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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

Glastonbury to Get a Taste of Juck Juck’s “Psycho”-delic Rock

Juck Juck Grunzie have been a fixture of the Korean indie scene for nearly a decade. As their name indicates, they trace some of their musical heritage back to the grunge sound of the early ’90s, but their music is perhaps best described as psychedelic noise rock. Drawing inspiration from a diverse range of musicians from Bjork to King Crimson, their at times slow and sludgy sound can surprise you by giving way to frenzied chorus lines and unexpected blasts of raw attitude.

Juck Juck Grunzie 1

The band recently announced that they had been invited to perform in late June at one of Europe’s most renowned music festivals, Glastonbury. Despite this recognition, they remain committed to a DIY ethic, working with the support of other bands in the community and organizing their own tours. When I arrived at the cafe for our scheduled interview, they were busy booking their own plane tickets for their upcoming tour. I sat down with vocalist/keyboardist Ahreum Lee and guitarist Jeehye Ham to discuss their upcoming shows.

Of course the first thing I asked them about was their reaction to being picked to play Glastonbury. When they heard the news, the band had just finished a typically powerful set and was instantly reduced to tears. “The first time we heard from the promoter that we’d been accepted, we cried. We all hugged and cried,” Ahreum explained. “We’re really happy and excited to play as it’s such a great festival with a great history.” Despite the importance that such international exposure could hold, they are trying to stay grounded and are cautious about describing this as their big break.

Juck Juck Grunzie 4 (photo by Dirk Schlottmann)

Juck Juck has gone through many changes both musically as a band and personally as individuals since emerging in 2007. Having released their first EP, “Soundchecking,” in 2011, they finally released their full-length debut, “Psycho,” in late 2013. Guitarist Jeehye explained that while they started out quite focused on developing a certain sound, now they are more comfortable and confident with their style. Ahreum sees the band as an extension of herself: “It’s hard to describe because it’s like talking about your life and getting old and you’ve been changed, right. So when we change, our music also changes.”

Having been somewhat intimidated about interviewing a band who are known for their aggressive and impassioned performances, I was taken aback to find myself the only person with a beer in hand. It was Friday night after all, and most of my experiences told me that this was a prerequisite to the whole rock ‘n’ roll thing. Surprisingly, Ahreum informed me the band prefers to stay dry. “We’re like grannies,” she joked. “We like to sit in a room and chat with cookies. We love tea but don’t drink alcohol.”

Two of my favorite Juck Juck songs to see performed live are their rollicking rendition of Dead Kennedys’ “Too Drunk to Fuck” and the title track of their last album, “Psycho”. I asked them about the meaning behind the latter, which has become their trademark. As it turns out, it is based on an incident experienced by Jeehye’s mother who, before Jeehye was born, was knocked unconscious after inhaling carbon monoxide fumes from burning coal briquette, a traditional method for warming homes in Korea. She survived, coming to only after hearing the words “psycho, psycho” whispered in her ear.

Having played shows at the 2012 Jisan Valley Rock Festival, City Break 2013, and the Spring Scream Festival in Taiwan in 2013, the band is amped about their upcoming European tour with shows in Germany and the UK. To date, their most memorable gig was at the old anti-eviction squatter struggle known as Duriban in Hongdae. Ahreum described the scene vividly to me: “We played on the third floor at Duriban and the whole floor was wobbling because everyone was jumping together in excitement.” She felt a sense of unity that would be hard to replicate, “[At that moment] everyone shared the same goal and the same mind in the same space.”

This sense of unity, family and community was a recurring theme throughout our interview. When I asked if there was enough support for local music, Ahreum suggested that it would be good to see public funding going into supporting smaller shows where local bands can receive the attention they deserve. She feels that it can be difficult to get recognition at larger shows when there are big name acts playing. The band also made it clear that they are grateful for the support of other bands and musicians in the local scene. “We want to thank the people and bands that have supported us,” Ahreum said.  “We play shows and tour DIY style and so without their support and help, we couldn’t make it.”

