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Seoul, Seoul, South Korea | INDIE

Seoul, Seoul, South Korea | INDIE
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"Three South Korean Indie Bands to Look Out For : Chang Kiha and the Faces, The Koxx and Goonamguayeoridingstella Are Rocking the South Korean Indie Scene"


The Band: Among all South Korea's indie bands, surely few embody the scene's low-fi, contrarian roots like Goonamguayeoridingstella (roughly translatable as “Old-time Men and Women Riding a [Hyundai] Stella”).

Releasing their first album, "We Are Clean," in 2007 (subsequently named the 70th best album of the decade by Soribada, South Korea’s biggest MP3 file downloading site), this two-piece band, according to lead singer Cho Woong, “are influenced by people from the past” and “attract fluttery fans.”

Yet underpinning this obscure facade are lyrics of rare wit and poignancy, and a sound that is at once detached but thoroughly beguiling.

“Though reminiscent of American and British psychedelic rock and post punk, [they] differentiate themselves from other Western-influenced Korean bands by bringing an innate Korean flavor to the mix,” said Jung Woo-young, a music and features writer at GQ Korea. “[Debut single] Hangungmal [Korean] demonstrates this by incorporating the strange yet melodic sounds of the Korean alphabet.”

The Music: Like a slowed-down Happy Mondays (or Radio Dept with guitars), Goonamguayeoridingstella mix funky but understated drumbeats with ethereal synths, wa-wa guitars and haunting, slightly strained vocals.

The Song: With its shuffling guitar riff and throwaway exhortations to stop talking and kiss, "Ppo Ppo" (Kiss) is the perfect snapshot of Goonamguayeoridingstella’s sound. Listen and watch.

The Future: Perhaps a little too indie to ever be household names, their new album, coming out early next year, seems sure to confirm them as one of South Korea indie rock’s most singular and intriguing propositions.

- CNNgo (11.10.2010)

"Goonamguayeoridingstella - It Isn’t Gibberish, and It’s Taking the Indie Scene by Storm"

There is always a meaning or story behind a name, and Goonamguayeoridingstella is no exception. Although the band’s name may sound like gibberish, it means “old man and woman riding a stellar car.”

As difficult as it is to understand why the band would name itself after an old man and woman riding a stellar car - rumor has it, the name is a combination of the members’ favorite words - it is a bigger challenge to define the group’s music.

Goonamguayeoridingstella is a two-man act. Guitarist and lead vocalist Joe Woong, 33, teamed up with Lim Byeong-hack, 31, on the bass guitar to form the multidimensional, cross-genre duo.

The two spoke of how they met and their future gigs in an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo.

Woong and Lim met over 15 years ago when they were high school students, but the band wasn’t formed until they were in their early 20s. The first time they played music together, it clicked.

The duo decided to live together in order to focus on their music and ran a bar in front of Kyung Hee University where they practiced in their spare time.

Goonamguayeoridingstella has performed throughout the years, but the ride hasn’t been easy for either musician.

In 2007, Woong thought of quitting the group and moving on, leading Lim to contact studios in hopes of salvaging the band. “I sent all the music we worked on for the last few years and sent it to Cavare Sound,” Lim said.

Their first album, “We’re Clean,” was released the following year - Goonamguayeoridingstella’s first major breakthrough.

“The title [of the album] represents our desire to make our own independent music,” Woong said. The album consists of modern rock, dance, reggae and bluesy tracks.

“We are not concerned with how our music is labeled as long as people are able to dance along to our songs,” Woong said.

Their free spirit and unusual lyrics have connected with audiences not only in Korea but in Japan as well. Goonamguayeoridingstella has been selected as a representative of the Korean indie scene to perform at the Seoul-Tokyo Sound Bridge, to be held in both cities this February.

“The fact that we are going to perform at the Seoul-Tokyo Sound Bridge makes us feel like true musicians,” Woong said.

The Seoul-Tokyo Sound Bridge is an annual concert that began in 2010 with two indie groups each representing Korea and Japan.

Goonamguayeoridingstella along with Delispice has been selected as representatives of Korea, while Andymori and Winners will perform on behalf of the Japanese indie scene.

The first concert will be held at the Shibuya WWW in Tokyo at 7 p.m. on Feb. 9. The Seoul concert will take place at 7 p.m. on Feb. 18 at V Hall near Hongik University in western Seoul.

