Last night, Korea Rocks finished their Manchester leg of the tour and are now off to perform at the home of the bands, Liverpool. During their tour stop in Camden, London, we got the chance to chat with the awesome and chilled band Goonamguayeoridingstella (구남과여라이딩스텔라) before they went on stage. Having had Goonam answer some questions for us before the tour, it was now time to meet them face to face!
In a sunny room above the stage where they’d later be performing, we met with guitarist Joh Ung, bassist Eem Byung-hak, drummer Park Tae-sik and the very beautiful keyboardist Kim Na-un. As we entered the room, they were all smiles and very welcoming, making us feel immediately at ease. Once we’d all settled down, it was time to get the interview under way. While guitarist Joh Ung gently tuned his guitar creating some atmospheric background notes, the too fabulous for words bassist Eem Byung-hak happily answered our questions.
KCM - How have you found the tour so far? As you’re constantly performing, and dealing with things like jet lag because you’re in different country, is it extra hard?
Goonam - There’s no problem with jet lag, we’re all good now. And having a tour overseas is a really good experience for us.
KCM - What’s it like touring with other bands, especially ones with such a different music style?
Goonam -It’s very good. It’s like we’re all different colour teams, working well together.
KCM - Have the audiences been enjoying the variety of sounds from all the different styles?
Goonam - Yes, we think they really have.
KCM - How’ve you been preparing for your gigs on this tour? Do you have any special traditions or rituals before going on stage?
Goonam - There’s nothing special that we prepare, but I’ve got a song that I practice the narration of as it’s in English, so I practice it a bit.
KCM - How did you choose your set list tonight? Did you make any considerations for an English speaking audience or did you just go with songs you like performing?
Goonam - All the gigs here are 30-40 minutes [per band], so every time we go on stage we try to put more fun into it. Our set list is very fun, so please enjoy it!
KCM - As you’ve got a documentary crew and bloggers accompanying you on this tour, so you feel any extra pressure with cameras around you all the time, or are you used to this sort of thing?
Goonam - We don’t mind at all.
KCM - What’s it like travelling around on a tour bus with lots of people? Have you gotten annoyed at all being with the same people all the time, do you want your own space or do you like travelling with lots of people?
Goonam - We knew it would be a little bit uncomfortable on the tour bus, but we’re enjoying the time with the other people.
KCM - Have you had a chance to walk around Camden yet? Do you like the vibe? The area’s pretty famous for its music scene.
Goonam - We just arrived here, and with all these interviews we haven’t had a chance to go outside yet. We’d like to walk around it in a bit.
KCM - Do you think you’ll have time after your performances to enjoy the night-life or explore later on?
Goonam - Yeah, we want to but our schedule is packed. Tomorrow morning, we have to go, our schedule is very tight!
KCM - Have you ever had any times where you been on stage and there have been any mishaps or accidents?
Goonam - If something does go wrong, we just laugh and smile!
KCM - Do you have any advice for people wanting to start their own bands?
Goonam - It doesn’t matter which instrument you deal with, but always treat it as though it’s your girlfriend or boyfriend.
KCM – Is the UK like you expected, have you had any surprises while on tour?
Goonam - The gigs we’ve done until now, in Kent and Wales, are quiet places with quiet people. But now we’re in the centre of a city, in Camden, so we’re expecting a lot from this area.
KCM - In our earlier interview with you, we asked what you wanted to do in the UK and you mentioned you wanted to see parks and greenery. Did you manage to do this yet?
Goonam - Ah yeah, greenery in Wales! One thing we want to do in London is to see parks.
KCM - If you have time, you should go to Hyde Park or Regents Park.
Goonam - Yeah, also Primrose Hill is pretty and close. Hampstead Heath’s good too, right?
KCM - Definitely! There are great views.
KCM - How do you feel this Korea Rocks tour will raise the profile and awareness of Korean rock and indie music internationally?
Goonam – Hmm….It’s our first time having a tour in the UK, so it would be great to continue this tour next year and further on and with other people. If we meet with other people and local bands in the UK we can invite them to Korea so we can interchange music and performances and exchange culture. Korea has so much great music now but Korea is too small so we need to go out.
KCM - In the future, how would you like to see Korean rock and indie music progress in South Korea? Is there a way to help this music scene expand?
Goonam - If Korean bands come over to the UK and have other overseas opportunities, it’ll put more of a spotlight on this kind of music and hopefully help it.
KCM - Have you met any British bands while you’ve been on tour here that they’d like to bring with them to Korea to perform?
Goonam - Ah yes! In Wales there was a band, I forgot their name though. It was a Welsh band who make very happy songs. I heard they live in Liverpool now, and we’ll meet them in Liverpool.
Goonam’s ideas on swapping music between the UK and South Korea to help bring attention to the indie and rock scene is really cool. Using music to build bridges between nations is a great way for people to not only discover new sounds, but to learn and explore each other’s cultures too. It was good to hear that even though they were touring with manic schedules, they had the time to meet local acts and make friends and connect with like minded bands. We hope Goonam can achieve their goals of music exchange and encourage the growth of Korean indie and rock inside South Korea as well as succeeding in bringing the world together with their happy tunes.
It’s always a great experience to be able to listen to live music in the UK, and it was extra special to be treated to bands all the way from South Korea. Korea Rocks has really helped to introduce the British public to a different kind of music from South Korea past the PSY phenomenon by giving British audiences the chance to actually feel and experience how this genre of music should be experienced, LIVE! A unique band like Goonam needs to be witnessed in the flesh for you to feel their true greatness and to fully appreciate the atmosphere of their music. We made a few friends pop along to the Korea Rock’s concert in Manchester, people who don’t normally pay attention to Korean music, but last night they fell in love with the psychedelic sounds of Goonam and new Korean indie fans were born, proving just how important Hyundai Card’s ‘Korea Rocks!’ project is to the Korean music scene.
It was really great to be able to chat to Goonam face to face and we would like to say a MASSIVE ‘thank you’ for taking time out of their busy schedule to chat with us. Goonam’s happy and positive vibe was definitely infectious and enlightening, leaving us with all smiles (and a yearning for equally fabulous style). Goonam is a band that really enjoys making music, sharing the love and just having fun on stage. We really hope they get some time to explore London, chill in a park and make daisy chains. There’s a lot of greenery out there to be explored! And we really hope fabulous bassist Eem Byung-hak gets to go shopping too, as he would love all the amazing vintage fashions of London!
Many thanks to the amazingly skilled and friendly translator for breaking down such language barriers and helping bring two cultures together, just like Goonam’s great mission.
Goonam’s music is uplifting and will be your perfect chill out sound track for Summer this year. It’s the kind of music that would perfectly compliment a drive along the coast line in a convertible with the blazing summer sun on your shoulders and the warm breeze caressing your hair. Or for those nice sunny afternoon wanders through a cool urban landscape. Or simply to chill to on a lazy weekend morning. These are the happy and sunny feelings Goonam will invoke within you. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the language, Goonam’s melodies speak for themselves and will uplift and enlighten the grumpiest of grumps. Shadow Dance will no doubt be our happy tune of 2013.
We thoroughly enjoyed their set at Korea Rocks – Camden, how can anyone not with such groovy and funky beats filling up the venue. We wish Goonam a great time and continuing success as they resume their tour around the UK! If you’d like to see more photos from this interview, please visit our Facebook pages here!
This happy post was written under the influence of Goonam’s happy vibes!