/AWARDS & HONORS/
2013 Korean Music Awards (Album of the Year - Nominee)
2013 Korean Music Awards (Song of the Year - Nominee)
2013 Korean Music Awards (Artist of the Year - Nominee)
2013 Korean Music Awards (Modern Rock Song of the Year - Nominee)
2013 Korean Music Awards (Modern Rock Album of the Year - Nominee)
2012 IZM.co.kr : K-Pop Top 10 Albums of the Year
2012 HelloKPop.com : Korean Album of the Year (#1)
2012 HelloKPop.com : Korean Song of the Year (Honorable Mention)
2012 HelloKPop.com : Korean Alternative/Rock Song of the Year (#2)
2012 Hankyoreh News : Korean Album of the Year (#1)
2012 Hankyoreh News : Korean Song of the Year (#2)
2012 Hankyoreh News : Korean Artist of the Year (#4)
2012 Naver Music : Korean Album of the Year (#1)
2012 MusicY : Korean Album of the Year (#2)
2010 100beat.com Top 100 Korean Albums of the Decade (#24 'Time Table)
2010 Korean Music Awards (Song of the Year - Nominee)
2010 Korean Music Awards (Modern Rock Song of the Year - Nominee)
2005 Korean Music Awards (Band of the Year - Nominee)
2005 Korean Music Awards (Album of the Year - Nominee)
2005 Korean Music Awards (Modern Rock Album of the Year - Nominee)
2012 Intel & VIce 'The Creators Project' Showcase (Korea)
2012 SXSW South By Southwest (Austin TX)
2012 CMW Canadian Music Week (Toronto ON)
2010 Monocle Winter Series (London UK)
2010 Grand Mint Festival (Korea)
2010 Jisan Valley Rock Festival (Korea)
NAHM SangAh - Vocal/Guitar
SUNG Kiwan - Guitar/Vocal
KIM NamYoon - Bass/Electric Effects
SEO HyunJung - Drums
2012 Ice Cube
2010 10th Anniversary Box Set
2009 Nine Days or a Million EP
2004 Time Table
2002 Oh! Silence
2000 Self-Titled Obsession
3rd Line Butterfly 'Dreamtalk' : Korean Album of the Year (#1)
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3rd Line Butterfly – Dreamtalk (read our review) Thirteen years since debut have no doubt given 3...3rd Line Butterfly – Dreamtalk (read our review)
Thirteen years since debut have no doubt given 3rd Line Butterfly plenty of creative inspiration. The band poured out a ton of that experimental flair into Dreamtalk, and every component of this album – lyricism, instrumentation, structure, themes – is awash in the spirit of pushing the envelope. The ideal here is the music of dreams. To achieve it, 3rd Line Butterfly relies first on unorthodox use of language: they mix and match onomatopoeia and undefined utterances, use vocals as a rhythmic device, and carry out exposition with prepositions and ad-libs. They look second to sound: while keeping bare essentials like engaging melodies, they explore wildly divergent genres and tool sets that all evoke the fantastically open possibilities of dreams. The band’s reassuring hands firmly direct the cut and flow of this complex and at times unwieldy album. Let Dreamtalk reverberate in you for hours, days, weeks; this is an album that only grows in meaning as time passes.
3rd Line Butterfly 'The Day We Part, Today' : Korean Song of the Year (Honorable Mention)
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Welcome back to our 2012 In Review series! An important category today, as we look at the songs to r...Welcome back to our 2012 In Review series! An important category today, as we look at the songs to represent 2012. The Song of the Year is not necessarily the year’s most technically advanced song, nor is it the most popular, the most emotionally riveting, the most groundbreaking – it could be one or more of these, but more often than not this isn’t the case. Instead, it’s the song that I feel like I would look back on in 10 years, and think: “Oh yeah, this song came out in 2012. I remember that one most vividly. And it’s still as good as ever.” So the greatest criterion is this: the song must have an enduring quality. It could achieve that by having any of the characteristics I mentioned above, or it could do it some other way.
As always, honorable mention picks are sorted by alphabetical order of names. There are only three for this, since I’m only listing entries that were seriously considered for one of the top two spots at some point.
