Tag Archives: Galaxy Express

Myungshin Ki Memorial Night Tonight at Strange Fruit

Two of Seoul’s finest indie bands, Crying Nut and Galaxy Express, will take to the stage at Strange Fruit in Hongdae tonight (March 5) at 7pm in commemoration of and tribute to their friend and fellow rock lover, Myungshin Ki.

myungshin

Known for his passionate love of and tireless efforts to promote the “rock spirit” of Hongdae both here and abroad, Myungshin headed indie label Love Rock where he helped to grow and develop some serious talent, including the likes of Galaxy Express, Dead Buttons, Pavlov, Yksi and Victim Mentality. He passed away a year ago, tragically taking his own life, but his spirit lives on in the music halls of Hongdae, the hearts of those he touched, and in the music he helped give life to.

Close friends Galaxy Express shared a few words about what Myungshin means to them and why they are performing in his honor. Bassist Lee Juhyun explains, “It’s been a year and so his friends are going to gather to remember him, so we can meet up and talk about him. We wanted to create this kind of opportunity. Because he had a big network and knew so many people, we decided to gather [like this] and commemorate him.”

“While we have a few drinks and sit around chatting and cursing,” adds drummer Kim Heekwon with a reminiscent smile. Then there’s a pause: “Feels like such a long time. Can’t believe it’s been just a year. He visited me in a dream last night and told me he’s doing well. I still can’t believe he’s gone.”

Vocalist Park Jonghyun adds, “It doesn’t feel like he’s left us. Just feels like he’s gone really far away. Let’s create a great memory together for him!”

Seoul-based rocker Max Reynolds first met Myungshin in 2012 when he brought Galaxy Express to his hometown of Texas. Inspired by the music scene in Seoul that Myungshin had done so much to nurture, Max eventually packed up his life in Texas and moved to Seoul, developing a close friendship with Myungshin. Of his late friend, he relates: “Over the years he really taught me what friendship was all about. He didn’t care where you were from or what you looked like or what kind of music you played. He wanted to include everyone. I try to be more like him every day.”

Strange Fruit opens at 7pm and tickets are 20,000 won at the door. It is likely that tickets will sell out fast.

GALAXY EXPRESS RETURN TO THE US!

One of Korea’s busiest and noisiest bands, Galaxy Express, are getting ready to tour America for the third time.

This year the band have already embarked on a cross-country Korean tour in support of their newly released self-titled third album.  Before heading to the United States, where they’ll play 28 concerts between March 7 and April 6, I managed to sit down with vocalist and bassist Lee JuHyun, vocalist and guitarist Park JongHyun, and drummer Kim HeeKwon for a quick chat about all things GE!

How does it feel to have your third album out?
JongHyun: It feels good, really good.
JuHyun: We are really happy with it!

How different was the writing and recording process compared to your debut double album and the 30 Days Project for “Wild Days”?
JongHyun: The quality of the new album is absolutely much higher than our previous releases, in both the recording quality and the song writing.

So you wrote, recorded, and released your “Wild Days” album in only 30 days, how long did this one take?
JongHyun: The new album? Oh, we started recording it in August.  We started writing the songs right after we finished our spring 2012 USA tour.  And we finished recording in late October.


What song took the least effort to write?
JuHyun: The intro song on the album, “Riding the Galaxy.”
JongHyun:  It was very easy to come up with the music, and  HeeKwon suggested that we have lots of yelling on the song, like “ahhhhhhhhhhh,” which made the lyrics simple to write too!

What song took the most effort?
JuHyun: “How Does It Feel.”
JongHyun: Yeah, “How Does It Feel” because it is kind of a new style for us.

You have obviously added a few new influences on this album, such as on “You and I.” Can you tell me about those?
JongHyun: We wanted to keep the energy of our past albums, but also try some different things this time around. We wanted to try and make things sound a bit more polished too. Some of our earlier stuff was pretty raw.

Are you ever worried that a song is so different from your past work that people will say, “That’s not a Galaxy Express song!”? A track like “Remember the Day” is quite different from your older songs.
JuHyun: We wanted to try some new styles of music, but still make music that we like!
HeeKwon: Sometimes we need to change things a bit in order to keep things interesting for us, and for listeners.

You released a documentary about your 2012 USA tour called “Turn It Up to Eleven 2: Wild Days.” Tell me about the film.
JongHyun: It was made by the same director that made the film “Turn It Up to 11” about us and Tobacco Juice a few years back. His name is Seunghwa Baek. He’s a good friend of ours and is also the drummer in Tobacco Juice. Seunghwa filmed the documentary over our whole spring 2012 US tour. It was like the camera was literally a part of his body! He followed us and was always filming.
JuHyun: It is like a diary of our trip!

What was it like being in a documentary?
JongHyun: Oh, it’s the same as our real lives.
JuHyun: We are just extras in the film!
JongHyun: But we are happy because the film will be screened at CAAMFest in San Francisco this month. It’s pretty cool that it’s going to be shown at an overseas film festival.

