Rocking Out for a Good Cause at Rubber Seoul 2014

The seventh annual Rubber Seoul concert takes place on November 29 (Saturday) in Hongdae and will feature 25 acts performing at Club Ta, Club FF, Gogos 2, Club Freebird 2, and DGBD from 8 pm to 3 am.  The goal of the charity event is to raise money for Little Travellers Korea and create awareness about AIDS/HIV.  A non-profit organization, Little Travellers collects funds not only for AIDS/HIV research but also provides aid to South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province, where over 40% of the population has contracted the disease.

Last year’s Rubber Seoul raised nearly four million won. The event is always a great night, so you should definitely make an effort to swing by, see some cool bands, and support a great cause.

Hairy Big Button

Hard rock trio Harry Big Button will be making their third Rubber Seoul appearance on Saturday night.  They previously played in 2011 and 2013 and had a blast, making it an easy decision to say “yes” for Rubber Seoul 2014. Guitarist and vocalist Sungsoo Lee likes that his band can help support people battling AIDS/HIV with their art.

“Although people know that so many others are suffering around the world, we often forget to do things to help unless something is happening right next to us,” says Lee.  “Rubber Seoul is an excellent reminder that there are many people who need our help.”

At Rubber Seoul, Harry Big Button will be playing with the newest edition to their band, drummer Taegi Kim.  Kim joined the act in September and used to be part of the Korean bands Necropageos and Bolt.  The group will be working on the follow up to this year’s “Perfect Storm” EP in 2015 and Lee thinks Kim’s contributions will definitely strengthen the act.

“Taegi is an excellent rock drummer and we have very similar taste in music,” says Lee.  “We’ve known each other for a long time but have never had a chance to play in the same band so I’m really glad he joined Harry Big Button.  His drumming has a really deep and solid sound which fits well with Harry Big Button’s sound.  I think this will make our next album our hardest sounding one yet!”

When asked what fans at Rubber Seoul can expect from Harry Big Button’s 10:30 pm show at FF, Lee has this to offer.

“If you’re thirsty for real hard rock come see us play, we promise we won’t let you down!  And to anyone who will be catching us for the first time, we’ll make you sweat.”

Love X Stereo

Having gigged as part of Rubber Seoul in 2012 and 2013, Love X Stereo will also be making their third straight Rubber Seoul appearance on Saturday night.  When asked what keeps the electro-rock act coming back to the event, vocalist and synthesizer player Annie Ko says “It’s a good cause, and there’s always a great crowd.”

Last month, the group made their third stateside visit in the span of 12 months to play festival showcases at Culture Collide in Los Angeles and San Francisco and CMJ in New York.  The Los Angeles edition of Culture Collide ranked Love X Stereo no. 3 on their list of “Top 10 International Acts.”

“Our tour was great,” shares Ko.  “Culture Collide was really fun and we had a good time there. We felt like a lot of other bands and fans were rooting for us to do well at the festival.  We definitely want to go back to LA again – the weather was so good there!  And CMJ was really interesting too.”

What does Love X Stereo have planned for their 11:30 pm set at Club Freebird 2?

“We’re going to mix some danceable tracks and some soothing tracks together,” says Ko.  “It’s going to be fun.”

Wasted Johnny's

Bluesy rockers Wasted Johnny’s are also Rubber Seoul vets, having played at last year’s event. Bassist Nils Germain shares why the trio like playing at Rubber Seoul.

“Rubber Seoul brings a large amount of people to make crazy shows at the best clubs and it’s all for charity – what more could we ask for?” he says.  “We’re always proud to be a part of the event.”

In 2013, Wasted Johnny’s also traveled to the US for a handful of gigs in New York City and a show in Conneticut.  Germain would love for the band to return back to the States one day and also dreams of touring in Japan, Russia, England, and his home country of France.

“Our concerts in the US were great,” he says.  “We had some weather problems – it rained each time we played outside – and the club we played in didn’t have cymbals either.  But we overcame these problems and were able to perform all the concerts.  The response we got from people was great.  We had a blast!”

The group have nearly finished recording their first full-length album and fans can expect the release to come out sometime in 2015.  Fans wanting to know what to expect from the disc should check out Wasted Johnny’s midnight set at Club FF.

Billy Carter

Billy Carter will be making their Rubber Seoul debut on Saturday night and are really looking forward to the concert.

