Category Archives: Uncategorized

Zandari Festa 2015 – Five Questions with Burning Hepburn

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.

Burning Hepburn

For this installment, we’re talking with vocalist and guitarist Wonsuk Song from the Korean punk band Burning Hepburn.

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

There are several big music festivals in Korea, but Zandari is a music festival held in Hongdae and all off the bands are participating voluntarily. These things make Zandari an exciting and highly anticipated event.

2) What can people expect from a Burning Hepburn live show?

We haven’t had many chances to play gigs recently because we’ve been working on a new album. But at Zandari Festa, we’re going to release all of our pent-up energy.

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

People who have seen us perform or have listened to our music have told up that our music is very moving. And some people have said our music is like their own life story. For anyone who is not familiar with us, please come check us out with an open mind!

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

We want to watch lots of other bands play.

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

Beer!

For more information about Burning Hepburn, 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.

Pentaport Celebrates Its Tenth Anniversary with Another Memorable Outing

Written by Brian Gilbert and Nadia Arnold

There is nothing like that feeling of walking out of the subway station at the end of Line 1 and hearing music from the main Pentaport Stage pounding in the distance. Music charges the air and the electricity of the moment can be felt throughout your body. After all, this is what the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival does best: music.

Pentaport

Now in its tenth year, Pentaport remains one of the country’s top summer outings and features plenty of cool acts from around the world playing over the course of three days. From when the first indie bands took the stage around lunchtime each day right through until the final acts finished up in the wee hours of the morning, the music never stopped. As each performer took their final bow, festival goers marched to the next stage as another amazing act was just starting up. At an international rock festival of this magnitude, being able to go from stage to stage and band to band with ease is heaven. The main Pentaport Stage and the secondary Dream Stage were situated incredibly close together with the Dream Stage protected from the booming sounds of the main stage by its domed enclosure. Meanwhile, the smaller Shinhan Card Stage was great for checking out more independent acts playing their hardest as they reached out to the plethora of new fans waiting around every corner of the Pentaport grounds. Visiting these three areas amounted to all of about a 10-minute walk, leaving festival goers ample time to see as much of the array of bands as they wanted.

Penta Dream Stage
The Dream Stage (photo courtesy of the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival/ Yescom Entertainment)

To ensure everyone had a non-stop rock experience, in addition to the three bigger stages, Pentaport added on even more in order to keep the entire grounds filled with music. In a clearing behind the back lawn of the Pentaport Stage seating area, there was a much smaller stage called the Zippo One Love Stage. Groups such as Kim Banjang and Windy City, No. 1 Korean, and South Carnival played there after their performances on the Pentaport Stage providing an awesome opportunity to see them again in a more intimate setting.

This year, there was still one more stage for people to see, and the beauty of the final one was that you didn’t even need a ticket to check it out! The Uprising Open Stage was set up outside of the venue and was free for everyone to attend. Seeing up-and-coming Seoul alt-rock trio Guten Birds playing their soundtrack to the thundering rains on the Uprising Open Stage was definitely one of the weekend’s musical high points.

Inside the gates, there were plenty of other highlights too. Saturday’s headliners, Seotaiji Band, ignited the crowd with their impressive performance. Topping Sunday’s bill, The Prodigy were probably one of the weekend’s biggest surprises for us.  The thumping sounds of songs like “Breathe” and “Firestarter” from the group’s 1997 chart-topping album “The Fat of the Land” and the title track from their most recent full-length offering, March’s “The Day Is My Enemy,” must have been heard many kilometers away from the venue!

Photo courtesy of the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival/ Yescom Entertainment
The Prodigy (photo courtesy of the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival/ Yescom Entertainment)

Larry’s Pizza from China were an energizing wakeup call late Saturday morning on the Shinhan Card Stage. Hongdae regulars Maan put on an absolutely incredible show Saturday afternoon – even if it only lasted for 18 minutes! And Annyeongbada played a great ethereal set following Seotaiji on Saturday night.

Each year at pretty much every festival, concert goers say things like “How will they top this?”, “Nothing will be as good as _____,” etc. However, we all know there’s always something extraordinary to look forward to next year. More and more people will line the streets and more and more music will pound into our eardrums as long as Pentaport keeps lighting up Incheon one weekend a year with some of the best music the planet has to offer. Congrats on your tenth birthday Pentaport, we can’t wait to see what you present to music fans over the next decade!

