As the Korean music market is beginning to receive more international recognition, the local band scene is looking to rise up and represent the next generation of Korean music. This is the fifth installment of a series of interviews with Korean rock, acoustic and alternative bands. ― Ed.
When it comes to punk rock, Yellow Monsters is everything one would expect from energetic head-banging, rioting and mosh pit catalyst rockers.
Well known in the Hongdae rock scene, the trio quickly became one of the leading acts in the slowly growing punk rock movement in Korea. Known for focusing on staging wild, thrashing live shows, the members claim to feel most alive when they are performing in front of a roaring crowd.
“When we are playing live on the stage, we really thrive off people’s energy and we feel what the audience feels,” said bassist Han Jin-young during an interview at a small Korean barbecue joint before one of their regular Hongdae club performances.
“During a hardcore performance, when people are jumping around and thinking to themselves ‘Oh man I feel like I’m going to pass out,’ we feel the same way on stage and we think it’s awesome.”
“Our energy is really what sets us apart from other bands,” said drummer Choi Jae-hyuk. “So much of our emphasis is geared toward putting on a memorable and rocking show.”
Yellow Monsters first debuted with its eponymous studio album in 2010 and has since maintained the members’ hardcore shouting, guitar riffing and oftentimes humorously explicit lyrics while still holding on to their “rise up against the man” mentality.
|Yellow Monsters (Old Records)|
“As a band we are very simple,” said Choi. “It’s just the three of us, and we don’t use any plug-ins or add any special sound effects to our music. With us, all we really need is drums and a place to plug in our guitar jacks and we are good to go.”
“We don’t really have a special genre,” added the band’s guitarist and vocalist Lee Yong-won. “We try to incorporate all different kinds of genres, but trying to describe ourselves with one concept got annoying so we just stick with calling ourselves punk rock.”
Following the band’s 2012 “We Eat Your Dogs” EP, Yellow Monsters released its third studio album “Red Flag” last September featuring two lead tracks, “Red Flag” and “Oh My Girl.”
“Compared to our past albums, the differences come in the sounds and the styles, but our messages are always pretty much the same,” Lee explained. “Don’t feel the need to conform with the rest of society. Our title track ‘Red Flag’ is all about rising against trends and finding your own path.”
“One of the main focuses that we have through our music is to really have people let loose and just be free,” Choi added. “It’s all about being real to yourselves and being real to others.”
Yellow Monsters will perform at the upcoming Greenplugged summer rock music festival on May 3 alongside some of the nation’s most notable rock bands.
When asked what would be the rockers most ideal response from people listening to their music, Han quickly answered most sincerely, “Wow, those guys are really crazy.”
By Julie Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org