“We love to take part in charity shows,” says vocalist Jiwon Kim.  “And besides that, we used to play at Club Ta when we were a two-piece acoustic band but haven’t played there for a long time. We’re quite excited to play there again now that we’ve added a drummer.”

Earlier this year, drummer Hyunjoon Lee joined Billy Carter adding a harder edge to the act’s cool, bluesy tunes.  The band are currently recording their first EP and want to release the five-song offering in the coming months.  Just like with Wasted Johnny’s, Rubber Seoul show-goers can get a taste of the music that will grace the EP during Billy Carter’s 10 pm gig at Club Ta.

What does Billy Carter have in store for their Rubber Seoul set?

“We’re going to do what we always do!” Kim says.  “We’ll be singing, dancing, and crying out.  We always give it our all every time we play.”

Rubber Seoul 2014 takes place on Saturday night.  Tickets are 10,000 won and include entrance to all the venues.  For more information about the concert, check out its Facebook event page here.  And here’s the full schedule for the event:

Club Ta
8:00-8:20 Eshe & Navah
8:30-9:00 Veins
9:15-9:45 Ynot?
10:00-10:30 Billy Carter
10:45-11:15 Space Papa
11:30-12:00 Yes Yes

Club FF
9:00-9:30 pm The Roosters
9:45-10:15 24 Hours
10:30-11:00: Harry Big Button
11:15-11:45- Dead Buttons
12:00-12:30 Wasted Johnny’s

Gogos 2
9:00-9:30 Light and Noise
9:45-10:15 Oops Nice
10:30-11:00 Les Sales
11:15-11:45 Streetguns

Club Freebird 2
10:00-10:30 Williams Town
10:45-11:15 Patients
11:30-12:00 Love X Stereo
12:15-12:45 Man
1:00-1:30 Cannibal Heart
1:45-2:15 Mystery House
2:30-3:00 Burning Monkeys

11:15-11:45 Pentasonic
12-12:30 4 Brothers
12:45-1:15 Magna Fall

Rubber Seoul Poster

Get Wild and Sweaty with Dan Deacon at Club FF on Friday

Acclaimed American electro-pop musician Dan Deacon will be bringing his high-energy live show to Seoul on Friday, November 28 for a show at Club FF in Hongdae.

Dan Deacon

Friday night’s gig will be Deacon’s second time touring in South Korea.  He previously played here in early 2012, doing dates in both Seoul and Busan.  Later that year, he released his “America” full-length offering.  Like the rest of his praised efforts, the album is densely packed full of a wonderful array of sounds.  In their review of “America,” DIY Magazine said, “As with all Dan Deacon albums, ‘America’ is a challenging listen and at times the sheer amount of things going on becomes a bit much, however it is also a supremely powerful album from a musician at the very top of his game.”

On September 9, 2014, Deacon posted on his Facebook page that he was “Finalizing the song order and then sending off my new album off for mastering tonight!”  No other information has come out about the upcoming release yet, but maybe with a bit of luck fans packed into Club FF will get a sneak peak at a few new tracks from the record.  But even if that doesn’t happen, you can still bank on Friday night being a highly entertaining (and very hot and sweaty) affair.  Renowned for his live sets, Deacon is big on crowd involvement at concerts – so his Club FF concert definitely won’t be a stand–perfectly–still–and–watch–with–your–arms–crossed kind of show.  Instead, expect a wild and memorable night full of fun shenanigans and great music.

KGG was able to ask Deacon a few questions a couple of day back.  Check out what he had to say below.

Why are you excited about playing in Seoul at the end of November?

The last time I played in Seoul is was super fun. The crowd was amazing. It made me really happy to be with so many happy people having a great time.

Aside from performing, is there anything else you’re hoping to see or do while you’re in Seoul?

I want to eat lots of food and drink way too much makgeolli.

What are some of your best memories from your 2012 Korean tour?

We hung out at this vinyl bar that played only Korean vinyl and drank makgeolli that they brewed in house.  It was a wild night.

What have been some of your highlights of 2014?

Touring with Arcade Fire was totally surreal, but making my new album was the highlight of my year for sure.  I miss making it.

What do you have planned for 2015?

Lots and lots of touring!

Dan Deacon plays on Friday night at Club FF.  The show starts at 11 pm and tickets are 45,000 won at the door. Love X Stereo will open the concert. For more information, check out the Facebook event page for the show here.

