Highly-respected American multi-instrumentalist Samara Lubelski is currently touring as part of Thurston Moore’s (of Sonic Youth fame) band. Moore and company performed last night in Seoul at the Interpark Art Center Art Hall. Having a few extra days off in the city, Lubelski has scheduled a pair of solo performances at Mudaeruk in Hongdae. She’ll headline a show at the venue tonight – Thursday, November 8 – and will also open for 3rd Line Butterfly there tomorrow (November 9).
In June, Lubelski released her sixth album, “Wavelength.” The follow-up to 2009’s “Future Slip,” “Wavelength” was written in 2009 and recorded mostly in 2010 in the United States and Germany. The offering features a dozen tracks of excellent hazy psych-pop.
“The songs on ‘Wavelength’ are a little bit tighter, composition wise,” Lubelski says. “I still indulged in the endless melodic layers, but also tried to focus more on the quality of the sounds.”
And while the album features backing instrumentation from the likes Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley and Lubelski’s Metal Mountains band mates P.G. Six and Helen Rush, Lubelski will be playing solo at her Mudaeruk concerts. So what can local music fans expect from her first gigs in South Korea?
“Very soft songs played on guitar.”
Samara Lubelski will play tonight at Mudaeruk in Hongdae. The show starts at 8 pm and tickets are 15,000 won at the door. Mukimukimanmansu, 404, and former Cocore bassist Kim Jae-kwon’s new .59 project are also on the bill.
Lubelski will also open for 3rd Line Butterfly tomorrow night (November 9) at Mudaeruk. The show starts at 8 pm and tickets are 20,000 won at the door.
It’s not often that we get a visiting ska band from overseas. Usually saddled with too many members to make the flight affordably, it’s just not cost-effective to bring an eight-piece band here.
Babylove and the van Dangos, on the other hand, paid their way to Korea out of their own pockets, and got themselves on the bills of three Korean jazz festivals. Last weekend was Ulsan World Music Festival and Bukhansan Jazz Festival, and next weekend is Jarasum International Jazz Festival. They’re also playing a show on Wednesday, October 10 at Yongin Art Hall, organised by Jarasum International Jazz Festival.
But they’re a ska band, and they didn’t come here just to play jazz shows. Barely a week before getting on a plane for Korea, they began searching for a ska promoter in Korea to help out.
“One of the things we love the most about touring is playing for people with the same love for Jamaican music like we have,” says Daniel Broman of BvD. “We’ve played for ska fans from the four corners of the world and time and time again we see how the music brings people together. Jamaican music played by a Danish band for an Asian audience.”
They arranged to have a last-minute show put on at Club Ta on one of their few days off, this Thursday, October 11. Joining them will be Korean ska kingpins Kingston Rudieska, as well as funk/reggae outfit Funkafric Boosdah, Ugandan reggae singer Josh Roy, mod rockers The Essence, and DJ Smiley to keep the music going between bands.
It’s been seven years since their last tour to Asia (Japan), and they’re excited to be in Korea. This is a high point in the band’s career, with their latest album, “Let it Come, let it Go” on German label Pork Pie Records, receiving rave reviews. Also, three of the band members have recently become fathers in the last few months.
If you’re up for an explosive ska show this Thursday, stop by Club Ta.
Experimental rock duo Alpine Decline will be playing four gigs in South Korea over the next several days. Hailing from Los Angeles originally, band members Jonathan Zeitlin and Pauline Mu previously played together in the band Mezzanine Owls, before forming Alpine Decline. Based out of China since fall 2011, their upcoming concerts in Seoul (9/29), Daejeon (9/30), Daegu (10/5), and Busan (10/6) will be their first shows in South Korea.
Ahead of Alpine Decline’s tour, guitarist Jonathan Zeitlin answered some questions for Korea Gig Guide. Check out his answers below.
What can people in Korea expect from your live performances?