In this DIY vein, Ahreum held a public gig-slash-wedding party with husband and fellow musician Adam Hickey of band New Blue Death. A number of her friends were hesitant to come out at first despite it being their wedding day as they had never been to an indie show before and didn’t know what to expect. Juck Juck hopes to break down these barriers and Ahreum said she would like to see more people feeling confident enough to come out to shows: “Even if you’re alone, you can enjoy the show.”

Fortunately, you’ll have the chance this weekend to do just that as Juck Juck are holding a fundraiser concert at Mudaeruk to help them cover their European tour costs.  Known for electrifying crowds with their dynamic stage presence, the band promises to put on an energetic performance on Sunday, June 14 and is even perfecting a taekwando-inspired dance routine for the show. Until their first fundraiser show last Saturday at DGBD, the band had been on hiatus for three months, so this is a great opportunity to get to see them before they head of to take on Europe. Sunday’s show will start in the afternoon and will include a flea market and non-stop performances from a total of eight bands including Apollo 18, Hellivision and Vidulgi Ooyoo. Juck Juck will also be unveiling two brand new songs that will most likely wind up on their next recording, a work in progress they hope to complete by next spring.

Juck Juck Grunzie -- Jeehye 3 (photo by Dirk Schlottmann)

As for what keeps them going, besides the music there is a clear feeling of camaraderie between the members; they see the band as a family. Jeehye explained, “To put it simply, we don’t just make music, it’s about our relationship.” The band also wants to grow their community, inviting fans, old and new alike, to come out to see their shows and get involved in the local scene. Ahreum extends an open invitation: “We hope that those people reading this article will come out to our shows and get involved in our community.”

Juck Juck Grunzie play on Sunday, June 14.  The concert is a fundraiser show for their European tour and and will also include sets by Apollo 18, Hellivision, Ludistelo, Ankle Attack, Danppyunsun and the Sailors, Victim Mentality, and Vidulgi Ooyoo.  Tickets are 15,000 won and the show will run from 2 pm – 9 pm.  For more information, check out the concert’s Facebook event page here.

Here are the set times for Sunday’s concert:
2:00 – 2:40 Juck Juck Grunzie
2:40 – 3:30 Apollo 18
3:30 – 4:20 Dan Pyunsun and the Sailors
4:20 – 5:10 Hellivision
5:10 – 6:00 Ankle Attack
6:00 – 6:50 Vidulgi Ooyoo
6:50 – 7:50 Ludistelo
7:50 – 8:40 Victim Mentality

June 14 Poster

And here are Juck Juck Grunzie’s European tour dates:
June 25 Pilton, UK @ Glastonbury Festival (Pussy Parlure)
June 26 Pilton, UK @ Glastonbury Festival (Gully Outernational)
June 30 London, UK @ Windmill Brixton
July 1 Berlin, Germany @ Kantine am Berghain
July 4 Berlin, Germany @ West Germany

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.

Still Patients After All These Years

Ten years after forming, Korean “hybrid punk” rockers Patients continue to evolve and grow and 2015 is shaping up as an amazing year for the trio. With a newly released high-energy album called “18″ to showcase and a return trip to the UK coming up, we thought it was time for a catch up with the group, so we spoke with vocalist and bassist Sumin Jo about “18″ and Patients’ upcoming plans.

Patients 2015 - 2

You have been together since 2005, how have you grown as a band and changed your sound?

When I started the band, I was influenced by classic punk bands from the 1970s and wanted to be like them. But over the past decade, we’ve carved out our own identity.  Just copying other people’s style is not fun, so we’re continually trying new things in order to strengthen and expand our sound.

What has been the reaction since you moved to a keyboard-driven sound?

Our keyboardist Hyuckjang is like a one-man orchestra so he’s very helpful to the band!  Patients want to mix future-oriented sounds with elements of classic punk and Hyuckjang helps us do this.  Our old friends like the changes we’ve made.  And I like that we’re doing something different from other people.

Your new album, “18,” is full of energy and great for summer. What was the main inspiration for it?

In many ways, Korean society is in pain and many people have signs of darkness on their faces.  I think music is very important at this time and should help people who are searching for happiness.  That’s why we wanted to put bright songs on the album.  Most of the songs are energetic and sound upbeat, but some of the lyrics are a little sad.  However, I hope our music can comfort people and make them feel better.

