Posted on March 01, 2016
We at DOINDIE are always trying to produce new and engaging content to inform our readers about the local scene. DOINDIE Picks is the latest addition to our ever-expanding content. It’s an open secret … but we here at DOINDIE are a collective of Korean underground music maniacs. We all have our favorite bands and can be found at venues all over the place every week. A lot of us play instruments too and are even in bands. One overarching thing we have in common is a desire to introduce the local indie scene to more and more people. DOINDIE Picks will be a regular series of short, random articles written by various members of the team in which we chat about whatever takes our fancy. Basically, we just want to let you know what we’ve been enjoying recently.
Ever since I started listening to music (in my late teens) there has been certain music that I end up listening to habitually throughout the cold winter months. First it was Broccoli You Too and then Olafur Arnalds, Frenzy, 3rd Line Butterfly, Thornapple and, more recently, Ahn Dayoung. I’m not sure exactly why, but this music I listen to each winter gives me some kind of special feeling.
I remember listening to Ahn Dayoung for the first time somewhere around this time last year. It had been a long, hard winter for me personally. I listened to her music from then until the spring flowers started to bloom and all the scenery had turned green again. That summer I bought two copies of Ahn Dayoung’s album, with the intention of giving one of them to that special someone, should I find her.
I’d seen Ahn Dayoung play live once--it was just her and a keyboard, and I really enjoyed the show--but it wasn’t until January 22nd of this year that I got to experience her music as it is on the album, when she played a show with a full backing band at Jebidabang in Hongdae. That show was Ahn Dayoung’s first official showcase concert. There was a bit of a problem with the sound system that night, and compared to the album some of the songs had been rearranged a little to compensate for the differing instrumental arrangements, but none of that really mattered to me. The day of that show was a very similar kind of day to when I had first listened to her music, alone in a corner of my room around a year earlier. Jebidabang was packed to the rafters and the atmosphere was nice and friendly. Ahn’s voice sounded as warm as a spring day. That alone was enough to make it a great show as far as I was concerned.
Of course, those two copies of the album I bought last year still sit on a desk in the corner of my room. It’s a bit sad that I have still not managed to give one away, but it’s enough to know that I now have another memory of Ahn Dayoung to add to the story when I do finally find someone to give it to.
DOINDIE interviews tend to be a little longer than those I see in other media, but we intentionally make them long like that so you can learn as much as possible about the bands in question. As well as asking the music-related questions we also try hard to glean a little perspective on the band members themselves by asking more intimate questions that reveal a little about their personalities, their values and relationships with other members in the band. I assume most of the people who read our interviews are already fans of the musicians in question, but I also hope that our interviews are sometimes responsible for introducing people to a band for the first time.
Before we make the questions for our interviews we always read related articles as well as interviews the bands have done in the past. Of course, compulsory repetitive listening to the band's music is a must too. After all that, by the time it comes to actually meeting the bands themselves, I already feel like we are kind of longtime friends. The fact that we translate all our interviews into English is another unique process that makes up a DOINDIE interview. By the time we have finished the interview, including typing up the transcripts, editing and then also creating a second translated version of the interview, although we can’t yet claim to be best friends, it does feel like we are at least ‘dinner buddies’ with the band. When bands speak honestly and don’t adjust their answers to be ‘appropriate for an interview’ then it feels all the more like a kind of chat between friends. Whenever we finish a good interview with a band, I will be wearing a smile the whole way home.
Whether it is something DOINDIE-related or not, I am one of those people who really enjoys introducing people I like to others I like. I hope that, even if you already know the bands, you can get some new information from the interviews. On the other hand, if you don’t know the bands already, I hope that the interviews give you a good insight into the band and make you want to learn more about them and their music.
For this first DOINDIE Picks, I wanted to re-introduce some of those interviews which had me smiling so much. I liked all three of the bands whose interviews I have listed below before we interviewed them, but post-interview I think I had fallen for them even more.
Rock N Roll Radio: http://www.doindie.co.kr/en/posts/rockin-out-with-rock-n-roll-radio
You can check out more of our interviews by clicking here.
Second Saturdays is a recurring (primarily) punk and hardcore show, which takes place, unsurprisingly, on the second Saturday of each month. According to Jeff, one of the show’s organisers, the Second Saturdays concept was born because “We wanted to book a monthly show people could depend on and know was always happening on a certain weekend, at a certain time, at a certain club. We also wanted to make sure we always had a diverse lineup with bands from different genres playing together”.
I have been hearing from friends for a while now about how great the concert series is, but until recently I had never managed to check one out myself. Now, I’m not going to bang on too much about the individual bands I saw, which include the likes of National Pigeon Unity, The Veggers, Billy Carter, Hollow Jan and ...Whatever That Means. They are, after all, all bands I’m sure you’re familiar with already (if you’re not, I suggest you check out some of the videos below and look them up for yourselves or, better still, go and check them out at a show too). Suffice to say, the bands I saw were all excellent and I had a great time watching them.
Second Saturdays always has a great lineup; however, that’s not the only attractive feature of this event (loads of other shows also have great lineups), but what makes Second Saturdays stand out head and shoulders above the rest is the atmosphere. The show I went to the other week had one of the best atmospheres of any gig I have been to over the last 12 months or so. It’s hard to put my finger on one particular thing that made it so incredible, as I think it was a combination of lots of things. Firstly, the show was packed. True, Ruailrock is not the biggest venue in the world, but even keeping that in mind it was packed to the rafters. Secondly, despite the late finish time most of the people stayed for the whole event. There was none of this whole ‘coming to check out the one band you know, and then buggering off’ thing. The other major feature I noticed was that people were really into it. I mean, I know most people are into the music of the shows they go to see, but here they were properly into it. In a real rock-and-roll kinda way. Everyone was singing along, dancing, jumping about and moshing to the music. Even the bands were getting involved, jumping out and moshing with the crowd; you could see everyone was feeding off each other's energy.
It is not just a Second Saturdays thing either--over the last few months I’ve been to see a few punk and hardcore shows and I have always been made to feel very welcome and had a great time. More importantly, much like Second Saturdays, the atmosphere at these shows has always, without exception, been fantastic.
Now, clearly I love the indie / rock scene (that’s more the kind of music I listen to personally) but I really think it could learn a few things from Second Saturdays and the punk / hardcore scenes in general. I’d love to see the indie venues packed out every week with people dancing and singing along to the music.
Next time you see a Second Saturdays show is happening, make sure you go and check it out, even if you don’t know any of the bands on the lineup (especially if you don’t). Throw off whatever show it was you were planning to see and go to this instead. I can honestly say, hand on heart, that you will have a great time. You will probably also come away with a few new favorite bands to boot.
Sadly, thanks to the closure of another great live club in Hongdae (the aforementioned Ruailrock), Second Saturdays is currently homeless and will be taking a break for a short time while they search for a new venue. According to the organisers they expect to be back at it in May. So keep an eye out because it’ll be a show you won’t want to miss!
Roll on the second Saturday of May I say.