We’re two people, so every live show is an effort to build our dense tower of sound without it collapsing into chaos. We project Super 8 film footage from our trips into the mountains and deserts, which I’ve altered to maximize brain burn, while we play. We try to make each show an experience that ejects you from the outside world for about 30 to 40 minutes. We’re feeling pretty loose at the moment and will probably plan sets that keep us out of our comfort zone, but you can expect some heavy blows.
What do you want to do in South Korea when not playing?
We’re playing the first two shows of the tour and then taking to the mountains. We’ve heard endless stories about the beauty of the Korean wilderness and we’re going to dive in as deeply as we can before coming out and playing the last two shows. Hopefully while we’re in the cities we’ll be able to explore the local scenes and soak up as much as our little bodies can absorb.
How did you and Pauline first meet? What made you want to create music together?
This is going to sound crazy, but we met through the newspapers, pre-Internet, totally analog. We’re not subscribers to cosmic concepts, but somehow among Los Angeles’s crushing bloat of artists we may have been the last to connect through the medium of print. What’s more, after four years of touring and recording together in bands with somewhat radial relationships, we suddenly and unexpectedly collided and scattered everyone else away.
We were on a slow schedule with our other band, and had a mutual desire to make a record that defied the practices of that band, and started to record an album together. It was made with one cheap microphone, one layer at a time – literally. We’d put the mic over the snare and record it. Then we’d put the mic under the snare and record it. Then we’d put the mic on the tom and record it. We did this over and over. We were in a total psychoactive blur for 20-hour stretches broken up by fitful sleep on the floor of my dilapidated apartment. Looking at pictures from then, there is an insane look in our eyes. It looks like we had lost control over our facial muscles and our expressions, like we were babbling possessed mystical lunatics. By day four or five we were inextricably locked into each other’s orbit, permanently. We made two full length records, which are currently unreleased, this way before the meltdown of our other band, which at that point had become inevitable.
Since Alpine Decline formed in 2010, you’ve released four albums. What was your motivation for issuing so many recordings over the course of only two years?
After our last band broke up, we had a long stretch where we chose to be completely absent from music entirely. We didn’t make music. We didn’t go see bands. I only left the house to go shelve books for minimum wage. We started to create Alpine Decline in our minds, in conversation, and the conversation was not about what kind of sound we’d have or what kind of image we’d have or anything – it was about what kind of a daily life, what kind of rituals we would need to build and what choices we would need to enable us to create music as our life’s work, from now into the black. Not to approach making music as just being in a band, but to approach it as our craft which we could depend on and live our lives through.
When you’re in a rock band, you end up spending most of your time and energy trying to expand things – you want to play better shows, get more people in your crowd, and make the next step forward. We made a very direct decision to abandon the rituals of rock bands and embrace the lives of writers. When you spend your day-to-day life writing, and when you think about albums as something tangible you are crafting rather than as the content to support your band, you end up slipping out of the traditional timeline. We made the first three records in about a year, but it wasn’t part of some “fuck you” drive to be prolific, it was a direct result of embracing a creative process that immediately erased the boundary between our daily lives and as a rock band.
Please tell us about your new album, “Night of the Long Knives.” When was it written and recorded?
“Night of the Long Knives” was written in late 2011 and early 2012 in the Beijing Culture Factory, our practice space on the outskirts of east Beijing. It was recorded in spring 2012 at the Beijing Culture Factory (which has since, inexplicably, been demolished) and at Psychic Kong Studios with Yang Haisong. It’s going to be released in Europe and the US later this year. We’re currently sorting out the Chinese release.
What are some of your best memories from making “Night of the Long Knives”?
For two months we woke up and met up with Yang Haisong. The Beijing Culture Factory was literally in the shadow of a nuclear power plant, nestled in some crumbling brick buildings that had been taken over by squatting migrant workers. Psychic Kong is in a cold, wet basement parking garage in a neighborhood where a guy with a guitar on his back, let alone one with a white face, might as well be an alien touching down. As our first record in China, and our first record with a Chinese producer, it took on the vibe of some weird mythical trial for us, through which we would either pass through the fire or be consumed by it. With Yang Haisong and Liu Yi Ke, who helped engineer the record, two of our closest friends since moving to Beijing, we dove in and made an album that captures the wild highs and crushed lows of our experience moving to China, both real and imagined.
