Hello hello! Ever wonder what hybrid punk music sounds like? Wonder no more. We here at rhythm.connection always like looking out for some new sounds and we found that when we discovered South Korean hybrid punk rock band Patients. Out chief editor had the chance to sit down with bassist and vocalist Jo Sumin in Hongdae while he was in Korea for a month. Check out their conversation below!
Patients (comprised of Jo Sumin (bass/vo), Kwon Hyukjang (keys/chorus) and Lee Jaehyuk (drums/chorus)) are a three-piece hybrid punk rock band from Seoul, South Korea. Over the course of their 10+ years as a band, Patients has constantly pushed the boundaries of their craft, forming their niche sound and continuously releasing quality music to fans everywhere. Following tours in Asia and the UK as well as the release of their last major album ’18’, Sumin spoke to us about what Patients means to him and his group mates and what’s next for them.
For those who aren’t familiar with who you are, please introduce yourself briefly.
Hi guys! We are Patients, a three-piece punk rock band from South Korea. We call our music ‘hybrid punk’, and it means we love classic punk rock and we mixed our own style with a variety of genres. We wanted to pioneer our own style, and thus hybrid punk was born.
How long have you guys been together for? And how did you come together at the beginning?
Nine years ago, Patients was created, originally with four members. We eventually had a roster change and became a three membered group. In 2013, our keyboardist Hyukjang joined the group, thereby changing our format to keyboard, bass and drums. Our album ’18’ from earlier this year is the first full length album with that format.
Your group has a very specific niche in terms of the music that influences what you create. Talk about some of the music influencing you lately.
Many classic punk rock bands like the Sex Pistols, Ramones, and the Buzzcocks inspired us. Also many 70s and 80s groups like The Cure as well. Each members have different tastes, but personally I like classic punk rock and 80s groups. Hyukjang likes Beethoven and Jaehyuk likes a variety of groups so I can’t think of any specific examples for him right now, but he listens to so much music. Even some very underground groups that aren’t that well known.
Your most recent release was the album ’18’ this past April. Talk about the process of writing and recording this release.
When we made ’18’, we had one purpose for making it: we wanted a record with bright sounding songs. In the album, we wanted to contrast our previously more aggressive sound with something much brighter, but still very much a Patients sound. But no matter what, that was our intent with our next release at that time. By listening to our album, we wanted people to feel better and feel good about our music. It’s been my experience that I released a bright sounding song during a time of hardship and it really helped me to get through that situation, and I felt a lot better. This is why we had that purpose in mind with ’18’.
In 2010, you created your own imprint – Steel Face Records. What has been the most important thing you have been able to accomplish as a result of creating that imprint?
The best thing about owning my own label is that we can make our own way about doing the type of music we want to. The downside that since it’s an indie label, we don’t have the network or assets to release our music as globally as we would like. But that being said, we maintain our relationships very well with those we are in contact with and we are happy to be able to release our music our own way, without compromise.
The Korean indie scene has grown exponentially in the last ten years or so. Since you have been around performing for a while, what would you say has changed about the indie scene since you started performing live as a unit?
As mentioned before, my band came together nine years ago. The biggest change we’ve seen since that time is the fact that the indie scene before was very underground and very organic – unless you were part of it, you didn’t really hear about it as much. The music made was done just for fun, for personal preference, with less of an industry focus on it. Nowadays, everything is bigger and some indie labels have become bigger businesses. It don’t think it’s bad or good, it’s just a natural progression of things. It’s good for bands, to have that choice of who to sign with. Nine years ago, no business model for the indie scene existed, and now there’s so many.
Is there anyone in the indie scene that you’ve kept a close eye on in terms of enjoying their music or interest to collaborate with?
I love Dives and Galaxy Express. They’re my favourite bands in Korea. I also like Bad Trip and Gogostar.
When can fans expect your next release? And what else have you got planned for the rest of the year?
We are planning another Asia tour before the end of the year hopefully. Next year, we want to tour in the US. We also want to host more live party events at our Steelface Rooftop venue, as well as at clubs.
When you have spare time, what do you do to relax?
I spend time with my cat at home. I miss him a lot when I’m out recording and performing, so I try to spend as much time with him as I can when I am at home.
What is your guilty pleasure currently? It can be anything!
My guilty pleasure is watching K-pop girl group music videos while on the treadmill. Seeing those videos makes me think, “Oh wow, nice bodies. I want one too!” haha. I don’t really listen to K-pop, but I watch girl group videos from time to time.
Name one thing that fans may not already know about you.
Our drummer Jaehyuk has a very fit body frame. When he has clothes on, his body doesn’t look so good, but without them it’s much better! haha
Any advice for aspiring indie artists?
Please respect and care for your group members (if you’re in a band), first and foremost. They come before your management and label. Music is also top priority next to that. Keep going!
Any final words for the readers?
I am very glad to meet you guys with this interview. I hope to see you guys in Korea or elsewhere. Thank you!
Many thanks to Sumin, as well as a special thanks to Shaun Despres for setting this interview up, and to Joyce from Love Rock Company for translation help. Make sure to keep an eye out for Patients’ next release and tour, and as always this has been a rhythm.connection exclusive!