Story by: Daniel Deacon, Photos by:
*Listen to GrooveCast host Chance Dorland’s interview with Kevin Heintz, David Holden and the other members of Magna Fall (and their full performance at Groove Magazine’s 100 issue celebration) on the podcast player below!*
It wasn’t all that long ago that there was hardly an indie scene at all in Korea. Forced out by government crackdowns in the 1980s, the scene re-emerged, blinking into the light, in the mid-1990s, as Korea opened up to globalization.
Since then, the scene has mainly revolved around Hongdae, with outposts in Itaewon and other cities across the country. There’s never been a better time to be an indie musician in Korea, and the scene is a hotbed of musical styles and influences. Revelers can dine out on rock, indie acoustic, house, reggae, electro or hip-hop on any weekend.
“People are playing so many different music styles in their own ways,” says Sungsoo Lee, lead guitarist and vocalist with Korean hard rock group HarryBigButton.
“Our music style is not heard in Hongdae often,” says drummer David Holden of “space rockers” Magna Fall. “I don’t know of many bands around with a similar sound to ours right now.”
The last year has been “awesome” for hip-hop collective Part Time Cooks, too. “We traveled around the country doing shows, released our first EP … we had a blast out here,” says Saul Goode from the group.
Reggae gets a look in, too, with fusion reggae artist JoshRoy noting that “more Korean reggae groups are joining the Rise Again (festival) each year.”
And fusing genres together is electronic duo Ssighborggggestra. “We are in a kind blind spot between noise, electronica and rock that is pretty deserted territory in the SoKo,” says Sean Patrick Maylone of the band.
Groove Korea has been along for the ride, featuring the countless number of bands, musicians and artists that have helped the scene explode in the 100 months that it has been published.
To celebrate the awesome music and diversity on offer around the peninsula, as well as the 100th issue of the magazine, Groove Korea presents Groove 100 at DGBD in Hongdae on Feb. 7.
Groove 100 brings together five of the best artists on the scene, musicians who are the forefront of the diverse genres and musical styles that are pushing the indie scene forward today.
Read our interviews with Part Time Cooks, HarryBigButton, Magna Fall, Ssighborggggestra, JoshRoy
Groove 100: Groove Korea’s 100th issue party
When: Feb. 7 @ 10:30 p.m.
Where: DGBD, Hongdae (23 Jandari-ro, Mapo-gu, Seoul: MAP / 지도!)
Who: Part Time Cooks, HarryBigButton, Magna Fall, Ssighborggggestra, JoshRoy
How much: 10,000 won advance, 15,000 won door
Tickets: Get tickets here or pay by Korean bank transfer