LIFE&STYLE

Punk stalwarts return from U.S. tour with new record

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Aug 9, 2016 - 14:52
  • Updated : Aug 9, 2016 - 17:18
Fresh from a tour of the U.S., Seoul-based melodic punk band ... Whatever That Means is gearing up for the Korean launch of its new record.

The split 7-inch “Blowing Minds and Melting Faces” was recorded with U.S. punk rockers Burn Burn Burn.

The first launch was in Seattle, with Burn Burn Burn as part of the band’s U.S. tour this month.

It was their second U.S. tour, so knowing the venues made it easier to ensure the shows were good -- except perhaps one.

“We’ve never had a tour where we don’t end up running at the airport, and we’ve never had a tour where we don’t have a metal show,” said Jeff Moses, the band’s vocalist and guitarist, accepting the inevitability of things not always working out as planned.

“In Malaysia, we were supposed to play a punk show, but the club we were supposed to play at got raided by the police the night before and was shut down.”

This year they booked what was intended to be a half-punk show in Reno, Nevada, but when they got there it was all metal.

Still, while that may not have gone down well, it wasn’t a complete write-off. They loved the venue, and did at least sell one T-shirt.

“So better than zero,” said Trash, who provides bass and vocals for the group.

...Whatever That Means

“Last winter we went to the Philippines and it was the first couple vacation since we got married seven years ago,” said Moses. “In the past, whenever our vacations lined up we would go on tour.”

“So it was really weird, like ‘Where’s all the members?’” said Trash.

When you consider their wedding reception was in the now-defunct punk club Spot, this is perhaps understandable. Moses has been involved in the Seoul punk scene for nine years, while Trash has been since she formed her first band in 2000.

“Wasted Johnny’s vocalist, Angie, she called me a live fossil,” she joked. “I started coming to Hongdae when Hongdae represented the punk scene, or indie music, but not like this kind of fancy (thing) now. We’d gather together and drink together and then got to know a lot of people.”

But changes in the scene and venues closing have meant the pair, who also organize monthly shows called Second Saturdays, have had to move around.

“We were gutted when Club Spot closed. That had been our home for a long time. Then (at Hongdae venue) Ruailrock, things were going well for a time but then someone from Gangnam bought the building and doubled the rent, tripled the rent,” said Moses.

“Hongdae’s gentrification is killing every single club,” said Trash, who laments the way bands and audiences leave straight after shows, rather than hanging out together.

“Nowadays it’s hard to know who’s come to the scene,” she says.

But Moses points out that there are some bright spots, such as Club Sharp, a venue in Mangwon opened this year by a group of musicians, and efforts to create a Hongdae-like scene in Mullae-dong.

He said people were trying to get things started up, “which hasn’t happened for a long time.”

Saturday’s show will be the first Second Saturday at Club Sharp, and the official Korean launch of their new record and that of Full Garage, a Korean band Moses signed to his new label, World Domination Inc., and helped tour the U.S. just before ... Whatever That Means did.

“Blowing Minds and Melting Faces” has three tracks by each band, but Moses said their three showed different facets of the band. The first song is a short blast of pop-punk, the second is angrier and more aggressive and the third is a more mainstream Green Day sound, he said.

“It goes through the whole spectrum of what we do,” Moses said. “And it meshes really well with that snarky pop punk on the Burn Burn Burn side of the album.”

The record will be available on vinyl, which Moses said has made a huge comeback in the U.S.

“It’s pretty much the only way I buy music anymore,” he said. “Last time we toured the U.S., everyone asked why we didn’t have any vinyl. With doing a split album, it just made sense.”

Those more behind the times can breathe easy -- downloads will be available on the band’s Bandcamp page and the vinyl record comes with a free download card.

Copies of both records will be given away with admission to the show on Saturday.

“Either the show is free and you’re buying the 7-inches or you’re paying for the show and the 7-inches are free,” Moses said.

The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and features ... Whatever That Means and Full Garage, as well as support from Dead Chunks, 57 and Korean hard-core punk mainstays the Geeks. Entry is 15,000 won.

By Paul Kerry(paulkerry@heraldcorp.com)