Credit to Jo Andre

Apollo 18 is one the first bands that made a huge impact on me. While other Korean bands have shown me the heights of other genres; Apollo 18′s dense and complex rock really spoke to me as I listened to their different releases.

Now in their preparation for the upcoming United States tour, highlighted by their shows during SXSW and dates around that time, the band had their big fundraiser for the tour.

I asked guitarist Hyunseok Choi if the band could answer questions after the fundraiser and thankfully they agreed.

Credit to Simon Bond

How did the fundraiser go? With the support of many other bands, it had to be a wild night.

Daeinn Kim: The fundraiser show was very good. More than 200 people came to the concert. All the performers were great. We’re very thankful to all the artists and fans that helped us. Their support is really going to help us during our American tour.

Apollo 18 is receiving a lot of press in the United States, much more than I expected for a Korean band. How has this changed your perspective on the upcoming tour?

Daeinn Kim: We’re so surprised and thankful for the attention we have received so far. We hope it’ll help bring some people out to our concerts.

Hyunseok Choi: It has raised our expectations a little. We’re still going to be the same loud and energetic rock band, though.

With the tour coming soon, what are the preparations the band is going through before the flight?

Sangyun Lee: We’re so busy right now! Daeinn has been designing merchandise, making posters, and planning our driving routes in the U.S. We spoke with Orange Amps and they are helping us with equipment for our American tour. We’re so grateful to them.

We’ve been looking for a van, and are trying to find places to sleep in all the cities we will visit.

Is there anything the band is afraid of, coming to the United States?

Hyunseok Choi: Having to use only English is a little scary. We can all speak and understand a little English, but we’re not native English speakers. We’re a little worried about the long drives between cities, too.

Is there any food that you really want to try? (I suggest real Texas BBQ, though be careful of digestion)

Hyunseok Choi: We want to eat lots of Texas BBQ. Another friend also warned up about digestion problems. She said if we eat too much American food, we’re going to get a stomachache because we’re used to Korean food. We don’t care, though. We’re tough guys. We can handle it!

Daeinn Kim: We’ll play a day party in Austin, Texas at a place called Hoeks Death Metal Pizza. We really want to try their pizza. Seoul has a really good restaurant called Reggae Chicken. We don’t have any metal pizza in Korea, though.

Sangyun Lee: I want to eat many burritos. I love burritos. People have told me that the Mexican food in Texas is very delicious.

Credit to Joe Andre

Has there been any response to the band’s request for help during the tour?

Hyunseok Choi: Our fans have tried to help us, which has been really great. Apollo 18 has some very kind and supportive fans. Orange Amps are helping us with the backline for our American tour. 8 Volume has given us free Apollo 18 t-shirts to sell.

The LE iPhone case and LE t-shirts, whose idea was it to produce and distribute those during the tour?

Daeinn Kim: The iPhone case was Hyunseok’s idea. We will give out 500 free Apollo 18 iPhone cases during SXSW. The iPhone case has our Apollo 18 band logo on the back and our email address and websites on the inside.

These iPhone cases will only be available in Austin, Texas.

The t-shirts aren’t limited edition. We’ve made several different t-shirt designs in the past. We just wanted to make some new t-shirts for this tour.

We’ll be selling the t-shirts in all the cities we visit. We’ll also have a self-titled tour CD for sale that includes songs from our Korean Red, Blue, and Violet albums.

Apollo 18 recently released an English version of the band’s website, are you working on broadening the audience that listens to you?

Hyunseok: We really want our music to reach a wider audience. To do this, I think we need to have more English information about the band. We’ve talked about eventually making a Japanese version of our website as well. Apollo 18 really want to be an international band.

Our goal is to play in many different countries. We want to meet people from all over the world, eat food from all over the world, and drink tasty beer from all over the world.

The band keeps adding shows during the tour, now with 16 shows in 13 days, it sounds like you all are going all out for this tour. Are you going to spend anytime seeing other bands during the tour?

Hyunseok: We never planned to play so many gigs in so few days. Originally we hoped to play maybe eight shows in 11 or 12 days. We decided to extend the tour a few more days and picked up a few more shows. Then we got offered some more concerts during SXSW.

Traveling to the U.S. is really expensive, so we wanted to take advantage of every opportunity presented to us. We’re happy with our tour schedule, but we know it’s going to be a lot of work. We’ll be watching all the bands we play with.

We’ll try to catch as many bands as we can during our free time at SXSW, too. At SXSW, we will appear on concert bills with bands from all over the world. We’re excited to experience new music and to make friends with people from lots of different countries.

There was talk of the band coming back to the US in Winter 2011, are there any new places that you want to play?

Sangyun Lee: We want to play everywhere we can! We will start to plan our fall North American tour when we get back to Seoul in April. We plan to play some shows in Canada and will visit more areas of the U.S. also.

Hyunseok Choi: There are many places in the U.S. I want to visit. I want to go to New York, Chicago, Miami, and lots of other cities.

Is there anything you want to say to SXSW attendees and fans of Apollo 18 in the United States?

Hyunseok Choi: Please come and see us perform. We’re playing six times in Austin during SXSW. We will also play concerts in other parts of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. Come enjoy our music and then let’s drink together!

Daeinn Kim: We like to play really loud. We’re happy to meet so many new people and make lots of friends, but while we’re playing we want to try and break everyone’s ears with our volume. We’re doing this with love, though, so please don’t be angry at us if your ears are ringing after our concert.

I have to thank Hyunseok, Daeinn, and Sangyun for answering the questions amidst their preparations for the tour. If you’re in the area of their shows, please support the band and buy them a beer afterward.

Follow the band on Twitter at: @apollo18band

Korean Indie Editor-At-Large The person in the background watching over everything.