With Galaxy Express, Apollo 18, and Goonam heading to England and Wales for Korea Rocks, I realized that we had never talked to Gate Flowers before. So before the tour starts next week, I had a chance to send some questions over to the band and Seungshik Yeom, guitarist, was able to take the time to answer them.
Can you introduce Gate Flowers?
We’re a four-piece rock band from Seoul. I play guitar. Our vocalist is named Keunhong Park, Jaein Ryu plays bass, and our drummer is Chongeun Yang. We won Rookie of the Year at the 2011 Korean Music Awards. Our song “Army Reserve” won the Best Rock Song prize at that awards show too. We’ll be embarking on our first international tour next week as part of Korea Rocks!
How would you describe your music?
Our music is a mixture of grunge, funk, hard rock, blues, and whatever else we can get our hands on.
What are your thoughts about the Korea Rocks tour and showcasing Korean music to international audiences?
We’re so excited about the tour. We’ve been waiting for this for a long time, and we hope it will be the beginning of many other overseas activities for Gate Flowers.
Is there anything you want to do while in the UK?
Eat lots of good food and drink lots of high-quality beer and whisky.
Korean indie music is gaining more popularity outside of Korea, do you see this as a good sign that people are moving past Kpop?
To be honest, we don’t like the term “indie music.” In Korea almost all bands are labeled that way because there are very few acts that operate under the management system of a major label. And even some of the bands that are on major labels still play gigs with the so-called “indie bands.”
Almost all Korean bands are called indie bands because people think the bands can’t make a living as musicians. But some of the so-called “indie labels” are just as big as the major labels in Korea. The acts on these labels are still called indie bands just because they play in Hongdae. A lot people automatically think Hongdae equals indie music. It’s time to change this notion. Bands should just be called bands. They don’t have to be labeled as indie.
Oh, and to answer your question — we think it’s a great sign that people are learning more about other kinds of Korean music.
What are your influences in making music?
We all draw influences from a wide array of music. Our band members enjoy acts like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Dream Theater, Jaco Pastorius, Keith Jarrett, Michael Jackson, Medeski Martin & Wood, Soulive, The Lettuce, and many others.
Is there any Korean band you think deserves more attention?
There are way too many for us to list.
Is there a place that you haven’t toured yet, but want to in the future?
We’d really like to perform in other parts of Europe in the future, and also in the Unites States, Canada, and Japan.
Any plans for new music?
We plan to use a new EP sometime this summer. We’re working very hard on it right now, and everything is going smoothly so far.
Anything to say to readers?
Thanks for paying attention to bands from Korea! We hope you’re able to discover some great stuff that you really enjoy. And for any people living in the UK, please come watch us play at Korea Rocks. These are the shows for the tour:
April 24: Tunbridge Wells, England @ Tunbridge Wells Forum
April 26: Wrexham, Wales @ The Bank (Focus Wales)
April 27: Wrexham, Wales @ Yales Café Bar (Focus Wales)
April 28: London, England @ Barfly
May 1: Manchester, England @ Night & Day Café
May 3: Liverpool, England @ Studio 2 (Liverpool Sound City)
May 4: Liverpool, England @ Kazimier Gardens (Liverpool Sound City)
It’s great that Korean bands are able to travel to England and give another country a sample of the music that Korean musicians are making. With the different styles that individual bands play, they should make a great impact on delivering amazing music to people who may have never heard of them before.