Widely recognized as one of the top acts in Korean rock music, Seoul’s Smacksoft craft a fantastic, densely-layered hybrid sound of post-punk, rock, and electronica. The band is highly praised by critics that is proved by numerous nominations from music portals and magazines including two ‘Best Modern Rock Album’ 2010 and 2013 Korean Music Awards. The band embarked on a North American tour in the fall of 2012 to play shows in Mexico and the United States and we had a chance to ask frontwoman Whang Bo Ryung several questions about tour expectations. This March Smacksoft will be returning to the US to perform at SXSW. April will see the band playing their first European concert during an appearance at the CinemAsia Film Festival in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The group hope to release their sixth full-length album in June. Meanwhile on February 27, 2014, band leader Bo Ryung Whang released a new seven-song solo EP called “As if Nothing Ever Happened.”
Check Smacksoft US shows dates:
March 16 San Antonio, TX @ Limelight
March 20 San Francisco, CA @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall (CAAMFest)
And our interview with Whang, Bo Ryung:
This is not Smacksoft’s first time touring in the US. What are your expectations for your upcoming American concerts?
We’re excited about being able to share our music with new audiences in new places. Playing for completely new audiences is always a really cool experience.
What are the best memories you have from your 2012 US and Mexico tour?
I have a friend named Mario. He’s in a band called Evil Twin Sister. We performed at the same venue with that band in Chicago. I’d never met him before, but he just came up to me and said, “Hi, are you Bo?” Apparently he had heard about us already from a friend in Mexico that saw us perform in Tijuana and really liked us. It was cool that people who saw up play were telling friends in other cities about us!
What do you have prepared for American audiences on this visit? How will you arrange your set list for the shows?
I’m going to make the set lists so that they present the very best of Smacksoft’s music. I don’t think we have anything special prepared performance wise. We’re just going to play really hard and lose ourselves in the music – just like we always do.
Will audiences at your US gigs be able to hear songs from your new solo EP “As if Nothing Ever Happened” or Rainbow99’s solo album?
They will get to hear one of the songs from my “As if Nothing Ever Happened” EP.
In our previous interview you mentioned that all your family lives in US. Will any of them come to support you during your upcoming tour?
No, they live too far away from where we’re playing. After SXSW, we’ll play at the Korean Underground Vol. 1 concert in San Antonio and then at CAAMFest in San Francisco. After our performance in San Francisco, I’m going to head to Atlanta to visit my family.
Recently more Korean indie bands have started touring around the world. And unlike previous years, this time SXSW will see not 3 or 4 Korean bands but 15. Do you think that the recognition of Korean indie music has grown over the years? Is this good or bad in your mind?
Yes, it seems like more people are slowly starting to become aware of Korea’s indie scene. And that’s a good thing. Anything that allows bands to be able to share their music with a greater number of people at home or abroad is fantastic.
This year you will also visit Netherlands for CinemAsia Film Festival. Will it be your first time to have a concert in Europe? How do you think the audience will differ from what you have experienced in America and Asia?
Yes, this will be Smacksoft’s first time to play in Europe. After our show at the CinemAsia Film Festival, we’re going to perform in Paris as well before coming back to Korea. I don’t think the audiences in Europe will be that different from other audiences because we’ll have all have the same music to share and enjoy.
Have you started recording your next full-length album? What will distinguish your next album from ‘Follow Your Heart’?
Yes, we’ve started recording our sixth full-length album. We’re hoping to release the album in June. The album will be similar to “Follow Your Heart” but will have more of an electronic feel to it. We’ll keep working on it as soon as we finish our tour dates in the US and Europe. Hopefully the positive energy for our travels helps us when making the album.
What were your first thoughts when you heard that you were nominated for “Best Modern Rock Album” at 2013 Korean Music Awards for “Follow Your Heart”? Did the nomination change anything for Smacksoft?
We thought it was cool. We’d been nominated for a Korean Music Award before, so it wasn’t that surprising to us. But I’m sure if gave us a bit more positive energy to keep moving forward with Smacksoft and our music.
What do you want to say to everyone who will come to see your shows in US and Europe?
I love all of you guys! Thank you so much for your support. We really, really appreciate it.