Here at krockisreal there are no failed missions or stupid action movies. There’s only Korean rock and indie. And I’m talking now more specifically of a post-rock and post-hardcore band consisting of three members: Daeinn Kim (김대인), Hyunseok Choi (최현석) and Sangyun Lee (이상윤).
If you haven’t heard anything about the band Apollo 18 (which is almost impossible for krock lovers) here are some important facts:
• formed in 2008
• by 2010 the band had already released three albums called Red, Blue, and Violet
• in 2010 they won Rookie of the Year at the Korean Music Awards
• in 2011 they toured the United States (and performed at SXSW), played the Fuji Rock festival in Japan, and the Beastie Rock Festival in Taiwan
• on November 23 the band issued a new EP called Black that sees them furthering their sound by creating more charming hard sounds
Another interesting fact before continuing: when I arrived at the Hyang Music Shop in Sinchon there were no copies of Red, Blue, or Violet left (Black had not been released yet). All the CDs were sold out! And I was quite happy to learn that, because really good music needs to be listened to.
While staying in Seoul this autumn I had the chance to talk with these guys and ask them several questions. It’s maybe not a formal interview, but I was very glad to get acquainted with them and just chat in front of the venue before their performance that night.
Anna: After all these gigs and having toured the USA, and Japan for the Fuji Rock Festival, has anything changed for you?
Hyunseok: We want to go out from Korea more often. We want to go to many other countries, going there and playing, to learn more about their cultures and music scenes.
Daeinn: We need more tours outside of Korea. It should be easier for us to tour in the future because we now have more experience.
Hyunseok: Actually, before our US tour, we were nervous and worried, but now that it’s done, we can do much more. We have no more worries and we’re not nervous anymore. So we need more, much more touring outside of Korea.
Anna: Do you have plans for other tours? Which countries would you prefer to go?
Daeinn: Maybe Japan again?
Hyunseok: We’re now talking about this, trying to plan a schedule for 2012.
Daeinn: A Japanese company wants to invite us to tour Japan next year.
Hyunseok: We are discussing things with them now. Maybe it’ll be this winter or spring. But we have a lot of things to do before this.
Anna: Ok, then what about other countries? Are there any other places you want to visit?
Daeinn: If we can, we will go everywhere.
Anna: Why do you want to go to Russia?
Sangyun: I don't know.
Hyunseok: For vodka?
Sangyun: Russian girls!
Hyunseok: I want to go to Brazil.
Anna: Why do you want to go to Brazil? For the girls?
Hyunseok: For the ladies.
Anna: You decided to keep your color theme going and called your new EP “Black”. But originally the title was going to be Gogol. Why did you want to use this name, Gogol?
Hyunseok: It is our hometown.
Daeinn: It is the name of the area where we used to live. This is the first place where we played together as a band.
(comment: I told them that in Russia we have a very famous writer whose family name was Gogol. And then the guys told me several words in Russian, like "spasibo" – thanks – and "poka" – bye.)
Anna: Every time I listen to your music I wonder about the stories behind it. How do you create your music?
Daeinn: Ideas come sometimes while watching movies, or from other things around us, nature, the wind.
Hyunseok: The truth is that we just jam, gig, and drink beer.
Anna: While you were recording Black, did anything funny happen?
Hyunseok: While rehearsing Black’s tracks we met many of our musician friends at our practice space. We were drinking every time and creating new songs.
Anna: You recorded Black in Japan. Do you have any stories from the recording sessions in Tokyo?
Sangyun: After we finished recording the EP we went drinking. We were very f*cking drunk. We were out in downtown Tokyo in Shibuya - do you know Shibuya? – so … at the end of the night I was just standing in the middle of the street and shouting. (He demonstrates and everybody laughs). And all the Japanese people were staring at us.
Anna: Why were you shouting?
Sangyun: I don’t remember. We were drunk.
Anna: Ok, so here is another question. What is the opinion your parents and relatives have for what you are doing, being musicians?
Everybody: Difficult question!
Daeinn: Actually, when we first started, they hated the fact that we were playing music. When we were going to form Apollo 18, everybody told us: “No, no, no!” But when we played at the EBS Music Space (after winning the Hello Rookie contest that year) my mom was in the audience and after watching us she was so happy. Now she has watched our gigs two times. My mom is glad, but she is worried because it’s difficult to make ends meet as a musician.
Hyunseok: Actually, in Korea, every family really worries about their sons and daughters. But this year our families were really happy because we were able to tour internationally.
Anna: And what are your plans for the next five years?
Hyunseok: Becoming a big rock star. Just joking!
Daeinn: The same as now: making rock music, being very happy, and playing together forever.
Anna: But what about your personal plans?
Daeinn: I have no plans. I just want to keep playing music with Hyunseok and Sangyun. It’s my only hope.
Hyunseok: And maybe to become more and more fat? (joking)
Sangyun: As for me, I want to get married.
(Sangyun refused to answer further questions)
Sadly, after that it was already time for Apollo 18’s sound check before their gig and we ended the conversation. And I sincerely apologize, but I decided to omit some parts of our talking about girls.
The guys were a little upset with their performance that night because there were some troubles with the guitar and the drums, but as for me their concert was great.
No recording can imitate what they are doing with the hearts, the minds, and the bodies of the audience when they are on stage. You know that feeling when you lose your mind, just start headbanging, and can’t be stopped? I felt sorrow right after the show because the experience was finished too soon. A half hour is too short to be fully satisfied with the music, but it is more than enough to be drowned in the sound waves of rock produced by Apollo 18.
And if you haven't seen them life here is video of band performing Corpse Flower from the last EP Black
Apollo 18 Official Site
Apollo 18 Official Twitter
Apollo 18 Official Facebook