SONG OF THE YEAR : Park Jiyoon 'Tree of Life'
SONG OF THE YEAR RUNNER-UP : Psy 'Gangnam Style'
HONORABLE MENTIONS 3rd Line Butterfly 'The Day We Part, Today' (also Runner-up Rock/Alternative Song)
3rd Line Butterfly 'The Day We Part, Today' : Korean Alternative/Rock Song of the Year (Runner-Up)
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Runner-up Rock/Alternative Song 2012 3rd Line Butterfly – The Day We Part, Today (read our album ...Runner-up Rock/Alternative Song 2012
3rd Line Butterfly – The Day We Part, Today (read our album review)
3rd Line Butterfly’s Dreamtalk was an album based on three immense strengths: bold and fearlessly experimental soundscapes, Nam Sang-ah‘s wonderfully evocative vocals, and deconstructive yet profound lyricism. A twist, then, that its best song is actually missing one component – that lyricism. Today was probably the album’s most mundane in terms of language, but this turned out to be essential. You see, the draw of Today is its guttural, instinctive sense of longing and attachment. As Nam recounts the same melodic motif over and over again, each iteration more emotional than the last, the lyrics too repeat and grow from descriptive to spontaneous. As Sung Ki-wan and Kim Nam-yoon‘s guitar and effecter work crescendos and spills over, the lyrics too grow desperate and base (at one point, the narrator holds herself from spitting in her lover’s face). Only a full minute of soaring solos, frantically slamming piano, and pained vocalizations fill the outro; there are no lyrics, no words, and no expression, as the narrator’s emotions, like the guitars, race away from us. Nor are they needed – not anymore.
Quick Reviews : 3rd Line Butterfly
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3?? ????? (3rd Line Butterfly) – Dreamtalk Release: October 8, 2012 Distributor: Mirrorball Musi...3?? ????? (3rd Line Butterfly) – Dreamtalk
Release: October 8, 2012
Distributor: Mirrorball Music
Genre: Psychedelic, post-rock
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
After 8 years in the making, Dreamtalk is pretty appropriately titled. Its lyrics are pervasively hazy – sometimes acutely lucid, but often just confusing like nothing else. Sometimes, the lyrics manifest in subtler forms of meaning, as the obscure allegory of ? (Aroma), the unfinished narrative of J Says, or the outright gamesmanship of ???? (Connecting Words). At other times, the nonsense is simply a form of 3rd Line Butterfly being faithful to the old vocals-as-instrument philosophy. There are lots of onomatopoeia, meaningless repetitions, percussive utterances, and rhythmic wordplay all throughout Dreamtalk; I’d even say that this is the primary mode of lyricism. Weiv already has a detailed, informative breakdown of the chaotic flow and effectiveness of ????????? (Smoke Hot Coffee Refill)‘s lyrics, but even apart from this exercise in deconstructionism, elements like the hypnotic ad-libs in ?? ? ??? ??? (It’s Okay, You’re Sexier) and solely positional exposition of ??? (You And I) meld slyly into the instrumentation and influence the album’s mood not by message but rather by sound.
The instrumentation is brilliant, by the way. It just takes a back seat in light of what 3rd Line Butterfly is doing with language in this album. The band gets pretty creative with its structures, for starters: Smoke Hot Coffee Refill and ???? (Into The Dream) are both ambitiously scaled multi-movement scores that effectively travel between introspection, elation, energy, and in case of the latter, even haunting unease in the space of four or five minutes. The experienced hands of Sung Ki-wan and Kim Nam-yoon perform evocative guitar work and tantalizing effecter usage throughout; some of their most handsome payoffs appear in lead single ???? ? ?? ?? (The Day We Part, Today) in the form of a deliciously layered, soaring outro. (I can’t shake the feeling that this is what Deli Spice‘s single earlier this year should have been.) Nam Sang-ah‘s relaxed performance adds to the nebulous combination.
Like dreams themselves, Dreamtalk is easy to identify with but difficult to interpret. Sometimes it just throws eight minutes of a post-rock sound experiment like The Hitchhiker-reminiscent ???? (Jeju Wind) 20110807 at you. Like with any great album, unraveling Dreamtalk is an involved process, but it helps you out. Its ambience and psychedelia are immersive. The lyrics (when they make sense) are thoughtful. And perhaps the best of all, unlike an elusive dream, none of it is fleeting.
Here's What You Missed At The Creators Project: Seoul 2012
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A week before our weekend-long Seoul event, we hosted the exclusive South Korean premiere screening ...A week before our weekend-long Seoul event, we hosted the exclusive South Korean premiere screening of the LCD SOUNDSYSTEM film SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS. After the film, fans feverishly danced the night away to an DJ set from the former frontman himself, James Murphy.
Then, last weekend, we officially kicked off our annual event at the Zaha Hadid-designed Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Inside the urban hub we set up shop with an engaging mix of interactive installations, stimulating panels and workshops, and Saturday night’s all-star music line-up.