Photo courtesy of the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival/ Yescom Entertainment
(photo courtesy of the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival/ Yescom Entertainment)

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.

Zandari Festa 2015 – Five Questions with Romantiqua

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.

Romantiqua

For this installment, we’re talking with drummer Anton Brinza from Seoul spacey instrumental rockers Romantiqua. How to describe the group’s sound? Well, imagine Earth is being invaded by aliens and pitched in its final battle for survival. Romantiqua is there belting out a sonic serenade to our final moments. No one really knows if we’ll survive this moment, but it sure as sh#t feels epic! The band recently released a new recording and last month played both the Ansan Valley Rock Festival and Jeju’s Stepping Stone Festival. Now let’s get to Brinza’s answers!

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

For musicians like us who play in Hongdae frequently, Zandari Festa is like the best slice of pie in the shop. It’s an exciting weekend in Hongdae, when the indie music center of the country becomes even more lively, engaging, and approachable than it normally is. Somehow, given the chaos of clubs and timetables and people and energy, it’s always a relaxing weekend.

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

The answers to all of life’s problems.

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

We’re an instrumental band on the Gogol Records label. Even though we’re labeled as a post-rock group, we straddle a fine line when it comes to the expected post-rock sound. There are a lot of different influences going on in our music, and some people aren’t really comfortable calling us post-rock. If we’re doing it correctly, then someday we hope to earn the label “Romantiqua-rock.” Or I prefer “Romantiquaesque.” Even if it takes twenty or more years, that’s sort of what all artists strive to attain. Also, one of our members has a love affair with chocolate, and a lot of people think that two of the band members are foreigners, but there is only one.

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

Zandari provides the perfect opportunity to check out new bands, or established bands that you’ve heard about but never had a chance to see live. The timetables may look chaotic, but the festival is actually organized so well that there’s never much of a problem. The long sets that all of the bands get really make it manageable. And with more international groups and promoters coming every year it’s becoming a really great place to network.

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

Romantiqua’s Romance Tips, #42: If you see a pretty girl or an attractive fellow with a cocktail, ask what they’re drinking. Claim that you’ve never tried that particular drink before and that you’re dying of curiosity. Take a sip when they offer, act impressed. Flirt accordingly. This is also effective, to a certain extent, when you’re low on cash!

For more information about Romantiqua, 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 Djang San

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.

Djang San

For this installment, we’re talking with China-based French artist Djang San. With 30 albums and a number of accolades under his belt, Djang San has long been involved in Beijing’s underground music scene and has been churning out a rock-y blend of folk-inspired crossover music for well over a decade. Now let’s get to his answers!

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

This will be the first time I play in Korea and also the first time I go to Korea. I am looking forward to discovering Seoul and the underground music there as well as Korean music culture. As I live in Beijing, I’m hoping to come back to Korea again for more festivals in the future.

2) What can people expect from a Djang San live show? 

Something they have never heard or seen before; a mix of present and past, rock music, jazz music, folk, and more – all put in a blender. Add to that influences from Hendrix, Zappa, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Radiohead, Joy Division, and Nirvana played through a 2,500-year-old electrified Chinese instrument and you’ll have a small idea of what the music of Djang San can be like live on stage.

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

Originally from Bordeaux in France, I came to China for the first time in the year 2000 and I have recorded over 30 albums, mostly doing cross-over stuff between Eastern and Western music based on Chinese instruments, but I have also recorded albums of electronic music, experimental music, rock music, and jazz. I also have a project as a one-man band, using loop machines and all kinds of synths as well as guitars and Chinese instruments. Using those machines and devices I can play folk, electro, and experimental music.

In early 2000, I became one of the first foreigners in China to write folk songs in Chinese inspired by the Beijing folk underground. In 2009 I became probably the first musician to record jazz standards using an ancient Chinese instrument called the zhongruan which I have been playing since 2002. In 2014, I was nominated for “Folk Singer of the Year” by China Radio International. And in 2014 and 2015 I created my own self-designed electric zhongruan and my own electric pipa thus extending even more the possible use of these instruments into modern music.

