Korean Indie Interview: Tripper Sound’s Phonebooth

Last week we brought you the first interview in a lineup showcasing the wonderful musicians currently signed with underrated record company, Tripper Sound. Coreyah are the talented folk group mixing lesser known international sounds and blending it together with the traditional tones of pansori. This time we bring you Rock ‘N’ Roll band Phonebooth, a long running group which has faced an uphill battle to bypass the barriers often faced by rock groups in Korea – small target audiences and pop loving masses. Originally starting out as a 4 member cover band in high school the group really found their own when they added a fifth member and began to write their own music and lyrics.

Returning to the music scene after halting activities in 2010 when each of the members had to undertake mandatory military service, the group have come back stronger and fighting for deserved recognition.

Can you introduce our readers to your group and tell us how you formed?

We are Phonebooth, a Rock ‘N’ Roll band from South Korea. We released our first debut album ‘The Way To Live On’ in 2009 before doing military service for two years in 2010. After serving in the military we returned and released a new single ‘Barcode’ in June this year. Besides the drummer each of us are high school friends who first formed whilst there. After graduating high school we really wanted to become a proper Rock ‘N’ Roll band so we decided to go for it and formed Phonebooth in 2005. Min Suk, our drummer, then joined us in 2006.

How would you describe your music to a first time listener in just three words?

Freaking, Hecking and Bloody!

How do you feel about the positive response alternative Korean music is having with fans outside of Korea?

Well actually… it’s the first time we’ve heard that there is a positive response towards Korean indie music from people overseas. We don’t really have any idea what kind of responses are being given so we can’t actually give an opinion.

Does the music you listen to influence the music you create? Who are you currently listening to?

If you’re in a rock band you can’t really prevent yourself from being influenced by the likes of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, David Bowie and artists like them. We were all massive fans of Oasis so when we were first starting out as a band we were almost ripping off Oasis songs. These days our songs don’t just contain elements of The Beatles music or that of The Who, but it also contains elements of 90’s K-pop songs we used to listen when we were younger.

Are there any artists you would recommend?

Koreans indie bands like Pink Elephant and Huckleberry Finn.

If you could pick 2 places around the world to tour where would they be and why?

Glastonbury and Ibiza because they have everything we like. Great Rock ‘N’ Roll bands, wonderful DJs, good lads, girls and alcohol! If you were to combine both places together, for us that would be heaven. Gods heaven is nothing compared to that! So we would really love to play at both Ibiza and Glastonbury.

What would you say sets you apart from other groups within your genre?

Maybe the friendship formed over the past ten years? You can’t get this type of bond and friendship by simply playing music for ten hours a day or things like that. Technical skills are not everything; you can’t ignore the power of time.

If you had to play another genre of music which would it be and why?

80’s LA Glam Metal; Faster, Louder and Stronger! Although it looks a little bit stupid, playing that type of music is so much fun.

Do you think K-Pop gets too much attention and takes away the limelight from other artists, both in Korea and internationally, amongst fans?

The K-Pop bubble will burst! Of course a few groups of the groups are really popular in some countries but I don’t think they are drawing in listeners around the world. Well apart from PSY…

What are your plans for the future?

Release dozens of albums, go on endless world tour concerts and sell out all the tickets for each of them.

If you could cover any song by any group which song would it be and why?

Queen – We Are The Champions. When we were younger we were all moved to tears while watching concerts and videos of great bands. So if we were to play such songs and make them come across in the same way as this surely it would be a touching performance.

Where are your favourite venues to play?

Small venues, maybe those that are meant for less than 20 people.

Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

Hello. Super Junior and SNSD will not take care of you throughout your life. Tell your parents that you love them and live in the real world.

Thank you very much to Tripper Sound for setting up the interview with Phonebooth and to the group for taking time out of a busy schedule to answer some of our questions.

Follow and support the group on Facebook and Twitter.

You can also check out Tripper Sound on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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Co-founder and Editor at Beyond Hallyu
Lover of Korean hip-hop and indie music...and Unicorns.
  • Loren Rose

    Hello. Super Junior and SNSD will not take care of you throughout your life. Tell your parents that you love them and live in the real world. – Love this!

  • RakSiam

    Love these guys. And their music just keeps getting better.