We previously interviewed PATiENTS and Dead Buttons who are currently touring the UK, and now it’s time to wrestle it out with Asian Chairshot; the fantastic haired rock trio from Seoul. Let’s get started!
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The group, consisting of drummer Kyewan Park, guitarist Heenam Son and bass and vocalist Youngwon Hwang, formed in 2011 in Seoul. They take their name from an illegal wrestling move – used to knock out opponents – the infamous ‘Chair Shot’. Not unlike the origins of their name, their music is a powerful and hard hitting mix of psychedelic, garage rock and alt rock music. Though an unusual sounding combination, one can’t deny how well it works for the band, and most certainly can’t argue with the success it’s brought them.
Less than four months after coming together, they dropped their first digital EP ‘Chairshot’ in September 2011. Just a month later they found themselves performing at Korea’s Jarasum International Jazz Festival. Having managed to put out an EP and score an invite to a major music festival within 6 months of kicking off certainly caused a stir, and brought much attention from local music critics and fans.
Since then they’ve performed at the likes of Singapore’s Baybeats Festival and Korea’s Ansan Valley Rock Festival. Their latest EP ‘Mask’ grabbed them second prize at the ‘Hello Rookie’ finals, a contest to showcase the up and coming talents of Korea – which you can preview below![soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/33729482″ params=”color=cc0000&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]
Your name has origins in the wrestling move the ‘chair shot’, what lead you to incorporate this into your band name? Is there a significant meaning?
There is no significant meaning behind the name. We wanted to use the word “Asian” in our name. We were talking about words that would sound good with “Asian” and “chair shot” was thrown out as an idea. We thought “Asian Chairshot” sounded cool and made a strong impression.
We’ve heard your music described as a hard hitting mix of psychedelic, garage rock and alternative rock, but how would you describe it?
We’d just describe it as rock music. There are bits and pieces of other things mixed in there, but at our core we’re a rock band.
Within just months of your first EP release you landed a place at the Jarasum International Jazz Festival. How did you feel getting to perform at a festival so soon?
When we first started we tried to play anywhere we could. A jazz festival seemed like a bit of a strange fit, but luckily they allowed us to perform and we had a great time. We played five times over three days at the festival. The shows were all really small as we weren’t scheduled on a big stage, but we had fun, shared our music with a new audience, and learned some new things.
Since then you’ve performed at a number of other festivals, including the likes of Baybeats Festival in Singapore and Korea’s Ansan Valley Rock Festival. Do you prefer doing festivals, or do you prefer smaller intimate gigs?
Both types of shows have their charms. Our guitarist, Heenam, likes playing on big stages, but me and our bassist, Youngwon, prefer smaller gigs. Playing on big stages is a big energy rush. But playing smaller shows is a more intimate experience and allows for better interaction with the audience.
What do you like and dislike most about touring?
Touring is great because it allows you to meet lots of new people and experience new places. We’re thrilled to be in the UK right now. It’s the birthplace of rock music, so being able to play here is a dream come true for us. One of the major downsides of touring is the cost. We’re a small indie band, so finding ways to pay for everything is very challenging.
You also came second at the Hello Rookie finals in November 2013, can you tell us a little bit about your experience?
It finally felt like a proper closing to our “rookie” phase. To be honest, I was 35 when we played at the Hello Rookie finals, so it felt a bit awkward to be considered a rookie at that age! But it was a cool experience to be nominated and place second at the finals. And we were able to use the cash prize to help the band with some of its expenses.
You have mentioned a number of English rock bands are favourites and influences. Are there similarities between the English language music in your genre and your own?
Heenam likes Radiohead and Kula Shaker while me and Youngwon like classic British acts like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. We just try and make music we like. Listeners can decide if they think there are similarities or not between our songs and other bands’ music.
Since the UK is known for its famous rock bands, how do you feel about bringing your sound to a British audience?
We’re excited to be playing in the UK. We’ve gotten good reactions from the crowds we’ve played for in Liverpool and Chester so far on this tour. Hopefully the people we play for in Sheffield, London, and Bristol will enjoy our music as well. Our plan for the next week is to keep having fun and playing hard.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
Thanks so much for reading this interview. If you live in Sheffield, London, or Bristol please come check us out this week. We’ve got a new album that will be released on May 28 called Horizon. This album was produced by Jeff Schroeder from Smashing Pumpkins. We’re playing songs from Horizon at our concerts in the UK. We’re really proud of the album and are so happy to be sharing songs from it with international audiences. Oh, and after the UK we’ll be flying to Singapore to play at the Music Matters festival and will do some shows in Malaysia too. We hope we can meet lots more great people in the UK and East Asia this month!
Asian Chairshots remaining UK dates are as follows:
|May 7||Salford, England||@ The Eagle Inn|
|May 9||London, England||@ AAA|
|May 11||Bristol, England||@ Pam Pam|
|May 12||London, England||@ Pipeline|