Music & Nightlife

Your guide to music in Seoul, including concert listings and what’s on at top music venues

Hongdae is still HOT!
Nightlife

Hongdae is still HOT!

5 must-visit clubs in the Hongdae area.

Old and rad sounds at Pre & Free
Things to do Buy tickets

Old and rad sounds at Pre & Free

Check out some relaxing tunes of traditional Korean music this spring at the Seoul Donhwamun Traditional Theater. Beginning March 3rd and running until May 27th, Pre & Free is a series of gugak concerts and performances for all to enjoy. Of the 25 participating teams, the pansori, tap dance and classical collaborations are not to be missed. In addition, for 2 weeks starting April 11th, members of the Gugak Association will be throwing 20 shows as part of the 'Citizen’s Week.' Located between Changdeokgung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine, the Seoul Donghwamun Traditional Theater will be the place to check out this spring to get the best of traditional Korean music. All tickets will cost 5,000 won per seat. During the Citizen’s Week, all shows will be free (online pre-registration required). Check their website for further details on performance times.

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Seoul's chill vinyl bars
Music

Seoul's chill vinyl bars

Those who know, know. The difference between vinyls, CD, and even online streaming. You might not own a turntable, but you can always enjoy good music at these select bars.

Classic coffee houses
Music

Classic coffee houses

Classical music flows through these dabangs, or traditional Korean coffee houses.

Booking clubs for hooking up
Nightlife

Booking clubs for hooking up

Seoul’s most famous booking clubs, the latest craze in the city!

Latest interviews and features

Q&A: Hyukoh
Music

Q&A: Hyukoh

After debuting with their EP album in late 2014, they recently joined the festival scene for the first time. In fact, they’ll be one of the most frequently appearing bands on the festival circuit this year, including the Seoul Jazz Festival in May, Rainbow Island in June and Ansan Valley Rock Festival in July. Band members include vocalist Oh Hyuk, who lent his name to the group, guitarist Lim Hyeon-jae, base player Lim Dong-geon, and drummer Lee In-Woo. We sat down with Hyukoh to talk music.   How are you prepping for your upcoming shows? Anything fun planned? Lim Hyeon-jae: There is a song from the recent EP album that we’ll launch during the performance. Lee In Woo: We will be mostly presenting fun and bright songs like our single album “Panda Bear.” Oh Hyuk: We tend to get jinxed if our harmony is awkward. It’s our goal to prepare hard and perform well.   Give us a rundown of your EP. Oh Hyuk: There are a total of 6 songs and the title song is called “Warigari.” That comes from a hide and seek game that we used to play when we were young.   What was the concept for this album? Oh Hyuk: There isn’t an actual concept. We’re not the type to fix a topic and make an album based on it. We make songs while jamming together or recording. We exchange feedback every time, and this album is composed of songs that have been made this way.   You’ve just released another EP album, pretty soon after your last EP and single. Why? Oh Hyuk: The Korean music market moves so fa

Time Out Meets:  Johan Duncanson of The Radio Dept.
Music

Time Out Meets: Johan Duncanson of The Radio Dept.

"I remember that it felt unreal to hear our songs in a big Hollywood film and to see my name in the closing credits. I stayed in my seat in the theater for awhile after the film to let it all sink in, and I actually fell asleep..." 

TIME OUT MEETS: Moon Boots
Music

TIME OUT MEETS: Moon Boots

Keeping up the steady stream of big name DJs, Fake Virgin has now added Moon Boots to the list that includes the likes of Bondax and The Magician making its mark on the two-month baby SKRT. An American-based DJ currently in New York, Peter Dougherty has done everything from being a classical music aficionado, attending Princeton University and DJing everywhere from Berlin to Bangladesh. He joins us in our Time Out Seoul office to talk about his brief time in the city, what it’s like to tour and his transition from classical music. 

Q&A: Bondax
Music

Q&A: Bondax

Even those unfamiliar with the names Adam Kaye and George Townsend will recognize the tune behind their track “Gold” released in 2013. The duo, better known as Bondax, got together in 2012 and is originally “from a hill in the middle of nowhere” near Lancaster, George says. Gaining popularity after being featured on BBC Radio 1, they’ve played festivals such as Crssd, Bestival and Creamfields. Today, the down-to-earth two have their own record label (Just Us Recordings) and 5.6 million followers on Soundcloud to add to their name. Time Out Seoul meets them to talk about touring the world, their impressions of Seoul and their genre-defying music. 

Booking clubs for hooking up
Nightlife

Booking clubs for hooking up

Seoul’s most famous booking clubs, the latest craze in the city!

Seoul music venues

SKRT SEOUL
Nightlife

SKRT SEOUL

Pronounced “skirt,” this is the new hottest spot for hipsters Fake Virgin, known for bringing talented artists, such as Grimes, Bon Iver and Kitsune Club Night, to Seoul has opened up SKRT Seoul near Itaewon Fire Station. SKRT is a club and unique space for various events, such as performances, parties, exhibits, pop-up stores etc. The first two weeks saw English electronic duo Bondax and Belgium-born DJ The Magician. Thanks to the passion of the clubbers, the atmosphere is hot and pumping. The pink neon sign on one wall that reads “TOO LATE TO DIE YOUNG” is a great photo spot. I can’t wait to see what other great events will take place in this fantastic venue.

