IDIOTAPE describe themselves an ‘Electronic shoegazing band’, but they’re not like any other ‘shoegazing’ indie band you’ll find. Combining dance beats, electro punk ruffs, and rock and roll drums the sound of IDIOTAPE isn’t just any old electronica.
We put IDIOTAPE in our Indie Spotlight and spoke to the trio; formed of leader Dguru a former DJ, and songwriter Zeze playing synthesizers, and drummer DR [Left to right in the above photo; Zeze, Dguru, DR]; about music, fashion, and festivals!
Check out our exclusive interview below!
How would you describe IDIOTAPE and your music to anyone unfamiliar with your work?
Dguru: We are three men with electronic instruments and drums.
DR : In short, Idiotape is a rock band that performs and creates songs with synthesizer and rock drumming.
Zeze: diotape is an electronic rock band that plays rock music with electronic instruments. An actual drum sound, instead of a drum machine, leads our beats.
What does IDIOTAPE mean?
DR: Dguru named our band. He will explain it in detail.
Dguru: IDIOT + TAPE or IDIOT APE (meaning human being is the most idiotic ape.)
Zeze: It’s a compound word of idiot and tape. You can also read it as an idiot ape.
Who and what influences and inspires your sound?
Dguru: We all have very different tastes in music. One another’s musical preferences influence us the most. Personally, I get inspirations from the feelings I had while DJing.
DR: It isn’t often when we get inspired by other music as there aren’t a lot of bands with similar music as us. When we are working on a track together, we get inspirations from each other’s ideas. I also get inspirations from rock bands that I liked when I was young.
Zeze: We received a lot of influence from bands that play electronic music live, such as The Chemical Brothers and Soulwax when we first formed Idiotape. We perform using electronic instruments and enjoy listening to electronic music, but we feel that rock music, which we loved when we were young, definitely inspires our sound.
There aren’t many bands like IDIOTAPE, what led you to create such a unique band rather than following the more ‘expected’ routes for electronic musicians such as club DJing?
Dguru: A drummer, a MIDI musician, and a DJ came together. It was very natural for us.
DR: We never thought that we were unique. We only tried using instruments that are uncommon for a band. But after we formed Idiotape, we realized that we are indeed different from the other bands.
Zeze: When we formed Idiotape together, we didn’t have an intention to do a particular type of music. We simply wanted to create something new with our favorite instruments. From there, a synthesizer, rock drum, electric guitar and distortion effect came together to form Idiotape’s original style.
You played Glastonbury this year, how does it feel to be able to play such a famous festival?
Dguru: It was a real “WOW” moment.
DR: It felt amazing. I was absolutely thrilled to play at a festival that I only dreamed of visiting when I was young.
Zeze: When I was young, I was a rock kid who would watch Woodstock or Glastonbury Festival videos and dream of becoming a musician. To perform at such a huge festival was an electrifying experience.
You followed Glastonbury with other European festivals and shows, French shows at the beginning of October, before heading back to Korea for Zandari Festa.
Dguru : WOW
DR : Yes, that’s right.
Zeze: Yes, we played at some of the most amazing places. Just looking at the tours, this was probably the best year yet. We are also looking forward to Rencontres Trans Musicales, which will take place in France in December.
Zandari Festa is an event we’re led to believe is a must for those interested in Korean indie music. Does Zandari differ to other festivals you’ve played?
Dguru: Jandari is a festival with a conference. Bands voluntarily register to participate and all musicians perform in equal terms. Same goes for music related officials and bands from overseas. At Jandari, people come before the business.
DR: Jandari is a true festival. You don’t have to worry about lineup or timetable. You can walk into any venue and enjoy yourself while listening to up-and-coming artists’ music. And all at a very affordable price. I hope a lot of people come out to Jandari Festival and hope this new type of festival culture gets established.
Zeze: Jandari is a festival that is loved by the musicians. The musicians and the audience come together and freely enjoy the festival, something that a lot of festivals seem to be missing these days. Also, it is an opportunity to meet all of my friends and favorite bands.
Does the atmosphere differ at your overseas shows from those in Korea?
