Korean Music Interview: PATiENTS
Last April, four bands (Galaxy Express, Apollo 18, Goonam, and Gate Flowers) toured the UK and gave fans of more alternative types of Korean music something to go crazy for with the Korea Rocks UK Tour. This year those very same fans (and the countless others that stumbled across the tour and it’s amazing musicians) eagerly await the arrival of another batch of three alternative bands to hit the UK this month.
The first of the three is punk band PATiENTS, a group that have stepped away from the ‘traits’ of a stereotypical punk rock band and created their own. Forming in 2005, the group emerged onto the Korean punk rock scene as a quartet in 2006 with their debut EP Hanging Revolution. A year later bassist Sumin Jo assumed vocals when the band became a trio and shortly after they released their second EP All the Patients Let’s Go. It was this EP that would give them the exposure needed to perform their first international performance at the Japan/Korea Oi! Punk Festival Nakano, in 2008.
Establishing their own record label Steel Face Records in 2010, the band began to look at new ways to further their dynamic of music and play with the punk rock sound they were used to. Their 2011 full-length album, Kitsch Space, showed evidence of this adaption of sound and style as the group added an inkling of electro, pop and new wave sounds to crisp punk undertones creating the group’s now signature style, ‘hybrid punk’. However, despite all the good turns for the group they were hit again by a departure in 2012 when they parted ways with their then guitarist Junmyoung Baek. With just Sumin Jo and drummer Jaehyuk Lee it appeared as though the groups future hung in the balance but in 2013 they became active again with the introduction of a new keyboardist Hyuckjang Kwon, an inclusion which is helping to progress their ‘hybrid punk’ sound to a whole new level.
We had the chance to ask Sumin Jo some questions about the tour, the band and reaching out to new fans.
Can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us how your band formed?
Hello, everyone! We’re PATiENTS from Seoul, Korea. We play a musical style that we like to call ‘hybrid punk.’ Our band first formed in 2005. From 2005 until 2008 we were heavily inspired by the sounds of classic punk rock. But over the past few years, we’ve been trying to carve out our own unique sound. We’ve got a new EP called ‘Let’s Drive, Let’s Go!’ that we think gives a great impression of what we’re trying to create with our ‘hybrid punk’ music.
Explain ‘Hybrid Punk’ to our readers in less than 20 words:
We mix the beauty of classic punk with Korean emotions and a willingness to experiment with other musical styles. If I counted correctly, I think our summary was only 19 words!
To new listeners just discovering you, which one of your songs would you recommend listening to?
I think they should listen to the track ‘Sipalsegi.’ It’s on our new EP.
The group formed in 2005 and since then the interest in alternative Korean music from both Korean and international fans has peaked. Do you think this increase in interest was helped by social networking allowing more people to branch out their musical interests?
Yes, I think the internet and social networking has helped more people learn about new music, and has also helped expose more people to Korea’s indie scene. The interest in Korean indie music both at home and abroad is still small, but it’s definitely starting to grow little by little which is really cool to see.
This tour will be the band’s first in the UK, what are you planning to do during the shows to make it a time both you and the crowd will remember?
We’re just going to focus on playing as awesomely as we can. This will be our first time in the UK so we’re unfamiliar with things there. But we’re going to work hard to put on the best shows that we can.
The band has a new EP coming out through your record label. What can we expect to hear on this EP that makes it stand out amongst its predecessors and your full length album ‘Kitsch Space’ (besides a keyboardist)?
Well, as you just mentioned, the biggest difference between 2011’s Kitsch Space and our new ‘Let’s Drive, Let’s Go!’ EP is that we’ve replaced our guitarist with a keyboardist. I think the change in instrumentation allows us to express more sensitive and cheerful moods in our songs. Lyrically this album is much brighter as well.
What is your opinion on alternative Korean music becoming popular with international audiences? Do you think it’s good that artists are being given the opportunity to travel overseas and reach out to fans worldwide?
Of course! All bands hope to share their music with as many people as possible. We’re happy that more Korean acts are getting the chance to tour abroad. We hope that this continues to happen and that more and more bands from Korea’s indie scene get to showcase their talents around the world.
After your tour of the UK is complete what other countries are you hoping to tour and why?
I’d really like to tour in the US. My mom lives in New York and works as an artist, so we could stay with her for free while we’re there! Being able to perform in a new country and visit my mom at the same time sounds like an awesome plan to me!
How does the band hope to continue developing over the next few years?
I hope that we can keep making cooler and cooler albums and performances. We want to keep growing as a band, becoming stronger musicians and strengthening our relationship at the same time.
Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?
We hope we can meet you in the UK! We love meeting new people and talking with music fans so please come introduce yourself and say hi if you come see us play in the UK. Our new EP isn’t coming out until June in Korea, but we’re going to have copies of it in the UK with us. Please check it out!
Thanks to PATiENTS for taking the time to answer our questions and good luck with the tour. Today marks the first day of the tour but never fear there are plenty more dates to catch this amazing groups ‘hybrid punk’ listed below:
May 1 Liverpool, England @ Brooklyn Mixer (Liverpool Sound City) [Website] TODAY!
May 3 Liverpool, England @ Kazimier Gardens (Liverpool Sound City) [Website]
May 7 Bristol, England @ The Hatchet Inn
May 8 Southampton, England @ Unit Club (WTFest) [Facebook Event]
May 9 London, England @ AAA [Facebook Event]
May 10 London, England @ Astbury Castle [Facebook Event]