Having toured worldwide to all of our events this year, Chris Milk’s The Treachery of Sanctuary highlighted the possibilities of interaction with an uncanny elegance. Three gigantic triptychs and motion-sensing Kinects transformed visitors silhouettes’ into flocks of birds with beautiful flapping wings.
In #Creators Live, visitors watched and manipulated their Instagram photos in real time with the aid of Kinect sensors. While scrolling through all our 2012 event photos, visitors added their own photos and could categorized them as they wished.
Thanks to the unusually warm weather in Seoul, event-goers lingered in the gardens on their way to the Design Gallery that housed works from Everyware and Yang Yongliang. Matt Pyke’s large-scale projection of disintegrating dancers, Supreme Believers, moved alongside them on their way over.
Everyware’s Levitate, composed from 49 clear pipes and black ping pong balls, tested the laws of gravity through subtle, smooth movements. The gorgeous, sleek installation gauged the movements of viewers and responded in undulating, wave-like motions.
Visitors gazed into Yang Yongliang’s hypnotic monochrome cityscape, The Day of Perpetual Night. This nine-minute video loop illustrated an insanely-intricate contemporary Chinese landscape.
DJ Andow started off the festivities on Saturday afternoon leading into a resurrection of post-modern grunge from Seoul’s original indie band 3rd Line Butterfly.
Returning for the second time since our first Seoul event, DJ Soulscape got the crowds jumping to an eclectic set of funk and soul vinyl.
After Nosaj Thing’s first appearance since his premiere tour in Korea a few years ago, K-pop’s most popular girl group 2ne1 and Korean rapper Drunken Tiger rocked the stage.
Late into the night, Idiotape kept the crowds in an electronic hypnosis.
Korea’s Overlooked Indie Bands Hitting the Road
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Ask random Koreans on the streets of Seoul if they’ve heard of punk band Crying Nut and chances are ...Ask random Koreans on the streets of Seoul if they’ve heard of punk band Crying Nut and chances are they’ll be able to name at least a few songs from its long list of hits. But during their North American tour this spring, the country’s best-selling indie rock act performed as if they were nameless newcomers in front of millions of people who had no idea who they were.
The members, however, say they’d do it again in a heartbeat.
“It was so much fun - like a busy Friday night in Hongdae [an area in Seoul known for its underground rock scene] times 100. The streets were brimming with energy,” says Lee Sang-myun, Crying Nut’s guitarist, on playing at South by Southwest, the largest indie music festival in the United States.
The influential five-member band, along with 3rd Line Butterfly, another first-generation indie act here, and rock band Yellow Monsters, toured the U.S. and Canada in March to early April. They performed at some of the biggest music events on the continent, including at the official showcases at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, and Canadian Music Week (CMW) in Toronto, as well as famous clubs like the Viper Room in Los Angeles and Cafe du Nord in San Francisco.
The bands went not as individual acts but as a group, called Seoulsonic, a project started by Seoul-based music agency DFSB Kollective to introduce Korean indie music to the West.
“If you talk about Hyundai Motor, it is going to be at every major motor show in the world. If you talk about Korean film, they are going to Cannes, Berlin or Toronto. But when it comes to music, Korean music was never represented at any of the music festivals or conferences in the world,” said Bernie Cho, president and strategic planning director of DFSB Kollective.
“And that, to me, was shocking. That’s why we decided that if we are going to promote Korean music, we need to do what other countries are doing.”
Investing money that DFSB Kollective earned through its core business - selling Korean records overseas through iTunes - Seoulsonic started last year by bringing local indie acts Idiotape, Galaxy Express and Vidulgi Ooyoo to the North American stage, concentrating on their official showcases at SXSW and CMW. The company plans to continue the success of previous tours and do another Seoulsonic North American tour next spring, with a new lineup including Goonamguayeo Riding Stella and Lowdown 30, among others.
Groups look abroad
While K-pop idol bands have been basking in the limelight overseas as the second wave of the Korean Wave spreads rapidly, their indie counterparts have been struggling with a flawed music distribution system and subsequent financial difficulties. It was less than two years ago that news of the death of indie musician Lee Jin-won (who went by the stage name Moonlight Nymph) and his financial strife alerted the nation to the structural problems of Korea’s music industry.
According to Cho, Hallyu was fueled by artists not because they want to go overseas, but because “they needed to go overseas.”
“Korea is a very fast-forward market and outsiders were looking into Korea and saying that it may be the future of the digital music industry,” says Cho.
“But although the perception was very rosy, the reality was very thorny because inside Korea, even though it was the fourth largest digital market for music in the world by 2007, everyone was making money except the artists.”
Industry critics have long pointed out the need to restructure the profit distribution system of the local music industry, which is acutely skewed toward major content providers while the creators of the content, the artists, get little in comparison.