I have played a lot of festivals in China over the years including Midi, Zebra, Croisements, and many more.  In January 2015, I started my own music showcase event called The Beijing Underground Showcase.

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

I’d like to explore Seoul of course, and I’d like to play a few more gigs in town as well. I think it will also be a great opportunity to meet new people, musicians, artists, and a new audience too. I’d also like to party and am looking forward to attending some of the Seoul parties people have been telling me about.

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

Whiskey, gin tonic, water … if you want me to say the name of a famous drink brand, make them pay me first!

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

Ansan Valley Rock Festival Ends with Some Messy Noisy Fun‏

By Jeff Moses and Trash Yang Moses

Have you ever thought that Boryeong Mud Festival would be a lot more fun if it was a music festival? Well in late July the Ansan Valley Rock Festival gave a glimpse of what that would be like. After two days of non-stop rain, thousands of people marching between the three stages, food vendors, and camping sites turned the once green field into a massive mud pit. Despite the fact that a large number of fest-goers were camping in these conditions all weekend, spirits were still high when two of this year’s biggest draws, Motörhead and the Foo Fighters, closed out Ansan’s main Big Top Stage on Sunday.

Ansan Mud
Photo by Trash Yang Moses

In the 1970s, Motörhead was once voted the worst band in the world in a poll that ran in NME magazine. Four decades later, crowds of people were filling up the lawn in front of the Big Top Stage more than an hour before the legendary act were scheduled to start their set. The band hit the stage at 7:15pm, and just to make sure everyone knew exactly what was about to happen, bassist and vocalist Lemmy Kilmister informed the crowd, “We are Motörhead. We play rock ‘n’ roll.” The crowd went nuts, and with that, the group kicked off a raging hour-long show with the song “We Are Motörhead” from their 2000 album of the same name. Their set included other greats like “The Chase Is Better than the Catch” and “Over the Top,” but noticeably missing, as it was at Japan’s Fuji Rock a few days prior, was “Killed by Death.” However, Motörhead made up for it by ending with their two biggest hits, “Ace of Spades” and “Overkill.”

726_13_Motorhead_03
Photo by CJ E&M

After Motörhead, most of the crowd moved over to the Green Stage to check out British electronic music act Rudimental. Those who stuck around at the Big Top Stage were surprised to see an enormous Foo Fighters banner drop to cover the entire front of the stage during the band’s extensive setup.

KS8_7671
Photo by CJ E&M

More than an hour later, the banner was raised and the Foo Fighters dove into their ninety-minute set with one of their most beloved tracks, “Everlong” from 1997’s “The Colour and the Shape,” a song that was their closer for years. As expected, Dave Grohl who suffered a broken leg after a fall during a gig in Sweden last month sat center stage in his newly constructed throne which was fittingly topped with a Korean flag. However, that took nothing away from energy of the show since despite being seated, Grohl still played his guitar, headbanged, and thrashed around while belting out his lyrics.

KS8_7699
Photo by CJ E&M

The band performed songs from all eight of their studio albums including “Something from Nothing” and “Congregation” from their most recent release, last year’s “Sonic Highways,” along with crowd favorites like “Monkey Wrench,” “My Hero,” and “All My Life.” Unlike years ago, the Foo Fighters do a lot more than just play through their hits these days. There was an extensive amount of jamming on a lot of the songs with extended intros, solos, and bridges. They even covered parts of tracks such as Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” and Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” while introducing each member of the group (except, funnily, Dave Grohl). This might not sound great to a lot of people, but it really added a lot to the show.

DSC_5827
Photo by CJ E&M

After the expected talk of how great the crowd was and coming back to Korea to play again, the Foos wrapped up their concert with “Times Like These” and “Best of You.” The latter featured a massive crowd sing-a-long during the “Oh” portion of the track before fireworks started exploding to celebrate the closing of the fest’s main stage.

fire
Photo by CJ E&M

 

 

Zandari Festa 2015 – Five Questions with Lightcraft

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.

lightcraft Band Photo

For this installment, we’re talking with vocalist and guitarist Imam Wisaya Surataruna from Lightcraft out of Jakarta, Indonesia. Formed in Kuala Lumpur back in 2004, Lightcraft mixes melodic vocals and harmonies with at times understated piano and guitar riffs as well as driving electric rhythms. They build their music out of emotion, and the melancholy which pervades their dreamy vocals combined with the instrumentation behind them makes for a truly ethereal experience. Now let’s get to Surataruna’s answers!

