Regularly, KAvenyou introduces to you a band coming directly from Korea’s rock scene.
This time, meet “…Whatever That Means” who answered our questions and try to figure out what their music means!
We’d like to thank the band’s vocalist and guitarist Jeff Moses, who took time to answer our questions ahead of the band’s US tour dates:
July 23 Las Vegas, NV @ The Double Down Saloon
July 24 Fresno, CA @ TBA
July 26 Corvallis, OR @ The Interzone Café
July 27 Seattle, WA @ The Kraken
July 28 Tacoma, WA @ Real Art
July 29 Portland, OR @ Foggy Notion
July 30 Reno, NV @ PB&J’s
July 31 Berkeley, CA @ 924 Gilman Street
August 1 Los Angeles, CA @ The Redwood Bar
1/ Please introduce your group and describe your music.
We are …Whatever That Means from Seoul, Korea. We’re a melodic punk band. By that, I mean our music has all the aggression and energy people expect from punk bands, but we also have really melodic vocals with a lot of harmonies throughout all our songs.
We’ve been playing together since 2009, have toured throughout Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore and are about to head out on our second US tour where we’ll be releasing a split 7-inch record we recorded with Seattle punk band Burn Burn Burn titled “Blowing Minds & Melting Faces.”
2/ Is your group’s name a way to not have to explain its name?
We get asked about our name all the time. The band was started as a one-off project for the punk rock show Trash and I had for our wedding reception. When we were making the poster for the show, I didn’t have a band yet but knew I was going to put something together so the poster listed all the other bands and then said, “and Jeff…whatever that means.”
Once I’d put together the lineup for that show, we decided just to call ourselves …Whatever That Means so we could say our name was on the poster. We all agreed it was a stupid name, but it was only going to be for one show, so who cares, right?
Now it’s seven years and almost 200 shows later, and we’ve still got it.
3/ In 2014, you took part in a documentary titled “Us & Them: Korean Indie Rock in a K-Pop World”. Two years later, how would you describe your place in the Korean music industry?
Well, I guess the first thing I’d say is that if you’re not in a K-Pop band, it’s not much of an industry. All the labels that are willing to work with bands like us are really independent and DIY.
As for …Whatever That Means, we’re still doing things really similarly to how we always have. We play as much as we can. We book a lot of our own shows. We try to release new music as often as possible and tour outside the country at least every year or two.
I guess the biggest change that’s come along has to do with our label. We’ve been self-releasing our albums under the name World Domination, Inc. since we started. This past year, Trash and I decided to make World Domination, Inc. an actual, official label so that’s kept us extra busy. We’re about to release a new compilation album titled “Them and Us” and a new 7” from a Korean punk band named Full Garage who are the first band to sign with our label. Full Garage’s 7” is called “Vinyl Suit” and the band will be touring the US in July to promote the album.
4/ You have members from diverse origins. How does this multiculturalism influence your music?
We’ve got Korean, American, and Polish members, but Korea is home for all of us.
I think the biggest influence that it has had on us is that we all grew up listening to different bands. I was really into the ‘90s punk explosion in the US when I was a kid. Trash and Daewon both listened to some of the bigger bands to come out of that but were more interested in the underground music that was coming out of Korea and Japan.
And Bialy, well, Bialy grew up listening to really brutal metal. Later he got into hardcore, but pop punk is really a recent thing for him. All those different musical backgrounds are really fun to have when we’re writing new music.
We all come at it from different angles, and everyone puts in their own little pieces of the puzzle.
5/ Your upcoming US tour boasts an impressive schedule of 9 concerts in 10 days. How are you preparing for it?
There’s so much work that goes into any tour.
Of course we’re practicing a lot to make sure our set is really tight. It’s the first time we’ll be playing most of the tracks from our new record live so we’re especially working on them. Beyond that, there’s all the design work Trash has to do for tour posters, merch, and things like that. I’m in charge of the actual booking so I need to make sure everything is good to go with all the promoters.
We’re also releasing that new World Domination, Inc. compilation just before the tour so I’m in the studio every day making sure that’s ready. Add to that the fact that Trash and I need to make sure everything is ready for Full Garage’s upcoming tour, too!
Saying these last few weeks have been busy would be a bit of an understatement.
6/ Are there differences between performing in Korea and performing abroad?
Well, the Korean scene isn’t that big so you end up playing for the same people at the same clubs a lot of the time. Going to somewhere like the US is always really exciting because you get to travel all over and play for different people every night. It’s also pretty cool just seeing the regional differences along the way.
Playing in Seoul or Busan….once you’re in the club, it’s hard to tell if you’re in a different place. Playing in Southern California or Portland … the crowds are so different. It’s pretty cool.
7/ What projects do you have planned for after the US tour?
About a week after we get back to Korea, we’re having a joint release show with Full Garage. It’ll be the first chance for anyone in Korea to get our split 7 inch and Full Garage’s new record.
After that, we’ll start preparing for our big yearly Halloween show. We’ve also got some more new songs in the works. Hopefully we can develop those a bit more and while we’re on tour and jump back into the studio this fall. Beyond that, it’s more of the same – playing shows, trying to release stuff from a few more bands through World Domination, Inc., and coming up with a new set of projects. I guess you could say we’re addicted to being busy.
Article by Céline @ KAvenyou