How do you feel about the album now that it is out? What is each member’s favorite track?

Releasing this album gave me feelings of pleasure and pain – it kind of felt like what I imagine childbirth must be like!  My favourite song is “Let’s Drive, Let’s Go!”, Hyuckjang’s is “Hybrid Future,” and Jaehyuck’s is “R.I.P.”

You have Seoul shows coming up at Strange Fruit, Soundholic Festival 2015 Exit, and Sangsang Madang what can people expect from your live shows?

They can expect awesome playing and awesome songs.  We’re really excited about our new album and can’t wait to share the songs on it with everyone.

Steel Face Logo

Tell us about Steel Face Records and you intentions behind setting up your own label?

Steel Face Records was started so that Patients could have the ability to do whatever we wanted to.  Since it’s our own label, we have complete freedom to go in whichever direction we want.  We’re open to having others join us there too. So come on, let’s move forward together!

Who else is on Steel Face?

The other bands on Steel Face now are Cockrasher, One Hundred Blossom Club, and Dives.

You are heading off to the UK shortly for Liverpool Sound City. Why are you excited to play at the festival again?

We played at Liverpool Sound City for the first time last year and it was like being in heaven!  There were lots of cool groups and music fans from all over the world crowding the streets.  We were really happy to be a part of that.  We can’t wait to play there again in a few weeks!

How confident do you feel having already travelled there? Are you doing anything differently this time?

We explored around Liverpool a lot last year so we definitely have a good feel for the city now.  We think our two shows at the festival this year will be better and stronger than our performances in 2014 because we’ve got some great new music to share.  We’re really looking forward to seeing everyone at Liverpool Sound City again.

Lasting 10 years is a great effort for any band, do you have any advice for young bands coming through who want to last that long?

Being in a rock band can be hard sometimes and it can be challenging to find other band members that you trust and gel with.  But when you find those people, don’t hold anything back and move forward together.  Honestly, I don’t think we should be giving advice to young bands, but I do want to support them.  All of us should be fighting together!

Patients will play at Strange Fruit on Sunday night.  The show is being billed as a send off for Liverpool Sound City and also includes Dead Buttons and Monoban.  Tickets are 15,000 won and the show starts at 7 pm.

Strange Fruit Show

Here are Patients’ tour dates in the UK:
May 19 London, England @ Korea Cultural Centre UK
May 23 Liverpool, England @ The Heineken Tall Ship Stage (Kaskelot) – Liverpool Sound City
May 24 Liverpool, England @ The Cavern Stage – Liverpool Sound City

Patients UK Tour Poster

When they come back to Korea, Patients will play at Seoul’s Soundholic Festival 2015 Exit on May 30 and on June 12 the group will hold a special CD release concert for “18″ at Sangsang Madang in Hongdae.

are taking their new album “18” back to the UK very shortly, and will be gracing the stages at the Liverpool Sound City for the second time.  But you can catch them live at the Exit Soundholic Festival at the end of May. “18” is out now.

Sangsang Madang

French Miracle Tour Comes to Seoul

A trio of acts from France – Manceau, Juveniles, and Clarens – will play in Seoul on Monday, May 4 at Sangsang Madang as part of the French Miracle Tour.

Manceau previously played in Korea back in 2013 as part of the one-off Jisan World Music Festival, but for Juveniles and Clarens this will be their first time performing here.  To get folks prepared for Monday’s gig, all three acts answered a few questions for Korea Gig Guide.

Why are you excited about playing in Seoul as part of The French Miracle Tour?

Jean-Sylvain Le Gouic (Juveniles): Hearing Seoul was added to the tour was fantastic news! Going there with a lot of our friends is going to make for awesome memories. And the guys from Manceau are going to show us around as they’ve been there before.

Clarens: Apart from Manceau, none of us have ever been to Seoul. To be honest, I’ve never been this far from France before. And we’re going to have a few days off in the city, so this is going to be great. Playing abroad is always special as we’re all used to playing in France. So being able to play in another country is wonderful.

Vincent Roux (Manceau): It’s a great opportunity to be part of such an ambitious tour and to play in Asia again. Koreans have always been enthusiastic about our music. So this concert in Seoul is a very special date for us.