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

Well, it will be a first for us to be flying off to Seoul, so that is exciting enough for us! However, the most exciting aspect of being able to perform at Zandari Festa 2015 is the opportunity to play our first ever show in South Korea. We’ve played in India, Canada, and Singapore this year so far – we’re also playing in Malaysia later this month – but the thought of being able to play in South Korea in 2015 never crossed our minds, especially at a festival as massive as Zandari Festa and to a completely new audience, so we can’t wait!

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

Expect something different, and be prepared to be soothed and lulled by our songs. Of course, we’d like to tell people to be prepared to be blown away, but let’s just see how it goes, eh? Also, compared to our recordings, our live sets are more energetic and more dynamic, so it’ll be a completely different experience.

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

Lightcraft is an indie-rock/dream-pop band from Jakarta, Indonesia, but we were formed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during our university years. We grew up as a band there before we returned home to Jakarta. We have released one EP, two albums, and a mini-compilation cassette, and some of our influences include Snow Patrol, Coldplay, Doves, Elbow, Starsailor, Mew, and Sigur Ros. Check out our SoundCloud for samples of our music, or head on over to our YouTube channel to see videos of us playing live. We’ve played festivals and shows in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, India, and Canada, but this will be our first time performing in South Korea, and hopefully we can please all of the fest-goers at Zandari Festa with our show!

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

We will definite be going sightseeing around town, seeing as it’ll be our maiden visit to Seoul! However, our main aim is to check out as many bands as possible. We’ve been listening to some of the bands that will be playing Zandari Festa 2015 and they are really, really good! We heard that Sssighborg will be performing – well, they told us about it, actually – and we shared a stage with them last year in Singapore at Baybeats Music Festival 2014, so it’ll be great to see them again. We’re also hoping to make new friends as well, and make as many amazing memories as possible from our short visit!

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

Hot tea and water before and during our set. It’s essential to maintain our singing voices and keep our performance levels as high as possible. After that, we’ll definitely be grabbing a few pints of some Korean beer and some soju to celebrate!

For more information about Lightcraft, 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.

zandari_logo_fin

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

Ansan Valley Rock Fest Back With A Lineup That Won’t Disappoint

As was the case with many big events last year, the Ansan Valley Rock Festival was canceled due to the Sewol Ferry tragedy, but this summer it’s back and boasts another great lineup playing at the Daebu Sea Breeze Theme Park from July 24 – 26.

Ansan Lineup

Originally started in 2009 as the Jisan Valley Rock Festival, the event changed its location and name in 2013 and the Ansan Valley Rock Festival was born. In its first year with its new name, the Ansan Valley Rock Festival brought The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, My Bloody Valentine, Skrillex, and several other international acts to play alongside some of Korea’s best. This year, they’ve put together another lineup that is guaranteed not to disappoint.

Among the most notable international names on the 2015 lineup are Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Motörhead, The Chemical Brothers, Deadmau5, OK Go, and Twenty One Pilots. Arguably the biggest name this year, the Foo Fighters, was a bit of a question mark for a while after they canceled several tour dates in Europe, including a show at Glastonbury, due to frontman Dave Grohl’s broken leg. Thankfully, any worries of them canceling their Ansan appearance came to an end when the band recently got back on the road. It looks like we’ll get to see them after all and with Dave Grohl in his newly constructed throne no less.

Festival D'ete De Quebec

Seeing big-name bands in Korea is always exciting, but one of the things that makes Korean music fests even more fun is getting to watch what some of the top local bands – whether they be seasoned vets or fresh-faced up-and-comers – that are often seen in Hongdae clubs can do on a full-size festival stage. We checked in with a few Korean indie bands playing at Ansan Valley Rock Festival to get their thoughts about the event.

Apollo 18 bassist Daeinn Kim (Saturday afternoon at 2:50 pm on the Green Stage):

Can you introduce your band and the kind of music you play?
We’re Apollo 18 and we play loud and heavy hardcore, post-rock, and psychedelic music.