Why did you decide that China was a better place for the band to be based out of than LA?
We had this idea that living on the outskirts of Beijing would help us escape the framework of being a musician that’s been codified in the US. There are some really insane musicians in LA, but no matter how far out there you are, you are subject to 60 years of history playing this kind of music in the States and we had the fantasy that we’d move to the furthest place possible, into a dystopian chaos where we would etch our ideas in the rubble and disappear. Of course that fantasy is totally not real, and that’s a good thing, and our lives here are made meaningful through the friendships we’ve made with other musicians and people passionate about building a great music culture in China. We get the best of both worlds now – we can live away from the craziness of the Beijing city center, but we can participate in the most free and vibrant scene we’ve ever seen and give whatever we can to help it as it evolves.
Would things be any different for Alpine Decline if you were still living in LA now?
Staying in LA was not an option – years and years of just living in Echo Park and playing in a band exhausts your experience and your ability to move forward. Our lives in China are completely different, operating a band here has a wildly different range of choices and possible outcomes that I’m not sure how to characterize. The people playing music here, booking shows here, and writing about music in China are giving themselves entirely to building this world with really no chance of traditional commercial success – the rewards are essentially experiential and personal in nature. We have no money, we breathe micro-particles, we have fantasies about western food and greedily drink coffee that looks and tastes like shoe scrapings, but we have never been more inspired or happy in our lives. And from Beijing, we’ve been lucky enough to explore scenes and meet people living through music all around Asia, now including Korea.
Alpine Decline play tonight (September 29) at Powwow in Seoul with Apollo 18 and Sighborg. Tickets are 15,000 won and the show starts at 7:30 pm. Alpine Decline will also play tomorrow (September 30) at Daejeon Cantina. The show is free and will start at 10 pm. Next week, Alpine Decline will play in Daegu (October 5) at Horus Music Garage and in Busan (October 6) at Realize. The Daegu concert will be with Mr. Headbutt. It will start at 11:00 pm and tickets are 6,000 won. The Busan gig will start at 7 pm and costs 10,000 won. For more information about Alpine Decline’s South Korea tour, visit here.
As well as being an awesome live outfit who take their brilliantly recorded music to new heights on stage, Apollo 18 have also always impressed me with their obvious dedication and focus when it comes to the business side of things. In their short time as a band – just over four years – the powerful trio have released three EP’s and one album, toured Korea relentlessly, visited the US, Japan and Taiwan, won awards, wowed crowds at the Jisan Valley Rock Festival four times, and have shown a strong motivation to keep growing as artists and take their sound abroad. They are currently part way through writing a new album, and this week they are performing in Canada at the Pop Montreal festival.
Prior to heading to Canada, I managed to track them down to answer a few questions on the current state of all things Apollo 18!
How are you getting ready for your first trip to Canada?
Hyun-seok: We’re practicing a lot, getting equipment and backline sorted out, and trying to learn some simple French to use during Pop Montreal. We’re all really excited about playing in Canada and appearing at the Pop Montreal festival.
What can you tell us about the big festival in Montreal?
Sang-yun: Pop Montreal is a five-day festival that in Montreal, Quebec that features music, art, film, crafts, and other events. The fest will have over 350 bands playing in 40 venues around the city. We’re really looking forward to performing as part of the festival. We’ve heard from friends that Montreal is a really cool place. We want to try poutine while we’re there!
Tell us about the progress on the new album?
Dae-inn: We started writing songs for our new album at the beginning of the summer. We’ve got four songs written now, but we’re still tweaking them to make them sound exactly the way we want them to. We want to make at least six more songs when we get back from Canada. We’re hoping to release the album before the end of this year.
