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Capturing subculture through a Loose Union

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Published : 2012-04-24 18:17
Updated : 2012-04-24 18:17

A new project has been launched by three expats to record the Korean capital’s alternative cultural scene.

The Loose Union collective of artists and musicians has just been formed to produce audio and video to capture the underground music scene that is growing in Seoul.

The group was founded by American Danny Arens, Canadian Adam Brennan and Ollie Walker from South Africa, with the aim of recording live music acts and distributing the content for free online.

The three are all English teachers here, but are also engaged in various cultural projects. They thought up the Loose Union concept after perceiving a lack of documentation of the various scenes emerging here. 
From left: Ollie Walker, Adam Brennan and Danny Arens (Ryan Stripling)

“The art and music in Seoul is at a dynamic place right now, yet remains unknown to most,” said Walker, who is the project’s creative director. “It is a moment in time that we at Loose Union are happy to be a part of and a witness to.”

Many people have collaborated with them to build a portable studio, design and contribute to the website. Various videographers, photographers, writers and bloggers are helping too.

The team has already completed six videos with the first recording, “Loveful Heights,” running to almost 90 minutes long. Future videos and accompanying EPs will be under 10 minutes in length to maximize the collective’s coverage of bands. All the content is currently being distributed for free, but the group may make up some compilation albums to sell in the future.

The music videos are not polished, Walker explained ― emphasizing that no special make-up, overdubs or studio trickery would be used in the productions.

“We are filming and recording a style that best captures the moment, a band in a space, performing live. We work with bands that regularly perform in the Seoul music scene, ask them if they are interested, and go from there,” he said.

Loose Union’s official launch was held at Club DGBD in Hongdae on Saturday, with live video art and performances from bands Wagwak, JuckJuck Grunzie, Love X Stereo, Used Cassettes, and On Sparrow Hills.

“We had a good turnout of around 300 people, both Koreans and foreigners, but we do want to see more Koreans in the future. We want to try to bridge the gap between the Korean and expat indie scenes. There is a lot of separation between those scenes, but we have a core of Koreans we are working with to help do this.”

The Loose Union project is working in connection with Aweh.tv, a Seoul-based international creative network that Walker also runs. For more information or to download the music videos, go to www.looseunion.com.

By Kirsty Taylor (kirstyt@heraldcorp.com)

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