[INTERVIEW] The face of pop-punk in Korea, ‘…Whatever That Means’, coming soon to Singapore!


…Whatever That Means will be coming to Singapore as part of their Winter Tour on 24th January 2015, playing alongside local bands Red Charades, Iman’s League, Full Pledge Munkees and Comic Strip for the Punk Ska La-La-La Night at Aliwal Arts Centre!

…Whatever That Means is a melodic punk rock band from Seoul, Korea. Originally formed in 2009 as a one-off project band for the punk show celebrating Jeff (guitar/vocals) and Trash’s (bass/vocals) wedding, they have spent nearly six years building a reputation as a hardworking DIY band and were even described by Alternative Press Magazine (USA) as “the pop-punk face of the Korean music scene.” WTM has always had an international lineup and currently includes Korean, American, and Polish members.

The indie band was also featured in a digital documentary titled “Us & Them: Korean Indie Rock in a K-Pop World” last November, alongside the likes of Crying Nut and The Rocktigers. Since then, the band has released their digital single ‘Asian Prodigy’, available for free download on their official site.

It all started during Jeff and Trash’s big day when they got married, and after their wedding they had a punk show at a local club. Trash was already in another band while Jeff wasn’t in one. So the both of them, including their original drummer and a few friends, spontaneously decided to throw something together to perform for the show. Jeff sang the 2 songs that he had written before and they also played a bunch of old punk love songs.

After their honeymoon, Trash’s band disbanded. Jeff and the drummer wanted to keep playing so they continued playing for almost 6 years up until now. Their style is melodic punk, it’s loud and aggressive and there’s a lot of melody and harmony to it, different from scream punk. They like listening to other punk rock bands such as Bad Religion and Social Distortion, both american bands.

When asked what are their influences during the interview, Trash replied that she was influenced by genres like hardcore and street punk. When she was younger she would listen to Japanese melodic punk bands, and more recently 90s punk bands. Jeff responded that back in the 90s when punk was huge, it greatly affected his song writing, and several pop punk bands are emerging in the US too, which he listens to a lot.

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Q: Is there any difficulties due to the difference in culture and communications?

Jeff (Vocal):
I thought I was going to stay in Korea temporarily, but now it has become permanent and that was 8 years ago. Since we’re married we spend a lot of time together, there’s not much problems for us in terms of communication. We have members from different countries; I’m from the states, Trash is Korean, our drummer is Korean. We’ve also had a number of ex guitar players, but our newest guitar player is from Poland. But he’s got masters degree from a Korean university, and sometimes his Korean is even grammatically better than Trash.

As far as culture is concerned, since I’m from the states, I tend to be more direct with things while Koreans tend to beat around the bush. That’s why sometimes they get offended more easily so I’ve got to learn how to be patient and tactful. Now I would tell Trash something I don’t like and she’d help to explain it.

Trash (Bass):
As for me my English wasn’t that good at first so I studied and conversed with Jeff a lot. When we moved to America for a year, my English improved a lot more. To me the most difficult thing to do is to say something straight up especially to my sunbae (senior). In Korean culture, you have to be polite and respectful to your sunbae no matter what. Sometimes it’s really hard to say things straight up to my sunbae in other bands, I need to be very careful of what I say to them so they won’t get offended and also to maintain good relations with them.

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Q: Is this your first time performing overseas?

This is our third time performing overseas but the first visit to Singapore!
I don’t know if we have any fans in Singapore but we know we have fans in Malaysia. We wanted to visit as many countries as possible while on tour, we even met some bands from Singapore. I know there’s a lot of hardcore bands over there so we’re looking forward to playing something different there.

A lot of Koreans visit Singapore and these days I watch more TV, and Singapore appears in many TV shows in Korea. So it doesn’t feel so far from home. Also I heard different experiences of people who’ve been there and saw photos of Singapore and that made me really want to experience it myself!

Do watch this shout out from …Whatever That Means to HallyuSG readers! Furthermore if you are interested in meeting them and listening to their unique style of music, the Punk Ska La-La-La Night is the perfect opportunity!

WTM 1.24 Singapore

Details of Punk Ska La-La-La Night:
Brought To You By
: Prohibited Projects // Social Prison
Date: January 24th, 2015 (Saturday)
Venue: Aliwal Arts Centre
Time: 4PM to 9PM
Ticket Pricings: $10 (before 7pm), $15 (after 7PM)

For more information on Punk Ska La-La-La Night, visit the official FB event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/493567807452924/

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