Many Korean indie acts have started to look toward foreign markets, specifically Japan and the United States, to release records and get noticed. One of the most popular indie acts locally, Chang Kiha and the Faces, for instance, has released both of their full-length albums in Korea and Japan. Local acts also have begun to venture to major music festivals overseas. This summer, Korean indie band Jaurim will be a headliner at Summer Sonic Festival, one of the most important rock festivals in Japan, alongside Fuji Rock Festival, and a handful of other Korean bands, including Chang Kiha and the Faces and the KOXX, will perform there.
Jung Woo-min, a local indie musician with two full-length albums under her belt, released her first album in Korea while launching her second album in Japan, through Italy-based record label IRMA records, which has offices in Italy and Japan. Along with artists from Italy, Japan, the United States and Sweden, the record label also signed with three Korean artists, including Jung.
“The Korean indie scene can’t compare to the Japanese indie rock scene in either scale or variety,” says Jung.
“Although the industry in Korea has come a long way and there is now a wide array of musicians doing different genres, there is a sense that the scene as a whole hasn’t yet stabilized and is a bit too vulnerable for artists to fully commit to it.”
Rocking North America
Although the tours weren’t without a few missteps, the bands that participated say the experience gave them a fuller, global perspective of the music industry that they otherwise would never have known.
“We went on the Seoulsonic tour with a kind of romanticized vision of performing in the U.S. in front of millions of people like we had seen in movies,” says Dguru, a member of electronic rock band Idiotape.
“But after a month of touring, we were quite humbled and realized that it takes much more than a few successful gigs at festivals to make a real impact in North America.
“To [Americans], bands like ours are just an unknown Asian group of guys that are not from Japan or China.”
Lee Sang-myun of Crying Nut says that there isn’t an indie act in Korea that doesn’t have ambitions to go abroad.
“In the past, we’ve even made English demos of our songs so that it would be easier for us to play at festivals abroad,” he says.
“We’ve performed at festivals in Japan and the U.S., but the more we go to these venues, the more we realize that it is really difficult to break through outside of Korea, whether it’s the language barrier or just getting across our music and our identity to people.”
Crying Nut members say this anonymity in North America fueled them to give 100 percent in every performance, something they admit is sometimes hard to do in Korea after 14 years of being active in the scene.
“We performed at this 100-year-old building for our official showcase at SXSW. We really gave our all and during the performance, because the audience was jumping so much, the top floor cracked and the building almost collapsed,” said Lee.
Regardless, the bands both agree that the music and performance level of Korean bands are up to those from the U.S., if not higher.
“It was shocking for me this time in the U.S., to see how the Korean bands playing at SXSW and CMW were so advanced. The bands were really strong live and compared to them, the American and Canadian bands were lagging behind in my opinion,” says Dguru.
“Watching all these bands in North America, I thought if Korean bands can do so well under the financially poor, weak structure of the Korean indie scene, who knows what we can do when the scene is as stable as the American indie scene is now?” says DR, drummer for Idiotape.
By Cho Jae-eun [email@example.com]
Seoulsonic 2K12: Crying Nut, Yellow Monsters, 3rd Line Butterfly @ Pianos, NYC
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After a month of playing coast-to-coast shows and holding showcases at SXSW and CMW, Seoulsonic ...
After a month of playing coast-to-coast shows and holding showcases at SXSW and CMW, Seoulsonic 2K12 wraps up tonight in Los Angeles. This year’s line-up boasted post-modern rock band 3rd Line Butterfly, the ever-electrifying Yellow Monsters trio, and Korea’s legendary punk pioneers, Crying Nut.
Following in the footsteps of Idiotape, Galaxy Express, and Vidulgi Ooyoo last spring, this year’s Seoulsonic acts jumped in feet first, undeniably stoked for their first time touring the US and Canada. Kicking off the evening with moody guitars and smoky vocals was 3rd Line Butterfly, followed by Yellow Monsters, who provided a blazing change of pace with their dizzying nonstop set of fan favorites. Crying Nut, now going 15 years strong, closed out the show, giving the crowd a high-voltage taste of Korean punk royalty.
Want more Seoulsonic? Stay tuned for full performance clips and interviews with the bands!