Dan Deacon Poster

Critical Darlings Wild Beasts Make a Mid-Week Stop in Seoul


Highly praised British electro-pop band Wild Beasts will be playing a show at V-Hall in Hongdae on Wednesday, November 5.  The concert will be the first of seven dates the quartet are doing in Asia this month.

Wild Beasts Band

Wild Beasts’ 2008 full-length debut, “Limbo, Panto,” received positive write ups from the likes of Pitchfork, NME, and Prefix Magazine with the latter saying “‘Limbo, Panto’ may be one of 2008’s most startlingly great debuts.”  The act’s sophomore offering, 2009’s “Two Dancers,” proved to be an even more successful affair.  Along with being nominated for 2010’s Mercury Prize, it was also included on NME’sBest Albums of the Decade” list and earned a spot in the book “1001 Albums You Must Hear before You Die.”

The group kept going strong with 2011’s “Smother.”  In their review of the album, the BBC wrote that Wild Beasts “are, right now, the most inspirational, intriguing, effortlessly enrapturing band at work on these shores.”  This year saw the release of Wild Beasts’ fourth long-player, “Present Tense.”  Issued in February, just like the rest of the band’s back catalogue, “Present Tense” has had little trouble collecting accolades with The Line of Best Fit saying “They’ve pulled off possibly the most intelligent, involving and profound record since ‘OK Computer.’”

While supporting “Present Tense,” Wilds Beasts have played a number of high-profile outings including Glastonbury, Fuji Rock, and the Pitchfork Music Festival.  V-Hall is obviously a much more intimate space than those large festival stages, which should make for a much more memorable experience for gig goers.

Wild Beasts perform on Wednesday night at V-Hall.  Doors open at 8 pm and the show starts at 8:30 pm.  Tickets are 50,000 won in advance and 60,000 won at the door.  Information on purchasing advance tickets can be found here.  And there’s a Facebook event page for the show here.

Wild Beasts Poster

Want to win a pair of free tickets to see Wild Beasts play at V-Hall?  Korea Gig Guide has two pairs of tickets to give away for Wednesday’s concert courtesy of My Same InkTo qualify for the tickets, simply share this story on Facebook.  Then email us at to let us know that you’ve posted the link to your Facebook wall, and we’ll add your name to the draw.  The contest closes at 3 pm on Tuesday afternoon (November 4) and we’ll notify winners by 4 pm that day.  Good luck!

The Muffs Play Seoul in Support of Their First Album in a Decade

On Friday night (October 31), Los Angeles punk/garage rock stalwarts The Muffs will be making their Korean live debut with a show in Hongdae at DGBD.

The Muffs Profile

The Muffs formed in 1991 and released their eponymous debut in 1993.  In 1995, their fantastic take on Kim Wilde’s “Kids in America” was featured in the popular teen flick “Clueless” bringing more mainstream attention to the act.

Between 1995 and 2004, The Muffs issued four praised full-length albums.  But after that things got quiet with the group.  Although they still gigged sporadically, they went a decade without releasing an album.  The band members kept busy with other projects, though.  Drummer Roy McDonald is also in the seminal power-pop band Red Kross, and last year vocalist and guitarist Kim Shattuck spent several months as the touring bassist for the Pixies after Kim Deal’s departure.

The Muffs Album

This past summer the long-awaited follow-up to 2004’s “Really Really Happy” finally surfaced.  Playfully titled “Whoop Dee Doo,” the effort’s dozen tracks were penned between 2006 and 2010, and The Muffs started recording the album in February 2010.  And much to the delight of fans, despite the 10-year gap, with “Whoop Dee Doo” The Muffs sound just like … well, The Muffs.  The release fits in great with the band’s previous output making it very easy to forget the extended break between albums.  Consequence of Sound touched upon this in their positive review of the offering saying, “‘Whoop Dee Doo’ is a statement of consistency. It might be more of the same, but if they’re not pushing their sound forward, they aren’t losing pace.”

The Muffs played in Tokyo today and will be flying to Korea Friday early in the day to prepare for their gig at DGBD.  Saturday will see the band traveling back to Japan for concerts on November 1 in Osaka and November 3 in Tokyo again.  Prior to her Shibuya show tonight,   Shattuck answered a few questions for Korea Gig Guide.