How were the bands for the bill selected?

Jean-Sylvain Le Gouic (Juveniles): We’re all friends and we’ve toured together countless times. Ousseynou Cissé  aka Clarens plays bass in Juveniles and both bands are signed to my label, Paradis Records. We also all practice in the same space and we all have the same sound guy so we’re pretty close.

Clarens: We’re all friends, we live in the same town, and we’ve know each other for a long time. We share the same manager and he’s wanted us to tour together for a while. I’m glad it’s actually happening!

Vincent Roux (Manceau): We all live in the same city and Rennes is quite a small place. We rehearse at the same place and share gear sometimes. We’re thrilled to be on the road with our friends. It’s going to be an amazing experience.

What can people expect from your performance in Seoul?

Jean-Sylvain Le Gouic (Juveniles): We’ve prepared a whole new show for the French Miracle Tour. It includes new songs from the record we’re working on at the moment, plus a lot of dancey songs.

Clarens: My set is going to be a good time to chill.

Vincent Roux (Manceau): We’ve just finished mixing our next album and we’re going to play a lot of new material in Seoul. We also have new versions of several tracks from “Life Traffic Jam” that we can’t wait to perform. Also, it’s very important for us to meet and talk with our Korean friends after the show. We want to know their feelings about our new songs.

Why should all music fans come to The French Miracle Tour show in Seoul?

Jean-Sylvain Le Gouic (Juveniles): The French Miracle Tour is a good representation of the variety in French pop music. It’s been tailored to make people smile and dance for the whole night!

Clarens: They should come to the show to discover what’s going on in France! There will be R&B, pop, and electronic music … what else do you need ?

Vincent Roux (Manceau): We all play pop music, but our influences are a bit different. We have some Britpop roots and we try to refresh the style, Juveniles plays subtle synth-pop which is both catchy and complex, and Clarens makes fascinating, warm R&B by using cold machines. So if you like modern pop, this concert is definitely the place to be.

The French Miracle Tour takes place on Monday night at Sangsang Madang.  The show starts at 7 pm and tickets are 55,000 won. Saram12saram will open the concert. For more information, visit the Facebook event page here.

French Miracle

 

Broke in Korea celebrates 10 years of underground music

About one decade ago, I was sitting around with Paul Brickey (guitarist of Rux, Suck Stuff, Heimlich County Gun Club). “We should start a zine,” Paul told me.

Things took off from there. Determined to find a name with “ROK” in it, we considered RagnaROK (too metal), bROKen, and unbROKen, before finally settling on bROKe, which suited us fine as at the time we were both unemployed and living off of more stable women.

Paul started the Broke in Korea message board, and I put together the first zine, released sometime in early spring 2005. Since then, over ten years, we’ve averaged two issues per year. Broke is always available for free, and usually we only print a few dozen copies and hand them out at a designated concert, serving formally or informally as a release party.

This time, marking its 10th anniversary, Broke in Korea is releasing issue 20 at Jogwang Studio/Jarip HQ in Chungmuro, with eight musical acts packed into the night from 19:00 to 23:00 on Saturday, April 4.  The show is 10,000 KRW.

These bands include some familiar names, as well as several new ones. The show will be headlined by melodic punk band …Whatever That Means, as well as hardcore acts Yuppie Killer and the Kitsches. Also supporting the lineup are anarcho-punk band Jordan River and experimental soloist Tyler Brown. The show will also introduce new audiences to Joongshiki, a rock group fronted by Jeong Joong-shik, former frontman of punk band Tungbin Braza, as well as the raw punk band Chong-kook and new wave band Her Collection.

Many of the acts will also be profiled in Broke in Korea 20, which will be available free of charge at the concert.

posterwebClick to RSVP.

For past issues of Broke in Korea, you can visit this page to download PDFs.

Return of Second Saturdays

It’s been almost half a year since the closure of Club Spot, and the punk scene in Hongdae still feels untethered, lacking a home like what Spot (and before that Club Drug/Skunk Hell) provided. But one of Korean punk’s best showcases is returning this Saturday, March 14, at its new home in the subterranean club Ruailrock next to Rolling Hall, near Sangsu Station.