Seoulsonic Showcase : SXSW Showcase Reviews
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Seoulsonic Showcase Soho Lounge, Friday, March 16 Now in its second year, the Seoulsonic project...Seoulsonic Showcase
Soho Lounge, Friday, March 16
Now in its second year, the Seoulsonic project to bring South Korean rockers to a wider audience is hitting its stride. As a generation of Koreans has grown up on Western punk filtered through the K-Pop machine since the Nineties, these veterans play more than dance music. The yowling, driving of opener Yellow Monsters on its first U.S. tour recalled the great SST bands of the Eighties. Frontman and human spark plug Yong Won Lee launched opener "Destruction" by exhorting the crowd to jump, which is exactly what it did, and he mugged till the end. He and bassist Jin Young Han both played wireless instruments, which allowed them to dart in and out of the crowd on "Riot" and pop-metal closer "4/16." Third Line Butterfly followed. This quartet led by the yin-yang pair of Sang Ah Nahm and Kiwan Sung, sharing guitar and vocal duties, headed for darker territory. "Where Is Love?" was girl groups gone wild, while "Colony" was carried by martial beats and a hardcore delivery. The band capped its set with a cover of Can's Krautrock classic "Vitamin C." Seoul's answer to Gogol Bordello, Crying Nut (complete with accordion player) turned up in the No. 3 spot, fun meter cranked to 11.
The Monocle Winter Series 2010 : Edition 4
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Edition four of the Monocle Winter Series focuses on Korea as we welcome South Korean music and medi...Edition four of the Monocle Winter Series focuses on Korea as we welcome South Korean music and media guru Bernie Cho to the studio for an update on the K-pop scene, and Seoul-based indie band 3rd Line Butterfly rock out on the other side of the studio.
THIS WEEK'S MUSIC
The Korean modern rock band 3rd Line Butterfly have been together for a decade and are led by female vocalist/guitarist Nahm SangAh, the former lead singer of modern rock band Huckleberry Finn, and male guitarist/vocalist Sung Kiwan, a highly respected rock artist, music critic and radio DJ. They frequently headline at major Korean music festivals and recently released remastered versions of their first three albums and a critically acclaimed EP, Nine Days or a Million Days, to celebrate their 10th anniversary.
W&Whale, 3rd Line Butterfly Invited to British Radio Show
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Two critically-acclaimed Korean bands have been invited to appear on a British radio show for the ho...Two critically-acclaimed Korean bands have been invited to appear on a British radio show for the holiday season, according to entertainment content agency DFSB Kollective.
Britain’s Monocle Magazine invited six international music acts including two Korean bands ? W&Whale and 3rd Line Butterfly ? to their London recording studios for their annual “The Monocle Winter Series” radio show.
Monocle, a 10-times-a-year news journal which covers international affairs, business, culture and design, has been the subject of an industry buzz with their recent expansion into producing innovative TV and radio shows that broadcast around the world.
Presented by Monocle’s editor-in-chief, Tyler Brule, along with culture editor Robert Bound and editor Andrew Tuck, “The Monocle Winter Series” features exclusive live music performances from new and noteworthy artists as well as in-depth discussions with special guests every week throughout the Christmas and New Years’ season.
Last year, the series successfully showcased Japanese hip-hop heavies M-Flo and Canadian pop-rock icon Bryan Adams.
W&Whale is an electro-pop quartet which won the 2009 Korean Music Awards for Best Electronic/Dance Album and Song of the Year. It made an impressive European debut with stirring acoustic renditions and exciting reinterpretations of some their biggest hit singles on the Christmas Eve show.
3rd Line Butterfly, nominated at the 2010 Korean Music Awards for Song of the Year and Modern Rock Song of the Year honors, will belt out a medley of their favorite festival anthems on Jan. 7.
“The Monocle Winter Series” is available on the website (http://www.monocle.com/the-winter-series/) and as a free podcast download on iTunes stores worldwide.
By Park Min-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)
W&Whale and 3rd Line Butterfly in Monocle Podcasts
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Monocle, the upscale magazine edited by style guru and FT Fast Lane columnist Tyler Brulé, has long ...Monocle, the upscale magazine edited by style guru and FT Fast Lane columnist Tyler Brulé, has long taken an interest in musicians who are off the standard beaten track of Western commercial pop and rock. From Iceland to Japan, Brulé and his team usually have some interesting recommendations, and back in 2006 some of them made their way into his FT column, including a track from my favourite album by Roller Coaster, Sunsick.
In December and January they supplement their bumper seasonal print edition of their magazine with a few podcasts, the Monocle Winter Series, in which they combine conversation with music. This year they feature two critically-acclaimed bands from Korea: electro-pop quartet, W&Whale, and alternative rockers, 3rd Line Butterfly.
W&Whale played on their podcast released on Christmas Eve, playing tracks from their 2008 album, Hard Boiled, which almost made it into LKL’s list of recommended albums for that year (probably one of the strongest of recent years for Korean music), but won Korean Music Awards for Best Electronic/Dance Album and Song of the Year in 2009.
