Posted on June 22, 2014

Interview

Skasucks first came to my attention in 2006 and I wasn't too sure what to think of them first. When I brought the Slackers to Korea in March 2007, lead vocalist Ryu Jinsuk begged me to let them play. Finally, I caved and let them on the bill. That early on, they proved me wrong about all my previous misconceptions about them.

In an age when most Korean bands would quietly sit by the phone waiting for a promoter to give them a show, Jinsuk took Skasucks on the offensive. As well as asking promoters for shows and not taking no for an answer, he developed his own concert series called New Generation of Ska so he could put on shows on his own terms. As Skunk Label collapsed in 2008, Jinsuk carried on, becoming one of the most important voices in the Korean punk scene. Today, Skasucks has developed into one of Korea's finest live acts, and with the upcoming New Generation of Ska Festival we'll see if they can jump up to the next level. DoIndie interviewed Jinsuk as well as Skasucks' newest member, keyboardist Kim Goyang, to learn more about what makes Skasucks work.

1. How would you describe the musical style of Skasucks? Does Skasucks belong to any particular genre?

Hummmm, I guess, if i were pressed to name a genre for us I’d probably say we are ska punk. However, it’s probably best to ask one of our listeners what they think, they probably know better than me! I’m not sure we can be pigeonholed into just one genre. We play our own kind of style, which loosely fits within the ska genre. We take influences from all the music we like as individuals, rock ‘n‘ roll, garage, punk, reggae etc. No one ska sucks song is ever completed by just one person. We always write the songs together as a band. (Sadly though, unlike most people these days I don’t know how to use computer software to help us make songs).

2. When Skasucks began, the Korean punk scene was filled with bands that didn't have enough stage presence. But you never had this problem. How much do you think about stage presence? Can you give some advice on how to have a good stage presence like Skasucks?

Oh, really? That's a compliment, right? Thanks so much.

I’ve never really given it much though, I mean we would never do anything specific just to get a certain type of response from the audience. For me, I just want us to all be having fun together (the audience and the band), that has got to be the best way, right?  If by some chance an audience doesn’t really like us, well that’s just how it is. In those situations we just aim to have fun by ourselves! Honestly though, I really have never given that any thought, so im not sure what to say. My conclusion is this; if it’s fun, then it’s good.

3. Jinsuk, I am always impressed by your style of wearing hats, especially your bowler hat. How many hats do you have? I'm curious about why you wear them and your hat-wearing history.

I guess the hat is part of ska history, and so it’s part of me. I’ve not really though about this much either. Actually, I have 4 hats in total, but 2 of them are really old and worn out so I never wear them anymore.

4. Jinsuk, I know that you run Suck Tattoo. That is your main job, right? Can you tell me how you became a tattoo artist?

That’s right. I am a tattoo artist.

The idea to become a tattoo artist was first suggested to me by 윤찬성 [Yoon Chansung](ex. Explode, Dokkaebi Assault). We were just chatting together when he suddenly said to me ‘I wish I could draw well, then I could become a tattoo artist. But you are a really talented artist, why don’t you give it a go?’ I was surprised to hear that from him. At that time, I was really into tattoos but I’d never given any thought to actually doing it. However, the seed had been well and truly planted so 2 days later I went to see 한영웅 [Young Woong Han](ex Spiky brats) and asked him to teach me how to tattoo. It has been 3 years since then and we have been doing tattoos together ever since then. This year we will be at Ink Bomb (the biggest tattoo convention in Korea). You can check out my tattoo facebook page here : www.facebook.com/sucktattoo and Young Woong Han’s page here : www.facebook.com/blackcattatt69

5. Jinsuk, you are both lead vocalist and sax player for Skasucks. How important is the saxophone to Skasucks' sound?

In the old days of ska sucks, I think it was a really important part of the sound. These days though, not so much. I think the rest of the band’s members make the ska sucks sound well enough.

6. Goyang, how did you join Skasucks?

Ages back I was a member of the punk scene, I was a friend and a fan of skasucks. That is how I came to like them. In 2012 Billy Carter were staying over in England and at that time, to cut a long story short I had to come back to Korea Jinsuk sent me a message asking me to come and play organ for skasucks. Seeing as the organ sound is one of the trademark sounds of Skasucks I told him he should probably consider getting someone else to do it. His reply was to say that if the new person wasn’t a friend, it would never work. I trust him fully so I said “I will do everything possible to help you”.

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Interview / Pictures : Jon Dunbar
English Translation : Patrick Connor
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For more information on Skasucks, check them out here :

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/newgenerationofska
Twitter : https://twitter.com/SKASUCKS/
Daum Cafe : http://cafe.daum.net/skasucks
Doindie : http://www.doindie.co.kr/bands/skasucks

Jinsuk is the leader of Team New Generation of Ska, and they are organising a big street ska festival on August 30. For more information about that huge show and how to get involved, read the interview we did with him about it here : http://www.doindie.co.kr/en/posts/new-generation-of-ska

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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

Skasucks

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