Crying Nut are icons in the world of Korean punk and have inspired many other punk bands to form. They have been together for more than 20 years and are still making music fans go crazy at shows and when they listen to the band’s albums. Though you might think their name is kind of weird, it does have a story behind it from when the band members were students and had to walk home instead of taking a bus because they spent all their money on walnut cookies. We had an opportunity to ask them several questions before their US tour which will see them playing at the SXSW Music Festival and doing gigs in other cities.
Crying Nut’s March US tour dates:
March 13 Austin, TX @ Spider House Cafe and Ballroom
March 14 Austin, TX @ The Dog & Duck Pub
March 15 Austin, TX @ Antone’s Records
March 16 San Antonio, TX @ Limelight
March 18 Los Angeles, CA @ Cafe Nela
What motivates you to keep creating new songs?
Yoonsik: I want to tell people to keep their hopes and dreams no matter how hard life gets.
Kyungrok: Creating songs is what we do. I create new songs when I feel good, when I’m depressed, when I’m bored, or sometimes even after drinking lots of beer.
Crying Nut have played together for a long time. Have you ever had any situations where the band almost broke up?
Kyungrok: Being in a band is like being married. We argue over small things, but in the end it’s no big deal. I like performing with Crying Nut and plan to keep doing it for a very long time. Crying Nut is like a roller coast at an amusement park. There are ups and downs, but it’s still a really fun ride.
How do the band members think of each other? Do you think of each other as co-workers, friends, or family?
Yoonsik: We’re family. I often spend more time with Crying Nut’s members than I do with my real family!
I know that Insoo has started a side project with the trash metal band LOD. Do the other members of Crying Nut have any side bands?
Kyungrok: Not yet, but I’m thinking about starting a side project just for fun.
Crying Nut have visited a lot of countries. What do you think are the differences between Korean audiences and audiences in other countries?
Yoonsik: Korean audiences dance, clap, and cheer even if they have no idea who is on the stage. In most other countries you need to work harder to win over an audience.
Insoo: American audiences get really involved if a gig is fun. But if it’s not, they just talk to each other. Japanese audiences are a little shy, but they are very loyal. I thought Sweden was going to be quiet, but I was wrong. They were loud and crazy. Maybe that’s why Sweden has so many powerful metal bands! The audiences we played for in Macau in Singapore were pretty calm. But the weather in both places was really hot and sweaty, so maybe that’s why they were just chilling out.
What do you hope to achieve with your upcoming US tour?
Yoonsik: We hope to meet more bands and make more fans. We’d love to make some good contacts while we’re there to make it a bit easier to tour in the US and other countries more often.
Insoo: Find riches and fame? No, I just want to have a lot of fun.
Would you like to do a European tour? Which countries in Europe would you like to play in? Why?
Yoonsik: Of course! If we can find some good opportunities, we’d love to play everywhere we can. I think it would be amazing to play in Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day.
Insoo: I’d love the chance to play in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Kyungrok: I want to play in the UK!
You’ve been playing in Hongdae for many years. How do younger musicians treat you? What do they call you? Do you think of yourselves and older brothers in the Hongdae music scene?
Yoonsik: Bands respect us for helping to build Korea’s punk scene and the live club scene for indie bands.
Kyungrok: We all look really young so I like to just hang out as friends. But younger musicians call us brother when they want to drink together.
What other Korean bands do you like? Which Korean bands do you think more music fans overseas should listen to?
Yoonsik: I really like Galaxy Express. They’re an awesome rock band.
Kyungrok: I like Ubare’s Picnic.
Insoo: I think Mukimukimanmansu are great. At SXSW, I think everyone should check out Hollow Jan.
Do you have any special message for the people who will come see you play in the US?
Yoonsik: Let’s get wild and crazy together and all have a really fun time! Rock ‘n’ roll!