How are you approaching this tour differently compared to your two previous visits to the US?
JongHyun: We’re not approaching the tour itself any differently. But we’re going to play a lot more shows this time, and we’ll be visiting 14 states. It will be the biggest tour we’ve ever done.

What are your overall goals for this US tour?
JongHyun: We want to have lots of fun, meet lots of new people, and make some good friends. If we can make it through our month-long tour without getting in any car accidents, that would be good too!

With three full-length albums and four EPs under your belts, how do you go about making set lists nowadays?
JuHyun: Everyday is different, but most of the tracks are from our third album as we want to promote it and share the our new music with people.
JongHyun: And we also include some of our older popular tracks like “Jungle the Black.”

What music are you listening to now?
JuHyun: The Rolling Stones’ “GRRR!” compilation with their old songs and a few new ones too.

What’s your fave Stones song?
JuHyun: “Let it Bleed” – I listen to it all the time!

Aside from your upcoming American tour, what else do you have planned for 2013?
HeeKwon: We will release our new album in Japan at the end of May.
JongHyun: And we want to tour there too!
JuHyun: The Japanese version of our album will have one bonus track. It will probably be a cover song.
Jong Hyun: Maybe we’ll do a Ramones track!

If you ever ended up relocating to another country, where would you want to move to? Why?
HeeKwon: North Korea!
JongHyun: I think that Kim JongUn is young and studied overseas, so he must like rock ‘n’ roll!

Can you recommend any new or up-and-coming Korean bands?
JuHyun: Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio are really good. They have funky garage rock hybrid sound. The Wasted Johnny’s are cool too.
JongHyun: And Seokyo Group Sound. Their new album is good!

Is there anyone local or international that you would like to collaborate with?
JuHyun: Doing something with Apollo 18 would be awesome. Their music is really powerful and has a lot of energy!
HeeKwon: Girls’ Generation because I like Taeyeon!

You can check out Galaxy Express’ latest album on Bandcamp here.

Here are Galaxy Express’ USA tour dates:
March 7 San Francisco, CA @ Broadyway Studios
March 9 San Angelo, TX @ The Deadhorse
March 10 San Antonio, TX @ The Korova
March 11 Austin, TX @ Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill
March 12 Austin, TX @ (5 pm) Mark McCrimmon Law Office (6th Annual Dart Music International House)
March 12 Austin, TX @ (12:30 am) Elysium (Official SXSW Showcase / K-Pop Night Out)
March 13 Austin, TX @ (3 pm) Lucy’s Retired Surfer Bar (GnG Presents: West 6th St. Block Party “Louder Than Everything Else”)
March 13 Austin, TX @ (1 am) Easy Tiger (SPIN House Official Showcase)
March 14 Austin, TX @ (2:30 pm) The Grackle (Grackle Rock 3!)
March 15 Austin, TX @ (3:45 pm) Guero’s Taco Bar (Guero’s International Showcase)
March 16 Leander, TX @ The Carlton Ranch
March 17 Lufkin, TX @ The Factory
March 19 Hot Springs, AR @ Low Key Arts (The Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival)
March 20 Memphis, TN @ 1884 Lounge
March 21 St. Louis, MO @ Blank Space
March 22 Indianapolis, IN @ Melody Inn
March 23 Milwaukee, WI @ Yield
March 24 Chicago, Il @ Township
March 26 Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
March 27 Lincoln, NE @ The Zoo
March 28 Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
March 29 Salt Lake City, UT @ Bar Deluxe
March 30 Las Vegas, NV @ Bunkhouse Saloon
March 31 Phoenix, AZ @ The Lost Leaf
April 3 San Diego, CA @ The Void
April 4 Fresno, CA @ Audie’s Olympic
April 5 Oakland, CA @ Eli’s Mile High Club
April 6 Los Angeles, CA @ Dim Mak Studios

Galaxy Express Keep It Rocking – At Home And Abroad!

Having been a long time fan of Galaxy Express’ work, especially their incendiary live performances, I was thrilled to be given a chance to sit down and talk to the three-piece rock outfit about, amongst other things, their upcoming second tour of the United States. This was a few hours before they rocked the stage at Rolling Hall in early February. Enjoy!

For the new fans out there, please describe Galaxy Express for us?
Juhyun: Galaxy Express make dirty animal rock!

How has the Korean indie/ rock scene changed since Galaxy Express were formed?
Jonghyun: At the time, there wasn’t that much hard rock music being played. There were heavy bands, but not as many gigs in Hongdae. Then we started, and I think people (now) know more about hard rock music.

In the spectrum between rock, metal, punk, pop, etc, where does Galaxy Express fit in?
Juhyun: We love heavy metal, modern rock, and we are also into original punk stuff. Jonghyun and I played in punk bands before, so Galaxy Express has punk roots.

What Korean bands inspired you growing up?
Jonghyun: Sanulrim, Shinawe, and most of all, Crying Nut. I saw Crying Nut play on TV when I was younger and their actions onstage were really inspiring and shocking.

