Posted on August 13, 2015

Interview

>>>>> DoIndie has some concert tickets (Sept 5th) and signed CDs from Galaxy Express to give away. Details on how to win can be found at the bottom of this article! <<<<<

# First off, please introduce one another to our readers.

HeeKwon : JuHyun is the bass player in the band as well as our designer. He designs all the album art and stuff. He is also the oldest in the band.

JuHyun : This guy (JongHyun) plays guitar and sings for us, he is the most handsome guy in the band. These days he is getting a big belly.

JongHyun : This is our drummer HeeKwon Kim, he just plays the drums.

# Although you are one of the best-known bands in the Korean indie music scene, how would you describe your music and your band to someone who has never heard of you?

JuHyun : We are a three piece, rock’n’roll band consisting of bass, drums, and guitar. We are three healthy Korean fellas. We have all completed our military service too. We are a band who makes extremely wild rock’n’roll music. We are really fucking exciting! Especially our live shows! Come and see us. If you haven't seen us, don’t bother talking about us! I guess we can keep up these lies until they actually come and see us.

# Who or what inspired each of you to get into music in the first place?

JongHyun : I think I first decided to play guitar after listening to Nirvana. Of course, I listened to a lot of music before that as well, in middle school I listened to bands like Metallica, Queen etc, but it was Nirvana who made me think ‘yeah, I really have to play the guitar’. Their songs are really easy to play, so I thought ah, this is easy to do. And that’s how I started out.

JuHyun : For me, there wasn’t a time where I suddenly thought ‘I have to do music’, it was more like ‘I have to have one of those’, ‘I want to play one of those’. My brother played an acoustic guitar and so when I saw him playing I thought, ‘ah I can do that too’ so I bought one right away and started playing. Once I started playing I realised how much fun it was and kept on playing. Later I quit a lot of things, I quit school and I quit drawing pictures as well … the only thing I kept doing was the band. My aim wasn’t to become a musician, it was just a really fun hobby and I ended up doing it right up to this day. These days the only thing I do is play music, and it is still so much fun. I started because it was fun.

HeeKwon : I was playing in a brass band in high school, but my desire to play the drums got bigger and bigger and so I started playing the drums. And that’s how I ended up sitting here...

JuHyun : I guess being a musician is one of the coolest jobs a person can have. Many people think being a member of a band is really sexy and cool. It doesn’t just look sexy and cool, it really is sexy and cool.

# Recently you played the Buruda Music Trip concert and as part of the trip you hung out with the fans at a guesthouse. How was that?

JongHyun : A while ago we did something similar when we hung out with fans and had a picnic at the Han River in Seoul. We also did something similar in Chuncheon where we hung out with the fans, played a show and then had an after party with them too. These things are really fun to do. It feels a bit like a VIP show or something. We get to drink a lot, too.

# So you hung out with them for two days and one night?

JongHyun : Right. We didn’t sleep with them though. If we had a bit more talent we might have been able to though haha (Just kidding)

# How many people came?

JongHyun : There were not all that many, between 50-100 or so? If there are lots of people it is really great fun because everyone gets drunk, people cry and shout.

# Galaxy Express have appeared on several TV broadcasts and you communicate with your fans through a variety of media channels like Music Trip and Wild 30. However, the lyrics of the song ‘요즘 개들은 짖지 않는다 [Dogs These Days Don't Bark]’ seem to be critical of SNS and other media channels. Can you explain this contradiction? 

JuHyun : Even without SNS and the Internet there are lots of rumors, right. Because of these rumors people often get divided into different sides and political and social problems can occur because of it. Even though these problems may not always directly affect me or those around me … it is easy for media to manipulate people. It is easy for things to get fabricated as well. However, communication itself is not a bad thing.

# Do you all use SNS?

JongHyun : I don’t bother with it any more.

JuHyun : I don’t use it much, only if there is something I want to boast about.

HeeKwon :  I sometimes talk about crazy stuff and just chat about shit on there. I like to write like a diary on there and tell jokes. But I don’t use it all that much really.

# Galaxy Express already have a good reputation for great acoustic sets. Even when you play these softer acoustic sets people are still headbanging the same as always. Do you arrange your acoustic songs any differently? Do you enjoy playing acoustic?

