Posted on June 26, 2014

Interview

Korea has had some great reggae bands and some great ska bands, but most of the time they end up sounding too much alike. Then once in a while comes along something incredibly new to blow everyone's mind. This year, that band will be the Pegurians, a five-piece skinhead reggae group playing a rare brand of reggae that's extremely danceable.

The backbone of the band is the Hammond XB-2 organ manned by Korea's number one rudeboy, Jude Nah. Jude was previously keyboardist of Korea's leading ska-punk band Skasucks, but he eventually left to pursue his own musical interests. Now, finally, one of those interests has been brought to life through the Pegurians. We interviewed Jude to learn more about the Pegurians and the old sound they're newly introducing to Korea.

To many readers, "skinhead reggae" will sound like an oxymoron. So...are you guys Nazis?

Jude : No we are not Nazi skinheads or boneheads. I totally agree with you that there's gonna be a few readers who think skinheads are Nazis. For some people, skinheads are known as Nazis. But guess what? Real skinheads are not Nazis! Here's a little story. In 1968 when the skinheads first came out, they were just working-class guys in England who loved music, fashion and football. They were never related with Nazis those days. They were even friends with immigrants from the Caribbean at work, including Jamaicans. So that's how skinheads listened to reggae. Then in the early '70s few of the political far right skinheads became white power skinheads. And somehow they grew bigger all over the world. They call themselves skinheads but we call them boneheads. They were never even close to the original skinheads. They are much more uncooler than real skinheads, even a rat's ass.

What are the musical/stylistic characteristics of skinhead reggae as a sub-genre?

Jude : Well... there is this other term for skinhead reggae called early reggae. As it is, it reggae from the early days. It's a genre between rocksteady (a subgenre of ska) and reggae so it's a bit more like ska than reggae from those days but still totally different from ska. This early reggae first came out around the mid-late '60s. Immigrants from Jamaica in England brought this early reggae music to British skinheads and it became very popular among them in that era. Skinheads were very interested in Jamaican rudeboy style and culture. Actually skinhead fashion came from Jamaican rudeboy style. Soon that popular early reggae was called skinhead reggae between them. There are even songs named "Skinhead Moonstomp," "Skinhead Girl" and "Skinheads a Bash Them" and they use the word skinhead in the lyrics. And... how do I have to say this?...there's this kind of sound which sounds like late '60s skinhead feeling sound or beat in this music. It's a totally skinhead thing.

Can you name some other bands that have a similar sound that influence you?

Jude : There is The Upsetters, Harry J Allstars, Dynamites, Crystalites, Hippy Boys and Jackie Mittoo. Oh! And the Specials.

Currently your songs are almost entirely instrumental, and they all seem to be originals. How do you write songs for a band like this?

Jude : Hmm... I don't know... as usual in normal days when I think about happy things, happy melodies comes out or when I feel emotional, sad melodies comes out. And sometime when I try to sleep, suddenly a good melody comes out in my bed, so I get up I sit down at my organ right next to my bed and write it down. I use these melodies for the organ, guitar or bass line and complete the song. Of course I don't make the whole entire song. The other members add their unique styles and make their melodies. I use a recorder in my cell phone when a good melody come out. To be honest some of them really suck.

When we brought the Slackers here in 2007, it was very difficult finding a good keyboard. How did you get the current one? How difficult is it to haul around?

Jude : I got this organ from a used shop really cheap in 2008 when I joined SKASUCKS. Now it's quite hard to get one like this old model in a used shop. I think I was pretty lucky. How difficult is it to haul around? Here is what I want to say. I don't have trouble backbreaking or getting sweaty while playing on stage like other members. But! It's pretty backbreaking and sweaty before and after the show.

Last, what does the name Pegurians mean?

Jude : Pegurians are the people who lives in this nation called Peguria. Just kidding. actually me and our founding member Wolly (guitarist) made up that name when we were trying to make a skinhead reggae band. We were looking for a unique word for a band name and one day we decided to use a name which smells like an ocean, so we searched 'hermit crab' in English (as we are Korean, we started from a Korean word) and found out there's this word called 'pagurian.' So I decided to change 'a' into 'e,' because I wanted to make a name that no one had ever heard of. That's all.

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Interview / Pictures : Jon Dunbar
Translation : Jude
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For more information on Pegurians, check them out here :

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Pegurians
Doindie : http://www.doindie.co.kr/en/bands/pegurians

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Jude is a member of Team New Generation of Ska, and Pegurians are one of the acts booked for the big 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

 

NGOSKA Festival : 

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.

You can help support these guys set up a great ska festival by heading on over to tumblebug and donating some cash : https://www.tumblbug.com/ko/ngoskafest. In return for donating some of your hard(or not so hard) earned money, there are loads of cool incentives on offer, from band merch to jewelry and even vocal lessons from Billy Carter's Kim Goyang.

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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

Pegurians

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