It’s hard to find a single word I would use to describe this next Korean indie act up on the interview block. There’s so many words that could be used – multicultural, unique, random…even genius. See what we did there? Puns aside, this next act is one you’ll want to get familiar with if you’re into super underground Korean acts, this one hailing from Busan. Allow us to bring to you the men of Genius!
Genius (comprised of members Kim Il Du, Steve C and Lee Chung Mok) is a three-piece pop punk rock band based out of Busan, South Korea. Stylized as a group who thrives on being different from the status quo, both on and off the stage, Genius continue to expand their horizons as artists, particularly with their most recent release in June, ‘Lucky Mistake’. We conversed with the members over email during our chief editor’s trip to Korea to find out more about this stand-out act.
Lee Chung Mok: Hi. I’m white. I play drums.
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.
Kim Il Du: Teletubbies say eh-ho.
Steve C: I’m influenced by pop punk ‘94 forever and the question: what happens when fun forever gets old?
Your most recent release was in June, called ‘Lucky Mistake’. Talk about the meaning behind the song.
Kim Il Du: Not special. No meaning.
Lee Chung Mok: We don’t practice.
Steve C: It’s fun to surprise each other at shows. Oh, we’re playing it like that now? Wait, what song is that even?
Who are some of your favourite Korean indie acts?
Kim Il Du: All of old Korean bands.
Steve C: I’m biased of course but some of the best music out here is coming out of the south. Say Sue Me recently released Big Summer Night (https://electricmuse.bandcamp.com/album/big-summer-night), The March Kings released Vivid Night last November (https://themarchkings.bandcamp.com/album/vivid-night) and 3Volt is working on their debut album (https://soundcloud.com/3volt3volt3volt). If people are listening only to Seoul indie music, they’re silly.
How did you guys get together as a group originally? And what’s the story behind the group name?
Kim Il Du: I finished high school. Casey (Chung Mok) and Steve finished university master. So we are Genius.
Kim Il Du: Seoul indie is pretty. Busan indie is beautiful.
Steve C: I know a grumpy Jewish polymath who, when asked if his MFA program was supportive, said, “Artists shouldn’t be encouraged. They should be discouraged.” I’m not really sure what he meant, but when I walk around Seoul sometimes, I know.
Any plans to tour abroad during the remainder of this year or sometime next year?
Kim Il Du: Of course we will do. Everywhere. First China and then Europe, then Johnny Cash’s hometown.
What’s next for the rest of 2015?
Lee Chung Mok: Start counting down the days until spring.
Steve C: I hear our guitarist Il Du (https://kimildu.bandcamp.com/) has been working on a super secret follow-up to his last two critically acclaimed solo albums. It’ll be a surprise! I’m actually not joking. Look for it. It’s kind of different.
When you have spare time, what do you do to relax?
Kim Il Du: Lie down for long time.
Steve C: I think about the ‘fan letter’ an 18 year-old James Joyce wrote to playwright Henrik Ibsen, then about 72: “Your work on earth draws to a close and you are near the silence. It is growing dark for you.” I think about this a lot.
Lee Chung Mok: I don’t know how to relax.
Kim Il Du: Big bear dolls and sausage.
Steve C: I drink tall boys and watch UFC and cartoons. This is the only safe way I feel feelings.
What are your five most played songs currently?
Kim Il Du:
1.Teletubbies say eh ho.
3.라이너스의 담요(Linus’ Blanket), “어느새”
4.Say Sue Me, “Bad Habit”
5.Genius, “Until I’m 88 Years Old (slow version)”
6.Seam, “Aloha Spirit”
1. McLusky, “She Will Only Bring You Happiness”
2. Piebald, “It’s Going to Get Worse Before It Gets Better”
3. Giant Bear, “그래도 괜찮아 (It’s Allright Baby)”
4. Table People, “Call Me”
5. Hiperson 海朋森, “He Made Up His Mind to be a Tourist”
Kim Il Du: I cannot do it. Still I’m a kid. Tell me some advice if you can.
Steve C: Stop.
Any final words for the readers?
Kim Il Du: I know who you are.
Lee Chung Mok: Hey now.
Many thanks to the boys of Genius for taking the time to answer a few questions. Until next time, this has been a rhythm.connection exclusive!