Nominated at the 2010 Korean Music Awards for Song of the Year and Modern Rock Song of the Year honours, 3rd Line Butterfly belts out a blustery medley of their favorite festival anthems on the January 7th edition of the podcast. In celebration of their 10th anniversary as a band, 3rd Line Butterfly has just re-released completely remastered versions of all their albums on iTunes. The band was included in both Philip‘s and refresh_daemon‘s picks for album of the year 2010.
A collection of W&Whale’s tracks have been re-released on iTunes by DFSB Kollective:
And here’s a sample of 3rd Line Butterfly’s tracks available from the same source:
The podcasts are available on the Monocle website and as a free download on iTunes.
Sung Kiwan: Renaissance Man of Hongdae
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"Be careful. It doesn't smell too good in there," warned Sung Kiwan one hot August afternoon as he u..."Be careful. It doesn't smell too good in there," warned Sung Kiwan one hot August afternoon as he unlocked the door to 3rd Line Butterfly's practice studio near Seoul's Seo-Kang Unversity. The musty and damp air of the compact, black-foam padded basement was thick with the scent of mold and mildew, and the ample layer of dust settled atop all of the gear spoke to the space's disuse. How could this be the practice space of one of Seoul's tightest, most accomplished rock bands? "It's only like this during the summer; the rest of the year it's fine," explained Kiwan. "We hate coming here in the summertime, but sometimes we have to once in a while so we don't forget."
Forget? Not likely. This was 3rd Line Butterfly, the band some consider to be Korea's answer to Sonic Youth. Since their inception in 1999, they have kept a highly visible performance schedule and are perhaps the one band that can most reliably rock your world on any given night. While members have come and gone, dual guitar/vocalists Sung Kiwan and Nam Sang-ah have always remained 3BF's core members. Their current line-up is rounded out by Kim Nam-yoon (of Galmaegi/TweedleDumb/"Korean Pavement" fame) on bass, Seo Hyeon-jeong on drums, and "Lego" of France on keyboard, laptop, and theremin. I very much looked forward to hearing Kiwan's story as he is something of a Renaissance man. In addition to playing in this band, he is also a published poet, college professor, soundtrack composer, former indie label honcho, DJ at Gobchang Jungol [best bar in the world!], fluent in English and French, and a father! Without any futher ado…
How did you first get interested in music? Which artists most influenced you growing up? How did you learn to play your instrument? Were you in any bands prior to 3rd Line Butterfly?
Music has always been something I really like. Yeah, I consider myself a music lover, rather than a musician. But when someone deeply adores something or somebody else, he or she begins to want to have it, or at least see the inside. Almost unconsciously, I want it. I want to get in to the music, as an outsider to the music, at some point, I began to try to knock on the door of music, tried to listen to the sound from the inside, and finally opened it. That's when I was almost 30. I am a late comer.
When I was really young, my parents liked to listen to western classical music. Especially the German ones, for example, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Beethoven… So deep inside of me, there is music which have almost no tensioned chords. Pure major, pure minor. Then came the blues. I began to listen to the local rock music almost 'par hasard' [by chance], then British blues oriented hard rock like Cream; they absorbed me. I realized there is an instrument called guitar, the most powerful musical weapon I ever experienced. But the blues is a sad music. That sadness was quite comfortable to me, somehow, because I felt, when I was in middle school, that life is a sad thing. After the blues, when I was like 15, or 16, I happened to see the concert of Kang Tae Hwan, Korean free saxophonist, whom still now I respect very very much. It changed my whole vision of music.
Now I like ordinary sounds as much as music. I can feel musical bounce everywhere.
Prior to 3BF, there were several bands I've been in. The first was, I forget the name, slightly after the high school. And the second was 'Vol de nuit', in Korean 'Yagan Bihaeng'. It was a school band. I was in the department of French literature when I was in university so that's why the band was named after Saint-Exupery's novel. It was just for fun. We applied for a college rock Concour [contest] but we failed. It was 1986.
When was 3rd Line Butterfly formed? I know there are many notable 3rd Line alumni [like solo-artist Whiru], but how did you meet the other members, especially Sang-ah? How did you guys come up with the name?
We used to be colleagues in the indie label called Gangaji Munhwa Yesul ["Dog Culture Art"]. At that time Sang-ah was singing in Huckleberry Finn and I playing guitar in a band called 99. But when Sang-ah left the band, by chance, my band also happened to be broken. So I asked her if she could join me to form a new band. After one week Sang-ah said yes. That was in 1999. But the first time I met her, it was 1996 or 1997. Already 14 years.