“We were looking at several different places to move to, and Ruailrock just felt like the right place,” says Jeff Moses, the man behind World Domination, Inc. and the melodic punk band …Whatever That Means. “We really like the simple punk rock basement feel that it has. In general, the simplicity and size of it kind of reminds me of the local punk shows I grew up going to and the old days at Skunk Hell.”

The first Second Saturdays event of 2015 will feature five great bands from around Korea. As usual, …Whatever That Means will anchor the event. They’re joined by ska-punk stalwarts Skasucks, Gwangju skatepunk band BettyAss, garage rock band National Pigeon Unity, and fiery female-fronted rock band Diealright.

11010618_10152870327016492_3669075967133829977_nClick to RSVP

“When we started booking Second Saturdays, we just wanted to make a fun show where people could come out, have a good time, see bands from different genres playing together, and have a few drinks,” says Jeff. “And with how hit or miss weekends can be here in Hongdae, we wanted everyone to know that at least once a month, there’d be a regular show they could count on. That’s it. Good bands. Good people. Good times …and cheap drinks.”

Victim Mentality To Preview New Album at SXSW Send-Off Gig

Korean glam rockers Victim Mentality are one of 15 Seoul-based acts traveling to the States this month to perform at the massive South By Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival in Austin, Texas.  Before leaving for SXSW, the quartet are playing a special show on Friday night (March 6) at Club Ta in Hongdae to preview cuts from their soon-to-be released full-length debut, “Heavy Metal Is Back.”

Victim Mentality New Album Cover -- Heavy Metal Is Back

Formed in 2009 as a duo, Victim Mentality’s first recording, 2013’s five-track “Magic Finger,” was crafted by guitarist Kyungho Sohn and vocalist Krocodile.  Bassist Scorpion was brought on after the recording was finished.  When Victim Mentality started gigging behind “Magic Finger” they did not have a drummer yet.  So a drum machine was used at concerts until Tarantula was finally hired to handle drum duties.

Now more than year after the addition of Tarantula, Victim Mentality have finished their first album as a quartet, “Heavy Metal Is Back.”

“From the beginning, we wanted to be a foursome,” says Sohn.  “Working with four people is much easier and better for us.  I know there are some people that play as one-man bands, but I think it’s important for each member to be able to focus 100% on their instrument.  And a one-man band style doesn’t necessarily fit with the image of a ‘80s heavy metal band!

“When making ‘Magic Finger,’ I recorded the guitar and bass parts, but I wasn’t completely satisfied with the results.  On ‘Magic Finger’ we needed a bassist to make the arrangements.  On our new album, we have that!  The same thing goes for the drum parts.”

Following a similar sonic path as “Magic Finger,” “Heavy Metal Is Back” sees Victim Mentality continuing to pay tribute to the past by banging out anthemic cuts heavily inspired by ‘80s glam and hair metal.  Although the group are very serious about what they do, they don’t take themselves too seriously which is evident by their flamboyant costumes, and playful lyrics and stage antics.

According to Sohn, they like to have fun when working in the studio too.

“We laugh a lot when we record,” he says.  “Watching Krocodile record his vocal parts was quite the spectacle.  We also like to misbehave a bit when recording as well!  We told a lot of dirty jokes while we were recording the song ‘Is It My Child?’”

Photo by Esthero

Photo by Esthero

Although “Heavy Metal Is Back” won’t be officially released until the end of the month, the group will be taking copies of the disc with them to SXSW.  If the band’s suitcases are checked at all by customs workers, the albums will be easy to talk about.  The bullwhip that Krocodile uses during live shows, however, may be a bit more challenging to explain.

“We’re planning to bring the bullwhip with us to the US but haven’t given any thought to what we’ll say if any airport staff ask about it.  But if they don’t let us bring the bullwhip in the US it doesn’t really matter.  I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to find another one in Texas!”