Why are The Muffs excited to be playing in Seoul on October 31?

We’ve never played in Seoul before and we can’t wait to go there.  We’re going to be really loud and energetic at the gig!

What are some of your best memories from making “Whoop Dee Doo”?

I really enjoyed recording my sister Kristen singing harmonies on the album. We work well together and have a lot of laughs.

How do you feel the album compares to the rest of The Muff’s back catalogue?

I think it’s our best record yet.

Ten years passed between the release of “Really Really Happy” and “Whoop Dee Doo.” After such a long break, why did this year feel like a good time to put out “Whoop Dee Doo”?

Because we were finally done!

The Muffs play on Friday night at DGBD.  Tickets are 30,000 won at the door.  The show starts at 8 pm and Crying Nut and Look and Listen are also on the bill.  For more information, check out the Facebook event page for the show here.

Here are the estimated set times for the show:
8:00 Look and Listen
8:40 Crying Nut
9:30 The Muffs

The Muffs Poster

Start Your Week Off Right With Touché Amoré

Mondays in Seoul are usually very quiet gig wise but Touché Amoré are helping to change that this week.  The critically acclaimed post-hardcore act will play at Gogos 2 in Hongdae this Monday (October 27), which should pretty much guarantee a fantastic start to the week for all who make it out to the show.

Touche Amore Photo

Formed in 2007, the band went through a few member changes in their first couple of years together.  Their current lineup of vocalist Jeremy Bolm, guitarist Clayton Stevens, guitarist Nick Steinhardt, bassist Tyler Kirby, and drummer Elliot Babin has been together since 2010.

“I met Nick and Clayton many years ago from playing in bands and working at a record store,” says Bolm. “Elliot and Tyler joined a couple years after.  We all have a strong connection with one another that translates well with our music.”

Is Survived By Cover

Touché Amoré’s first two albums, 2009’s “…To the Beat of a Dead Horse” and 2011’s “Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me,” have rightfully been called “genre-revitalizing LPs” by Pitchfork.  Written and recorded in early 2013, their latest full-length, “Is Survived By,” came out last fall and was met with rave reviews.  Awesome from start to finish, Alternative Press said the offering is “their most frantic, panicked, passionate and best album of their career.”

“The (album’s) sound grew from getting tighter as a band from playing so many shows and learning how one another writes,” says Bolm.  “It’s us showing our maturity.”

This year the band have played more than 100 gigs in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.  October has seen them performing in Brazil and also doing a Japanese co-headlining tour with the amazing screamo/post-rock hybrid band Envy.  What have been some of the high points in 2014 for Touché Amoré?  Have there been any low points?

“We’ve had many highlights,” says Bolm.  “Getting to play Brazil was a huge one. There are always low points because you can’t always have perfect shows.  You get tired and depression can set in being so far away from home for an extended period of time.”

Monday night will be the group’s first time gigging in Korea.  And although Monday is far from the most rock ‘n’ roll of nights, expect to see plenty of sweaty bodies bouncing around both on and off of the stage during Touché Amoré’s set.  If there’s one show in Seoul for hardcore and punk fans not to miss this autumn, it’s this one.

“We’re thrilled to have the chance to play in Seoul,” Bolm says.  “We’re going to play 20-plus songs to the energy given back to us from the crowd.”

Touché Amoré play on Monday night at Gogos 2 in Hongdae.  The show starts at 7:30 pm and tickets are 25,000 won at the door.  Asian Chairshot, The Geeks, and Hollow Jan are also on the bill.  For more information, check out the Facebook event page for the show here.

Touche Amore Seoul Poster

The Death of Club Spot

One of Korean punk’s main institutions, Club Spot, will be closing its doors this month. Since 2006, Spot has served as one of Hongdae’s best-known punk clubs. This dingy basement was the proving ground for countless starting bands, as well as a social catalyst for the music scene. Many foreign bands have played here, inlcuding US pop-punk band the Queers, Dutch hardcore band No Turning Back, and Japanese metalcore band Aggressive Dogs, to say nothing of all the bands coming to Korea to play the annual Korea/Japan Punk Fest.