- Korea JoongAng Daily (01.27.2012)

"Korea’s Overlooked Indie Bands Hitting the Road"

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 se - Korea JoongAng Daily (08.14.2012)

"[Super!Sonic 2012] Summer Music Festival"

The article profiles Seoul's first ever Super!Sonic 2012 festival lineup which includes international superstars Smashing Pumpkins, Basement Jaxx, Soulwax, and New Order with local Korean live acts such as Goonam also headlining at the event. - Review Star (08.14.2012)

"Goonamguayeoridingstella : Special Appearance in the Film, 'Dangerously Excited'"

Goonam, who makes an appearance in the film 'Dangerously Excited', takes a photo at the VIP premiere event. - Newsen (06.25.2012)

"[Interview] Goonamguayeoridingstella"

An in-depth interview detailing the band's life, style, and music. - F.OUND Magazine (04.17.2012)

"The Creators Project : Seoul 2012 (September 21-23)"

On September 21-23, 2012 we will return to Seoul and transform the Zaha Hadid-designed Dongdaemun Design Plaza into an interactive and visual cultural hub, showcasing the cross-section between art and technology.

Bands like Idiotape and experimental psychedelic group Vidulgi OoyoO will be performing, alongside other acts like 2NE1, Drunken Tiger and Nosaj Thing. Stay tuned for more acts that will be announced in the next few days.

Chris Milk‘s The Treachery of Sanctuary, Yang Yongliang’s The Day of Perpetual Night, Everyware‘s new work Levitate, and Matt Pyke’s mind-blowing visual installation Supreme Believers will be on display all weekend.

Be sure to interact with the interactive Instagram feed in Intel Labs and Social Print Studio’s #Creators Live. Tag your photos #Creators to become part of the installation.


"[Imagene Awards] Music Critics Fighting Against Commercialized Music Awards"

Imagene Awards is organized by music critics in Korea to award the best album of the year. Out of the top 62 albums selected by Korea's DAUM music portal, 10 albums are nominated for the award. Goonam is one of the 10 acts nominated for 'Album of the Year' at the 2012 Imagene Awards.
- Chosun Ilbo (08.16.2012)

"[Artist Search] Goonamguayeoridingstella"

Debut : 2007

Jo Woongi (guitarist), Im Byung-hak (bassist)

Goonamguayeoridingstella is quite a mouthful, although their fans just like to call the duo "Goonam" for short. The name was derived from "Go + Man & Woman + riding + Stella. Member Jo Woongi's parents used to drive around a call called "Stella", where Jo remembers listening to many different songs that moved him. Thus the "Riding Stella" part of the group's name.

Their concept and image gives off a very warm, retro feel. Their songs and lyrics are very modern while at the same time, makes the listener feel like their riding through space in the ' contradictory as that may sound.

We're Clean (album, November 28, 2007)
Kiss, City Life, Date, Hot Water, Condition, Oh! Singapore, Korean, Chase, Understand Carelessly, The Clean Us, Sad Romance, Made-Up Story (Beat Roll Version), Black River, Gostopgo

Friendship Motel (album, August 25, 2011)
Long And Healthy Life, Shadow Dance, Cute, Going South, Good Morning, Rhythm, Full-Fledged Heart, Morning Light, Cold Net, Raw Tofu, Gypsy Girl, White Night, Problem
- KBS World

"Creators Project Arrives In Seoul"

The article is a brief introduction about Intel & Vice's Creators Project and how the event will be held in Seoul, Korea. Goonam is listed as one of the local headline artists for the event showcase. - The Herald Business Daily (09.21.2012)

"Summer Sonic Line-up_Artist Bio_Goonamgwayeoridingstella"

Brief artist biography of the band Goonamgwayeoridingstella who is participating at Summer Sonic 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. - Summer Sonic 2012


2012 Seoul Seoul Seoul [Compilation Album]
2011 Woojung-Motel [LP]
2008 Give Me Some Water [Han Daesoo Tribute Album]
2007 We Are Pure [LP]




"One of South Korea indie rocks most singular and intriguing propositions."
-- (11/10/2010)

"Goonam brings a new sound to the Korean scene. They make slow-burning tracks full of jazzy chords and meditative instrumental sections. Their songs invariably include repeating riffs on washed-out guitars and seriously chill vibes."-- MTV IGGY (3/19/2013)


2012 Imagene Awards (Album of the Year - Nominee)
2012 Korean Music Awards (Modern Rock Album of the Year - Nominee)
2009 Korean Music Awards (New Artist of the Year - Nominee)
2009 Korean Music Awards (Electronic/Dance Album of the Year - Nominee)
2009 Korean Music Awards (Electronic/Dance Song of the Year - Nominee)


2014 MIDEM Festival (France)
2013 Ulsan Jazz Festival (Korea)
2013 V-Rox Festival (Russia)
2013 City Break (Korea)
2013 Liverpool Sound City (England)
2013 Focus Wales (England)
2013 CMW Canadian Music Week (Canada)
2013 SXSW South By Southwest (USA)
2013 SF Music Matters Asia (USA)
2012 Intel & Vice 'The Creators Project' Showcase (Korea)
2012 Summer Sonic (Japan)
2012 Super!Sonic (Korea)
2012 Seoul Tokyo Sound Bridge (Japan)
2010 Jisan Valley Rock Festival (Korea)


2012 Fred Perry Subculture Viewzic Session