by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
South Korea annually holds the rock showcase “Korean Stage in Liverpool” at the international music festival in order to introduce Korean indie bands to European audiences. A total of 11 bands have participated in the event since its launch in 2013.
This year, bands Jambinai, Dead Buttons, Thirdstone, PATiENTS and Monoban will headline the K-rock showcase on Sunday, May 24, the third and final day of the Liverpool Sound City festival, said the Korean Creative Content Agency (KCCA) and the Korean Cultural Center in Britain.
“The public attention on Korean indie rock bands is very high in Britain, the home of rock music,” Park Young-il, chief of the KCCA’s European office, told Yonhap. “We’ll make efforts to make the ‘Korean Stage’ a stable platform for local indie musicians wanting to advance into Europe.”
Here’s some background info on the five bands performing at Liverpool this year.
Founded in 2009, Jambinai is known for their unique sound, which blends traditional Korean music and modern rock. The band has previously performed at major music festivals, including South by Southwest (SXSW) and Pentaport Rock Festival. Members Lee Il-woo, Shim Eun-young and Kim Bomi first met while studying traditional Korean music at Korea National University of the Arts.
Dead Buttons is a Seoul-based rock duo comprised of guitarist-vocalist Hong Ji-hyun and drummer-vocalist Lee Kang-hee. Originally, the band started out as a trio in 2012 and quickly made waves on the circuit, performing at the Japan-Korea Punk Festival less than two months after their debut. Lee and Hong parted ways with their bassist in the summer of 2013 and released their first EP as a duo the following year. After performing at 2014 Liverpool Sound City, the band signed a contract with a British record label, according to the KCCA.
Inspired by Jimmy Hendrix, Thirdstone is a psychedelic rock band comprised of guitarist-vocalist Park Sang-do, bassist Han Doo-soo and drummer Ahn Sung-ryong. The band’s third album Psychemoon was nominated for best rock album at the 2014 Korean Music Awards.
Self-described as a “hybrid punk” band, PATiENTS originally formed as a quartet in Seoul back in 2005. After the record label they were signed to closed in 2009, PATiENTS created their own label, Steel Face Records and continued to play a leading role in the creation of Korea’s underground punk scene. Over the past decade, the band has received critical and popular acclaim, climbing to the final round of the 2011 Hello Rookie, a competition created to highlight Korea’s best up-and-coming bands. This year will be PATiENTS’ second time performing at Liverpool Sound City.
Indie folk band Monoban is made up of singer-songwriter and guitarist Jang Dae-won (also known as DAY 1), cajon player Jifan and classical cellist George Durham. Despite debuting only one year ago, Monoban has performed on Korean national television, radio, and at the Jarasum and Paju folk festivals. The band released their first full-length album in March 2015.
Featured image via Monoban/Last FM