Spot Entrance

“Spot has been my home for the seven years I’ve been here,” says Jeff Moses, frontman of melodic punk band …Whatever That Means. “I think I’ve spent more weekends there than not. I saw one of my first Korean punk shows there. I met so many of my friends there. I met my wife there. We had our wedding reception/punk show there. Our band’s first show was there. Our first two album releases were there. It’s the first place I bartended in Korea and the first place I worked as a concert promoter in Korea. It’s really been a huge part of my life for a really long time.”

Jeff and his wife Trash have booked shows at Club Spot under the brand World Domination, Inc, including the recently concluded 2nd Saturdays, a late-night showcase held on the second Saturday of each month, and the annual Still Alive series of Halloween shows. This year’s Still Alive takes place on Saturday, October 25 and laments the closing of the venue with a powerful assortment of Korean punk, ska, hardcore, and kimchibilly bands stretching from the dawn of punk in Korea to some of the scene’s youngest acts.

still aliveLineup:
Crying Nut (Chosun punk)
Rux (streetpunk)
BBLT (pop punk)
Burning Hepburn (punk/ska)
Skasucks (ska)
…Whatever That Means (melodic punk)
The Geeks (youthcrew hardcore)
Streetguns/ (kimchibilly)
The Pinheads (Ramones tribute band)
Yuppie Killer (kill your parents hardcore)
Resolute (oi punk)
Rudy Guns (ska-punk)

RSVP here!

Entry is 10,000 won with a costume, or 15,000 won without. “Be aware,” warns Jeff, “wearing a Misfits Jack-O-Lantern T-shirt, a name tag with someone else’s name on it, writing ‘BOOK’ across your face, and other lame crap like that…these are not costumes. They never have been, never will be, and won’t get you a discount.”

Club Spot Halloween 2011

Burning Hepburn

Burning Hepburn

Club Spot Halloween 2012


Club Spot Halloween 2013

Misfits tribute band performed by Mixed Blood: Mixedfits

Misfits tribute band performed by Mixed Blood: Mixedfits


ECE, A’z Bus, and Romantiqua Play Shake Shop 17 on 10/25

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.

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.

ECE Photo

“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!”

A'z Bus Pic 2

“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.”

Romantiqua Pic

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.

Shake Shop Poster

Max Reynolds and Social Bliss KR Back For More

Texas punk rocker Max Reynolds is wrapping up his second Korean tour this weekend with an HBC Fest appearance at Camarata on Friday and a pair of Hongdae gigs at Club Freebird 2 (Saturday) and Strange Fruit (Sunday).

Max Photo

Reynolds’ first Korean trek took place last fall.  He had a blast while here and made the decision to return again in 2014 pretty much as soon as his 2013 dates had finished. Over the summer, he used the crowdfunding site Indiegogo to help raise cash to offset his travel costs with fans in the US and Korea making contributions.

“It was important for me to keep the relationships I have with friends and clubs alive,” Reynolds says.  “The people I have met here in Hongdae mean a lot to me, and I’ve thought of them often throughout the past year.”

Social Bliss KR live at Zandari Fest 2014. Photo by Wolf Shin.

Social Bliss KR live at Zandari Fest 2014. Photo by Wolf Shin.

In the US, Reynolds plays as part of the three-piece punk act Social Bliss.  Not able to bring his group over with him last year, he recruited two Seoul musicians – bassist Ju Sarang and drummer Jo Seonghyun – to create a local incarnation of Social Bliss which is fittingly called Social Bliss KR.  Seoul Bliss KR have been reunited for his gigs this month.

“Seonghyun and Sarang have gotten stronger over the last year,” says Reynolds.  “It’s great to get to practice with them and hang out together.  We probably chat at least every other week or so on Facebook.  I really appreciate them.  They have lives and projects of their own, so for them to drop everything and help me out is really awesome.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to travel to this side of the world and have friends and people who are willing to play shows with me.  It’s something that I will never take for granted.  And having a Korean version of my band definitely gives me bragging rights back home!”

Reynolds performed twice last weekend with Social Bliss KR and the act have been practicing a lot since his arrival on October 7.  Despite it being only their second show in the span of 12 months, they put on a really fun concert on October 11 atop of a packed Steel Face Rooftop 3639 as part of Zandari Festa.  And their upcoming gigs promise to be even better.

“People can expect to hear some of my original songs as well as some classic punk covers from the likes of the Misfits and Ramones.  I’m feeling pretty good after eating all this great Korean food so there will probably be a whole lot of onstage antics too.”