Juhyun: We like old Korean pop and country music too.

What international bands inspired you?
Juhyun: MC5, The Stooges, Nirvana, The Clash, Metallica, Green Day, Oasis, and many Japanese bands like Guitar Wolf.

Can you recommend any new Korean bands?
Jonghyun: Telepathy and Pavlov. Pavlov have a really dirty feeling to their music that we really like.

Tell us about some of the more memorable gigs and venues you have played?
Jonghyun: We once played in a library in an elementary school in Cheonan. We played a cover of “Immigrant Song” and the kids really liked it. It felt like we were kind of in a zoo. It was a great performance. Last year we did our first American tour. We played at SXSW in Texas and in New York, San Diego, and Los Angeles too. The crowds were great everywhere. We also played in Canada and it was really good too.

What bands have you been compared to?
Juhyun: We are often compared to MC5, The Stooges, and classic rocks bands like AC/DC.

Your live shows are always well received, how do you prepare for them?
Jonghyun: We don’t like to prepare too much. We just try to always do our best, and we don’t want to have any regrets after our performances. We have been doing this for many years, so practise and experience definitely helps. We make our set lists on the day of each show. We talk about it together and discuss our feeling, our condition, etc.

You recently did a joint EP with the iconic Korean group Crying Nut. How did that come about?
Jonghyun: We did a Korean tour called “The Dynamite Tour” with Crying Nut last summer. We were preparing to release a CD single, and so was Crying Nut, so we said, “Let’s release them together.” We actually decided to do this in Jeju. We were drinking, talking, and have a party there and that’s when it came together.

What is your approach for song writing?
Jonghyun: Most of the time, Juhyun brings an idea, a riff or some lyrics, and then we practice together in our practice room. We develop it more and more, or we just jam out someone else’s ideas.

(At this stage all three members got humble and insisted the others do most of the song writing)

Juhyun: We all bring ideas in.

Next album plans?
Heekwon: We don’t know what we’ll do for our next album yet. We practice every day and have discussions, but we don’t know yet.

Jonghyun: Maybe the next album will sound more like Galaxy Express. It will be different like when we first started Galaxy Express. Back then, we had a lot of psychedelic things and were into very unusual stuff.

If you could do the soundtrack to any film, what would it be?
Juhyun: “28 Weeks Later” – we love zombie movies!

How are you approaching your second US tour differently from last year’s Seoulsonic tour?
Jonghyun: We’ll be doing more gigs. Last time we always played with the other Korean bands, but this time we will be playing with more local bands from each city we’re visiting. Also, we want to try and watch more local bands play, so that we can learn about their vision of rock ‘n’ roll.

Do you have many long-terms goals?
Juhyun: There is only one goal – keeping making music and playing shows.

What were the craziest crowds you have played to?
Jonghyun: Our 11/11/11 concert at Sangsang Madang was mad. Also, our gig at Pentaport last year was really fun. It was our first time playing the festival in the evening instead of during the daytime. We started as the sun was going down, and the lights were coming on. One audience member lost her mind and had to be taken away in an ambulance. Luckily, it was not a serious injury.

Galaxy Express will be opening for The RockTigers and Japanese legendary garage punks Guitar Wolf tomorrow night (March 3) at V-Hall in Hongdae. The show starts at 7 pm and tickets are 35,000 won at the door.

Next week Galaxy Express will be flying to the United States to perform at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music and Media Conference, The Big Spill Festival, the Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival, and more places.

Here are the band’s American tour dates:
March 9 Houston, TX @ Super Happy Fun Land
March 10 San Angelo, TX @ The Deadhorse
March 13 Austin, TX @ (5:20 pm) Bernadette’s Bar (Indie Radio Rocks the World 2)
March 14 Austin, TX @ (2 pm) Zen Japanese Restaurant (Slab x Slab Fest)
March 15 Austin, TX @ (6 pm) Aussie’s Grill & Beach Bar (WeAre78704.com/Elevated Minds Music present: Music Madness)
March 16 Austin, TX @ (1:45 pm) Casa Chapala (Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie Does! Does! Does! Showcases)
March 16 Austin, TX @ (4 pm) The Grackle (Grackle Rock!)
March 16 Austin, TX @ (11 pm) Soho Lounge (Official SXSW Showcase)
March 17 Austin, TX @ (2:30 pm) Tom’s Tabooley (Freddie Steady’s 12th Annual Frontier A Go Go Rock & Roll Hootenanny)
March 17 Austin, TX @ (7 pm) Pearl Street Co-op
March 19 San Antonio, TX @ The Korova (The Big Spill 2012 Festival)
March 21 Denton, TX @ Ol’ Dirty Basement (J&J’s Pizza on the Square)
March 22 Lufkin, TX @ The Factory
March 23 Hot Springs, AR @ Low Key Arts (The Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival)
March 24 Dallas, TX @ Double Wide
March 25 Austin, TX @ Red 7