Hyun-seok: We started performing one new song at gigs a few weeks ago. I imagine we’ll begin playing a few more new tracks at shows pretty soon.
The “Black” EP seemed to have a subtle funk/ pop sensibility than was found in previous releases – what new influences can we expect in the new album?
Dae-inn: Um, we’re not sure yet. We all like different styles of music, and with Apollo 18 we try to find a middle ground between what everyone likes. I think the songs on the new album will be faster and harder, but also more psychedelic too. But that could change. Maybe we’ll work in an acoustic song or something else different as well.
You are the only act to play at the Jisan Valley Rock Festival for all 4 years of its existence – how does that feel?
Dae-inn: It feels good! We play on the second stage for the first three years, and this past summer we performed on Jisans’ main stage for the first time. We’ve had a great experience every summer at the festival and were so happy to be a part of it. My only complaint is that sometimes the site gets too dirty during the festival. We need to work together to try and keep the grounds cleaner during the Jisan Valley Rock Festival.
How do you prepare for a live performance?
Dae-inn: We go to the venue, have some drinks, smoke, and watch all the pretty girls in the crowd!
What does the Korean indie music scene need most of all?
Dae-inn: Diligence – Korean indie bands are lazy sometimes. And Apollo 18 are too. Everyone needs to work harder to build up the Korean indie music scene, both at home and abroad.
What is the best lyric you have ever recorded?
Dae-inn: Our music doesn’t have any proper lyrics. If there are vocals on a song, it’s just me or Hyun-seok shouting or mumbling. We treat vocals like another instrument. They are more about the sound than the meaning. That’s why the inside or our Red album says, “All lyrics are yours.”
What is the best food/ drink to enjoy as you listen to Apollo 18?
Dae-inn: “Somaek” – a mix of soju and beer. It’s one of our favorite Korean cocktails.
Looking back at your “Rookie of the Year” win at the Korean Music Awards in March 2010, how helpful was it to get such recognition then, especially as you were still so new to the scene?
Hyun-seok: We won the “Hello Rookie” grand prize in 2009 and “Rookie of the Year” at the Korean Music Awards in 2010. We were thankful to be given both awards, but I don’t know how helpful they were. I think a lot of Korean people don’t know what those awards are. I think they made our parents really happy, though, so maybe they were helpful in that regard. After we won those awards and toured the USA last year our parents started worrying a little bit less about us being musicians!
You have released both EPs and albums – how would you describe the difference in approach when writing and recording both formats?
Hyun-seok: There’s no difference in writing music for EPs and full-lengths. For recording, the only difference is that EPs can be recorded faster. Our original plan was to make “Black” a full-length album, not an EP. We started writing music for the album in April 2011, after our USA tour. We were given the opportunity to record “Black” at Zankyo Records’ studio in Tokyo in May 2011. Because we only had a short amount of time to prepare new songs for “Black,” it became an EP.
Sang-yun: We’ve got more time to work with this time, so our new album will definitely be a full-length album.
Did you watch the movie Apollo 18 – how was it?
Dae-inn: I watched the movie. It was okay. Visually I thought it was really cool, but the story wasn’t very good.
Finally – if Apollo 18 members were all animals, what animals would you be?
Dae-inn: This is a great question! I want to be a panda because pandas are really cute. I could be the first Korean panda!
Along with playing at Pop Montreal, Apollo 18 will be doing a few other Canadian shows as well. Here are their Canadian tour dates:
September 19 Hamilton, Ontario @ This Ain’t Hollywood
September 20 Ottawa, Ontario @ Zaphod Beeblebrox
September 21 Montreal, Quebec @ Quai des Brumes (Pop Montreal)
September 22 Toronto, Ontario @ Bovine Sex Club
Last night, Canadian indie rock duo PS I Love You played the first Korean concert in Seoul. Today they’ll be making their way to Daegu for a concert at Horus Music Garage and on Saturday they’ll perform at Busan’s Vinyl Underground.
