I unfortunately never heard of PATiENTS before the announcement of their UK tour. It’s another example of how many bands exist in Korean independent music. But after listening to Kitsch Space and sampling Let’s Drive, Let’s Go, I’m really excited to see how the crowds respond to the band’s hybrid punk sound.

I asked bassist and vocalist Sumin Jo questions about the band, but found out that Steel Face Records has released music from bands I also didn’t know and now have to find.

If you want to see PATiENTS, here are the tour dates:

May 1 Liverpool, England @ Brooklyn Mixer (Liverpool Sound City)
May 3 Liverpool, England @ Kazimier Gardens (Liverpool Sound City)
May 7 Bristol, England @ The Hatchet Inn
May 8 Southampton, England @ Unit Club (WTFest)
May 9 London, England @ AAA
May 10 London, England @ Astbury Castle

Patients 2

Please introduce your band.

Hello, we’re PATiENTS from Seoul, Korea. I play bass and sing in our band. Jaehyuk Lee is our drummer, and Hyuckjang Kwon plays keyboards. We call our musical style “hybrid punk.” We’re preparing to release a new EP soon called Let’s Drive, Let’s Go!

It’s our first recording with Hyuckjang. He joined our band last year. We’ll be heading to the UK this week for several gigs including a performance at the Liverpool Sound City music festival. We can’t wait to start our UK tour!

Considering the band started in 2005, do you think that the addition of Hyuckjang on keyboards signals a reboot of PATiENTS?

The addition of Hyuckjang on keyboards has made Patients a stronger band and is helping up to take another step forward with our music. We’re continuing to build upon the identity of Patients while trying to extend our reach further and further.

How different will the new EP be compared to 2011’s Kitsch Space? For people who have never heard of the band before, do you think they’ll be surprised by the inclusion of keyboards in your “hybrid punk” style?

The lyrics are lighter on Let’s Drive, Let’s Go! On Kitsch Space, the songs dealt with psychopathology, but on our new EP the songs are about traveling and wanting to stay together. So lyrically, it’s a much brighter album. In terms of sound, the biggest difference is that all of the guitar melodies have been replaced with keyboards.

I’m confident that people are going to like our new EP regardless of whether they are familiar with PATiENTS’ old sound or not. And people who love punk rock will be able to notice how our “hybrid punk” style is different from the punk that most other bands are currently playing. Let’s Drive, Let’s Go! will come out in Korea in June through Steel Face Records. But we’ll be selling the EP in the UK during our tour, so people there will get the first chance to own the album.

2010 was the start of Steel Face Records, was that a struggle to begin? What bands have you released music for through the label? How has the label grown over the past few years?

I started Steel Face Records because I didn’t trust other labels. I thought that we could do a better job on our own. I love the DIY aspect of punk rock, so it felt natural just to make our own label and do things by ourselves. It’s hard work running the label, but we enjoy it. Since forming Steel Face Records, we’ve released music from PATiENTS, Swindlers, The Infamous Orchestra, Dives, Bad Trip, Cockrasher, and the Essence. We’ve also created our own rooftop live venue. It’s called Steel Face Rooftop 3639.

There are a lot of independent bands in South Korea, how do you think PATiENTS is different from other bands?

Many of the bands in the Korean indie scene have their own unique sound, style, and personality. And we do too. We make the music we want to make, write the lyrics we want to write, and do things the way we want to do them. That’s what makes us different from everyone else.

Liverpool City Sound is a big festival and a great destination for Korean bands to display their talents. Do you think that being able to play at a festival like this is showing that there’s more interest in other genres of music from South Korea?

I’m really excited about being able to perform at Liverpool Sound City. I heard that last year people really enjoyed all the different Korean bands at the festival, regardless of their genre. As you said, people around the world are slowly starting to learn more about all the different kinds of Korean music. We’re looking forward to contributing to this.

After Liverpool City Sound, PATiENTS will be touring in the UK with Dead Buttons. Do you have any expectations for this tour?

It’s always great to be able to show our music to new people. I think we’re going to have fun during this tour and will do our best to make great shows for everyone to enjoy. We’re really looking forward to getting to meet lots of new bands and music fans. And we’re excited to be able to share our new Let’s Drive, Let’s Go! EP with people in the UK.

Are there any plans to release Steel Face Records music digitally for international audiences?

International audiences can find music from Steel Face Records on iTunes. Our most recent release from the label was a compilation album named Steel Face Records Compilation 2013-2014 that came out in January. People can find it on iTunes here. Patients’ Let’s Drive, Let’s Go! EP will be on iTunes in June, and Dives will have a new EP that will be distributed digitally through iTunes in the coming months as well.

Are there any Korean bands that PATiENTS recommends people listen to?

People should listen to Deulgukhwa and to Dives.

Anything to say to readers?

Please check out our new Let’s Drive, Let’s Go! EP. We worked hard on it, and are really happy with the album. I hope we can meet you at one of our upcoming shows in the UK or somewhere else in the world. Let’s Go!

PATiENTS on Facebook.

Steel Face Records.
Steel Face Records’ YouTube.

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