Victim Mentality perform on Friday at Club Ta.  The show starts at 8 pm and tickets are 22,000 won.  Mimi Sisters will open the show.  And here are the band’s concerts during SXSW:

March 18 Austin, Texas (4:30 pm) @ Club Metropolis (Heavy Metal Pool Party)
March 18 Austin, Texas (9 pm) @ Karma Lounge
March 20 Austin, Texas (12 am) @ The Majestic (Korea Night II: Seoulsonic)

Victim Mentality Club Ta Poster

Shake Shop Ends on Feb. 14 with Apollo 18, Galaxy Express, Goonam, and … Whatever That Means

For the past two years, Korea Gig Guide has been co-presenting the Shake Shop concert series with Dream Dance Studio.  Held monthly, the event has seen some of the top talents in Seoul’s indie scene collaborating with bellydancer Eshe and her Navah troupe.  Since Shake Shop started in February 2012, here’s the complete list of acts that have performed at the show:

Galaxy Express, Kingston Rudieska, Rux, Jambinai, Hollow Jan, The Strikers, Smacksoft, Harry Big Button, Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio, Ludistelo, The Geeks, The Greatest Voyage, Asian Chairshot, Big Phony, Startline, ECE, A’z Bus, Streetguns, 4 Brothers, Momguamaum, Hellivision, Romantiqua, Viduldi Ooyoo, Yukari, Juck Juck Grunzie, Pavlov, Love X Stereo, Dead Buttons, Toyshop, Beatniks, Ninano Nanda, Summit Beatbox, Tengger, …Whatever That Means, Mojo Project Sound System, Sato Yukie, Counter Reset, Bad Trip, Wasted Johnny’s, Modsdive, My Way Killing, T-shirts Sunset, Yamagata Tweakster, National Pigeon Unity, Danpyunsun, Sugar Come Again, No. 1 Korean, Ynot?

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This Saturday (February 14), will be the final Shake Shop concert as the creator of the series, Seoul-based bellydancer Eshe, will soon be returning to her native Canada.  But Shake Shop will definitely be closing out on a high note as Saturday’s concert at Club Freebird 2 in Hongdae will see Eshe and Navah teaming up with Apollo 18, Galaxy Express, Goonam, and … Whatever That Means.

Apollo 18 picture

Saturday night will be Apollo 18’s first time playing Shake Shop.  However, the post-hardcore/post-rock trio have a long history with Eshe.  In 2009, they asked her to star in their “Orbis” music video and they have performed the track live with her as a special guest several times over the years.

“It’s always exciting to play with Eshe,” says bassist Kim Dae-inn. “Her dancing adds so much beauty to the world.”

The band are currently working on material for their long overdue follow-up to 2011’s “Black” EP.  Three new songs have been penned so far, and the band are hoping to start recording this summer.  But for now, Kim’s mind is on Apollo 18’s Shake Shop appearance with Eshe and Navah.

“For our next album, we need to think bigger,” he says.  “But now the most important thing is Apollo 18’s concert with bellydancers.  It’s going to be a wonderful performance of dance and music.”

Galaxy Express pic

Galaxy Express were a part of the February 2014 edition of Shake Shop, Shake Shop volume 12.  The psych-tinged garage rock group are excited about having the opportunity to help finish the series too.

“We’re so happy to be playing,” says bassist Lee Ju-hyun.  “It’s an honor to be a part of the lineup for the last Shake Shop.  We think it’s going to be a really fun and happy night.”

The band are putting the finishing touches on their fourth full-length offering and the plan is to issue the disc sometime this year.

“The music is more relaxed, simple, and free” says Lee.

Goonam Pic

Goonam have been on Eshe’s and Navah’s wish list for a long time.  And luckily schedules meshed and the four piece were able to join the final edition of Shake Shop.

“I think this will be a special experience,” says guitarist Joh Ung.  “I wanted to be a dancer when I was younger so this is a good fit for us.”

Like the other bands playing on Saturday night, Goonam’s retro-flavored rock is very different from traditional bellydance music.  But Joh doesn’t think that matters.

“Nice music complements nice sceneries,” he says.  “So nice dancing will be really good with nice music.”

WTM Pic

… Whatever That Means have also appeared at Shake Shop before.  The melodic punk act were a part of Shake Shop volume 9 back in October 2013.  Eshe and the band have been talking about teaming up again ever since.

