Posted on August 27, 2014

Interview

Back in December 2003 when I first arrived in Korea, the only punk venue in town was Club Drug. By that time, Drug wasn’t doing so well, with Crying Nut off in the army and rent rising on a venue with no liquor licence. I went to one show at Drug which turned out to be its last. One of the bands playing there was ska-punk group Beach Valley, and to the best of all our recollections, this may have actually been their last show too.

Now, over ten years later, Beach Valley is reuniting to play the New Generation of Ska Festival, and maybe more? I interviewed several members of the band to get everyone ready for this very unexpected, very welcomed comeback.

I was surprised when I saw Beach Valley listed among the New Generation of Ska Festival bands. I saw you play in 2003, in Drug's last show before it turned into Skunk Hell. When was your last show and why did Beach Valley stop playing?

Ki Sun : First, Thanks for asking us to have this interview. Beach Valley's last performance was around 2004. Actually I don't really remember when we had the last show. At that time, we didn't plan to have a final show. There were many different reasons we stopped playing. Although we stopped, we didn't consider the band disbanded, because all members have been friends for a long time.

Chang Min : In my memory, it was around the time when Club Drug changed to Skunk (Dec ‘03 - Jan ‘04). I had started playing music for own happiness, but I got tired of the small punk scene and playing for no financial reward. I also had the problem of military service, and the other members were aiming for different musical purposes.

Hae Won : I don't remember the last time we played. I think we separated to go in different musical directions.

How did you decide to reunite Beach Valley? Are you back for good, or is this the only show?

Ki Sun : Sometimes we joked around about reuniting, but when we thought about having the chance to have a fun time and make some good memories, we decided to get back together. Yet we don't know what we are going to do after the ska festival. The one thing we are sure about is we are not going to disband. Now we have some peace of mind to play and enjoy music with our good friends.

Hae Won : For this show we talked about having a reunion since we are all together. It is not a one-time thing.  I think we came back as workers who play in a punk band.

What have you been doing over the years?

Ki Sun : After I left Beach Valley, I played in the band No.1 Korean, then I went to do military service at the age of 30, which is a bit older than usual. MyeongKwon played in TodayXSpot, and he is still playing in that band and the band Golden Ticket.

Chang Min : After I left Beach Valley, I played in the band Beam Eyes Beam which has disbanded, and now I am preparing a solo project called Angelic Youth. For my job, I am running a convenience store. I live with my family and I think they supported me a lot through the hard times when I was out of the band.

Hae Won : Now I am working in IT. Haha. After I quit Beach Valley, I kept playing in the Hongdae punk scene. The bands I played in were Cockrasher, Half Brothers, Dubspain, Lazybone, Skrew Attack, TodayXSpot, No.1 Korean and so on.

Chang Hoon : During the time, I was vocalist in the band TodayXSpot.

Ji Woo : After we disbanded, I served in the military, then played at several jazz clubs and big bands. During that time, I studied and graduated university.

Let's talk about the old days. When did Beach Valley form? What was the music scene like then?

Chang Min : Probably when we were freshmen in high school? I guess Ki Sun remembers exactly. The punk scene at that time was just too small to be called a punk scene. I remember there were a lot more punk bands than these days, but their actions spoke louder than their musical ability as punk bands. At the time, hardcore and punk bands had strong unity so they would often play together.  Hardcore bands would support us at the same show until we finished our turn.

Ki Sun : I don't recall when we formed exactly. We made the band in high school. It was around 1998 I think. At that time, we started to copy the songs of a band called 18Cruk. After that, around 2000, we named the band Beach Valley and started really playing ska-punk.

Hae Won : Beach Valley was the band that our close friends made ambitiously when we were in high school. I think the name was different but we chanced it when we started to play in Hongdae, at the age of 20. The punk scene at that time...was hot. Hahahaha.

Was there much ska or ska-punk around in those days?

Chang Min : Lazybone started to play beforehand. I remember that we and Lazybone were the only bands with brass players.