Club Steel Face
Nightlife

Club Steel Face

Shout-out to all the funk lovers! Cho Min-su, who has a solid reputation as the vocalist and bassist of the hybrid funk rock band PATiENTS, recently opened Club Steel Face, an interesting and extraordinary live music club. This is where the bands of Steel Face Records, including PATiENTS, Cockrasher, Dives, Bad Trip, Swindlers and more, perform. Unlike most of the live music clubs that are located in the basement, it is located on the fifth floor where you can take in a colorful night view of Hongdae.

Music pub There there
Music

Music pub There there

Yeonnam is home to countless delicious restaurants and cafés, but maybe because of its market-central location, it’s been difficult to find a great music pub. However, we have great news for music lovers, Kwon Bum-jun, the owner of the famous and now-defunct Sangsu-dong music bar Phoenix, has opened a new space in Yeonnam. Kwon is a reporter for the music journal Hot Music and a critic who opened Phoenix as a place where one could listen to some of his thousands of collected records and make song requests. It was a space for listening to and sharing music, and where famous musicians such as Phoenix and Damien Rice had stepped foot in. As many mourned its closing, the opening of There There is just as welcome. The shift in location and name hasn’t changed the delicious drinks and, of course, the great music. You can still request your favorite tunes and listen to vinyl records. Only available at There There are cocktails named after famous bands and songs, including Oasis, Coldplay and Daft Punk, which all music fans should try at least once.  

Faust
Nightlife

Faust

The alleyway behind Itaewon’s fire station has an ominous “No Teens Allowed” sign and is more wellrecognized by its alias, “Hooker Hill.” This alley was once a booming red-light district solicited by American soldiers but as the Eighth United States Army base was moved to Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, it has died down a lot. A few businesses and transgender bars have held out but the street is pretty dead now. At the end of this deserted alleyway sits Club Faust. Unlike most Korean clubs that are housed underground, Club Faust is located on the third floor, above an unmarked transgender bar on the second. Get stamped (it’s the face of Faust himself) and walk into the dark club. The interior and atmosphere isn’t flashy or modern but it’s welcoming and familiar, reminiscent of the Hongdae clubs I frequented in the 2000s. From the window behind the DJ booth, you can peer out at the lights of Itaewon while listening to the pumping music flowing from the DJ—the combination of which makes for a chill atmosphere. The music is most often house and the club hosts DJs from all over the world. The regular Der Faustian parties are a “local nights” series where you can hear tunes from resident DJs and DJs new to the club scene. If you love house music, Club Faust is the go-to for hearing the latest tunes. Another plus is that you’ll also be supporting young local DJs. Get a fresh clubbing experience at Faust, different from the usual mundane routine.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars

Seoul Club issue

Get in the scene
Music

Get in the scene

In Korea’s lesser-known underground music scene, there’s a crop of talented, independent artists and entrepreneurs who are creating their own alternatives. Amidst the buzz are three foreigners who’ve dedicated years of hard work to developing their own small slice of Seoul’s underground music scene.

Clubbing in Seoul
Things to do

Clubbing in Seoul

Beating out Berlin’s Berghain, Club Octagon in Gangnam is listed as number six on DJ Mag’s list of Top 100 Clubs in 2015. Bringing in big names like Manufactured Superstars (Aug 8) and Andrew Rayel (Aug 14) all summer long, don’t let the 30,000 won entrance fee and expensive cocktails stop ya. Pregame at the convenience store up the street and go before 11pm for the discounted price of 10,000 won. Rumor has it that Ellui is where Seoul’s hottest people hang out (though ironically, not much mingling happens here) and The A has the most elite VIP area. South of the river, I.D. checking is strict and the dress code’s stricter. No shorts for men, no sandals, no slippers and ladies must have backs on even heels. To stay closer to the bars, head to Itaewon to go all rounds in one hood. There’s less pretense about what to wear and you’re not bound to one club for the night. Cakeshop still reigns but since it’s blown up, weekends are packed and crowds are younger. The evolution means it’s better for mingling, but not necessarily everyone there is a music-head anymore. Want alternatives? Head over to Cakeshop’s younger brother Pistil for mellower times with chill beats and great food (Thursday’s free) or to B1 Lounge Club if bumpin’ and grindin’ is on your mind. Open every night of the week, B1’s the go to place for post-hweshik night fever. Let’s not leave Hongdae out of th

Critics’ picks: The best clubs in Seoul
Nightlife

Critics’ picks: The best clubs in Seoul

The biggest club nights in Seoul
Nightlife

The biggest club nights in Seoul

Whoever said that size doesn't matter definitely was not referring to clubs. There's nothing worse than being stuck in a small, expensive club when you're stuck with a whole bunch of overheated strangers. Seoul's mega clubs are a must see experience. Usually packed with posh Seoulites dressed to the nines and ready to party, here, the parties are guaranteed to keep you up all night long. Places like Octagon and The A are large enough that each corner and level of the club has a different feel, not to mention that they keep a steady flow of big name DJs all the time. Size matters but there's more to these clubs than just their immensity, go see for yourself.