Rock band Apollo 18 has become one of South Korea’s gems of the past couple of years, and this Spring they will pack their things and travel across seas to unleash the K-rock fury that has captivated many (including myself) in their first ever United States Tour…and by United States, I don’t mean LA and NYC.
Oh no, no; Apollo 18 are performing 16 shows across the South (AR. LA, OK, TN, TX), starting in Texas, where the band will take part in this year’s South By South West interactive, film, and music festival. It’s the band’s first time participating in this event and lucky for us Austinites, Apollo 18 will perform a whopping 6 shows next week! That, my friends, is a big deal.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview the guys about their music, touring outside of Korea, and their upcoming showcase for SXSW.
A big thanks to Apollo 18 for taking the time to answer my questions, as well as some by the readers. Here is the first of a three part interview with Korean rock band, Apollo 18.
Part 1 – An Intro to Apollo 18
01 Greetings, Apollo 18! First off, I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to interview you guys. For the readers out there who are not familiar with Apollo 18, can you please introduce yourselves.
Sangyun: We’re Apollo 18 from Seoul, South Korea. We’re a rock band. We have three members: Hyunseok plays guitar and Daeinn plays the bass. I’m the drummer.
02 Apollo 18 was formed back in 2008. How did you guys meet and why the name ‘Apollo 18’?
Daeinn: I met Hyunseok through an online message board. I used to make music under the name Jellyboy and wanted to find some backing players to help me with live performances. Hyunseok volunteered to be a session player. Sangyun was Hyunseok’s friend so he suggested him as well. I did maybe five Jellyboy concerts with them and two other musicians. Hyunseok had some ideas for making his own music, so I suggested that he, Sangyun, and I make a new band together.
The name kind of came by accident. Hyunseok was wearing a t-shirt one day that said “Aloha 17.” I made a mistake and thought his t-shirt said “Apollo 18.” I thought it sounded good, so I suggested it for our group name. In Korea, our name is a little strange to some people because the Korean word for “18” sounds similar to the Korean version of the f-word.
03 I was just listening to “Song A” off your third album, Violet, and I couldn’t help but bob my head to the beat. Whoever listens to your music will be quick to notice that it is mainly instrumentals, yet your work has managed to gain so much success and attention in the past few years. What do you think it is about your music that seems to captivate your listeners?
Hyunseok: I don’t know why people like our music. We try to make music that we like and that is interesting to us. We hope other people enjoy it, too.
04 You guys have a very distinct sound and it is interesting that one of your songs is titled “Iridescent Clouds” because I think ‘iridescent‘ is the perfect word to describe your music. How would you describe Apollo 18’s musical style?
Hyunseok: I think our songs are a mix of all the different kinds of music we enjoy. Each member of Apollo 18 likes different styles of music, so we try and create a sort of middle ground that appeals to everyone’s interests.
05 So far you have released three albums: Red, Blue, and Violet (four, if you include the enhanced edition of Red). Talk me through the premise behind this “color” series.
Daeinn: The color series was just for fun. When we first formed we decided that we wanted to make three albums to start with so that we could experiment and try different things. Actually, all three of the covers for the albums combine to form one image. The albums were meant to be a kind of overview of the different things that we want to do as Apollo 18. Although three were released, they are not intended to be official albums. This is why The Blue Album was also called . We wanted people to know that it was not supposed to be our debut. The first true Apollo 18 album has not been created yet.
06 Do you have any plans to release a new album or EP soon?
Hyunseok: We hope to release some new music this summer. We don’t know how many songs will be on it. Maybe it will be an EP or maybe it will be a full-length CD. We are going to start working on it in April after our American tour. We only have one song written now, so I think the album will be heavily influenced by our experiences in the U.S.
Part 2 will be up very soon! Apollo 18 will be chatting on SXSW and…Texas BBQ? Stay tuned.
Apollo 18’s tour schedule:
March 15 Dallas, TX – Double Wide
March 16 Austin, TX (6 pm) – DMI House @ 219 West (Day Party at the Dart Music International House)
March 16 Austin, TX (10:40 pm) – Headhunters (Official SXSW Showcase)
March 17 Austin, TX (6 pm) – Zhi Tea Gallery (Zhi Tea presents: SXZT!)
March 18 Austin, TX (4 pm) – Hoeks Death Metal Pizza
March 18 San Marcos, TX – Triple Crown
March 19 Austin, TX (1 pm) – Aussie’s (WeAre78704.com Party)
March 20 Austin, TX (1 pm) – Cheer Up Charlie’s
March 20, San Antonio, TX – Night Rocker Live
March 21 New Orleans, LA – Dragon’s Den
March 22 Houston, TX – Super Happy Fun Land
March 23 Denton, TX – Andy’s Bar
March 24 Hot Springs, AR – Low Key Arts (The Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival)
March 25 Memphis, TN – Stash House
March 26 Tulsa, OK – The Eclipse
March 27 Fort Worth, TX – 1919 Hemphill
You can find out more on Apollo 18 here:
If you guys are close enough, come out and support Apollo 18! I’ll be hitting up and (hopefully) snapping a few pics of the band next week at SXSW – I’m so excited!