Indie: A ‘dirty’ word?
Korea, I love you. I honestly really do. I love your culture, the people, the food, the music. Ah….the music I don’t just love. I adore it. In face I love the music so much that I sometimes think that I could easily live with just the music alone (then hunger sets in and I realise that I smell a little because I’ve been refusing to shower for a day or two!). Ok so I can’t live off of the music but I think any fan of Korean music would understand my feelings when I say that.
The only difference is I’m not discussing the usual music when I say I could live from it, I’m discussing the rarely looked into music; Korean indie. Now I know what you are all going to say, ‘who doesn’t discuss the indie music in Korea, I love 10cm’ but this is just my point. It is a very rarely discussed topic. While we all stand around and celebrate the fact that K-pop is gaining a big enough following in the UK for us to be able to see groups such as 4minute, B2ST and EXO, we stop at this.
Where are the declarations of love for groups such as Huckleberry Finn with a career spanning more than half a decade. Or Juck Juck Grunzie (half a decade) and Square the circle (together for only a little over a year but already forming a very strong group. I love them). The number of brilliantly talented groups I could easily name drop here is overwhelming, but why do we so rarely get to hear anything about them? To me, it seems that if you are not a K-pop idol in Korean you are fighting a losing war. We have to remember that this is a country in which to me it seems that differences are not often encouraged and the success of a ‘artist’ is measured by how willing they are to follow the trends set before them.
While Korean idol stars are receiving popularity worldwide, indie artists are struggling with Koreas somewhat flawed music distribution system. Yes, idols are constantly seen on programmes, talent shows, dramas, etc…….but where exactly does this leave indie artists. Financially flawed that’s where. Many of these musicians pay to have their music distributed to small fan bases within Korea.
Yes now there seems to be a rising appeal in indie artists but is it for the music alone or because a member of a group looks like they might make a nice addition to somebodies bias list? Music is about a lot more then how appealing we find the members of a group. Indeed having something pretty or handsome to look at never hurt anyone but isn’t it good to look a group for their music and not just their looks.
However there is hope as the last year has shown a dramatic rise in indie artists cracking the Korean charts. Artists such as 10cm and Jang Ki-Ha and the faces are breaking out from the shadows of their somewhat ‘squeaky clean’ counterparts, showing that acts such as 2NE1 and Girls Generation are just one tire of the huge cake that is Korean music. Indie music to me remains a widely overlooked genre of music within the Korean music fan base both in Korea and outside of it but with the continuous fight of its artists hopefully it continues to make a bigger impact on people.