JongHyun : The first time we decided to do an acoustic show, when we were trying to work out how to do it, we just thought ‘ah let’s just do it however’ and just got on with it. That worked out pretty well for us. When we play acoustic we don’t worry about making it all that mellow, we just want to do it our own way, in our own style. We are not ballad singers, anyway we just do it because we want to have fun. There are not any other bands in Korea doing these acoustic sets like us, so people really like it. We always take the opportunity to play an acoustic set if the chance arises. It is an area that is worth paving the way in, right. Nirvana have their album ‘unplugged’ right? That is a dream of mine. I really want to make something like that.

# When you played at Ansan Rock Festival, who was the coolest band there?

JongHyun : Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl came and played even though he has a broken leg! Seeing something like that is a rare spectacle so, it was really incredible.

JuHyun : Motorhead was really cool too. It made the hairs on my neck stand up.

JongHyun : When watching Motorhead, of course the music was really cool, but the musicians themselves were super cool. Their passion, their stage presence and everything … the whole situation all looked super cool.

JuHyun : They have been around for about 40 years … how bloody old are they? I guess they are about 70, so anyone who plays music for that long has got to be cool.

JongHyun : The drummer played so hard he looked like he might die.

# Tell us a little about the new album. How does it differ from your previous albums?

JongHyun : It is really good, just like the others. The album turned out really well. It feels like an upgrade from the other albums. The sound is extremely rich and the recording came out really well too. We tried record naturally in a comfortable environment and I think that people will really enjoy the results.

JuHyun : There is one obvious difference … before when we recorded it was like we were chasing something but this time we were eating and sleeping in a really good place and we recorded for a long time too. Because of that it turned out really well. We did the recording at Sangsang Madang studio in Chuncheon, the environment there was really nice because there was a lake out front and our hotel was near by. Overall we spent about a year and a half working on this album, so in that way alone it is different from the other albums I guess. Before there was a pressure to finish the albums within a certain period of time but this time we were taking it easy and had more time to think about everything.

JongHyun : The mixing and mastering was done in England. The sound is really great. It was a really expensive studio. English people are rock’n’roll professionals. So this album is certainly different from the albums we released before … it’s a big upgrade!

# Galaxy Express albums are well known for their rugged recording styles. This album was recorded in a more professional set up with Adrian Hall from England. Why the change in recording styles?

JongHyun : hummm, let’s see. I guess the basic thought was that we wanted to try something new, something we had not tried before. We had already tried rough recordings, at that time we liked doing it like that and it felt right, but we didn’t want to do it like that again. We also wanted to take the opportunity to work with a renowned producer from abroad as well.

# Did he approach you?

HeeKwon : No. A guy we know set up a recording studio over at Sangsang Madang, he told us that an engineer from abroad was coming over to do some work and that the gear and sound there was really good. We don’t really care where we record but we are good friends with him and talked to him about it a lot, so we ended up agreeing to do it at his studio. It was only later that we found out how famous the engineer was.

JongHyun : Of course the sound on an album is important, but the most important thing is the music itself. We’ve been playing the same style of music since the start, but each album has been recorded under different situations. It is always really fun when you get to try a wide variety of methods.

# Why did you decide to release a song each day on Soundcloud before the album was officially released?

HeeKwon : Honestly, we wanted people to hear the songs before we appeared at Ansan festival, so we figured we should release the songs early to make it less awkward when we played. We wanted to make sure we had fun with everyone at the festival but it looked like the release date was going to be late, so we just released them on soundcloud. Later a friend of ours asked what the hell we were thinking, but at that time, it was just something we wanted to do.

JuHyun : We released one song each day for the fans to hear. It was fun to do it like that. It was cool listening to fans talking about what each song was like.

HeeKwon : Anyway, when you release a CD there are those people who will buy it and then there are those people who will only stream it. It is always like that regardless of what you do, we just wanted to give people a chance to hear the songs before we played them. 

# You didn’t stream your last album. Why was that?

JuHyun : We are against dumping music.

JongHyun : At that time there was a ‘Stop Dumping Music’ (anti streaming) movement, but anyway nothing changed.

HeeKwon : The result was that the streaming sites blocked us. Bugs and all those other sites just said ‘fair enough. If you don’t want to use us, don’t’.

