[Indie Music Interviews] Love X Stereo (2019.2.20)
Formed by skate punk rocker Toby Hwang and fugitive astrophysicist Annie Ko, Love X Stereo is a dazzling Seoul electro rock duo who offer up “dreamy kaleidoscope” synthpop anthems They have captivated audiences around the globe in music festivals across Asia and North America. With the epic release of their double EP series ‘We Love We Leave’ in 2016, Love X Stereo headlined at SXSW’s perennially packed ‘K-Pop Night Out’ showcase and has been nominated by music critics as one of the best dance/electronic album of the year at the 2017 Korean Music Awards. In 2017, they started to skip the release of traditional albums in favor of releasing 37 brand new tracks and music videos all via Patreon. Recently, their newest single ‘Zero One’, a collaboration with critically acclaimed director-actor Nick Neon, was highly reviewed by Billboard.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the “catalyst” for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I don’t think there was any catalyst, but when all the people around you says no, you still wanna go for it because you know in your bones that you’re meant to do it. That’s music for us.
Let’s get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
It’s quite amazing when, let’s say, cashiers at H&M and convenient stores recognize you. And when “Hide and Seek” got in for K-drama “Cheese In the Trap”. A lot of people love that song. But the most amazing thing hasn’t happened yet in my opinion 🙂
What has been the high point of your music path?
Opportunity to perform at SXSW. Twice!
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
Toby lay outs the beats or a riff, or I hum a tune with the piano, or just some random melody pops up our head, or we find an amazing loop with our synths. It depends 🙂 Once we establish the core or vibe, we add on.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Too many content and not enough attention/focus, I guess? Especially for a band like us, we kinda feel like we’re kinda stuck in the wrong country right now. The land of K-pop can be very harsh to indie artists like ourselves. And we know for a fact that our music is so much more well received outside of Korea. Numbers tell. So, we’re trying our best to grab opportunities to stretch out from here, but it’s definitely a challenge for sure.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
New Order. We love them so much! Love to meet Bernard Sumner one day. One of our dreams 🙂
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Nothing really special because we’ve been doing this for so long. (Toby started his career in the 90s as a punk rocker). I like to take a snickers bar for energy.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
I’d say “Hide and Seek” because the story behind that song makes us sad. It was written for our friend who passed away in Australia years ago. The melody just came out and it broke our hearts. And then the Sewol Ferry happened. We initially released it as a single, but we felt like that version wasn’t enough. So we tried again for “We Love We Leave, Part 2” album. Completely different arrangement. We’re gonna release a remix this year, too.
What’s coming up in the future?
e just released our new single “Zero One”, and that’s kind of a preview for a full length album “37C” which will come out very soon. Also, another album will be coming out as well. All happening in March-April, so stay tuned!
Tell us where fans can access your music?