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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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.

Help Juck Juck Grunzie get to Glastonbury

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Juck Juck Grunzie — heck, they were the first group I ever covered on this website. Well, things have been going well with the group, and now they’ve gotten an invitation to play at this year’s Glastonbury festival at the end of June (and at Berghain in Berlin on July 1).

However, traveling to Europe isn’t cheap, so the group will be holding a fundraising concert this Saturday evening at DGBD in Hongdae at 11pm. The show is just 10,000 won, and includes Table People, Baekma, and Cranfield.

It should be a lot of fun, and you’d be helping one of the best bands in Korea, so check it out!

JuckJuck Fundraiser

Festival Time Again

Ice coffees are back in vogue, the moggies are starting to annoy us, and the World DJ Festival is over — all of which means that it’s pretty much summer and, more importantly, the outdoor music festival season is upon us.

Most of the big festivals from last year are back, one returns after a one-year hiatus, another celebrates its 10th year, one classic fest is really taking things up to a new level, and two seem strangely absent. So let’s do a roll call of who is doing what, when, and for how much. In chronological order, let’s meet the class of 2015!

Greenplugged —  May 23-24
Nanji Camping Ground, Han River Park
66,000 won (1 day), 109,000 won (2 days)

Now an institution in sixth year, Greenplugged is a 2-day, multizone festival featuring a host of Korean acts across all genres. Headliners this year include (Saturday) YB, Dynamic Duo, and Sinawe (with Kim Bada), and (Sunday) MFBTY, Guckasten, Epitone Project, and Serengeti. There seems to be a strong hip hop focus and less rock than it used to have, but with such a nice location for live music I’m sure they will again attract a solid crowd.

Greenplugged 2015

Seoul Jazz Festival — May 23-25
Olympic Park
123,000 won (1 day), 190,000 won (2 days), 287,000 won (3 days)

Another festival running this weekend, this one for three days, from Saturday till Monday, and encompassing a very broad variety of artists, including Chick Korea & Herbie Hancock, Basement Jazz, Owl City, Mika, Sergio Mendes, Gregory Porter, and The Cardigans, plus a large number of other international and domestic acts. With four zones and the advantage of being held over the Buddha birthday weekend, they really seem to have pulled out all the stops to make this one of the biggest festivals of the season. One could argue the “jazziness” of this event, but that seems to be the trend the world over, and I think they will draw record numbers this weekend.

Seouljazz2015

Exit Festival — May 30-31
Olympic Stadium
66,000-88,000 won

Now in its second year (after last year’s rain affected the launch), Exit has been moved to an earlier time and has a similar lineup, if not slightly stronger one. Two large outdoor zones backed up by a third smaller covered one, this all Korean fest brings together rock, pop, funk, and pretty much all genres for two fun days. Acts include Crying Nut, Clazziquai, Glen Check, No Brain, Galaxy Express, Yellow Monsters, Windy City, and about 75 more, so there is definitely bang for your buck.

Ultra Korea (UMF) — June 12-13
Olympic Stadium
180,000 won

Now in its fourth year, and showing no signs of slowing down, Korea’s premier EDM event has unleashed some of the biggest names in the business, with Skrillex and David Guetta sure to attract huge numbers on their own.  They will be joined by Alesso, Hardwell, Nicky Romero, Knife Party, and many more. Last year’s introduction of the “live arena” proved popular, and sees Snoop Dogg, CL, Galantis, Porter Robinson, 2ManyDJ’s,  Lil Jon and others take the stage. It’s definitely the festival to beat in terms of dance.

Rainbow Island Music Festival — June 20-21
Nami Island
44,000-66,000 won

This 2-day, family-friendly event in the Gyeonggi countryside is back for its fifth year, and, after experimenting with a few international acts in the past, this year they’re keeping things strictly Korean. This fest will have the Kim Chang Won Band, Benzeeno, Sultan of the Disco, Mimi Sisters, The Barberettes, and many more.

Rainbow Island 2015

Ansan Valley Rock Festival — July 24-26
Daebu Sea Breeze Theme Park
150,000 won (1 day), 220,000 won (2 days), 260,000 won (3 days)

This the second time Valley Rock has played in the Ansan Valley location (after missing last year), and the festival certainly got tongues wagging with their initial announcement that the Foo Fighters would be in attendance. They have been joined by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Deadmau5, OK Go, Rudimental, Motorhead, The Chemical Brothers, One OK Rock, Twenty One Pilots, and a host of local acts. We have heard that festival organizers have made a lot of changes to the layout and organization to make this year’s Valley Rock better than ever.

Pentaport Rock Festival — Aug. 7-9
Songdo Pentaport Park
110,500 won (1 day), 153,000 won (2 days), 187,000 won (3 days)

Ten years. TEN YEARS! The original is still rocking, and looking to celebrate a decade in style. Its lineup is still getting announced, but so far international acts include The Prodigy, Scorpions, and The Kooks, to help the early bird tickets sell out fast. Joined by the one and only Seo Taiji (who normally only plays festivals that have his name in the title), 10CM, Windy City, Yellow Monsters, Thornapple, and many more, it looks like it will be a fun birthday.

Pentaport 2015

So far, there seems no word about Supersonic or CityBreak being held this year, although Let’s Rock has started selling blind tickets for its Sept. 19-20 dates. Global Gathering, coming Oct. 3, is also selling blind tickets for a big discount, while the Jarasum Jazz Festival will be held Oct. 9-11. 

We will try to keep you updated with all things festive and hope you get to enjoy the many sonic flavors on offer in the 2015 season.