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 fast. After releasing the first EP, , we felt a bit disappointed. We worked on the songs for years but they didn’t see much impact as singles, so we wanted to do an EP again. Through this EP, if we built a stronger foundation for our music, we thought we could release more of a complete official album.
What kind of visual elements will you be showcasing in this album?
Oh Hyuk: There are three videos, two music videos and one live video, and we worked with artist Nemonan who worked on our last EP for the artwork. It’s a series project where the last EP’s artwork and this EP’s artwork actually connect. The album poster is also being sold as a limited edition with an engraving.
Hyukoh’s sound has a different feel from other bands. Tell us a bit about that.
Lim Hyeon-jae: At our core, we’re an indie group, but the vocals have R&B and soul elements, which influence the other instruments.
Oh Hyuk: Dong-geon has hard rock background while Hyeon-jae likes soul and In-woo likes hip-hop. I’ve also played some unique genres of music as well. So our music is influenced by these diverse backgrounds.
Some have called Hyukoh’s music “stateless.”
Oh Hyuk: I like that. It’s important that a band has its own color, but having a consistent tone or mood is no fun. I lived in China for 20 years and also, since this is the first time for all of us in a band, we weren’t familiar with the local music scene. It’s inevitable that our sound and approach is a bit different.
You’ve been on mainstream TV, opened for a global musician and will be performing at major festivals. Do you have any other goals?
Oh Hyuk: We still have a lot.
Lim Dong-geon: If we look back, we’ve only done one album. It’s only the beginning. I would like to continue doing music together.
Lim Hyeon-jae: I want to go abroad to an international rock festival.
Lee In-woo: Me too. I want to get to know people and perform at places like Coachella and Glastonbury Festival.
Band Hyukoh First EP '20' - Official MV 'Wi Ing Wi Ing'
Band Hyukoh First Single 'Panda Bear' Official MV