Apollo 18

Apollo 18


In 2009 Seoul’s Apollo 18 were touted as South Korea’s premier “new” indie act. They’ve now lost their newbie tag and are simply recognized as one of the nation’s top talents.

Performing a dynamic hybrid of hard rock, post-rock, and post-hardcore the trio like to play f@#king loud!


When it comes to music, South Korean rock band Apollo 18 can never be accused of not giving their all.

At a Seoul concert in September 2009, guitarist Hyun-Seok Choi was excitedly bouncing around the edge of the stage and stumbled into the crowd, rupturing ligaments in his knee. Despite being unable to stand, he refused to seek immediate medical attention. Being carried back to the stage, he sat and performed one last song with his band mates – an unforgettable version of the epic, nine-minute long “Warm.” Visibly in pain, he finished the track and fell over clutching his leg while friends arranged his hospital emergency room visit.

This is just one example of the unparalleled dedication and work ethic the trio, which also includes bassist Dae-Inn Kim and drummer Sang-Yun Lee, have displayed since their summer 2008 formation in the Seoul suburb of Ilsan. Inking a deal with local imprint Estella Records soon after coming together, Apollo 18 issued their debut EP, Red, in February 2009. A fantastic mix of post-rock and post-hardcore, the band’s unique hybrid sound quickly garnered acclaim from local and foreign press.

More accolades rightfully came their way when Apollo 18’s brilliant [0] or The Blue Album full-length surfaced in July. They chose [0] as the record’s title because the group felt they still had many different musical directions to explore before releasing their first album proper. Featuring a much harder, more experimental sound than Red, [0]/ The Blue Album’s heavy, distorted anthems riled up crowds during Apollo 18’s high energy appearances at South Korea’s two largest summer rock festivals, the Jisan Valley Rock Festival and Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival.

While Apollo 18’s successes in the first half of 2009 would have been enough for most groups, Hyun-Seok, Dae-Inn, and Sang-Yun were far from done. In September they embarked on their first overseas tour, heading to Tokyo for a pair of sold-out gigs at popular Japanese indie label Zankyo Records fifth anniversary festivities. In November, with several thousand South Korean music fans cheering them on, Apollo 18 were awarded the government-sponsored “Hello Rookie” prize for being the country’s most promising young act of 2009.

In December the band began crafting material for the final installment of their planned three album “colour” series, Violet (unofficially dubbed [0.5]). While working on Violet, they received government funding to re-record all of Red and used the opportunity to flesh out the disc with extra tracks, creating an even more powerful, intense effort. Both the enhanced edition of Red and Violet came out in January 2010. The instrumental Violet EP showcases more of the sonic awesomeness that has become Apollo 18’s calling card and was unsurprisingly met with the same high praise as its predecessors.

The act’s rapid rise to top-tier status in South Korea’s rock ranks was further cemented with their “Rookie of the Year” win at the 2010 Korean Music Awards in March. Now two years old, in Apollo 18’s mind they haven’t even scratched the surface of their full potential yet, which bodes extremely well for their quickly growing local and international fan bases.

Already South Korea’s premier new group, it won’t be long before Apollo 18 are the country’s best band period.

“…their powerful playing literally made my jaw drop and left me repeatedly muttering the phrase ‘holy f*ck!’ well after their deafening set had finished.” -- GROOVE Korea

“Melt[ed] my face off with honest to goodness rock awesomeness.” -- INIT_Music

“I don't know how they do it, but in spite of all the awesomeness displayed on record they are even more incredible live. If there's one Korean indie act that could tour the world today, Apollo 18 is it.” -- Indieful ROK

“… the future is bright for the band.” -- Wakedivision

“Mixing atmospheric post-rock with bits of fast-paced, hardcore-infused rock, their fantastic set was one of the best gigs I’ve witnessed in ’09” –- Korea Gig Guide

“Apollo 18's Red album ... I was quite surprised to be met by the most amazing post-rock ever to come out of Korea.” -- London Korean Links


"Red" EP -- February 2009
"[0]" (or "The Blue Album") -- July 2009
"Red" (re-issue) -- January 2010
"Violet" EP -- January 2010