While preparing to interview Asian Chairshot I tried to remember when I first discovered them. I think it was right after their first release, ‘Chairshot,’ when their music got stuck in my playlist for like a year or so. Reflecting back on those memories, that was a great time for me as the Korean indie scene started to turn from the sweet-hearted melodies of Urban Zakapa and 10cm to grungy vocals and a rough sound peppered with a psychedelic feeling!
ASC are talented and use different ways to deliver their music to audiences, such as the Korean traditional sounds on their ‘Mask’ EP and the series of short films portraying their lives that they released soon after their first record. Thus ASC is one of the best candidates to show ‘contemporary’ Korean rock music to the world as they already did in Singapore and are doing again now in the UK.
Prior to the start of their UK tour ASC drummer Kyewan Park answered some questions for us. Check out his answers below.
Please introduce your band.
Hi! We’re the rock trio Asian Chairshot from Seoul, Korea. It’s nice to meet you! My name is Kyewan Park. I play drums. Youngwon Hwang is the bassist and vocalist in our band, and Heenam Son plays guitar. We started Asian Chairshot in 2011. We’re going to be releasing our first full-length album, Horizon, on May 28. We’ll be previewing songs from our new album during our upcoming UK tour. From May 2 – 12, we’re going to play eight gigs in England and Wales, including two shows at the Liverpool Sound City music festival. We’re excited about the tour!
How did you come up with the idea of creating this band?
We started this band when I was 33 years old. I was in a dark place and was having a hard time then, but I decided I wanted to try and make a new band for the last time. Youngwon was a bassist that I had admired for some time, and I’d known Heenam for 10 years. We met and really understood each other. So we decided to make this band together.
What is the story behind the band’s name?
Youngwon and I chose the name while we were drinking. We tried to find a good word that matched up with “Asian.” We were talking about wrestling, and thought chair shot would match up with the word “Asian.” And we’d liked the meaning behind the word “chair shot” too. So we decided to call our band Asian Chairshot.
What do you think makes your band unique?
I think Youngwon’s vocals, which have a Korean trot music feel to them, and Heenam’s psychedelic guitar playing help make Asian Chairshot unique.
How do you feel while you are performing on a stage?
When I’m on stage, I only concentrate on playing. I try not to think about the performance itself or the audience. When we have really great gigs, it feels like it’s just the three us jamming together without an audience or a stage.
If you weren’t musicians what would you be?
I can’t imagine Heenam without a guitar. Maybe Youngwon would be an exemplary citizen. I think I would be living out in the countryside somewhere as an old bachelor.
What influences your music and lyrics?
Our experiences, feelings, and all the different things we’re interested in help influence our music and lyrics.
You’ve performed many concerts in Korea and have played at a few festivals abroad. What have been your most memorable shows? What made them so memorable?
My most memorable gig experience was playing at the Jarasum International Jazz Festival in 2011. Our band was still very new and that was our first time playing at a festival. We had to rent equipment for the show using our own money and played a few times during the festival, including a busking-style performance. We had a lot of fun, learned some new things, and it was a real good opportunity to help promote our band. Playing at the Jisan Valley Rock Festival in 2012 and the Ansan Valley Rock Festival in 2013 were also really special gigs for me.
What are your expectations for your UK tour?
We’re expecting to meet lots of new people and musicians and to learn lots of new things. We’re playing eight gigs over the span of 12 days, so this will be the biggest overseas tour we’ve done so far. I think we’re going to be really tired but a lot wiser when we come back.
What can people in the UK expect from your performances? What songs are you planning on playing?
We’ll be playing songs from our Mask EP and we’ll also be previewing tracks from our new Horizon album. We plan to show people rock music mixed with Korean melodies. Hopefully everyone enjoys what we have to share.
What other acts do you want to watch at Liverpool Sound City?
I want to see The Kooks, Blood Red Shoes, and Circa Waves.
Recently some Korea musicians and bands are doing collaborations with other bands, rappers, and even pop idols. Would you ever like to collaborate with any other acts? If so, who?
Last year we collaborated with Smacksoft. We did a gig together with them, and we collaborated on a limited-edition two-song CDR. Bo Ryung Whang wrote the songs on the CDR, and we all played them together. I think it would be cool to collaborate with the Korean band Coreyah. We’re friends with each other, the roots of our music is the same, and we all play different instruments so I think it would be a really fun collaboration.
What are the band’s plans for the rest of 2014?
As I said before, we’re going to release our debut full-length album on May 28. It’s called Horizon. We recorded the album last December in Seoul. Horizon was produced by Jeff Schroeder, who is the guitar player for Smashing Pumpkins. And the engineer on the album was Ryan Grostefon, who worked with Smashing Pumpkins on their 2012 album, Oceania. In late May, we’re going to play in Singapore again too. Details about our visit will be announced soon. We’ve played at festivals in Singapore twice already, so we’re excited to be able to go there again. And of course we’ll be doing lots of shows in Korea as well.
What do you think about more people around the world getting into Korean indie / rock music? Is it good or bad?
It’s obviously a very good thing. I hope more and more people continue to discover Korea’s indie scene. There is a lot of really great music being made here. Please give the Korean indie scene a chance. I promise you’ll be surprised!
Any other words to say to krockisreal readers?
Please come hang out with us during our upcoming UK tour. We’d love to see all of you shaking your bodies at one of our shows. Thanks so much for reading about Asian Chairshot. We hope to see you soon!
Band’s tour dates:
May 9 London, England @ AAA
May 11 Bristol, England @ Hatchet Inn
May 12 London, England @ Pipeline