JongHyun : We were part of the anti streaming movement but seeing as it didn’t work out we are looking for other ways to fight it now. I still think the streaming services here in Korea are fucked up.

JuHyun : Noel Gallagher said in an interview recently that the Korean streaming sites were ‘breaking the law’ and that it was ‘really bad’. He was really surprised when he found out how little Korean artists got from streaming services.

HeeKwon : If Korean artists had made those comments then people would have just responded by saying something like, if you made a decent album then we would buy it, or something like that. But because it was Noel Gallagher who said it everyone got behind him and started taking about it. People are strange like that.

JongHyun : It’s just not right. We don’t know much about the whole business side of things, but still … it’s just not right to be getting paid such a small amount.

# In previous interviews you have often said that you are a rock’n’roll band that doesn't care about genres. You can see this by looking at the cover songs you have done by artists like MC 5, Ramones, Wondergirls, Oasis etc. Do you guys still play special covers at your shows?

JuHyun : We just play the songs we like I guess. At certain times we just want to play certain songs….but when the song is in English it is always really hard to get to the end of it. The lyrics are always so hard…but at Ansan everyone else made it look easy when they were singing along to the western bands. Korean people are really good at studying, so they can sing along to the songs really well.

# There are some people who don’t like cover songs. What are your thoughts on it?

HeeKwon : I didn’t really like it at first either. I thought cover songs were shit.

JongHyun : Last time we played at the Busan rock festival we covered ‘부산 갈매기’ (It has the word ‘Busan’ in it a lot). At the after party we were drinking with 스톤드 they were asking what the hell we were doing covering that song.

HeeKwon : They asked if we sing songs about Seoul when we are in Seoul.

# In an interview you did a long time ago you said that if you were good on computers you would consider making a more electronic sound for Galaxy Express. Also, you did a collaboration with Korea’s number one electronic band Idiotape at Ansan this year. People have been talking about that ever since on SNS. What do you make of the fans reactions?

JongHyun : I think it is a natural reaction. I go to clubs a lot and compared to previous times in the electronic scene, DJ’s in Gangnam are doing more Psychedelic Trance collaborations. Seeing as this kind of thing is now everyday life, it was more natural to go and do it at Ansan. We are good friends with Idiotape as well. More than thinking about the the genres, we just did it because it is fun to do fun things. These days there are loads of electronic bands at rock festivals. It’s different from the past. It is more fun to keep rock and electronic music together rather than dividing them. Only the instruments are different, but both have the same musical essence.

# GE fans seem to be really creative at making products based on your logo and image. What is the best gift a fan has ever given you?

JuHyun : For me, a t-shirt. Someone drew my face and made a t-shirt out of it. Thanks so much.

JongHyun : Ages ago, when we had a Cyworld page there was a kind of drawing app on there. Someone drew my face on there too. It was really fucking funny. hahaha It was fucking brilliant. It would be cool if facebook makes a similar app.

HeeKwon : I got some rice cakes from a fan. It was my birthday. That was the best gift. I got a facepack as well.  

JongHyun : We made a T-shirt to go with our new Walking On Empty album. Someone else also made one for us which looked really good. It is really cool. Go to the Love Rock site and take a look. There are loads of really great shirts on there. http://www.loverock.kr/bbs/board.php?bo_table=goods

# How and when did your trademark “stacking” thing start? What makes you decide whether or not to do it at a show? Have either of you (JuHyun and JongHyun) ever injured yourselves onstage doing that or any other wild moves?

JuHyun : Luckily we haven't been hurt thus far.

HeeKwon : We started doing it around the time we released our second album. We decided to do it when we were in our basement studio one day so we tried it out. Everyone loved it.  

JongHyun : We did it at first just for a bit of a laugh but over time it has become a bit of a trademark for us I guess. It feels like something we kind of have to do now. If we don’t, people are like ‘why didn’t they do that today?’ People really seem to love this kind of stuff. 

# HeeKwon, what do you think when you see this going on from behind the kit? Don’t you wanna be able to join in?

HeeKwon : At first I thought, ‘do we really need to be doing all that’, but later I just thought it was funny. If they don’t do it I wonder what is wrong. The reaction when they do it is really good. It is a really funny situation. No one else does anything like that. They don’t do it so much these days though.  

