Korean Indie Interview: Guten Birds
If you type grunge bands into google and you will be overcome with images of bands such as Alice in Chains, Mudhoney, Pearl Jam and of course Nirvana, to name a few. But if you type Korean grunge into a search engine it is slightly more difficult to come across anything that fits the built up notion of the genre. Yes, you will find groups that can nicely slip into it from all around Korea, but it is always remarkable to stumble across a group that plays with the word grunge and creates their own refreshing take on it. Thank god for Guten Birds!
Falling away from the sometimes stereotypical gender roles associated with types of music (yes, some people still find it odd for women to want to create any music other than pop) the group works outside of the masculine and feminine roles and just creates damn good music! This could be one of the reasons why they have quickly gained popularity with Korean indie followers over the past year.
Can you introduce yourselves?
Hello, we are a rock band from Seoul in Korea, Guten Birds. We formed in 2011 and originally started out as a group with 2 girls and 1 man, but since a year ago we have become an all-female rock band.
If you could describe your music in 3 words (or terms), what would they be?
They would be negative space, independent harmony and variability.
How would you say your music is different from other similar artists?
Actually, we have no idea which artists are similar to us. We just pursue a variety of music and tend not to stay in any particular genre.
Mohho you have released solo music previously, are there plans for you to continue to work on your own music whilst still working with the group?
I like genres of music and really want to develop my own style of music. Working on another project (such as my own) sometimes feels uncontrollable for me to balance but I always enjoy making music for both. Of course, all things come second to the band.
If you had the opportunity to perform anywhere in the world, where would you like to perform?
Definitely England! There are lots of musicians and bands we like from there. Someone told us that we should go to Germany because the word ‘Guten’ is in our name. (Although our name actually comes from the Korean word for nine, ‘gu’, and the English word, ‘ten’.) Anywhere would be great!
My co-founder Lizzie has a favourite song by your group, swimming with dolphins. Could you tell us a little about the process behind that song?
Thanks Lizzie! The universe was the first image we thought of when we started making this song. While we were perfecting it, the idea arose of something in a deep blue ocean. Finally, we are swimming with dolphins!
What are the groups own personal favourite songs?
We each have a different opinion for this question.
Seo Hyun (Bass): 안녕,안녕(Bye & Hi)
Mui (Drum): Rolling in the air, 울렁이는 밤(Throbbing Night)
Mohho (Vocal/Guitar): I’ll Have Nothing
What artists influence your music?
This is a difficult question. We wanted our music to be similar to the likes of Fugazi, Pixies and Nirvana in the beginning. Our early work shows that we were influenced by each of them. We still like the minimal arrangements that showed in their music as it felt like they were fully utilizing the empty space around them, giving the music a wide range of sound. We still try to do the same but our music has developed a bit more.
Which artists (aside from yourself) would you suggest fans listen to?
We recommend Ironic Hue. We really like them!
When you are not performing what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Creating and practicing songs together in a studio like most bands. Each of us has our own personal favourite things to do outside of this like travelling, drinking and spending time with our dogs and cats.
What are your hopes for 2015?
We really want to release our 1st full-length album as well as perform in other countries.
Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?
It’s really nice to meet you all! We think music that is a common language that goes beyond time and space, even if we playing far away from you. We hope you enjoy our music and keep an eye on us in the future. We believe we will be able to perform in front of you at some time. Thank you for having us.
Beyond Hallyu would like to thank Mohho for allowing us to ask her some questions about Guten Birds. We hope you are able to perform in the UK at some point in the near future! Make sure that you check out the group and have a listen to their music. You can follow the group on Facebook and Twitter.