Other members were always musicians who were around and 'available'. Sometimes we picked them, and sometimes we just naturally united as members. Some left and some remained, like a small village.
The name, well, I cannot remember exactly but we have an answer for that; we used to live around the Line 3 subway, and the butterfly is a symbol of dreams and fantasy for eastern culture. So the mixture of the ordinary with the surreal that's 3BF.
When the Korean independent music scene started to blossom in the mid/late '90s, what other bands did 3rd Line Butterfly play with? What would you say about the scene at that time compared to the scene today?
The first official rock band for me was TOMATO. In 1993, we were one of the few first Korean alternative rock bands. Actually we used the term 'alternative' for this band. After the democratization of Korea in 1987 and the Olympic Games in 1988, Korean youth culture slowly arose from its past authoritarian culture. 1992-1993 was the beginning of Korean alternative rock history. We released just an album but could not continue.
Then there came the era of "Korean independent explosion". I, with my friends, launched one of the first Korean indie labels (Gangaji Munhwa Yesul) around 1996-1997. But before that I organized arguably the first Korean indie rock festival called Soran with help from Shin Hyunjoon [renowned music critic and founder of Weiv] and friends. Wow. What an exciting and busy era for me. At that time I made a band called '99', with some of the best musicians around. We had 2 albums. That was from 1995-1998. Then 3BF.
Crying Nut and No Brain were at their peak in 1998-1999 in the legendary club Drug. At Drug, there are many good innovative bands of which Yellow Kitchen was also memorable. Choi Su-hwan, now a famous sound artist, was the leader of that band. And from the 'PC communication generation'(early internet era) there were many online clubs for music and from that scene arose Deli Spice, Unni-ei Ibalgwan ("Sister's Barbershop"). And Dalparan was one of the first DJs around that era who was spinning as a self-conscious artist.
Those days were so energetic and real, with almost no precedents. We just burned ourselves for a new musical vision that we thought was necessary for us. We wanted to show something different almost without the delicate skill necessary to achieve it. Nowadays the scene is also energetic, but more sophisticated and with some targeted aims. It works well now, but somehow I miss those early days.
In addition to being a musician, you are also a published poet! Can you tell us about your poetry? How do you approach your poetry and what (if any) relationship does it have with your music? Also, while we're there, what is the process of writing music/lyrics like for 3rd Line Butterfly?
Yes, I am a poet. Poetry is not a job but an attitude. Of course if you are a poet you dream about publishing a poetry book but for me that's not really what a poet is to live for. A real poet is someone who has a sense of how to live a poetic life. It depends on personality and situation also. Sometimes a poet has to fight against the society he is in, but sometimes a poet has to make his mind just to be forgotten from everybody. But for me, my role as a poet is being a poet who deals with words but at the same time who tries to listen to the sound which is accompanied by the flow of time itself. For me poetry is the same thing as sound art. My sound art is making poems.
And also, I think poet is someone who intentionally creates a 'malfunction' of a system. We can call it 'noise'. A poet is a noise maker.
I didn't know it at the time, but I think the first time I heard the music of 3rd Line Butterfly would have been through the drama "Ne Mutdaero Haera" ("Do What You Want") in 2002. It looks like a great deal of music was recorded for that show based on the 2 disc release. How did you guys get hooked up with that drama? Did you guys ever do anything like that again?
We were lucky. In that drama main female character appears as the keyboardist of an indie band. And the vocalist of that band is also female. In fact I know privately the writer of that drama. At that time she was one of my best friends. In the course of pre-production, she asked me frequently about indie band situations. Almost naturally, the imagined band on the drama resembled 3BF. And after that, the PD [program director] of that drama asked us to make some of the music that the 'drama band' would play on screen. There was no time to make new songs so we gave them songs mostly from our first CD and they kind of liked them. That's what it is. After that drama, we became known to the public a little bit, especially for young people. That autumn, 2002, we had so many gigs for college festivals and we earned some money. I remember we rolled around the universities in my bad 5-seat car; but at that time we were squeezing in 6 people so it was illegal.
But after just one season, we received almost no requests for festival gigs, because they realized that our music (apart from the songs in the drama) were so noisy and not good for festival dynamics. And for drama music, I was asked to participate as a personal musician (not with the band), I did it several times, and after that I became involved as a soundtrack composer. Until 2008 I did some good soundtrack score composing.
Do you have other musical projects on the side besides 3rd Line Butterfly currently? For example, I learned about the band 99 from when we did Sohee's interview. Or are there any other notable side bands from the past that you'd like to mention?
