Melting Faces: Interview with …Whatever That Means

C: With this split 7”, how do you intend to “blow minds” and “melt faces”?

J: The album title is total a joke. We were talking one night about what would be the most ridiculous titles a pop-punk band like us could give an album. I don’t remember the other ones we came up with, but this was at the top of the list. We knew we could make some pretty cool artwork to go along with it, and since we’re not a metal band with raging guitar solos, it just seemed like a funny way to totally oversell how good the album is. So I doubt we’ll blow any minds or melt any faces, but I’m really proud of the album. Burn came up with two great tracks for Side A, and I’m really happy with the three songs we put on ours. And there ended up being one pretty great guitar solo, so that’s cool too.

C: Though there seems to be a swell of punk bands in Korea recently (in the past couple years bands like DIEALRIGHT and Gutenbirds, for instance), the scene still seems to be very much underground. There seem to be fewer venues for it and fewer resources in terms of exposure. I can imagine how frustrating it is for artists trying to get their music out there. What do you think needs to change or improve to get punk the recognition it deserves?

J: I think most people get into punk rock when they’re young and rebellious. In Korea, most kids don’t have enough free time to pursue their passions or indulge in the idea that all is not as it should be. They listen to the K-pop that’s shoved down their throats at every corner, study for tests, go to cram schools, and that’s life. I’ve said it a hundred times before, but if Korean kids ever figure out what a raw deal they get here, I think the underground music scene will explode.

...Whatever That Means 2016

C: What advice do you have for bands trying to navigate the music industry in SK?

J: It’s simple—don’t try to navigate the industry. Write music that means something to you. Play shows. Make friends. Enjoy playing music. In all reality, there really isn’t much opportunity to “make it” in Korea if you’re playing in a punk, ska, or hardcore band. So whatever you decide to do with your band, do it because it’s what YOU want to do, not because you’re trying to impress someone else. If you want to go on tour, send out some emails and go on tour. If you want to release a great album, write some songs, find a way to record, and release an album. There are people around to help support you, but you really got to just take the reins yourself and make stuff happen for yourself. But above all, make sure you’re having fun with whatever you’re doing because that’s 90% of the reward.

C: What’s one song that always impacts you no matter how often you listen to it?

J: “Through These Eyes” by Social Distortion. That song, the whole White Light, White Heat, White Trash album is pretty meaningful to me. I had some real struggles with addiction when I was younger, and that album was a huge part of what got me through one of the hardest times in my life.


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