Posted on May 20, 2014
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What attracts you most about going to the UK to perform?
Patients : England is the birthplace of punk rock and of course, Liverpool Sound City music festival.
How easy or hard will it be for British audiences to connect with your music?
Patients : Well, the hardest thing will be the language barrier. It is a shame they won’t be able to understand our lyrics. I think it will be important for us to convey the meanings behind our songs with our energy on stage. We are pretty confident about it all, but of course, we don’t really have any idea how the local music fans will react to us. We don’t want to be the only ones having fun, we want to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves!
Can you introduce your band's style of 'hybrid punk'?
Patients : We coined the phrase ‘hybrid punk’ to describe ourselves for two main reasons. The first is that because we are not straight up punk, we needed a way to define our music somehow. We are against the idea of blindly following the standard ‘fixed’ punk image. I think the essence of punk rock is to destroy something and then create something new from it. Anyway most people only think of punk in the image they have been taught to recognise as ‘punk’. So we wanted to make a new name for our type of punk rock, so we chose to call it ‘hybrid’ punk.
Secondly, seeing as we have defined our own genre of punk we can pretty much just play any style of music we want (we don’t have to try to fit it into a preconceived idea of punk). We want to play a wide spectrum of music and at the same time keep to our DIY roots when making concerts. We really enjoy self producing our music and doing our own thing. Calling our own brand of punk rock ‘hybrid punk’ means we can of course play punk music, but it also allows us room to move into other genres and styles if we so desire.
Unlike many of the punk bands coming out now, your band seems to be a lot more image-aware and fashion-conscious. In this age when most punk bands are dressing pretty low-key, how important are image and fashion to the Patients?
Patients : Fashion and image are important to us in order to appear more weird, more agile and more aggressive.
Is it easier to be a punk in 2014 than 2005, or harder? How have public perceptions of punk changed?
Patients : The Korean punk rock scene was originally formed in the late ‘90s and until the middle of the 2000s people were really into it. During that time the scene got a lot of media coverage and it became kind of ‘fashionable’ to be into the punk scene. But after that, it all kind of went wrong. I think there are a lot of reasons for this, but mostly, I think it is a bit like when fresh fruit and vegetables go rotten quickly (like all fashions / fads the interest in the Korean punk scene was quick to appear and just as quick to disappear again when something new came along). At first it was just the real punks, talented musicians doing their thing. Then, once it became fashionable it was a bit like flies gathering around shit, everyone wanted to come and have a go at making ‘punk music.’ This messed it all up and it became a bit weird. The original punks of course hated all this and so moved on to find other ways / scenes and styles to express themselves. They didn’t want to be ‘just like all the other bands’, they wanted to concentrate on being original and keeping distinct from other bands. I think this is a good thing; we too want to keep our own uniqueness and originality. We work hard to forge our own path in our own way.
I guess it really depends on the bands tastes and inclinations. If you are a ‘cool’ / ‘fashionable’ band then it really doesn’t matter what year it is. But to answer the question, I’d say it is a little easier to be a punk rock band in 2014. The public is becoming more and more interested in a much wider range of music and the number of music fans here in Korea is gradually increasing all the time. In my opinion the music environment right now is perfect for for good bands to get recognition and gain popularity for their work. However, if we are just talking about bands with no energy and no skill, bands who just blindly follow the latest musical fashions and trends, then perhaps it is better to have existed back in 2005! At that time, there was much less competition for them to worry about! Patients are an original band, we don’t follow fads and fashions, we do our own thing. So we don’t care what year it is.
Another positive for playing music now (compared to 2005) is that the equipment, both when recording and when playing live is so much better now. Also, even without big money behind you there are lots of SNS media facilities that bands can utilise to help promote themselves and become successful. The Korean music market (disregarding all the evils) has become a little more open. That is also a big benefit.
The Korean punk scene is not the same as it was when the Patients started in 2005. How has it changed, and what caused those changes?
Patients : The Korean punk scene has been around for about 10 years (between 2005 - 2014) so at this point it’s easy to tell the ‘real’ punks from the ‘fake’ ones. Time acts like a judge: whether it is right or wrong some people gain honor while the others simply fade away and die out. The reason for change in the scene is simply that people’s way of thinking also changes over time. The Korean punk scene started in the ‘90s and flourished in the 2000s. Just like the English punk rock scene when it came to the fore in the ‘70s, at first people just had a negative impression of it all. Punk was considered a ‘shocking’, ‘frightening’, ‘new’, ‘rebellious’, liberal’ kind of subculture. However, ‘punk’ quickly become more of an image than a subculture. It became a kind of fashion for people to follow. Crazy punk kids are into the ‘real’ meaning of punk rock. In the past the Korean punk rock image was that of gangs and rebellion. But these days the Korean punk image has changed into many things.
Tell us about Steel Face Records.
Patients : One of the aims for setting up Steel Face Records was to set up a kind of base for independent bands. What is the main reason you ask? Well, I’m not sure its worth describing it all to you; it’s kind of dull! First of all we established Steel Face Records and a Recording Studio, a Live Stage (Rooftop 3639) and an office together with a bunch of strong willed and outstanding people. These days many musicians are operating and using these facilities we created. If you follow what Steel Face Records is doing these days, it should be pretty easy to see what our aims are. We have only one rule when picking artists to join Steel Face Records … that is, we (Steel Face) will never approach a band and ask them to join us. They should approach us first. That rule might seem overbearing, but don’t misunderstand it. When bands do approach us, we let them know exactly what we can and can’t do for them, right from the get go. We listen to what they want.
What other bands, Steel Face or not, would you recommend to newcomers discovering Korean punk for the first time?
Patients : Galaxy Express, Dives
Interview : Jon Dunbar (Broke in Korea)
PATiENTS UK Tour Dates :
May 1 : Liverpool, England @ Brooklyn Mixer (Liverpool Sound City)
May 3 : Liverpool, England @ Kazimier Gardens (Liverpool Sound City)
Liverpool Sound City Festival : http://www.liverpoolsoundcity.co.uk/
May 7 : Bristol, England @ The Hatchet Inn
May 8 : Southampton, England @ Unit Club (WTFest)
May 9 : London, England @ AAA
May 10 : London, England @ Astbury Castle
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/patientspunk