[Vents Magazine] Love X Stereo (2013.1.6)
Love x Stereo
RJ FROMETA on 6 January, 2013 at 16:25
So tell us more about yourself, who’s Love x Stereo? Love X Stereo is a 4 piece electronic rock band based in Seoul, Korea. We like to infuse electronic elements to alternative, pop, punk rock to create new authentic sound. In that sense, we think our music is very experimental.
How did you guys decided to put together this band? We were originally a punk rock band. Our former band “Skrew Attack” is actually one of the very first sk8 punk rock band in Korea formed in the late 90s. Our vocalist joined the band in 2005, and our music automatically transformed into pop punk. But along the way, our drummer left the band, and the rest of us figured that we ultimately wanted to do something completely different from the others, something danceable and fun but very new and very powerful. So we decided to change our band name and started to make new sound right away.
What’s the meaning behind the band’s name? People in the indie music industry instantly thought “Skrew Attack” as an old school punk band, so we needed a fresh new name. We wanted to use the word “stereo” in our new band name (cause we like that word so much), and instantly added the word “love” to give some “oomph” into it. We added “X” in the middle to create a lot of meaning in it, but it simply stands for “Real love moves freely in both directions.”
What are your music influences? Our music is deeply influenced by alternative music from the 90s. We love any type of alternative music, and also love punk rock, 80s pop, 70s Korean psychedelic as well. But lately we are very into electronic music, and still learning a lot and getting inspired from all types of different music. Influenced by New Order, The Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Sound Garden, Flaming Lips, Mogwai, Radiohead, M83, Friendly Fires, The Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, Massive Attack, Alice in Chains, Oasis, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Cardigans, Stone Roses, My Bloody Valentine and so on… (Many of our fans easily relate our music to LCD Soundsystem or The Kills.)
How you see the music scene over there in South Korea? Because of K-pop, and thanks to Psy, people all over the world seem to be interested in Korean music in general. But as for Korean rock scene? There is a sad story behind it. Korean rock music originally emerged in the 60-70s, along with world renowned psychedelic musicians such as Shin Joong Hyun, Sanullim and He6. But government dictatorship gets in the way, blocked all cultural communications between different generations of people, and now Korean rock music has been completely deserted throughout the entire music industry ever since. At the mid 90s, new generation of punk rock kick started the Korean indie music scene again. (Our guitarist Toby is one of the first punk rocker from the late 90s.) However, the K-pop industry alongside with major broadcasting companies has never allowed independent music to become one of the major genres in Korea. Besides, major online distributors still refuse to allocate fair share to singer song-writers, and to make matters worse, the Korean government recently passed the designated distribution law against most of the K-pop/independent artists. So, basically living as an independent musician in Korea means, “living in hell.” Enough said. Despite this harsh environment, even as an undiscovered genre in and out, Korean independent music is ready to explode any time soon. Remarkably, Korean rock scene has become more vibrant than ever these days. But still, perhaps because of the discontinuity in Korean rock history, most artists seem to keep on replicating music from the other side of the world, and struggle to create quality music that shows pure originality. This is the main reason why we try to be original, universal, and powerful as possible as we can be. And this is why we want to go abroad, to show the world that our music doesn’t suck at all, but does sound actually very, very good.
How was it to performed at the Zandari Festa? Zandari Festa is a new annual festival created by many independent labels and clubs to promote Korean rock music to the public and to the outside world, and also bring overseas artists into our local club scene. It was the very first attempt to unite all the bands and clubs in one festival, just like “SXSW.” We performed at a special stage called “Bloc Party,” which was created by foreigners (living in Korea) and Koreans altogether. We had such a great crowd of people singing and dancing with us. It was definitely our best show ever since we started this band. Hope we get to do more shows like that.
So you guys are releasing are planning to release a new single, any details/insights you can tell us? Title, release date in mind? We are scheduled to upload another cover song in January on our SoundCloud (as we did cover songs of “The Smashing Pumpkins” and “The Pixies”). This time, the cover song will be the theme song for movie “28 Days Later,” and this project will be alongside with art exhibition “Zombie,” showcasing pieces by numerous pop artists in Korea. (The cover songs are always free of charge, so please download them at our SoundCloud.)
Also, we are planning to release new singles along the way. We create and record music instantly at our studio, so stay tuned with our new songs! It’s gonna be an awesome 2013!
What are your method at the time of writing a new song? Most of the time, our guitarist come up with a cool guitar riff, and everything starts from there. First we decide the rhythm pattern, add the bass line, and mix it with a lot of synth and effects. Then we decide the overall flow of the song. But sometimes, the lyrics or the melody comes out first. Our song “Free Ass” was like that. Everything went backwards at that time. J
Off The Grid. How was the recording and writing process? How you guys came out with the album’s title? We do all the song writing, arrangement, recording, mixing and producing by ourselves at our studio. It is a humble studio of our own where we can practice and record instantly. The process went very spontaneous but thorough. We had a clear idea about our sound. We wanted something clear, powerful, mystical and experimental. Especially wanted the sound to be mighty (?). It went into the direction of more alternative than dance compared to our last EP “Buzzin’.” We left the songs to be a bit longer than usual in order to project the natural flow of the songs.
Off The Grid means, we’re so ready to present unique, future-oriented sound to the public which pushes our way out of all conventional orbits and heads off on a trajectory all of our own, into the depths of space.
So you guys are planning to hit the road?
Sure, why not? We are planning to go on a Japan tour this year, Asia tour would be nice, too. But ultimately we would like to get more connections with US and Europe if possible, and we think that maybe if we can get airplane tickets and all, we will probably ditch our current jobs and go on a tour immediately. J
What has been one of the funniest moments you guys have been or took part?
Probably the most interesting moments we had were at 2012 Jisan Valley Rock Festival. The festival itself is the biggest rock festivals in Korea, and we felt very lucky to be apart of it. But the best part was the fact that we get to see “Radiohead” and “Stone Roses.” Actually, Radiohead’s show brought the biggest crowd ever, so many of us had to go through serious traffic jam. Koreans tend to sing a lot, so it was quite hard to concentrate on their performances because of all the sing-alongs. Best line-up, good company, lack of quality food, lack of garbage cans, bad sales promotions, hottest temperature ever, melting faces, and rude performers right before us; these are all what we remember. Overall, it was very memorable.
Are there any plans for the future we should be aware of? Based on our upcoming album reviews and press releases from all over the globe, we are up to getting a decent record deal from overseas labels if possible. We are scheduled to release new singles as many as we can this year. We are planning to do collaboration work with EDM artists and DJs here in Korea. We are also planning Japan tour in 2013, hopefully Asia, Europe and the States as well.
Where can we find more about your music?
At many of our websites;
Do you guys feel you’re moving on the right direction?
Whenever we hear from a foreigner (who is not Korean) something like, “OMG, you’re the first Korean band I ever loved!” or “You guys are seriously good. Why are you not famous yet?”, we definitely feel that we are on the right direction. But still, there are so many things to do, so many people to meet, so many shows to do, and most of all, many songs to be written and published. We know that we will get there. You will see us more often in 2013, that’s a promise!