The group are currently touring in support of their sophomore full-length, May’s “Death Dreams.” PS I Love You started crafting the album in late 2010 shortly after the release of their fantastic, acclaimed “Meet Me at the Muster Station” debut. “Death Dreams” was recorded on a portable studio in the act’s Kingston, Ontario practice space.
“We sort of worked on it off and on throughout 2011,” says guitarist and vocalist Paul Saulnier. “We toured a lot in 2011, so we would be away for two months and then come home and record a couple songs and then go away for a month and so on.
“Recording the album in our practice space really fit with our schedule and casual attitudes towards producing music. That’s also how our producer, Matt Rogalsky, likes to work and it works for us.”
PS I Love You was originally a solo project for Saulnier. After two years of using a drum machine to provide percussion, he reached out to Benjamin Nelson.
“I already knew Benjamin was a great drummer,” says Saulnier. “I wanted my shows to be louder so I invited him to play with me. Things worked out so well that we became a permanent duo.”
This summer PS I Love appeared at festivals in the Czech Republic and Spain before their Asian jaunt through China and South Korea. Later this month, they’ll play at the Pop Montreal music fest as well.
“It’s really exciting to travel the world to play music for people,” Saulnier. I’m curious to see what our fans are like in South Korea. I’m stoked to see some Korean bands too. I still can’t believe that we get to tour all over amazing countries that we would never have the means to travel to without the music.”
And what can fans in Daegu and Busan expect from PS I Love You in a live setting?
“They can expect moderate to extreme guitar theatrics, pounding drums, and charmingly off-key yelling.”
PS I Love You play tonight at Horus Music Garage in Daegu with Insert Coin and Mr. Headbutt. Tickets are 10,000 won and doors open at 10 pm. PS I Love You also play in Busan at Vinyl Underground on Saturday with Enter Busandman and 21 Scott. Tickets are 15,000 won and doors open at 10 pm.
On Saturday (September 8), a new outdoor concert called Rockdo will take place at Yeouido Hangang Park. Set to take place on the Yeouido Floating Stage, which visitseoul.net boasts “is the world’s first floating performance stage,” Rockdo will feature live sets from Korean and expat bands and bellydancers. Admission to the event is free.
Rising electro-popsters Love X Stereo applaud Rockdo organizer Exit 6’s choice of location for the show.
“The floating stage is right in the middle of the Hangang, so it’s a pretty awesome venue. We’re very excited about performing there with a bunch of bands we really like,” says vocalist Annie Ko.
Widely recognized as one of the country’s premier indie acts, Seoul shoegaze quartet Vidulgi Ooyoo are excited to be a part of Rockdo. Like Love X Stereo, they are also fans of the riverside venue and its laidback environment.
“Rockdo isn’t a large rock festival or a club party in Hongdae,” says guitarist and vocalist Ham Jee-hye. “It’s more like a picnic. I think it’s really cool that anybody can just come and do whatever they want while enjoying the music.”
Vidulgi Ooyoo also have a special treat for Rockdo attendees.
“We will play a brand new song for the first time on Saturday,” shares Ham. “It’s called ‘Cypress.’ We think the song goes really well with nature, so it’ll be a good fit for the outdoor stage at Rockdo.”
Rockdo runs from 12 pm – 9 pm on Saturday and is free. To get to the Yeouido Floating Stage, go out Exit 2 of Yeouinaru Station (Line 5) and walk down the stairs into the park. Turn left at the river and walk around 300 meters and you’ll see the stage. You can find more information about Rockdo here.
The seventh annual Korea Live Music Festival will be held this weekend at Nanji Hangang Park in Seoul. The event will feature nearly 70 acts playing on Saturday and Sunday from noon until 10 pm.
The Korea Live Music Festival was created by the Live Music Development Association, an organization founded in 2003 to aid in the development of Korea’s music industry and concerts. Members of the Live Music Development Association include staff from venues, local record labels, and musicians.
