Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio
Hailing from a country well-known for and saturated with beat-faced boybands and bubbly pop music is South Korean band Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio. Ever heard of them? Hint: they’re not a boyband/girlgroup and they don’t make bubble pop. Want another clue? Winning “Rookie of the Year” at the Korean Music Awards last year, it is no wonder that they’ve been named by LA Weekly as one of the top 5 bands to see at, well, just about any happening music festival you can think of (among which you can count SXSW, Culture Collide and CMJ). Still don’t know them? No worries. You will. And based on their wide-ranging dance/rock/funk musical style, you won’t want to forget them. And on top of all that goodness, Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio was nice enough to give an interview to us, the inquisitive folks at kPOPfix. Check out their interview below!
From where was the name Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio derived?
Minwoo: Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio was the title of a song Jinkyu, Minkyu, and I used to play back when we were in a band called Go Go Beat together. Jinkyu chose the song’s name. He thought it was a good way to describe the US Armed Forces’ radio station in Korea. When we formed a new group with Naehyun, Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio was one of several monikers we were considering. We ultimately chose it because of all the choices we had, that one seemed most like a band name.
How was Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio formed?
Jinkyu: Minkyu and Minwoo have known each other since elementary school. And I went to the same high school as them. The three of us have played together in bands since then. We were all also technicians for the Korean rock band YB. Naehyun did that job too, so that’s how we met him. Minkyu, Minwoo, and I were playing in the group Minwoo mentioned before, Go Go Beat, but then they fired me from the band. Naehyun also got fired from his old band around that same time. So he and I decided to start our own group called Burning Flowers. We had recorded some demos for Burning Flowers and I ran into Minwoo and Minkyu by chance. I shared my music with them and later they asked about playing together again. I brought Naehyun along and we formed a new group called Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio. That happened back in 2011.
Name several American/Western artists who have influenced Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio?
Jinkyu: Growing up, I mainly liked British and American music, and then I started to listen to French and Swedish music too. I’ve been inspired by countless acts. But here’s a few names in case people are curious – The Beatles, Nirvana, Radiohead, Incognito, Jamiroquai, Prince, Daft Punk, and many, many more.
Naehyun: Some of the groups who have influenced me include Prince, David Bowie, Depeche Mode, and The Beach Boys.
Minkyu: I like Franz Ferdinand and Phoenix.
Minwoo: I really like Coldplay.
Take us briefly through your creative process when writing/recording music.
Jinkyu: We record our jam sessions and songs are usually born out of those. I’m the band’s producer, so I usually suggest different directions that I think will best utilize everyone’s talents. And the rest of the band tries to follow what I’m saying and offer their own input too. Sometimes songs get finished in just a few days but sometimes they take several months to come together.
Minkyu: As songs progress, we try to make the melodies more outstanding. We cut unnecessary parts from the songs and only leave the parts that best demonstrate what we’re trying to say.
How would you differentiate your music from other similar artists?
Naehyun: I think our specialty is being able to piece together a weird harmony from different things. Our music mixes funky and fancy playing with emotionless, low-pitched vocals. It’s like combining French fries with a milkshake. And you should also try dipping French fries in milkshake – it’s seriously good! Just like Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio’s music.
How do you feel about the positive response indie Korean music is having on fans outside of Korea?
Jinkyu: I think it’s really good! Before bands were a bit afraid to go outside of Korea, but now with groups beginning to develop small international fan bases, more groups are trying to find ways to tour overseas.
Naehyun: We’re thrilled and very grateful to people overseas who have found our music and become fans of Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio. We’re not as handsome as EXO, but our music is more charming than theirs!
If you had the opportunity to perform anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Jinkyu: I hope our France tour will lead to us being able to play many more places in Europe. And since we toured North America twice last year, I’d like to go South America too.
Naehyun: I’d also like to play somewhere in South America like Argentina or Brazil. I think there are lots of beautiful women in South America. Beautiful women give us lots of energy!
Will you be back to tour in the U.S?
Jinkyu: We’re hoping to play in the US again next year but nothing is fixed yet. But we had a blast there last year and would love to play more gigs in America.
– Where do you see Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio in 5 years? 10 years?
Jinkyu: Hopefully on a really long world tour!
Is there anything you’d like to say to your American fans?
Jinkyu: We hope to see you again soon! And please tell your friends about Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio. The more people who know about us, the easier it will be for us to tour in many places and meet all of you in person. Thanks so much!
kPOPfix thanks Rock N Roll Radio for this interview and wishes them well on their future endeavors. Follow Rock N Roll Radio on their social media and check out their hit Shut Up & Dance.