The Korea Herald


Rock ’N’ Roll Radio lands SXSW invitation, to embark on U.S. tour

By Korea Herald

Published : Dec. 16, 2013 - 19:21

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Members of Rock ’N’ Roll Radio pose in their practice studio in Seogyo-dong, Seoul, Wednesday.(Ahn Hoon/The Korea Herald) Members of Rock ’N’ Roll Radio pose in their practice studio in Seogyo-dong, Seoul, Wednesday.(Ahn Hoon/The Korea Herald)
Less than two months after the release of their debut studio album “Shut Up and Dance,” the musicians of Rock ’N’ Roll Radio Kim Jin-kyu (guitar), Kim Nae-hyun (lead vocals and guitar), Choi Min-kyu (drums) and Lee Min-woo (bass) have already achieved more than they ever thought they would.

The band’s 14-track debut album was released on Oct. 21, and not only has the group already nabbed a number of newcomer awards including the EBS 2014 Hello Rookie Award last month, but they have also landed themselves a rare feat for a new and relatively unknown local rock band: an invitation to showcase at the upcoming South By Southwest annual music festival in Texas next year.

“One of the things that really surprised me was the fact that we didn’t apply to showcase at South By Southwest but we were actually invited to perform,” said Lee, with a humble look on his face. “I was stunned when I heard the news; I mean, we would have never even thought we would ever be considered.”

The annual SXSW held in Austin, Texas, is North America’s largest music event and showcases around 1,000 artists and acts from around the globe during the 10-day festival. Next year’s event is being held from March 7 to 16.

“When I heard we were invited, I was speechless,” Choi said. “I noticed while playing in venues around Hongdae and Itaewon that a lot of foreigners seem to really enjoy our sets, so I’m really looking forward to performing in the U.S.”

Aside from their upcoming showcase at the SXSW music festival, the band will also be touring across the U.S. in Rock ’N’ Roll Radio’s first international concert tour with performances already scheduled in four cities so far: Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and Detroit.

“We are experiencing a lot of firsts with our first album,” said Choi. “It’s all very exciting for us. It’s like we’re starting to see our dreams come true.”

The young rockers who consider their style as British rock want to get people on their feet and dancing. The band’s first studio album even included a couple of tracks written all in English.

“Rock music was born in English-speaking countries so I think there are some moments when we’re writing our songs and we just feel like English lyrics just suit the music the best,” said lead vocalist Kim Nae-hyun.

“It has absolutely nothing to do with us being able to speak English well, because we don’t at all,” said guitarist Kim Jin-kyu, as the rest of the band mates echoed his laughter.

In keeping with the title of the album, “Shut Up and Dance,” the rockers’ main vision with the album is to have people throwing their inhibitions to the wind and remembering the simple, core purpose of rock and roll music: having fun.

“Our music is all about freeing your mind, having fun and, of course, dancing,” said Kim Jin-kyu. “But when people are listening to our music, I not only want people’s bodies to being moving, I also want them to be moved on the inside as well.”

“The feeling that I get personally with our music is like going through a dark tunnel and having that joy inside when you finally see the light at the end,” said Choi. “It’s a very liberating feeling and I hope listeners will feel the same.”

By Julie Jackson (