Jambinai are a Korean band that appears to destroy expectations of what Korean music can be. With the band using traditional Korean instruments to create incredible post-rock songs, at first glance you may be confused on what your expectations are.
That is their strength. Now with their visit to the United States at SXSW 2014, they can blow the minds of people who might think lightly of their talents.
Be sure to check out the band during their time at SXSW because you will not be disappointed. Guitarist and piri player, Ilwoo Lee answered some questions during their busy preparation for the tour.
March 12 Austin, TX @ (3 pm) International Day Stage Austin Convention Center (official SXSW showcase)
March 13 Austin, TX @ (1:30 pm) Hotel Vegas (Levitation Austin)
March 13 Austin, TX @ (12:00 am) Flamingo Cantina (official SXSW showcase)
March 14 Austin, TX @ (3:15 pm) Spider House (The Texas Rock N Roll Massacre 2)
March 16 San Antonio, TX @ Limelight (Korean Underground Vol. 1)
How do you feel about being invited to play at SXSW? Are you curious to see how American audiences will respond to your music?
We’re really happy about being invited to play at SXSW. It’s going to be really great to be able to meet many people during the festival and to experience a new place. I’m excited about our performances and a little nervous too. We did well at our festival appearances in Europe last year, but I’ve heard the US is very different from Europe. I wonder how people at SXSW will react to our music.
Are there specific songs that Jambinai is choosing to play during your SXSW shows?
Our set list will include tracks from our self-titled EP, our Différance full-length, and our upcoming sophomore album which should come out sometime in April.
Is there anything that the band wants to do while in Austin, Texas besides performing?
I want to try and see as many gigs as I can and drink lots of different kinds of American beer. I have cousins that live in Austin and Dallas, so I want to find time to meet with them too.
Since the band uses traditional Korean instruments, are you worried about transporting them overseas? Or are you going to be renting instruments?
I play piri, which is a tiny instrument. I also play taepyeongso, which is small as well. I’m not worried about transporting them because they fit into my suitcase easily. But I’m going to take extra instruments with me just in case. I think it would be challenging to rent the traditional instruments we need at SXSW.
The band has been playing new songs recently, does that mean there’s going to be a new Jambinai album in 2014?
Yes, we plan to release a new album sometime in April. We’re excited to share it with everyone.
SXSW is becoming a popular destination for Korean bands, do you think this is a positive step in getting people to recognize other genres of Korean music?
I really hope so. Korea has a lot of great bands and too few of them get the attention they deserve.
On this tour, Jambinai will only be playing in Texas. Is there anywhere else that the band wants to play in the US in the future? Why do you want to play there?
We’d love to play everywhere we can. We love getting to experience new places and meet new people. We’ll be playing in California in June for the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. We’re excited about being able to check out another part of the US soon!
Are there any other bands that Jambinai is excited to see play at SXSW?
I’m really excited to see Banks.
Last year Jambinai played at the World Village Festival in Finland and the Oslo World Music Festival. Did those gigs raise your expectations for this summer’s European tour?
We were worried before our shows in Finland and Norway last year because both places are very far away from Korea and what we’re used to. But the festivals were both fantastic and the people we met and played for were absolutely amazing. Both of those shows definitely raised our expectations for this summer’s European tour and gave us a lot more confidence as well.
Is it a different experience playing your songs to crowds in other countries? How have new listeners overseas reacted to your music?
It’s a little different because I think people overseas feel less conscious about expressing their feelings than a lot of Koreans do. When we played at Cena Contemporanea in Brazil one couple kissed during our last song and some people in the audience were crying. We were surprised to see this, but were happy that our music affected them so strongly.