During my September trip to Seoul, I met Tako manager of Idiotape at the Korean Indie Meet-Up. He asked if I’d be interested in meeting the band for an interview during my trip. I had briefly met them earlier in the Spring when they came to the US for their tour. I figured it would be more interesting to have a general talk rather than set interview questions to see how the conversation flowed.
While I spoke in English, the band replied to my questions in Korean and they were open about their tour experiences and music in general.
The US Tour in March – how was the experience playing in the US?
DR: It was fun, but because of visa problems there were issues with shows. At SXSW, meeting different bands and playing at different clubs, that was a lot of fun.
How was it playing at K-Sound in Chicago and the live performance?
Zeze: It was fun because it was the first time. Chicago was interesting because college students didn’t know our sound and it was a first playing that kind of setup. Before K-Sound, all the live shows were fun. It was all very interesting, but like DR said the visa problems made us disappointed about shows we couldn’t play. If there weren’t visa problems, it would have been even more enjoyable.
Idiotape had a solo tour outside of Seoulsonic, but all Korean bands had visa issues. What were the problems for you?
Zeze: What I heard was US immigration didn’t give out visas.
Dguru: There was a law that changed, but immigration didn’t tell anyone. We prepared for the visa the same way we did before on our previous trip and submitted that. But now that the requirements changed and they didn’t tell us, it became more difficult and everyone got rejected. We met SXSW’s lawyer and talked about what to do.
Did you cancel shows for your tour?
Zeze: In Texas we had four shows, but other than the showcase we had to cancel the other shows.
Did more people know who you were at SXSW this time?
Zeze: Actually it was mainly Kpop fans.
Dguru: More than half, I think?
Zeze: Hyuna and Jay Park fans.
Was your set the same every night during the tour?
Dguru: No, it always changed.
Are there specific songs that you always play?
Zeze: Three songs: “Pluto, “Melodie,” “Even Floor.”
You played before Hyuna at the SXSW Korean showcase, so did fans come in to wait for her performance?
Zeze: They were all in the front.
DR: Jay Park was behind us.
Zeze: All the people were standing there with arms crossed.
How was your experience in San Francisco and the Seoulsonic show?
Zeze: We were the last band of the night and right before we were supposed to go on stage, the parking police showed up and every one left. Not many people were there, but it was still fun.
Who do you enjoy performing for more – rock fans or at clubs?
DR: I like playing for the pretty girls. (laughs)
Zeze: There are a lot of pretty girls at clubs.
Dguru: Wherever they are for him. (pointing at DR)
Zeze: Actually club shows are really awkward. We’re weird, fans are weird. Once time goes by, when we’re able to have fun together it’s better.
Dguru: All shows become similar as time goes on and people get into the music. At clubs people are a little hesitant at first, but they get into the music and later it’s all the same.
Zeze: Because people drink, they start going crazy.
DR: It’s fun in the US. At rock festivals, you expect rock bands. At electronic festivals you expect DJs to come out. In the US, it doesn’t seem that way. It’s about having fun with music.
Do you find it difficult being a drummer with this type of music?
DR: What’s difficult is that different drummers have different drum sets. When you have to change sets, it take a long time. When I first joined, the hardest thing was understanding the emotion behind the music. Other bands have songs, but we have instruments that play different sounds and matching up with them is difficult.
Does anyone have solo projects?
Zeze: Not officially. Dguru has solo projects.
DR: I teach drums.
It seems difficult to find a lot of drummers in South Korea.
DR: In South Korea, there aren’t a lot of places where you can practice drums. It’s difficult to learn and there’s aren’t many places that teach it.
Zeze: You used to be able to practice in garages, but now it’s all apartments. If you make even a little noise, someone complains. In the US, houses are farther apart and there are places to practice, but not here. You can practice at school or at an academy. It’s really difficult to practice. Bass is like that too. When you turn on a bass amp, you get that loud noise and then someone complains.
So in high school when you want to start a band, there are many guitarists and vocalists. But there aren’t bassists and drummers.
So how is it for electronic music? Do you use headphones?
Zeze: We have small speakers.
DR: Back when I first joined Idiotape, I was in four bands.
Zeze: Punk rock, garage, pop, and electronic. Once he played in three bands on one stage.
DR: I just sat on stage when bands changed. (laughs)
What are you listening to now?
Dguru: Right now, movie soundtracks.
DR: We’re working on a drama right now so I’m listening to thriller-type music.
Zeze: We making the soundtrack to a thriller movie so that’s the type of music we’re listening to.
Is it difficult?
Zeze: We haven’t started yet, so we’re preparing right now. It seems like it’s difficult.
DR: They’re filming it now so we haven’t seen anything. So we’re just thinking about how to make the music.
Dguru: It’s about how to make the scene feel and the emotions.
Is there anything you want to try as musicians?
Zeze: The album hasn’t been out that long so we’re taking it easy to focus on it.
Did you have a release concert for Tours?
Zeze: We had a concert, but it was unofficial.
DR: We had a show at Pentaport, that was kind of our concert.
What took so long between albums?
Zeze: When listening to our music it’s difficult to understand at first. It’s the same when making the music. There aren’t any references, nothing musically similar. It’s difficult to get feedback on our songs. And we don’t know what we want to do when we start.
It took three years to make, but two of those years was planning: what do we want to do, what should we do? That’s why it took so long. We had to think and prepare a lot.
Anything you want to say to fans?
Dguru: Come to Korea to see our show.
Zeze: Actually I don’t know if we have international fans.
Dguru: There are a little.
Dguru: Share Idiotape with your friends because when there are a lot of fans somewhere, we’ll be able to go and perform live.