Will of Fire Cover

Fans wanting to hear new music from Reynolds will be happy to know that the Texas version of Social Bliss plan to start recording the follow up to 2013′s “Will of Fire” EP in early 2015.  And Reynolds is also giving some serious thought to relocating to Seoul sometime next year so there may be a lot more Social Bliss KR concerts in the not-too-distant future.

Max Reynolds plays a free show at Camarata in Haebangchon on October 17 as part of  HBC Fest.  He’s on at 11 pm.  For more information about HBC Fest, check out the Facebook event page here.  He also plays on October 18 at Club Freebird 2 in Hongdae.  The show starts at 8 pm and Reynolds is on at 11:15 pm.  Tickets are 15,000 won with one free drink before 10:30 pm and 10,000 won after 10:30 pm. Pulse, Theatre 8, Sperms, Painters, Rockers Passion, and Green Dolphin Street are also on the bill.

Oct 18 Freebird Poster

Reynolds will end his Korean tour on October 19 at Strange Fruit in Hongdae.  The show starts at 8 pm and tickets are 5,000 won.  Sons of Tiger will also perform.  For more information about the October 19 show, check out the Facebook event page here.

October 19 Show Poster

The Geeks Celebrate 15 Years Together

On Saturday (October 11), local hardcore legends The Geeks are holding a concert at Prism in Hongdae to celebrate their 15th anniversary together.

The Geeks Poster 15 Years

And despite it being the seminal Seoul band’s birthday party, they are going to be the ones giving out presents! Attendees will be given a special Geeks poster and the first 150 people to arrive will also be given “Always Classic 2,” a cassette featuring one new song by the band and covers of Nirvana’s “Rape Me” and Pearl Jam’s “Spin the Black Circle.” The cassette is the follow-up to 2010’s “Always Classic 1” EP which saw The Geeks offering their own takes on tracks by the likes of Bad Brains and the Misfits. Along with the abovementioned gifts, The Geeks will have special T-shirts and buttons for sale too.

Saturday’s gig is also serving as the official release party for The Geeks’ sophomore full length, “Still Not in this Alone.” The long-awaited offering was issued in July through local hardcore imprint Townhall Records. The Geeks have already put out a music video for “Still Not in this Alone” cut “Defining Moments.” As a special treat they will screen their brand new music video for the album’s second single, “A Light in the Dark” for the first time on Saturday night at Prism.

KGG spoke with vocalist Seo Ki-seok about some of the band’s high points and low points over the last decade and a half, the making of “Still Not in this Alone,” and what keeps pushing them to make music. Although I’m not usually a big fan of Q&A style interviews, Seo had so many interesting things to share that it seemed wrong to just pick out a few select quotes. Check out everything that he had to say below.

What are some of the things you love most about being part of The Geeks?

I love the fact that we’ve been making history and we’re still making a difference in a relevant way. The philosophy of this band has always been to go for broke and give it all that we have. We’ve definitely taken the road less traveled by doing things that no other band in Korea had previously done, liking touring overseas at a time when most people thought it was not possible or crazy. I’m also proud that we’ve inspired and enlightened a lot of kids globally. It means the world to me that we’ve made a difference and still continue to do so. Most importantly, we helped build and grow the hardcore and punk scenes in Korea together with our friends.

You guys have been playing together for 15 years now. Can you still see The Geeks making and playing hardcore long enough to celebrate a 20th anniversary, 25th anniversary, 30th anniversary, etc?

Who knows? We never thought we would make it to 15 years! There certainly have been a lot of bumps along the way, but we’re still here and things are going well. In fact, we’re tighter than ever! I’m really hoping we can continue to make a difference in the future. And if we’re still around for our 20th anniversary, I hope I can still jump around as much as I do now because I’ll be 40 in Korean age then!

The Geeks Photo

What are some of your proudest accomplishments with The Geeks over the past 15 years?

First, when Townhall Records approached us for the first time and we started to build a local hardcore scene together in our own way with new bands and new kids. It was a life-changing experience and was so rewarding. To me, that was the single most important thing we’ve ever achieved – Seoul city hardcore and Korean hardcore are in my blood.

I think my second proudest accomplishment was when Think Fast Records in the US approached us to do a record with them. They basically wanted us to prove that hardcore was worldwide and show how it is done in Asia. It was huge for us and the Asian hardcore scene.

