band we should be talking about.”

Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio’s current France trek marks their first time gigging in Europe.

“Europe is very far from Korea so we’re definitely excited about this experience,” said guitarist and vocalist Naehyun Kim before flying to France.  “It’s always awesome to be able to play in new and interesting places.”

“Last year was our first time touring abroad.  While we were in the US we felt that the world was so big and wide, and we realized that we wanted to try and see as much of it as possible as Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio.”

Along with playing concerts, Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio will also be recording some music while they are in Paris.  The group will be spending a few days in the studio with producers Gregory Louis and Romain Tranchart.  Lewis used to be in the French band Aloud while  Tranchart played in the band Modjo.  Some may remember Modjo from their early 2000s worldwide hit, “Lady.”

“We’ve never worked with a producer before so this will be a completely new experience for us,” said Kim.  “The plan is to release an EP with the new songs in Korea and France.  It’ll probably come out around August or September.”

Between their shows and recording, Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio have a pretty full schedule in France.  But when they do manage to find a bit of down time, what do the group hope to do?

“I want to eat French food and meet French women,” said Kim.  “Beautiful girls always motivate us, and we’ve heard France has the most beautiful women in Europe!”

RNRR June 11 poster

Here are Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio’s France tour dates:
June 11 Saint-Étienne, France @ Thunderbird Lounge
June 15 Paris, France @ Le Buzz

RNRR June 15 Poster

And the band will also be playing in Korea on July 25 as part of the Ansan M Valley Rock Festival.