After taking a summer break, Shake Shop – the concert series co-presented by Dream Dance Studio and Korea Gig Guide – makes its return on Saturday, October 25. The bill will feature ECE, A’z Bus, and Romantiqua collaborating with bellydancers Eshe and Navah. While previous editions of Shake Shop took place at Club Freebird, starting from this month the shows will be held at the newer, more spacious Club Freebird 2.
Art rock quartet ECE formed in 2012 and came in third place at last year’s Hello Rookie finals. Walking away from the event with three million won in prize money, they used their winnings to help finance their first full-length, this August’s “Lift Me Glory.” A strong debut filled with dynamic cuts, the group had a good time making “Lift Me Glory,” especially when creating its wide array of noises.
“We did so many crazy things when we recorded our album,” says guitarist Geum Oh. “We tried to record different sounds by doing things like throwing pieces of metal, hitting things with hammers, and dropping chairs on the ground. It was a lot of fun experimenting to get the sounds we wanted.”
ECE are looking forward to performing alongside Eshe and her Navah troupe at Shake Shop vol. 17 and are quite curious to see how the collaboration develops.
“It’s an interesting concept for a show,” says Geum Oh. “And since seeing the song choices that the bellydancers asked to perform to, we’ve been dying to know how they will dance to our music.”
While ECE were one of the winners at 2013′s Hello Rookie, alt-rock trio A’z Bus are finalists at this year’s event which takes place on November 8. When asked why A’z Bus should be awarded the competition’s grand prize, guitarist and vocalist Woo Ju answers matter-of-factly “Because we’re so cool!”
“We’re very excited about being able to compete in the Hello Rookie finals,” she says. “And we’re a bit nervous too! But anyway, we’re just going to go and try and enjoy ourselves there.”
Composed of ex-members of Vending Machine and Sizose, A’z Bus started in September 2013. Working fast, they recorded their debut EP, “Smilecry,” less than three months later. The four-song effort was released this past April.
“My favorite part of making ‘Smilecry’ came when our engineer said we were done,” says Woo Ju with a laugh. “I shouted ‘Yeah! Let’s go and drink beer all night long!’
“All three of us are very different from each other. We have different personalities and like different styles of music. Having so many differences creates a lot of new and exciting possibilities for our music.”
In addition to their Hello Rookie nod, “Smilecry” also helped A’z Bus earn a slot at this summer’s Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival. Hoping to continue to build upon the success they’ve had in their first 12 months together, A’z Bus are currently crafting their second EP, “Mono Mobile.” They plan to issue it before year end.
Like ECE, A’z Bus are thrilled to be paired up with dancers at Shake Shop.
“I saw some videos from past Shake Shops and thought the show looked interesting,” says Woo Ju. “We’re always eager to try new things.”
This Saturday will mark Romantiqua’s fifth time performing at Shake Shop. One of Seoul’s top instrumental rock bands, Shake Shop founder Eshe is quite vocal about her love for Romantiqua’s music. But what makes the quartet happy to keep accepting her invitations to collaborate together?
“We love the initiative that Eshe and Navah have taken with these shows,” says drummer Anton Brinza. “They work really hard and Shake Shop is such a great outlet for their efforts. Especially in a music scene that is flooded with performances, these shows continue to stand out as something unique and are a breath of fresh air in Hongdae. Shake Shop isn’t just another show among the countless concerts every weekend. It’s an event.”
Wanting to do something special for Shake Shop vol. 17, Brinza will add some bellydance-inspired flavor to Romantiqua’s music by offering his own take on Paul Dinletir and Ozzy’s “Medusa’s Finale” drum solo from Bellydance Evolution.
“I took a great bellydance drum solo that Eshe showed me and transposed it from traditional hand drums to a drum set,” Brinza shares. “The solo will be just me and the girls, and it’s been a challenge to learn it, but I’m super pumped for that.”
After Shake Shop, Romantiqua will take a few weeks off from gigging to focus on recording two songs for a digital single. This will be the band’s first new material since the release of their excellent full-length, “Revenge,” last spring. The guys are aiming to have the tracks online around Christmas.
“We’ve chosen these two songs because they best reflect our growth as a band,” Brinza explains. “With ‘Revenge,’ we had a collection of songs that fit together really well, but as a band we’re in a continual process of discovering the true Romantiqua sound. The nice thing about our style of music is that there are no boundaries. There’s no framework for what we do, which is good in a way because over time we will be the ones to construct that framework. These two songs explore a more unrestrained direction with complex structures, layered rhythms, and melodies.”
Shake Shop Vol. 17 takes place on Saturday, October 25 at Club Freebird 2. The show starts at 7:30 pm and the cover charge is 15,000 won. Eshe and Navah will perform alongside ECE, A’z Bus, and Romantiqua. For more information, check out the show’s Facebook event page here.