When you think Korean music, most of our minds turn to “Psy’s Gangnam Style” or to the many KPop girl groups and boy groups the Korean Pop music industry has churned out. While I personally enjoy KPop music, it isn’t for everyone and it isn’t the only thing that the Korean music scene has to offer.
Image: YG Entertainment
More Than Kpop will be a mini blog series introducing different types of Korean music out there, excluding the already well-known KPop. The first ‘genre’ I would like to introduce are Korean Indie bands.
While Indie music is really an umbrella term originally meaning independent from major labels or records, for the sake of this blog I will be using the term to refer to Korean bands outside of the KPop world.
Today’s Korean Indie band sound is characterized by Stephen Epstein, Associate Professor and Director of the Asian Studies Institute at Victoria University, as soft, acoustic with often cutesy-sounding vocalists. I think this is a generalization that accurately describes what many people would consider as the KIndie genre.
Bands such as 10cm, Nell, Standing Egg and Busker Busker fall under this description of the genre with their fresh and light sounds. Many of these bands have found success in South Korea, as well as internationally.
Image: @standingegg on Instagram
10cm and Standing Egg have done original soundtracks for popular KDramas such as Goblin and Strong Woman Do Bong Soon showing that Korean Indie has created a place for itself in the Korean music scene.
While these types of bands are popular today, Korean Indie music has its roots in the Punk Rock movement that started in South Korea’s Hongdae in the 1990s. Bands such as Crying Nut and clubs like Drug and Blue Devil were pivotal in launching the vast Indie scene that exists in Hongdae today.
Source: South China Morning Post
If you’d like to give Korean Indie a try (I highly recommend it!), here are some of my personal favorites: