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Korean rock is real
news and more about Korean rock/indie/metal and other non-pop scene
Korean Rock is Real interview with 황보령 = SMACKSOFT 
3rd-Oct-2012 11:15 pm
You can not avoid it. It is charming you and blowing, taking away to another universe. It is winning your soul and becoming part of your existence. Music of 황보령 = SMACKSOFT.


Really, I'm not kidding. When in 2011 I first heard hypnotizing voice of Whang Bo Ryung (황보령), leader of group Smacksoft I felt like blessed crazy. It was at Club TA concert, small club but with amazing audience coming to cheer up the band. And now this band is going to bring their music to US, announcing Infinite Extent of Sound USA Tour which starts already on 8th of October and ends on 7th of November. You can check them live in LA, Mexico, Chicago, Boston, New York, Atlanta, Austin and San Diego. And I highly recommend you to come with open mind and heart.

Whang Bo Ryung, frontwoman of Smacksoft kindly agreed to answer several my questions. Check the interview.

Could you tell several words about 황보령 = SMACKSOFT?

We are the 5th element. Infinite Extent of Sound. It depends on however you want to interpret the meaning of SMACKSOFT.

How can you describe your style of music?

Post Punk, defies music genre.

What are the bands bringing you inspiration?

Every music i listen to, every sound around me, and even colors and texture. Not just music. Everything around me inspires me. My favorite artist is Brian Eno.

Could tell some words about your approach to writing lyrics? What are your songs about?

It is very random. relationships with people, society and how the world around me changes or is still the same. Even a fiction i write about a cat with three ears... How to teleport, etc.

It’s been almost 2 years since you released your fourth album Mana Wind. What have you been doing all this time?

Mostly doing gigs, staying home painting, drawing, writing, reading, etc. I had a solo art exhibition this year in May, group shows in july. Had to prepare to do the exhibitions.

I heard you had a trip to Jeju this summer while you were doing acoustic set and also writing book of novels. Tell us several words about your feelings of the concert, how was it?


And also I’m very curious about the book, when we’ll be able to read it? Could you share any story of how you were writing it?

Sometime next year, whenever it's ready. This book is about three good friends who are traveling without any plans. Tt's more like an essay about me and with two other good friends. The book title is "Super Funny Vegabonds" it's from our last names "최"고 "황"당 "방"랑자들. 황[Hwaang] is my last name.
(Here is Facebook page for Super Funny Vegabonds)

In November your 5th album “Follow You Heart” will see the light. What is the background of this album and the difference with Mana Wind and your earlier works?

it's More electronic, frank with lyrics -i curse in english-, upbeat.

Why have you chosen the name “Follow Your Heart”?

It's one of my songs title in the 5th album. Cause i believe in it.


You’re going to perform series of gigs in US. What can Americans expect from you? And why you decided to do this tour?

Korea's music industry is kinda fixed to TV shows only. No way out without being funny, entertaning people like on any TV talk shows or something.
I'm not sure if you knew it already but I'm US citizen, my family live there, and I have many good friends there also. More than anything I'd like to have a good time with SMACKSOFT's music with many different people in real time.

How many years ago was your last US gig?

2003 in LA @ astro gallery

How and why did you choose the cities for the tour? You even included Mexico as a stop.

I have friends all over the states. One of my good friends in LA, he has his studio in Mexico. This locations are where my friends live. They booked clubs for me. That's all.

Is there any special American city for you?

Rochester, NY:went to high school there. Brooklyn, NY: went to college there and back and forth to Korea and traveling other countries.

How often do you come to US?

I was back in the states in 2002 and came back in Seoul, Korea like 2007. I visited my family in Atlanta in Feb. this year. 

What did you do at that time (I know you were in the US for a school for a bit … but I don’t know how long you were there or what you studied)?

At first I was major in Painting in '90 but I switched it later '04 to Sculpture. My whole family live in the states since '85 and I'm the only one who lives in Korea now. visiting family, friends like all over the states California, Virginia, Georgia, Chicago, New York..traveling, catching up. yup, it took me 17 years to get my BFA. Funny.
Like i said, i visited my family in Feb this year but didn't see much changes other than my parents got older. Maybe economy? But i don't know much about it and i'm not interested in that area at all. so. i dunno.

And what has changed in Korea since the time you returned? What do you think about Korean music scene now?

I don't like to think about it . it's too much to think about. Too crowded. Too many bands. I like bigbabg and 2ne1.

How do you position yourself in Korea, on music scene?

How would I know? Well, only one punk rock female singer maybe. Or not.

Vocal - Bo  4

I saw you not only singing but also talking much with audience on concerts. What do you think, who is your audience? Can you describe just average person from your gig?

Everyone is my audience. Average person is from teenagers to 50 years old even older. Anyone. I don't talk much at all on stage but if you saw me talking much it was your lucky day :) for real.

What does it mean for you to be on stage?


I heard that you support ‘Comfort Women’ initiative and even wrote a song for compilation album ‘이야기해주세요’. Why are you doing this? What is pushing you to be socially active?

I was not pushed by anything. and why not? I believe that i'm doing the right thing. but I'd like you to know that I do not consider myself as an activist.

You’re playing acoustic guitar, singing, you’re artist, writer. But what brings you the brightest emotions in your life?

These days is my sexy boy(cat) Bau. lol~ ,riding bicycles and alcohol. By the way I play elec. guitar more these days.

After US tour and release of 5th album what can we expect from Whang Bo Ryung? What are your plans for the future?

I'm not a good planner. It's more like I don't plan things. I might die tomorrow. I live today FULLY as much as possible.
It'll pretty much be like have gigs, art exhibit, etc.

Which song of Smacksoft do you recommend to listen? And which Korean rock group?

So far "Wind, Horizon" from 4th album,  "sigh, dolphin song" from the 3rd album.
and Korean rock scene "산울림"

And the last thing. Say please something to the readers of “Korean rock is real”.

SMACKSOFT is REAL!!! ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Follow the band:


4th-Oct-2012 03:22 am (UTC)
I've only listened to a few songs but they have a really unique sound, which I'm enjoying a lot. I'm a couple hours away in New Jersey but I'm going to see what I can do about making my way to New York to see them live.

Thanks for the interview!
4th-Oct-2012 04:14 am (UTC)
thanks for reading! if you have chance, go and see them... listening to Whang Bo Ryung's voice live is unforgettable experience) see, I still have alive feelings though I saw them back in 2011^^
btw, if you could afterwards write several words about the concert for krockisreal, I'd be happy
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