Gateflowers
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Gateflowers

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Up-and-coming band from KBS show ‘Top Band’ plans to perform in Japan, U.S.


Rock band Gate Flowers, who finished in the No. 4 spot in the first season of the survival show “Top Band” on KBS, did not get a winning trophy, but they gained something bigger ? fans, the courage to carry on with their music career and their mentor Shin Dae-chul, a prominent figure in the country’s rock scene and the son of legendary guitarist Shin Joong-hyun.

It was the four-member band’s honest but rough rock ‘n’ roll sound that instantly wowed the viewers. Led by the group’s vocalist Park Keun-hong, who is said to have been influenced by Seattle grunge and progressive metal rock, the band invited the audience to the most destructive but innovative and energetic world of rock music. Show after a show, the band got the audience excited, particularly those in their late 20s and 30s who had to suppress their musical desires in order to make a living and attend university.

“We were lucky to get such attention from all over the country. We never realized that there were so many people who love the classical rock sound,” Yeom Seung-shik, the band’s guitarist, said in an interview with The Korea Herald on Monday.

Right after the show ended, the band’s online community members surged more than 20 times. Hundreds of people began to come to their concerts in Hongdae where they used to get only 20-30. The love from fans encouraged the four men to solely pursue their music career: Vocalist Park, 35, left the publishing company where he had worked for the last seven years; Yeom, 31, stopped teaching English in schools; and drummer Yang Jong-eun quit his part time children’s book illustration job.
“Fans say they envy our talent and our courage to pursue music. Well, to do music, you should forget about earning income on a regular basis. It is a hungry job. But we decided to take this path because we wanted to do something that other bands haven’t done,” Yeom added.

Testing their music in foreign lands ? particularly in the U.S. and the U.K., the home of rock ? is one of those things, Park said.

“We want to know how people in the U.S. and in the U.K. evaluate our music. Not only do they have a bigger market for rock bands, we want to see their reaction. We also want to go to Japan, Asia’s biggest rock market,” said drummer Yang.

Even before their journey in the “Top Band,” Gate Flowers, meaning munhwa or culture in Korean, won high praise from critics. They were the Hello Rookie winners in 2009 and were named Rookie of the Year at the 2011 Korean Music Awards with their first eponymous EP released in 2010.

Now under the direction of their mentor Shin, Gate Flowers have brought a positive change to their music with their new and first full-length album “TIME.”

In the latest album, the band tried to get closer to the audience by polishing their rough, wild sound and adding a sense of humor and hope. Gate Flowers also revealed that the band itself is more of a jazz/funk hybrid that is completely opposite Park’s masculine and explosive voice.

“I think our sound is a bit bluesy. I think people find it interesting because we have the two opposing factors. But we respect each other’s music style,“ Yeom said.

By Cho Chung-un (christory@heraldcorp.com)
- Korea Herald


Discography

2010 EP 'Gateflowers' released on Oct 19th

2012 Single '??(Bite)' on May 4th

2012 Full length Album 'Times' released on May 29th

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Bio

Originaly formed in 2005, went through reunion in 2008 with new bassist Jaein Ryu.

Our music style is quite popular in western music scene. However, in Korea people are more fond of catchy music with electronic sound. Even in band music market, bands with grunge/ blues influence are very very rare. We formed in 2005 but acutally had a breakup, we couldn't really continue playing for there weren't enough people out there to support us. But couple of years later, we reunited because we just missed our band's time together, all that passionate process of creating music and most of all we were proud of our sound. Coincidentally, there were a few band auditions just started out, we were very lucky to be chosen as the 'Rookie of the month' but it didn't lead to a record deal. It took another year for us to finally meet the producer. After the album release, self-titled EP, we still couldn't earn listeners attention, only sold about 2 or 300 copies of our EP album, but six month later, out of many famous competitors we became the winner of Best New Musician of the Year and the Best Rock Song of Year from Korean Music Awards, the most renowned music award in Korea. (http://www.koreanmusicawards.com/
Korean music market system is very distorted and unbalanced. The market has biggest portion of pop/idol groups. Very small place for bands. So it still didn't lead to national attention. and a few month later we had a chance to finally appeal to listeners in Korea.

We have earned a nation wide repuation in 2011 from a Korean band survival TV show called 'Top Band' viewer ratings was 5-6% on average, out of 50 million viewers in South Korea. As the program aired weekly, we earn the fame and support from people, fans started to grow. We went up to semi finals. Although we did not make it to the final match, as our Youtube viewing numbers show, we were the most popular band from the show.

We are famous for our musical basis on classic and modern rock also with a style of grunge rock.

Recently invited to Canada Music Festival 2013, the biggest music festival in Canada