Next on my list were our first and second US tours. We toured the US with some of the world’s leading hardcore bands such as Bane and Modern Life Is War and played shows with Have Heart, Champion, Verse, and others. And kids went crazy for us. The whole experience was way beyond our wildest expectations.

Another proud accomplishment was being able tour in other Asian countries like Japan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. People there seemed to truly care about our music and the crowds were awesome. And it was also awesome to be a very active part of the Asian hardcore scene.

Geeks 2007 Tour Poster

What have been some of your strangest, craziest, and weirdest moments with The Geeks over the past 15 years?

There have been so many insane stories. But many of those can’t be shared in public! One thing I think I’ll always remember was when our van was broken into in San Francisco. We played a gig there and parked our van in what we thought was a nice, safe area. When we woke up the next day, we discovered that the windows in the van had been smashed and that equipment, suitcases, and my laptop and iPod were gone. We lost a lot of things that were necessary for our tour and felt devastated. Oh yeah, and to make matters worse – that day was my birthday!

But thankfully the bands we were touring with and the kids at shows really helped us a lot. People let us use their equipment and a donation box was put out at each show. Some bands like Bane even gave us their pay from the gigs to help support us financially. Bane gave us a new bass too when we stayed at their house. We were amazed by the kindness people showed us.

Another thing related to that story was that our drummer’s asthma inhaler was in one of the suitcases that were stolen. We didn’t have a prescription to get him a new inhaler. And we didn’t have any insurance either and were poor as hell. His asthma kept getting worse and worse. One day we were in Chicago and he was almost dying. Expired Youth were playing with us and we told them about the situation. And their guitarist Shariq (Ibriham) goes “Wait, I’m a doctor. I can help you guys with that!” And bam, it was taken care of and we were able to get an inhaler. Shariq truly saved a life that day.

What things would you still like to accomplish with The Geeks?

We haven’t toured in Europe yet so that’s one of our top priorities right now. And we also want to gig in other parts of Asia and the US again. But scheduling is tough as everyone has full-time jobs. So tours take a lot of pre-planning but hopefully we’ll be able to make some things happen.

What important lessons have you learned about the music industry and being a band over the past 15 years?

Passion drives everything. And you need to work hard if you want to achieve your goals. It is easy to set goals. But continually pushing yourself to actually make those things happen is much more challenging. It’s important to love what you do and to understand why you’re doing it. Words are great but actions are what matters.

The Geeks Album Cover

Please tell me about “Still Not in this Alone.” When was the album written? When was it recorded?

We initially finished the writing process in 2012 and started recording then. From there, we continue to modify and revise the songs as we moved forward. And for some of the songs, we decided to start all over again from scratch. Because of our busy schedules, we weren’t able to focus 100% on recording so it took a long time to finish everything. To be honest, it felt like recording would never end! You have no idea how happy all of us were when everything was finally done.

It’s been seven years since the release of “Every Time We Fall.” Was the major time gap between albums planned? Will it be another seven years before we hear a third full-length from The Geeks?

Those are good questions! No, it wasn’t planned. After releasing “Every Time We Fall” in 2007 we did a lot of touring and all started our professional working careers. Those things caused big delays in everything from planning gigs to writing songs. Some of us got married as well. One a personal level, I started a booking agency called Open Your Eyes and was pretty busy with that. I was also running a venue called Powwow with partners too. At some points during the gap, it was almost next to impossible to set aside some time to work and practice together. Actually, our original plan was to make “Still Not in this Alone” an EP. But we realized we had more songs than we needed for an EP. So we decided to write extra tracks and make it a full-length album. But then that took more time as well!

We certainly don’t have any plans for our next album yet. Right now we’re focused on playing as many shows as possible.

Listening to the finished album now, what are some of the things you like best about “Still Not in this Alone”?

We went through a lot when making “Still Not in this Alone.” In fact, we almost broke up while working on this album. We’re not in this for money. Instead it’s our passion in our music and beliefs that has pushed this band forward. There were some points when we were dead tired and wanted to stop. But those hard times reminded us of why we do what we do as The Geeks. Now we’re revitalized and stronger than ever. We survived and created the best album we’ve made to date.

With this album I think we’ve made progress but lyrically and musically. We’ve definitely stepped things up. We worked hard to ensure that we moved forward as a band but still kept our identity. This is not easy to do, especially in our genre of music.