“The first Shake Shop we played was so much fun,” says guitarist Jeff Moses. “We really didn’t know what to expect last time. I knew The Strikers had done Shake Shop, and they said it went well. Still, we weren’t really sure how it would go. Everything went really well though, and all the dancers were just so impressive. We knew right away that we’d want to do this again.

“Since then, we’ve become good friends with several of the ladies who do the show so this time should be even more fun. Add to that the great lineup for the final show, and how couldn’t we be excited?”

The band recently returned back to Korea after touring in Singapore and Malaysia in January.  They had previously toured Malaysia in 2010, but this was their first time doing dates in Singapore.

“The tour was great!” says Moses. “The last time we came down here, we were a really new band. We’d just released our first demo and nobody had heard of us before. We ended up playing most of our shows with hardcore and metal bands who we didn’t really fit in with. This time around, the lineups were a lot more balanced, a lot of people remembered us from the last tour, and a lot of people who didn’t know us listened to us online and watched our music videos before we came. All that just really helped us have more excited audiences to play for.

“One of the biggest highlights was definitely our show in Melaka. We honestly had low hopes for the show. It was on a Tuesday in a city with a really small scene, and we hadn’t seen a lot of advertising for it. We showed up at the venue, and there wasn’t anyone there at first, but over fifty people ended up coming out and they all went nuts! We were playing in a big practice room and everyone was jumping around and moshing. It was really cool.”

Shake Shop volume 20 will be the last edition of the Shake Shop concert series and takes place on Saturday, February 14 at Club Freebird 2.  Eshe and Navah will collaborate with Apollo 18, Galaxy Express, Goonam, and … Whatever That Means.  The show starts at 7:30 pm and tickets are 20,000 won with 1 free drink.  For more information, check out the Facebook event page for the show here.

Shake Shop 20 Daeinn Poster

Love X Stereo Offer New Tunes and a Good Excuse for Some Weekday Rockin’

Seoul electro-rock act Love X Stereo will play a special album release concert for their new “We Love We Leave, Part 1” EP on Tuesday, February 10 at Prism in Hongdae.

“We Love We Leave, Part 1” boasts two excellent new tracks that were written and recorded in December and early January.

“The new songs have more of a ‘80s synth-pop vibe,” offers vocalist and synthesizer player Annie Ko.

Along with the recently penned numbers, “We Love We Leave, Part 1” also features five re-recorded cuts from the group’s earlier EPs – “Glow” (2013), “Off the Grid” (2012), and “Buzzin’” (2011).  And while the original versions of all the selections were quite good, these updated takes are stronger and much more polished making them even more infectious.

“For the last three years, we’ve been experimenting,” shares Ko.  “We have learned a lot, experienced a lot, and thought now is the time to properly ‘define’ our music. We re-record some tracks because we wanted to enhance their sound quality and wanted to establish our style as a band.  We picked these tracks because they are our most beloved songs so far.”

Based on the EPs title – “We Love We Leave, Part 1” – most fans are probably already assuming that there will be a follow-up album coming at some point.  Although she’s mum on the exact details, Ko does confirm that another EP of tunes called “We Love We Leave, Part 2” will surface sometime in 2015.

SEOULSONIK 2014

Love X Stereo have been operating as a duo since parting ways with bassist Sol Han last November, but Pegurians drummer Jongkil Kim has been helping them out at gigs.  He’ll be with Ko and guitarist Toby Hwang for their February 10 show at Prism too.  And while Tuesday is not usually the most rocking of nights in Hongdae, Love X Stereo’s concert for “We Love We Leave, Part 1” will definitely be a good time.

“We designed this show more like a premiere,” says Ko.  “We now feel like we have a unique sound of our own. It took a while for us to get here, but the time was worth it.  On February 10, we’re going to showcase our brand new sound and give a brand new copy of ‘We Love We Leave, Part 1’ to everyone who shows up.  And also, Galaxy Express will be there to help us celebrate!  We’re going to have some serious fun that night.”

Love X Stereo plays on February 10 at Prism. The show starts at 8 pm and tickets are 15,000 won at the door. The entrance fee includes a free “We Love We Leave, Part 1” CD. Galaxy Express will open the concert. For more information, check out the show’s Facebook event page here.

Love X Stereo Poster