Well, I do my solo works along with 3BF. Now, also, I have a plan to make a solo album; more conceptual music filled with more personal expression…and also, I visited Mali, Africa, which is the birth place of the blues, and I recorded 20 gigabytes of ordinary sounds and music, so I plan to make an album called 'Afro-sonique', which will be based on real, unprocessed ordinary sounds.
Can you tell us more about the label Gangaji Munhwa Yesul? How were you involved in it? What bands did this label work with? What was it like working there?
As I mentioned above, it was middle of nineties that Korean first indie explosion came out. Kwon Byungjoon [a.k.a. Gogooma from the band Pippi Longstocking, he now creates experimental music under his proper name] and I were from the same department of our university and were good friends even though I am 4 years older than him. I heard that Byungjoon' s friends and Byunjoon had a project to make an indie label and I joined from the first days of it. I worked very actively in that label. I made a solo album, organized many gigs, had 2 bands, and we helped influence a new generation of music. We had a pretty nice underground home studio near Yangjae station (line 3!), I was practically living there day and night, so many people dropped by. Also, I heard the music of SEAM and it touched me, and I contacted them almost privately. I picked up the e-mail address of Sooyoung Park from Bernie Cho [of MTV Korea], and I e-mailed him to arrange Seam's first visit to Korea to perform. Shin Hyunjoon helped me a lot to make it possible. Seam also visited that studio when they first came to Korea.
I also heard that you are a professor. What do you currently teach? Also, maybe it's just my imagination, but it seems to me like there is some kind of connection between the academic world and the indie rock scene in Korea. That is, a lot of well-known musicians seem to have come from top universities. And for another example, Shin Hyunjoon used to have a club for aspiring music critics at Seoul National University. Is this reflective of interest in indie music as a sort of "rarefied, foreign art", kind of like being into "foreign films" in the U.S.? I don't know- this might be total b.s., but I was wondering if you had any thoughts on this. Particularly if there really is some kind of relationship, I'd like to hear your take on it.
Yeah I am a professor. I teach 'sound design' and 'sound art' in a college. It is not like the music I play with my band, rather it's an avant-garde thing. But I don't know why good university students like Jang Giha, or, well, like me, are interested in indie music in Korea. Maybe in Korea, indie is more of an avant-garde style culture for the few people who can appreciate it, but it isn't very accurate to define it like that either. But one thing is that the universities are still the places in Korea where a lot of new attitudes come out. Why, I really don't know…
What are 3rd Line Butterfly's plans for the future?
We plan to record a new album. I want it so much but I don't know how quickly we can do it… We are so lazy. But I really want to. I have some new songs already but I don't really know if the other members will like them. Nothing's clear. That's us.
Thank you, Kiwan!
3rd Line Butterfly, Nine Days Or a Million
A French music review of 3rd Line Butterfly's lastest EP, 'Nine Days Or a Million'
Init_Music : Replay : 3rd Line Butterfly
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I was listening to this disc in the car recently and I felt compelled to write about it. 3?? ????? (...I was listening to this disc in the car recently and I felt compelled to write about it. 3?? ????? (3rd Line Butterfly) is essentially the reason I became interested in Korean pop music. I first heard their track ???? on the soundtrack to the movie ...ing as the opening track. 3rd Line Butterfly operated in the late 1990's up through the early 2000's and it appears as though their first and third albums are out of print, although MrKwang seemed to still have copies of Oh! Silence in stock.
While I was immediately attracted to the sing-songy wispy ?? (Whiru) led track from ...ing, that song alone was enough to lead to me to snatch up Oh! Silence from MrKwang and was pleasantly surprised. Whiru doesn't actually show up to sing on this album, although she does demonstrate her considerable ?? (Haegum) skills on a couple tracks. Instead, what we find is ??? (Nam Sangah) as the principle lead vocalist, a screaming, yowling, singing rock goddess, who formerly fronted another fantastic Korean alt-rock band, Huckleberry Finn. And this album rocks!
In terms of style and tone, it actually sounds dated, because a lot of its sound is reflective of grunge and post-grunge. Like many grunge bands, 3rd Line Butterfly on Oh! Silence sounds like it's a fan of Velvet Underground, especially circa White Light/White Heat. When listening to Oh! Silence, you can hear the connections to Nirvana in their screaming intense ??? and The Smashing Pumpkins in the bassline of the stunning opening track, ???.
Honestly, if you consider yourself a rock fan and have any affinity for grunge and post-grunge era alt-rock or Velvet Underground, you really owe it to yourself to take a listen to 3rd Line Butterfly. I can only hope, wish and pray that their other albums get a re-release one day. 8/10.
Such a Thing
(TBC/SUBJECT TO CHANGE)
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