Juck Juck Grunzie, Seoul based psychedelic noise-rock group, will be arriving in the UK in a few days as part of their European tour. Made up of four members, vocalist and synth player Ah-reum Lee, guitarist Jee-hye Ham, bassist Boong and drummer Kyung-hyun Lee, they “explore the boundaries between dreams and nightmares to create something dark, mysterious, and hauntingly beautiful”.
Before they play at Glastonbury and the Windmill, we got their thoughts on their upcoming performances and found out some more about them. Our questions were answered by Boong and Kyunghyun.
Your style and sound are very unique. Did you all always plan to make noise-rock or did you slowly develop into it?
Boong: Juck Juck Grunzie was started by Ahreum and Jeehye in 2007. I came on board in 2010 and Kyunghyun joined our band last year. I think when Ahreum and Jeehye began playing as Juck Juck Grunzie they wanted to make rock music, but didn’t necessarily plan to make a specific kind of rock music. They just followed their moods and feelings and developed the songs’ themes and sounds from there. That’s the process we still follow now when writing new tracks.
For our readers who’ve never heard your music before, which song would you tell them to listen to first and why?
Boong: I think a good song to start with is “Walking in a Dream” from our full-length debut, Psycho. This song is a dramatic composition that contains noisy sounds and irregular rhythms so it’s definitely a good representation of Juck Juck Grunzie. I think it will give listeners a good feel for what our band is musically all about. I hope you like what you hear!
You started out as an all-female band and still have mostly female members. Do you think you’ve faced any obstacles because of this or has it worked to your advantage, giving you a difference over other noise-rock bands from Seoul?
Boong: I don’t think we’ve faced any obstacles as female musicians. We sometimes have to deal with a small percentage of male music fans or male musicians saying offensive things to us, but I think that comes from us just being females and not female musicians. It’s not right, but sadly all females in Korea and many other countries around the world sometimes have to deal with stuff like that. We try not to think about gender when it comes to music. Good music is good music, regardless of who makes it.
After your Europe tour, what are your plans as a band – new album, more touring etc?
Boong: After finishing our European dates, we will get to work on making our second full-length album. We hope to release the album next spring, and we’ll actually be playing a pair of tracks that we plan to include on the album during our shows at Glastonbury and in London and Berlin. When the album is finished, we’d like to try and tour in China and Canada.
Give us your best recommendations for places to see live rock in Seoul.
Kyunghyun: I recommend checking out a gig at Salon Badabie. It’s an old room and is very small. But the venue is very well-respected in Seoul’s indie scene and it’s a great place to discover new bands or see more established bands in a very intimate setting.
Considering you’ve performed in your underwear, pajamas and football kits before, what are you planning to wear on the stage at Glastonbury?
Kyunghyun: We’re still working on that! Each member is considering their own personal style, but we think our clothing choices will see represent our band’s identity well. The best way for people at Glastonbury to find out what we’re wearing for our sets is to come see us play!
Glastonbury is the biggest festival we have in the UK and is known worldwide. With such a reputation, how are you feeling about playing there and what songs do you have lined up?
Kyunghyun: We all thrilled to be playing at Glastonbury and can’t wait to perform. Juck Juck Grunzie toured in Taiwan back in 2013, but I’ve only been in the group for several months now so Glastonbury will be my first time gigging overseas. I’m super excited and can’t believe my first time performing outside of Korea will take place at such a famous event! We’ll be playing several tracks from our Psycho album and as Boong mentioned before, we’ll also be playing two brand new songs.
Will you have time to look around Glastonbury, and if so, do you have any acts you’d like to see?
Kyunghyun: Yes, we’re definitely going to have time to look around the whole festival. I was really excited about seeing Foo Fighters, but they had to cancel a few days ago. But there are still lots and lots and lots of great acts playing and we’re hoping to try and catch as many live performances as we can.
How do you find touring? Do you enjoy being on the road or is it hard spending so much time travelling with each other?
Boong: Juck Juck Grunzie have gigged in other parts of Korea and have played overseas in Taiwan. But our upcoming European tour will be the longest tour we’ve done. We’re excited about this opportunity to gig in Europe and we hope this will be the first of many visits there. And we’re also talking about more overseas tours for next year. We want to work hard to raise Juck Juck Grunzie’s international profile, and the best way to do that is by getting out on the road.
A huge thanks to the band for answering our questions and we hope they enjoy playing in Europe!
For those not lucky enough to be at Glastonbury this week, you can also catch them in London or Berlin.
June 25 Pilton, UK @ Glastonbury Festival (Pussy Parlure)
June 26 Pilton, UK @ Glastonbury Festival (Gully Outernational)
June 30 London, UK @ Windmill Brixton
July 1 Berlin, Germany @ Kantine am Berghain
July 4 Berlin, Germany @ West Germany