If you’re looking for a Korean indie music fix, look no further! Three bands are now here in the UK and ready to rock. Dead Buttons, Asian Chairshot and Patients are all here to perform around the UK. We’re finishing up our series of interviews with them with Patients. Made up of Sumin Jo (Bass & Vocal), Hyuckjang Kwon (Keyboard & Chorus) and Jaehyuk Lee (Drums & Chorus), Patients are a ‘Hybrid Punk Rock’ band from Seoul. You can find out more about them on their Facebook page.
Interview with Patients
KCM: How did you guys meet and what made you guys decide to form a band?
Patient’s Sumin Jo: Me and Patients drummer, Jaehyuk Lee, first met 14 years ago. Seoul’s indie music area is called Hongdae. There’s a playground in Hongdae which is a popular place to hang out. We met there. At the time, Hongdae playground was a weird place. Now it’s a very different. But back then, lots of crazy people hung out there drinking and fighting every day. In hindsight, it was probably the perfect place to start a friendship that would that would lead to the formation of a punk band!
Jaehyuk and our keyboardist, Hyuckjang Kwon, have been friends for a really long time too. Three years ago, the two of them started running a recording studio and practice space together. And a about a year ago I heard some cool piano sounds coming from a room there. I asked Jaehyuk who was playing and he told me about Hyuckjang and then introduced us. We all got along well together, so when Patients was thinking of adding a new member to replace our old guitarist we decided to ask Hyuckjang to be a part of our band.
KCM: How would you describe your music?
Patient’s Sumin Jo: We like to call our music “hybrid punk.” It’s a musical style of our own invention. Patients started off having more of a classic punk sound. But as time passed, we wanted to experiment with our sound and play a wider spectrum of music. Our songs are still rooted in punk and we still love and follow the DIY attitude of the genre, but because our music includes a wider array of styles I thought it was good to come up with a new name for it. Thus “hybrid punk” was born!
We recently finished working on a new EP called Let’s Drive, Let’s Go! The EP will be released in June in Korea through our indie label, Steel Face Records. But we’ll have copies of it in the UK with us, so people there can own it first. Since our band now has a keyboardist instead of a guitarist, we were able to try more different things on the EP and further expand our vision of “hybrid punk.”
KCM: You formed Steel Face Records in order to release music from like-minded artists. Was this because there was a lack of people willing to release your style of music in South Korea?
Patient’s Sumin Jo: Yes, it was. We were looking for a new label for Patients in 2010 but were having trouble finding someone that wanted to work with us. So we decided to just start our own label. As I said before, we all love punk’s DIY attitude, so it felt natural for us to make a new indie label. Now Steel Face Records is home to Patients, Bad Trip, Dives, and Cockrasher. Things are going well with the label and it’s starting to get bigger. And we also have also opened our own venue called Steel Face Rooftop 3639.
KCM: How do you compose your tracks? Is there a particular process you follow or is it instantaneous? Does everyone get involved with new compositions?
Patient’s Sumin Jo: We don’t have a set method. Sometimes we come up with a melody first and then write lyrics. And other times we have something we really want to say and write the lyrics first and then make the melody after that. I usually come up with the basic structures for songs and then we all work on the tracks together. But sometimes Hyuckjang comes up with structures too.
KCM: During your personal time, what kind of music do you listen to? Is it similar to your own music?
Patient’s Sumin Jo: We all listen to a wide range of music. It doesn’t matter if an album is similar to Patients’ music or not. If something sounds good, then we want to hear it.
KCM: What is the inspiration behind your name, is there a special meaning or message to it?
Patient’s Sumin Jo: The word for “patients” in Korean is a homonym. It can mean both “sick people” and “happy people.” I thought it was represented Korean society well. Sometimes it hurts, but there’s still happiness.
KCM: Who are your influences in Korean indie and rock? Do you have any British influences?
Patient’s Sumin Jo: In Korean music, we were really influenced by the Korean punk bands in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I’ve also been inspired by lots of British acts, especially Sex Pistols and The Cure.
KCM: For those going to South Korea, can you recommend the best places to go for indie and rock music? Any secret hot spots and hang outs?
Patient’s Sumin Jo: They should come catch a gig at Steel Face Rooftop 3639! It’s a really cool space. Most of the indie rock venues in Seoul are in basement clubs. But our venue is on a rooftop in the middle of Hongdae. It’s awesome!
KCM: You’ve played at a lot of events but what are your expectations of the UK crowd?
Patient’s Sumin Jo: We’re not sure what to expect as this will be our first time touring in the UK. We’re going to try and play with a lot of energy since most people won’t be able to understand our Korean lyrics. We hope people can share in our happiness while we’re on stage. We’d love it if the crowd can have fun and be happy with us at our gigs.
KCM: Is there a particular track you love performing and is there a specific track you look forward to showing the UK audience?
Patient’s Sumin Jo: We’re looking forward to sharing our song “Sipalsegi.” It’s from our new Let’s Drive, Let’s Go! EP. The song is about traveling far away, so it’s the perfect song for this tour!
KCM: Are there any bands also playing at Liverpool Sound City that you want to see?
Patient’s Sumin Jo: I’m not familiar with a lot of the bands on the lineup, so I’m looking forward to popping into different venues and discovering some new bands. We’d love to meet and make friends with some bands at the festival too.
KCM: You’ll be teaming up with Dead Buttons to gig around the UK. Have you played together before?
Patient’s Sumin Jo: Yes, we’ve played with them many times and we’re good friends with them. It’s going to be fun to do this tour together. We’ve also got a cool connection linking us for this tour. Dead Buttons were actually invited to play at Liverpool Sound City after the festival’s CEO saw them play last fall at Patients’ venue, Steel Face Rooftop 3639!
Thank you to Patients for answering our questions!
We hope they have a great time in the UK! If you’d like to catch them at one of their gigs, look below to find out when they’re performing.
Patients UK Tour Dates
May 3 Liverpool, England @ Kazimier Gardens (Liverpool Sound City)
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