JuHyun : My back hurts … and he got heavier these days.

JongHyun : These days our fans do it a bit as well. At our showcase shows everyone is on each others shoulders. Suddenly we are at eye level with everyone.

# You guys always wear black clothes, whose idea was that?

JongHyun : Right at the start it was JuHyun’s idea. He said ‘the universe is black, so let’s all wear black!’ We started wearing black then and over time we have just acquired more and more black stuff, we don’t have anything else. I like it because seeing as everything is black, we don’t need to think about it at all.

JuHyun : Black works on everyone I guess. I don’t like to think too much. You can wear black anywhere and be taken seriously. I would rather spend my time worrying about the music rather than wasting energy worrying about what I am wearing.

JongHyun : You could say that it is our styling…. These days it is really hot so I don’t wear my black jacket but when the season changes again I will put it back on. It is comfortable. I change my clothes from time to time but I will be wearing black even when I am a grandfather. I won’t need to buy any more clothes.

# Who else do you think plays a great live show?

JongHyun : Pavlov? Ah, that’s not cool to say? They are the same label as us.

JuHyun : DTSQ. Veggers as well. Goonam are good too. Fling. Their album is really good.

JongHyun : Reverse N Rebirth. The Monotones are good too.

# What are your plans?

JongHyun : We will have a showcase concert in September. Make it your cover story please! It is on September 5th. It is the first time in ages we will have played at SangSang Madang. You can reserve tickets online at Interpark

# If each of you could have dinner with one person, anywhere in the world, alive or dead, who would it be, and what would you eat?

JuHyun : Seeing as I am a guy, a girl?

HeeKwon : Kim Il-sung?

JongHyun : Kim Jong-un would be fun too. We are the same age so I could call him a mother fucker haha.

JuHyun : I wouldn’t be able to talk with anyone who wasn’t Korean so … who can I chose? ..Helen Keller? She can not hear, how did she learn all that stuff? Is that even possible? She can’t hear or see either. How did she learn? … wow!

# I heard that she was taught by hand how to shape her tongue to pronounce words.

JuHyun : That must have been hard work. Good job.

JongHyun : It would be fun to eat dinner with Bob Marley.

Buy 'Walking On Empty’ (Digital Album) :

Daum MusicNaver Music | Olleh MusicBugsGenie | M-Net | Melon | itunes (UK) | iTunes (US)

Buy 'Walking On Empty’ (Physical Album) :

Hyang MusicYes Asia (International Delivery) | Yes 24Bandi N Lunis | Aladin | Hot Tracks 

_____________________________________________________________
Interview : J-Myon Kim, Eunji Kim
English Translation : Patrick Connor & Doyeon Lim
Edited by : Alex Ameter
_____________________________________________________________

To be in with a chance of winnings signed CDs or tickets to the CD showcase concert (Sep 5th), simply follow the steps below :

>> Facebook :

[1] Share the link for this article on your personal facebook wall (please share straight from our facebook page, and make sure post settings are set to 'public' so we can check it has been shared) : Click Here
[2] Tag a friend in the comments section of our facebook post and tell us your thoughts on the band, the interview or the new album.
[3] Like our facebook page.

* We will notify ticket winners Sept 3rd via our facebook page.

>> Twitter :

[1] Follow us on twitter : https://twitter.com/DoIndieKorea (@doindiekorea)
[2] Retweet the post related to this article. (Click Here)
[3] Tweet your comments on the band, the new album, the gig or our interview. Using the hash tag #GalaxyExpress (Don't forget to tag us in the tweet too)

* We will notify ticket winners on Sept 3rd via our twitter page.

http://www.doindie.co.kr/en/events/galaxy-express-new-album-walking-on-empty

Date : Sept 5th (Sat) : 18:30
Venue : SangSang Madang
Adv : 30,000won
Door : 35,000won

Reservations : Interpark

____________________________________________________
For more information on the band, check them out at the following sites :

Official Site : https://twitter.com/GalaxyExpressKR
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/GalaxyExpressKR
Twitter : https://twitter.com/GalaxyExpressKR
DoIndie : http://www.doindie.co.kr/en/bands/galaxy-express

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