Posted on April 12, 2015
It’s impossible really, to put an exact date on these things, but around these parts they say they not only have an exact date, but a location as well. Local legend has it that it all began 20 years ago, at a memorial show for the late Kurt Cobain held at Club DRUG (now known as DGBD) in Hongdae, back in 1995.
That was the day; the day the indie scene here in Korea really started, so they say. It’s hard to know if that really was the start of the scene as we know it now, but what isn’t up for debate is that soon after this show Hongdae witnessed the emergence of several of its biggest hitters. First up, a compilation album called <Our Nation> featured songs by local legends, 크라잉 넛 (Crying Nut), including their nationwide hit ‘말달리자’ (“Speed Up, Losers”), and soon after that, more of Hongdae’s first generation indie bands like 델리스파이스 (Delispice), 언니네 이발관 (Sister’s Barbershop) and 노브레인 (No Brain) came to the fore. Because of these bands Hongdae came to be considered a hot spot for Korean indie music and the area began to change a lot.
At first, the indie scene was considered a kind of B-grade culture perhaps, even amateurish. No such accusations can be made these days. Musically, the bands have always been great, but now they come with much more experience, more know-how, more polish and, in my opinion at least … they come with their own identity: they are unique. It is fair to say the indie scene in Korea these days produces higher quality music and a much more diverse range of it than its more famous K-pop cousin.
To avoid argument, let’s just agree that the scene was born on that day, 20 years ago in Club DRUG. 20 years is a long time, and much like the life of any young boy or girl the scene has experienced its highs and lows, tears and laughter, success and failure. In Korea, when you reach the age of 20 you are considered an adult, so perhaps we can say that with the establishment of its second wave of bands, Korea’s music scene is now also preparing for adulthood. That is something worth celebrating, for sure.
So, how to celebrate? A party? Yeah, that works, but also something more lasting, something physical, something that people can hold onto, something that helps evoke powerful memories. Something we can listen to and say ‘I was there’, ‘I remember this band / song’, ‘ah, this song reminds me of ...’ etc. would surely be a better way to pay homage to all those great musicians whose music has graced our ears over the years.
Step forward 김웅 (Woong Kim) who was the 대표 (CEO) of the DRUG record label for 20 years and currently works as the boss of MOSPIT (모스핏). He decided the best way to celebrate 20 years of the indie scene was to make a compilation album featuring some of the very best musicians that have graced the clubs of Hongdae over the last 20 years. And thus, after one and a half years in the making, <Indie 20>, featuring 21 different artists from both the first and current generations, has been pressed and is ready to be released to the public. Despite originally fearing that the project would never get off the ground due the difficulties involved in getting all the bands and different labels to work together, 김웅 persevered and with lots of help from the musicians managed to get it all done. The album is not just a souvenir looking back over the last 20 years. It contains plenty of music from present day stars as well as yesterday’s heroes. The album looks back at the past but also shines a light on where the scene is right now, and perhaps where it is heading in the near future. It really is an ‘all star’ Korean indie compilation album.
The compilation album is being released digitally in 4 parts and also in physical form (double CD) which is available now. The first three parts are already available online (links below). To celebrate the release of the 4th and final part of the compliation album … there will be a big concert featuring some of the bands on the album at Club Ta on April 18th. More information on that, and where to get hold of the CD, can be found below.
Whether you know the bands on this album or not, there is no better way to find a new band / delve into an unknown scene than by buying a compilation album and getting out to a show. With such a wide range of music available there is a great chance you might just find your new favorite band … and in doing so you will set the local scene on its way for the next 20 years.
- 술탄 오브 더 디스코 (Sultan Of The disco) - 그녀의 로션 (Her Lotion)
- 불나방스타쏘세지클럽 (Bulnabang Star Sausage Club) - 고독사 (A Lonely Death)
- 요조 (Yozoh) - 불륜 (Affair)
- 로큰롤라디오 (Rock N Roll Radio) - Dear Prudence
- 트랜스픽션 (Trans Fixion) - 아이언맨 (Iron Man)
- 갤럭시 익스프레스 (Galaxy Express) - 다시 처음으로 (Back To The Start Again)
- 불독맨션 (Bulldog Mansion) - Feel So Right
- 장기하와 얼굴들 (Jang Kiha and Faces) - 그 남자 왜 (Why That Guy?)
- 최고은 (Choi Gonne) - 너에게 (To You)
- 언체인드 (Unchained) - 그렇게 말하지 않았어 (I Didn't Say It Like That)
- 글렌체크 (Glen Check) - 어디서 본 듯해 ( I Think I've Seen You Somewhere)
- 노브레인 (No Brain) - 내를 델따주오 (Take Me)
- 와이낫 (YNot?) - The Way I Love You
- 유발이의 소풍 (Ubare's Picnic) - 어쩌면 안녕 (It Might Be Goodbye)
- 이장혁 (Lee Jang Hyuk) - Frankenstein
- 마루 (Maroo) - 그러나 (However)
- 크라잉넛 (Crying Nut) - Six Pack
- 피아 (Pia) - Fairytale
- 코어 매거진 (Core Magazine) - 아무래도 괜찮아 (Everything Will Be Ok)
- 황신혜 밴드 (Hwang Sin Hye Band) - 짬뽕 2015 (Champon 2015)
- 김반장 (Kim BanJang) - 나에게 쓰는 편지 (A Letter To Myself)
-- Links Coming Soon --
Article : Patrick Connor
Korean Translation : 임도연 (Doyeon Lim)
Edited by : Rock N Rose
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Date : April 18th (Sat) 18:00 (Entrance from 17:30)
Venue : Club Ta
Adv : 25,000 won (http://goo.gl/forms/xcCwI4uUnP)
Door : 30,000 won
Lineup : No Brain (노브레인), Unchained (언체인드), Rock N Roll Radio (로큰롤라디오), Core Magazine (코어매거진), Jang Hyuck Lee (이장혁)
Special Guest : Lowdown 20 (로다운 30)
For more information, check them out at the following sites :
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/indie20th
Yozoh Ynot? Unchained Ubare's Picnic Transfixion Sultan of the Disco Pia No Brain Maroo Jang Kiha and Faces Glen Check Galaxy Express Coremagazine Choi Gonne Bulnabang Star Sausage Club Bulldog Mansion