What are you looking forward to the most about playing the Ansan Valley Rock Festival?
Being at the Ansan Valley Rock Festival is always awesome. It is like going to an amusement park to us. We’re stoked about seeing all the amazing things that are going to happen at this year’s festival.

What other acts should people make sure they see at the fest?
Motörhead is like a father to rock bands. So many rock musicians have listened to their music and watched their live show when they were growing up. You must see them!

1Ton singer/guitarist Taeseob Won (Sunday night at 2:30 am on the Tune Up Stage):

Can you introduce your band and the kind of music you play?
We’re a three-piece band who debuted with our first EP album, “Tiny Old Tape,” in July 2014. We play fast punk songs with pop melodies, and we try to write lyrics that show what we really think about things.

What are you looking forward to the most about playing the Ansan Valley Rock Festival?
We mostly perform in Hongdae so a lot of the time we see the same Hongdae people at all of our shows. At the Ansan Valley Rock Festival we are so excited to show our music to more people who have never heard us before.

What other acts should people make sure they see at the fest?
Foo Fighters! I know everyone is already excited about them. I can’t wait to see them, too!

Wasted Johnny’s bassist Nils Germain (Sunday night at 12:30 am on the Tune Up Stage):

Can you introduce your band and the kind of music you play?
We’re Wasted Johnny’s, a trio that plays rock music influenced by blues and garage rock.

What are you looking forward to the most about playing the Ansan Valley Rock Festival?
Playing these kinds of events is a chance for us to test ourselves on big stages. It’s a completely different experience than playing in a small club. You have to sound bigger and move a lot because otherwise you look and feel like tiny ants on those big stages. We only have 30 minutes at Ansan and we have to give all we can to make a great show to please our own fans that waited all day to see us and also impress people that have never heard us before.

What other acts should people make sure they see at the fest?
Of course Motörhead and the Foo Fighters!

Romantiqua Drummer Anton Brinza (Sunday night at 1:30 am on the Tune Up Stage):

Can you introduce your band and the kind of music you play?
We’re Romantiqua. We’re an instrumental band from Seoul that falls somewhere in the post-rock/psychedelic genre. Our sound is at once atmospheric and heavy, rooted in classic rock but also experimental.

What are you looking forward to the most about playing the Ansan Valley Rock Festival?
We played Ansan Valley Rock Festival two years ago, so we’re hyped to be going back, especially this year with the Foos and Motörhead playing. Those bands are heroes for musicians like us, so to be playing on the same day and at the same event as them is incredible. One of the things we most look forward to about opportunities like this is the chance to reach a wider audience. And with the festival atmosphere it’s fun to meet and interact with a lot of new and different people.

What other acts should people make sure they see at the fest?
Our stage should be a super fun time. Wasted Johnny’s and 1Ton are playing with us on that stage, which starts Sunday night after the Foo Fighters finish. The Koxx are back, so they should be a pretty cool act to see. And of course Apollo 18 and Galaxy Express, those groups always put on killer shows at big events like this.

Harry Big Button singer/guitarist Sungsoo Lee (Sunday afternoon at 2:10 pm on the Big Top Stage):

Can you introduce your band and the kind of music you play?
Harry Big Button is three-piece band that plays hard rock.

What are you looking forward to the most about playing the Ansan Valley Rock Festival?
We played at 2012 Valley Rock Festival and it was absolutely amazing. It’s a great pleasure to play at the Ansan Valley Rock festival again this year. I’d love to see people moshing, making circle pits, and a wall of death during our set because this is a rock festival! And also Harry Big Button is doing a special collaboration at the festival with one of the Korea’s best hip-hop artists, Garion. So don’t miss our set!

What other acts should people make sure they see at the fest?
Definitely Motörhead and Foo Fighters.

The Ansan Valley Rock Festival runs from Friday July 24th through Sunday July 26th. Three-day tickets are available for 234,000 won in advance (260,000 won at the gates), and one and two-day passes are available for 135,000 won in advance (150,000 won at the gates) and 198,000 won in advance (220,000 won at the gates). Tickets can be bought in English here. For more information about the festival, visit the festival’s website.

Click on the photo below to check out the time table for the festival.

Fest Schedule

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.”

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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