“We tried to create a great weekend resting place where people can enjoy gigs from many great Korean bands,” says Lee Ji-yeon from the Live Music Development Association. “We wanted the event to be able to satisfy people’s various tastes in music so we chose musicians from many different genres including modern rock, hard rock, punk, garage rock, ska, metal, hip-hop, and K-pop.”
This weekend’s bill will include performances from the likes of Crying Nut, Pia, The Koxx, Dynamic Duo, The Moonshiners, Downhell, Loro’s, Kingston Rudieska, Mongoose, Black Bag, and many more. There will be two stages at the festival – the main stage and a mobile stage in the food zone.
Fast-rising hard rock quartet Harry Big Button will appear on Saturday afternoon at 1 pm. Comprised of ex-members of Crash and Art of Parties, the group performed at this summer’s Jisan Valley Rock Festival and are really excited about playing their first outdoor show in Seoul. Harry Big Button are currently in the midst of recording their debut full-length album, which should surface sometime this fall. Expect the group to preview some new material alongside tracks from their 2011 “Hard ‘n’ Loud” three-song single.
“Our album is coming along really well and everything is on the right track so far,” shares guitarist and vocalist Lee Sung-soo. “A couple of days ago, we had around 15 vocalists join us in the studio to record some chorus parts. It was a lot fun! The songs on the new album convey greater musical diversity and will be harder and louder than our past material.”
Napalm Death are the only overseas act to play at this year’s Korea Live Music Festival. They will perform on Sunday evening at 7 pm. This will be the British metal titans’ second visit to South Korea. And in addition to their appearance at the Korea Live Music Festival, they’ll also do a headlining set on Saturday night (September 1) at Rolling Hall in Hongdae. Napalm Death are currently touring in support of their latest effort, February’s “Utilitarian.”
“Fans can expect full-on energy and us playing like our lives depend on it at both Seoul concerts,” says Napalm Death vocalist Mark “Barney” Greenway. “We have a lot of albums and a certain set list that really works on this tour, so the set will pretty much be the same both nights. I hope we have a certain spontaneity that gives both shows a certain different flavour though.”
Tickets for the Korea Live Music Festival can be purchased at the main gates of the festival. A one-day ticket costs 43,000 won and weekend pass costs 65,000 won. The set times for the main stage acts can be found here.
This Sunday (August 26), Tokyo’s Mono will play their first Korean gig in five years at Sangsang Madang in Seoul. Widely recognized as one of the top post-rock bands in the world, the quartet previously performed in South Korea in 2006 and 2007.
“We’ve been wanting to return to Seoul for some time,” shares guitarist Takaakira “Taka” Goto. “We tried to get over a couple of times before, but there were scheduling conflicts.”
“Since we didn’t get the chance to visit during the release of our previous album, ‘Hymn to the Immortal Wind,’ we’re excited to share songs from our new album, ‘For My Parents’ with our fans in Korea. One of my best friends once told me, ‘Music is like a bridge where people can meet and share.’ We hope we can share and connect with those who come to see us.”
“For My Parents” is Mono’s sixth full-length. It will be officially released in South Korea on September 4 through Seoul imprint Pastel Music. But those attending the Mono show on August 26 will have the opportunity to buy the album several days early.
Written in 2010 and 2011, Mono recorded “For My Parents” in New York with producer Henry Hirsch this past February. “For My Parents” is Mono’s first album since 2002’s “One Step More and You Die” not to be done with by famed underground rock producer Steve Albini.
“Even though Steve Albini has been so amazing to us over the years, we thought it was important to try something unfamiliar and challenging even if it was risky,” explains Goto. “We read about Henry Hirsch and were interested in working with him. His studio is a converted church so it has a very special, spiritual atmosphere. We used analog tape and an old vintage mixer so it made the sounds really soulful.”
