My journey in Korean Indie and the future
Back in January of 2011, before the inception and creation of koreanindie.com; I spent the majority of my time on wakesidevision.com. I started wakesidevision back in August of 2009 as a way to express the wide range of music I was listening to. I still write on the site (and will continue to) as it’s my way of highlighting music from Japan and Korea.
In January of 2011, I wrote an “editorial” called Breaking Abroad: How Korean Indie Could Break the United States. It dealt with how I thought that Korean indie bands could enter the United States. Basically broken down, I saw that domestic distribution of music was the best way for bands to get noticed. It was a half-hearted solution to a bigger problem, especially with musicians putting their music on iTunes.
Now a year later, I’m writing on a site with Anna and Mark that focuses on Korean indie music, in all its forms, that has gotten a great response through our Twitter and Facebook. I could never imagine that a pocket project from three people who write in their free time could have so many followers and so many Likes on Facebook.
I never thought wakesidevision would take me to this place.
I also never thought it would lead me to interviewing Apollo 18 or Glittering Blackness, Fall.
Additionally, I didn’t think it would realign my first solo trip to Seoul, South Korea where I met Anna in person (who I only talked to through Twitter and email) to watch her wedding, drink with members of JuckJuck Grunzie and Bomb & Tree, get introduced to the vocalist of 99anger, force the guitarist of 49 Morphines to drink more, or get schooled by the owner of Townhall Records on one-shotting beer.
Finally, I never thought I would be able to go out and drink with Apollo18 and talk about how my food preferences were lacking according to Hyunseok.
Shawn Despres, a very talented writer and knowledgeable friend on bands, was another person I was fortunate enough to meet while I was there. He’s been a great help and source of information when I have questions about bands I’m not sure of.
I saw that while the indie scene in Hongdae was small, but very connected.
Now in 2012, I was able, with the help of DFSB Collective, to interview Crying Nut, 3rd Line Butterfly, and Yellow Monsters. I never had a notion that I would be able to ask questions to bands I admire and respect. Korean music has definitely changed my life and how I viewed my cultural heritage.
As a second generation Korean-American, its been difficult for me to identify where my roots are and Korean music helped that. It’s always been my dream to just write about music full-time, talking with bands, reporting on their shows, and generally helping bands become recognized.
Even though the connection between bands and fans has been difficult, I think there are a number of international blogs and sites that help with this and are genuine in their interest in the music.
But at the same time, there are other sites that use the recognition of these bands for themselves. The landscape of web-writing is based on ad sales. The conversion of pageviews to ad impressions is huge for sites to monetize and keep going. I find this generally very disrespectful to the musicians. I won’t go into the ins-and-outs of that issue because it’s not worth spending the time on now.
But what does the future hold for Korean indie music?
I think the future is bright. Seoulsonic is a great way to bring music outside the borders of South Korea. While the cities where the shows occur are generally in big music venues, it’s the first step. Touring for bands internationally is a very expensive thing to plan for.
International media is starting to take notice outside of the supposed “Hallyu” wave of Korean music and hopefully that continues.
I hope they research bands before interviews better.
I hope they stop using the word “exclusive.”
I hope they stop making catchphrases.
I hope they start treating the bands as bands and not products for pageviews.
There’s an astounding number of bands, past and present, that have created amazing music. I know that koreanindie.com will continue to try and bring as much great content as possible. If you’ve looked at the news site, Anna is a blogging master with news updates.
I try to review as much music as possible. There’s a transition now where I will be focusing more time on reviews and content on koreanindie rather than wakesidevision. I will still write on both sites, but I have noticed that there are bands I love that I haven’t mentioned on koreanindie that need more notice.
I love Korean music. It’s done so much for me during these past three years. I have favorite bands. I have favorite songs.
My goal has always been and will always be to connect fans of Korean music to new music.
The work that I do will always be to help bands connect with new fans.
Thanks for visiting koreanindie and news.koreanindie; I greatly appreciate it.
Thank you to all the bands I have ever listened to, been able to talk to, and been able to see play live. It’s your music that made all this happen.
Thank you to Anna, who found my review of Donawhale on Twitter and started a great friendship.
Thank you to Mark, who without your input, the site wouldn’t be as functional as it is.
Thank you to Shawn, who contacted me first about Apollo 18 and has kept me updated consistently about bands. And correcting my mistakes quickly.
And a gigantic thank you to Claire Woo, who told me to start wakesidevision and pushed me to do it. Who knew it would come this far?
There’s a lot more coming in the future with koreanindie.com.
Opinions in this post are my own and do not reflect the thoughts and opinions of the site as a whole.