The Geeks Live Pic

What do you have planned for your 15th anniversary gig at Prism? Why should everyone come and get wild and sweaty with The Geeks on October 11.

We’re going to play a special set on October 11 that will include some interesting cover songs. There are lots of things going on this weekend, including a few festivals that feature a lot of other great bands. But I think our show is going to be something unique and memorable because it’s an anniversary gig and a celebration of a band that helped to grow and nurture the local hardcore scene. I think Saturday is going to be an amazing experience that won’t be duplicated.

The Geeks Prism Poster

The Geeks play on Saturday night at Prism in Hongdae. The show starts at 5:30 pm and will feature opening sets from Victor Ha (from Things We Say), All I Have, Animal Anthem, Startline, Asian Chairshot, Burning Hepburn, Burn My Bridges, and Rux. Tickets are 20,000 won at the door. For more information, check out the show’s Facebook event page here.

A Double Dose of Moja Goodness at Zandari Festa ’14

The third annual Zandari Festa happens this weekend (October 10 -12) and will feature over 200 acts playing in 19 different Hongdae venues. One act that should definitely not be missed is Tokyo two-piece noise rock band Moja.

Zandari Festa Logo

Formed in 2006, Moja is made up of bassist and vocalist Haru and drummer Masumi. The pair have wowed audiences with their wonderfully chaotic cuts and explosive performances throughout their native Japan, and overseas in England, Wales, Italy, the US, Canada, and Hong Kong.

Moja Photo 1

Set to perform at Zandari Festa on both October 10 and 11, this will be Moja’s third time touring in Korea. The group made their Korean debut in 2012 with two excellent Seoul gigs at Club FF and Salon Badabie. Their FF Gig was reviewed by Chincha who said “Moja were incredible. Blasting out a wall of sound from their very first note to their very last, these veteran noise-mongers grabbed the crowd by the eardrums and refused to let go.” And this past summer, Moja returned to Korea once again for an appearance at Jeju’s Stepping Stone Festival.

“Our previous visits to Korea were amazing,” says Masumi. “We heard lots of great music and met many talented musicians. And the audiences we played for were so wonderful. They were very passionate and knew how to have fun!

“We’re really happy to be coming to Seoul to play at Zandari Festa. We’re excited about being able to make new memories with people from all over the world. And we’re always hungry for new music, so we’re really looking forward to checking out some cool bands too.”

New tunes aren’t the only thing Moja are hungry for. Although they will be pretty busy during their trip with Zandari Festa, both members plan on taking breaks from the festival for something very important – Korean food.

“We love Korean food, especially pajeon,” says Masumi. “When we were in Seoul last time, Apollo 18 took us to a pajeon restaurant in Hongdae and the food was so good. It was the best paejeon I’ve ever had in my life. I want to go back there, and try other Korean restaurants too.”

Moja are gigging in support of their third album, last year’s “I Love Cheese!!!” After recording their first two albums, 2009’s “Moja” and 2012’s “Super Ultra Gold 79,” in the US, they decided to head to the UK in February 2013 to make “I Love Cheese!!!”

“Our goal has always been to try and capture the energy and intensity from our live performances on CD,” says Masumi. “That’s why we record in different studios and with different engineers every time we make a new album. I think we did a better job of capturing our live intensity on ‘I Love Cheese!!!’ but we’re still pushing ourselves to make the Moja album that we want to hear.”

Moja Live Photo

As for this weekend’s shows, what can fest-goers expect from Moja at Zandari Festa?

“There are just two of us in our band, but we try to create a loud and roaring sound at gigs,” says Masumi. “We hope people will come see us, forget about their ordinary days, and dance wildly. Let’s be free and have a great time together!”

Moja play as part of Zandari Festa in Hongdae on October 10 and 11. They will perform on Friday at 8:40 pm at MUV Hall and on Saturday at 9 pm at V-Hall. Friday’s performance is only open to those with a delegate pass, while Saturday’s gig is open to everyone that has either a one- or two-day ticket for the event.

Zandari Passes

A delegate pass is 100,000 won in advance and 150,000 won at the door. One-day tickets are 20,000 won in advance and 35,000 won at the door. And two-day tickets are 35,000 won in advance and 50,000 won at the door. For more information about the different ticket types, visit here. And to purchase advance tickets in English, visit here.

Zandari Poster 1