Mono’s rightfully praised back catalogue is filled with epic instrumental compositions that shift from gorgeous cinematic soundscapes to awesome cacophonies of distorted, soaring guitars. The group were backed by an orchestra on “Hymn to the Immortal Wind,” and that disc’s tracks were some of the strongest that Mono have ever created. On “For My Parents” Mono were joined in the studio by The Wordless Music Orchestra, which previously backed the band on their “2010 Holy Ground: NYC Live With The Wordless Music Orchestra” album.
This is the music video for “Legend,” the opening number from “For My Parents.”
“For this new album, I just tried to think less and feel more. I trusted that the songs would come naturally if I focused on what I wanted, instead of what we should do. The album is different because it was inspired by different emotions. A lot of change happened since ‘Hymn to the Immortal Wind.’ There have been miracles, tragedy, growth, and loss and I think with each album we’re getting closer to whatever it is that we’re trying to say without words.”
The act toured heavily in support of “Hymn to the Immortal Wind,” and Goto feels that they are a better band because of it. They’ll promote “For My Parents” in a similar fashion, and after their current string of Asian dates, they’ll spend September, October, and November gigging throughout North America and Europe.
“We traveled around the world non-stop and met many wonderful people who have touched our lives. This record would not have been possible if we didn’t experience all of those people and places. We now have a clearer vision as a band, but we’ll always have an open mind and heart because you never know how inspiration will spark. It’s one continuous journey, one learning experience, and I hope it makes us stronger as humans and musicians.”
Mono play on Sunday night at Sangsang Madang in Hongdae. The show will start at 8 pm. Tickets are 44,000 won in advance and 50,000 won at the door. Advance tickets can be bought in Korean here. To order advance tickets in English, email email@example.com.
This Tuesday (August 21), two very loud local acts – metalcore band Vassline and thrash metal act Method – are pairing up for a free concert at Sangsang Madang in Hongdae.
Currently in the midst of recording their fourth full-length, Vassline will be previewing material from the disc (which will be titled “Black Silence”). Method released their third album, “The Constant,” in July and will be offering up plenty of fast-paced, headbang-worthy cuts from the offering.
Tuesday’s show will be filmed for Naver’s On Stage series, so both groups want plenty of folks to come out and get good and riled up during the gig. Vassline guitarist Cho Min-young (aka Chainsaw Cho) took a few minutes to fill Korea Gig Guide in on what the band are up to, and why they are psyched about their Sangsang Madang concert with Method.
1) How are things coming with the new album? We’ve finished recording the instruments and our vocalist (Shin Woo-seok) is now laying down his vocal tracks.
2) When do you think the album will be released? We announced in June on Korea Gig Guide that we would be releasing the album sometime between late summer and early fall. But we’ve pushed the release date back. Our goal is now to release the album sometime before winter comes. Hopefully all these delays make for a better album.
Vassline live at the 2012 Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival
3) Why are you excited to play with Method on Tuesday night at Sangsang Madang? Method are one of the most talented thrash bands in the Korean metal scene today. Since Vassline operate in a slightly different scene, we’ve only played shows together a few times before. Those shows have always had six or seven bands on the bill, so there weren’t many chances to actually sit down and hang with the Method guys. So it will be pretty cool to finally play and share the stage only with Method.
Actually, Method’s guitarist Kim Jae-ha gave us the main riff to our song “The Awakening” from our last album “Permanence.” We’re not going to play the track on Tuesday, but it was our opening song for almost five years.
4) What can fans expect from Tuesdays night’s gig? We’ll play four songs off the upcoming album and six songs from our previous records. If it’s been a few months (or longer) since you’ve seen us play, the new songs will blow your mind for sure. Part of the show will be filmed for Naver’s On Stage program, so hopefully fans will go even more nuts to get themselves included in the live footage that airs.