Dguru: I think our music is considered more as electronic music overseas and more as rock music in Korea.
DR: The difference is playing in front of people who already know us and those who have never heard of us. Fortunately, we get positive reactions from both. When we see those who were unfamiliar with Idiotape enjoy our live performance we become especially thrilled.
Zeze: At an overseas show where we perform in front of those who are unfamiliar with our music, we sometime receive unexpected reactions from the audience. Sometimes I feel as if we are a band that is just starting off. It can be nerve-wracking at times but such unexpected occurrences is what makes a show interesting.
You’ve taken to the stage with another favourite of ours, Galaxy Express, on more than one occasion.
Did merging your sounds come naturally, or did you face challenges?
DR: That’s right.
Zeze : We became close with Galaxy Express while we were on a North American tour called <Seoul Sonic> in 2011. While we were on the tour, we remixed their song and performed on stage together. From then, we invited them to our stage a number of times. Galaxy Express is our favorite band and we really enjoy listening to their music.
Dguru: We didn’t face many challenges because we were simply adding onto the original song’s energy.
DR: Everything went smoothly because we both like rock and roll.
Zeze : We didn’t have many difficulties because we are like-minded. Juhyun from Galaxy Express made mistakes on stage, but nothing big! (lol)
In a similar vein, you’ve lent your style to Kpop, with your involvement in SM Entertainment remix projects.
Zeze: We remixed f(x)’s Ice Cream and SHINee’s Everybody. I don’t listen to K-Pop often but it was a very refreshing and interesting experience. We still play Ice Cream remix on stage now and then.
Do you have an opinion on the mainstream experimentation with electronic music?
Dguru: The mainstream scene always takes from the underground scene to present something new. It has been like that for all genres and it is simply electronic music this time. If you look at it that way, it isn’t anything new.
DR: I think it’s great. Experimentation can lead to new possibilities. I only hope that listeners also feel the change.
Zeze: I hope such experimentations aren’t for issue-making purposes but become their musical assets.
Has it helped or hindered IDIOTAPE?
Dguru: It reminded me that mainstream music isn’t something that’s far from us.
DR: All of our work helps us. Thanks to the remixes, K-Pop fans in South-East Asia became familiar with Idiotape.
Zeze: It helped us for sure. As you already know, Idiotape is a band without vocal lines so we learn a lot from remixing these songs. Also, we received huge attention from K-Pop fans, especially from those in South-East Asia.
Subcultures often lead fashion trends, and you’re long time ambassadors for Fred Perry in Korea, a brand long associated with mod culture.
Zeze: We have been with Fred Perry for quite a long time. We had a show with them as well. But I don’t know about us being stylish enough to be called mods. Oh, Dguru has been riding a scooter these days (lol).
How did your association with the brand come about?
DR: It all started when we meet a media artist Parpunk. We had a collaborative show with Parpunk’s Viewzic and the show was supported by Fred Perry.
How important is the way you look or dress to IDIOTAPE?
Dguru: It just might be that I always wear a white shirt because I don’t want to care too much about the way I look.
DR: I have never wanted us to look in a certain way. I hope people become more interested in our music and shows than our appearance.
Zeze: Dguru’s white shirt became a trademark but we don’t really pay attention to how we look. In fact, our tour manager gives us a talk that we should care more.
What do you hope the future holds for IDIOTAPE?
Dguru: I hope Idiotape becomes an irreplaceable band. The one and only.
DR: A band that continuously evolves. I also hope to make enough to be able to invest in new projects.
Zeze: A band that lasts. One that is free and ever-changing.
Why would you suggest the readers of UnitedKpop check out your music?
Dguru : You won’t have to think about anything else.
DR: I joined the band afterwards. When I first heard Idiotape’s music, I was mesmerized by its originality, and I believe others will feel the same way. They will also realize what destructive power our music has! (lol)
Zeze: When you listen to our music, you will be able to enjoy it completely, with nothing else on mind.
You can sample and purchase music by IDIOTAPE via iTunes.
Let us know in the comment section below if you’re a fan of IDIOTAPE, maybe this interview has inspired you to listen to their music!