Say hello to your August Up Close and On Fire with LadySpitfire band
This month’s Up Close and On Fire is one of our SonicBid winners.
Love X Stereo is a Korean electro/alternative rock band comprising of Toby (guitar), Annie (vocal and synth), and Sol (bass). Plugging away since 1998, the team originally performed as part of the sk8 punk outfit known as Skrew Attack. Although Toby was the de facto leader, so many members came and went, the band barely triggered a blip on the media radar. However, when Annie jumped onboard in 2005 as the new vocalist, Skrew Attack skewed toward a different creative path and gelling with GUMX drummer, Lee EungKyun, they unleashed their first (and last) album in 2008, Not Enough Translation.
Despite tight instrumentals and catchy melodies, the record didn’t quite garner much traction for commercial success. Shaken but not deterred, Skrew Attack proceeded to build considerable buzz in Seoul’s legendary live club district of Hongdae. But then in 2011, the drummer suddenly bolted from the band. With the trio now down to a duo, Toby and Annie struggled to figure a way to play live without a drummer. Determined to reboot, they decided to relaunch themselves by changing their band name to Love X Stereo. Ditching punk riffs for synth chords, the pair picked up bass guitarist Sol along the way and a new triple treat was formed. Thanks to their new name tag, a new look and new sound was born.
In 2012, Love X Stereo jolted music critics inside and outside of Korea with their stunning debut EP, Off the Grid, and after stellar opening performances for the American dream pop band, Asobi Seksu, and European disco duo, The KDMS, the band skyrocketed to take center stage alongside international headliners at the Jisan Rock Festival and Korean indie icons at the Zandari Festival.
In Fall of 2013, Love X Stereo released their new album worldwide and promoted it in North America at the CMJ Music Marathon (New York) and Indieweek Canada (Toronto). They also performed at SXSW 2014, and had their second North American tour with Korean tour agency Seoulsonic.
• 2014 CityBreak (Seoul KOR)
• 2014 ULTRA Music Festival (Seoul KOR)
• 2014 Music Matters Live (Singapore)
• 2014 SXSW South By Southwest (Austin TX)
• 2013 CMJ Music Marathon (New York NY)
• 2013 Indieweek Canada (Toronto ON)
• 2012 Jisan Valley Rock Festival (Gyeonggi-do KOR)
If you want to keep in touch with the band here is where you can find them
Here’s how the recent interview with the band went….
1. How did you arrive at the name of your band What is the significance in that title?
> Love X Stereo means, love goes both ways. We thought it portrays our sound very effectively, and also very searchable on google, too.
2. Describe your sound.
> Our music is very much influenced by the 90s. Can’t think of one band that we hate from that era. Our sound is like, alternative rock meets electro. It has that nostalgic feeling from the 90s, but it’s also very danceable and has that 21st century edge.
3.There are so many genres/sub genres now–did your sound develop over time or did you go into this project with a definite concept in place?
Both. Our sound definitely developed over time, and still evolving. Our previous band was a punk rock band called “Skrew Attack”, but when our drummer left, we decided to do something different that we’ve never done before. So you can still catch that punk rock vibe into it.
- What is the message your songs impart?
> Well, it depends. But mostly what we feel in the moment. Very honest feelings about life and death happening around us.
- Who is in your band? Tell me one word to describe the other members of the band…go!
> Annie (lead vocals & synth) – workaholic
Toby (guitars & producing) – guru
Sol (bass & percussion) – best-driver
6.If I was a butterfly on the wall of one of your rehearsals…who would you say is the “leader”?
- Tell me the funniest, wackiest thing to ever happen to you during a gig?
> We played, and the power went off. Like the place just blacked out entirely.
- There are many “bells and whistles” in the studio today…how do you think your studio sound translates to a live performance?
> We think our live performances are powerful than our studio sound. People definitely like us more after they’ve seen our shows. But studio sound is also very important to us. Have to do both great.
- What has been your greatest disappointment to date? What is your greatest triumph?
> Don’t think we experienced a greatest disappointment yet. (That’s because we’ve experienced way too much sh** from our previous band J.) Greatest triumph will be our tours in the States. It’s pretty awesome to fly over from Korea to USA, and have a full tour, not only once but twice! Went to CMJ Music Marathon, SXSW, and it’s not the end of it. We’re coming again soon…
10. What makes you unique or different?
> Compared to a lot of Korean music, our music is quite different because it really doesn’t sound like average Korean music at all. You can relate to our music easily. Our music is more beloved by expats living Korea more than Koreans. If you loved the 90s, and if you like to dance, chances are, you’ll like our music.
11. If you could give one piece of advice to other Indie groups, what would that be?
> Keep doing what you’re doing, make great songs, and know who you are.
12.I know you only came together as a group a short time ago…how did you manage to write the songs, cultivate a fan base, record, market yourself, etc. so quickly?
You have to be fully committed. Running a band is just like running a business to us. Love what we’re doing as musicians, but need to do other work as well. That makes a true independent artist.
13.Do you have “day jobs” or are you “all in”?
> It depends. We all had day jobs before. The three of us all quit our day jobs to participate last year’s CMJ Music Marathon. Since then, it depends on one’s current financial situation.
14.How important is Social Media to development of your fan base? How do you market yourselves?
> The most important social media is YouTube, hands down. That’s the best way to get your music out there. When we uploaded our video “Soul City” on YouTube, we got a lot of hits, and it eventually helped our career take-off. (It was a video entirely made out of iPhones. It wasn’t even that well made. Amazing things happen on YouTube, seriously.) Facebook and Instagram help us a lot, too. We connect with our fans directly.
15.Where do you see yourselves in five years? Immediate future plans? Are you looking to be signed by a major label or remain independent? Any plans to tour?
> We’d like to be an international rock band. Yes, we’d like to be signed by labels, of course. But we do believe that there’s a certain order to get there. For now, it’s very important for us to make good music and show it to the audience frequently.
New songs will come out very soon. (Singles and EPs). We’re very excited to perform at this big summer festival in Korea “Hyundai Card CityBreak”, sharing stage with Ozzy. And also, we’ll go on another US tour this fall, which will be huge fun!
16.Who would you like to thank for your success thus far?
> Everyone who believe in us.