5) The show’s poster says Vassline vs. Method. Is this a musical battle between the two bands? If so, who will win? Although it seems like a match between us, it won’t be about who wins. It’s more about two bands from different scenes creating synergy. Some people tend to come to shows to watch only the bands they like and then leave the venue. But this time, we hope everybody will come at the beginning of the show and stay until the very end. That way Vassline fans can see how great of a band Method is, and hopefully Method fans can learn about Vassline too.
Tuesday’s Vassline and Method gig starts at 8 pm and Sangsang Madang. Entrance is free. Vassline will kick things off and Method will close out the concert. Both bands are scheduled to play 40 minute sets.
This weekend (August 10 – 12), the 7th annual Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival will take place at its brand new home, Gyeongin Ara Waterway Incheon Terminal.
With over 90 acts scheduled to perform over the event’s three days, the lineup for Pentaport ’12 includes a wide range of international and homegrown talent. Some of the more notable performers include Crystal Castles, Snow Patrol, Manic Street Preachers, Ash, The Inspector Cluzo & The Fb’s Horns (The Inspector Cluzo are fantastic live – definitely watch their set if you can), The Koxx, The Moonshiners, Crash, Kingston Rudieska, and My Skin Against Your Skin.
Irish rock trio Ash will perform on the fest’s main stage on Saturday night from 7:30 – 8:30 pm. This will be their third time to play in South Korea and their second time to appear at Pentaport.
“We first played in Korea in 1999 at the Triport Festival,” shares drummer Rick McMurray. “A typhoon came in right at the end of our set and the rest of the festival was cancelled.
“We came again in 2007 to play at Pentaport. We had a great time there. We were onstage quite early in the day, but the audience reacted like they were watching a headline set. They were awesome. This summer’s Pentaport will be our first time to visit Korea in five years, so we’re really looking forward to it.”
This year marks Ash’s 20th anniversary as a band. Rightfully proud of the accomplishment, McMurray does not see himself, guitarist Tim Wheeler, or bassist Mark Hamilton packing things in anytime soon.
“Reaching 20 is a big achievement,” says McMurray. “Not many bands are around longer than that length of time. Most of our peers have split up, reformed and split up again! As long as we’re enjoying it, and there’s still an audience out there for us I don’t see any reason not to still be around doing the best job in the world in another 10 or 20 years, or maybe even longer.”
Can Korean fans at Pentaport do anything to help make the group’s 20th anniversary more memorable?
“A few birthday banners would be cool!” laughs McMurray.
In celebration of their 20th anniversary, Ash issued an EP of cover songs called “Little Infinity” in June. The seven-track effort sees the act putting their own spin on classic songs from the likes of Bobby Freeman, Carly Simon, and David Bowie.
“We recorded the covers at various times over the past decade,” explains McMurray. “We just had a load of covers we never got round to releasing so we thought we’d put them out to coincide with our 20th anniversary. We would sometimes start a recording session by recording a cover just to get into the vibe of being back in the studio.”
Does McMurray have any personal favourites on the EP?
“I love our version of Carly Simon’s ‘Coming around Again,’” he says. “It was a song we covered when we were 17, but we felt we didn’t really nail it, so we came back to it a few years ago and it turned out great.”
McMurray thinks it’s unlikely that Ash will play some of the covers from “Little Infinity” at Pentaport. But he does promise that there will be plenty of the group’s highly infectious punk-infused power pop anthems.
“We’ll be playing a set crammed full of hits. It always makes for a good time vibe!”
The Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival runs from Friday to Sunday at Gyeongin Ara Waterway Incheon Terminal. The site is a 10-minute bus ride from Geomam Station. Free shuttle buses will run every 20 – 30 minutes to transport fest-goers from the station to the site.
One day tickets for Pentaport cost 77,000 won on Friday and 88,000 won on Saturday and Sunday. Two day tickets for Friday and Saturday cost 132,000 won and two day tickets for Saturday and Sunday cost 143,000 won. Three day tickets for the fest cost 165,000 won. You can buy advance tickets for the festival in English here. Music will run from 12 pm – 4 am on each day of the event. Check out the full timetable here.