Ki Sun : At that time, I remember there were some ska/ska-punk bands. There were Lazybone, Sunshine Bay, SkinPops, BrassMan and Bull-Hwa-Show. I think Lazybone is older than Beach Valley. We get along together and we love their music. It's a different story, but after we had stopped playing, our drummer Hae Won also played in Lazybone. Also Lazybone bassist Kyeong-Soon used to say "You guys considered us as rivals?" jokingly, but our rival at that time was the handsome band Unroot.

Hae Won : Lazybone was older than us. I think Lazybone was the only ska-punk band at that time.

I recall that Beach Valley worked with Skunk Label as well as Drug Records. What is your experience with both labels? Did they cooperate with each other, or was there a rivalry?

Chang Min : Skunk had the feeling more of a "crew," meanwhile Drug was a lot more like a "label." These were both punk labels but rather than being cooperative they didn't care much about each other. Drug was the 101 club for newbies of punk music, and Skunk was more professional and deep.

Ki Sun : We wanted to press a new album. At that time we were contacting with labels like Drug, Skunk, GMC, and we chose Drug. It was bit of a dilemma when we decided to be with Drug Records. I was worrying that many of my friends at Skunk were going to hate us, but they were very supportive and together with us. I was very happy with that.

Hae Won : I have good memories of Skunk, since it was where I chose to start a band in Hongdae. I talked a lot with other bands there, and it was a very familiar atmosphere. However Drug was a very united place with original members, so it was hard for newbies on the scene to get along with them. But it doesn't mean that there was a rivalry.

How many live music clubs did you play at back then?

Ki Sun : Slugger, WASP, Skunk Hell in Sinchon, Time to Rock in Apgujeong, Rolling Stones, Jammers, Freebird, Drug, DGBD, Club Heavy in Daegu and so on. But the most memorable place was a club in Sindaebang (I don't remember the name though). I played there every week when I just started to play in bands. At that club, I got to know Lee Jaehyuk, who plays drums in the band Patients now.

Do you think the scene was better back then, or now? How has it changed?

Ki Sun : It hasn't changed that much. As always people collect 10 bucks at the after-party like back in the days (sometimes it is more than 10 bucks though...). I loved the punk scene at that time, and also the people in the scene nowadays -- friends and brothers.

Chang Min : The punk scene is still growing up, and still there are many good bands appearing on the scene after 2002 when punk was booming. Even if Korea has problems like military service and a low population, our punk juniors are working hard, and I believe their hard work will make this scene better. Personally I think after-parties were better in the old days but nowadays more bands are playing better music.

Hae Won : The old punk scene was more fascinating. Punk is not all about good musical skill.

Myung Kwon : It's meaningless to say when the scene was better, and I think it changed a lot after a long time. There was a flowing of culture but it was weaker than the scene of these days. In the old days, the band-centred movement was active, but now the culture which includes punk affects a lot in the scene.

Chang Hoon : It was 100 times cooler and more romantic around the early 2000s. There were many different genres too.

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Interview / Pictures : Jon Dunbar (http://daehanmindecline.com)
Translation : Park Solmin

 

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For more information on the band, check them out on the following websites :

Facebook :  https://www.facebook.com/BeachValley2014
Twitter : https://twitter.com/BeachValley2014
DoIndie : http://www.doindie.co.kr/en/bands/beach-valley
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NGOSKA Festival : 

Beach Valley are one of the acts booked for the big FREE street ska festival on August 30. For more information about that huge show, read this interview: http://www.doindie.co.kr/en/posts/new-generation-of-ska

Date : August 30th 
Venue : Sinchon's Munhwa Geori (Street of Culture) - 18-9 Changcheon-dong Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
Price : FREE
Lineup : Rollings (Japan), Autocratics (Japan), Bruce Lee Band (USA), Skasucks, Beach Valley, Burning Hepburn, Ska Wakers, No. 1 Korean, Rudy Guns, Lazybone, Reska & Pegurians ... MORE.

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For more information on the festival, please head to the following sites:

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/tngoska
Twitter (Skasucks) :  https://twitter.com/SKASUCKS/
Tumblebug : https://tumblbug.com/ngoskafest
Contact : tngoska@gmail.com

Bands

Beach Valley

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