In the past Chincha has featured interviews with Apollo 18 and Galaxy Express, both staples in the Korean rock scene. Starting April 24th they will make up one-half the bill for the Korea Rocks Tour in the UK alongside Gate Flowers and . We caught up with Goonam’s guitarist Ung Joh recently, just after finishing the 2K13 Seoulsonic tour in the USA, to talk about the bands music and hopes for this international tour.

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Chincha: Your name is a bit of a mouthful. Where does ‘Goonamguayeoridingstella’ come from?

Ung Joh: Our full name is Goonamguayeoridingstella, but we’re just going to go by Goonam for overseas stuff from now on.  Our full name means “An old man and woman riding a Stella car.”  Stella was a type of car that Hyundai used to make.  When I was a child, my parents owned a Stella.  I used to go for rides with my dad and listen to old Korean rock music by acts like Sanullim and Shin Joonghyun.  Those are very good and important memories for me.

Chincha: You have released two albums in the past that were both met with critical acclaim. We Are Pure in 2007 was ranked no. 70 on 100Beat.com’s 100 best Korean CDs of the 2000s and Woojung-Motel was nominated for Best Modern Rock Album at the 2012 Korean Music Awards. What is your favorite part of the process when making an album?

Ung Joh: I like trying to set the mood for the record.  It’s really hard for us to do, but it’s the main point of why we make each album.

Chincha: You have a very eclectic sound that is nearly impossible to put into a box, which is one of the reasons I enjoy your music. You have been described as a unique group combining elements of rock, psychedelic pop, blues, surf, reggae, and even a bit of dub. How would you describe your music and the sound you seek to create for listeners?

Ung Joh: It’s hard for us to describe our music as well!  I tell people our music is like the flow of a river.  A few days ago, someone asked me if they could call our music soulful, psychedelic dance music.  I said that description was fine with me.

Chincha: With a sound that cannot be nailed down, who are some of your musical influences?

Ung Joh: We’re influenced by everything that’s around us.  Everything we see, hear, and do each day influences us and inspires the music we create.  Some of our main musical influences have been Shin Joonghyun and other old Korean rock, soul, and pop music. We also like David Bowie and The Stone Roses.

Chincha: Past international performances include Japan’s Summer Sonic Festival, American performances at SXSW and as part of the Seoulsonic Tour, and Canadian Music Week. Will this be your first performance in the UK? What are you looking forward to most?

Ung Joh: Yes, this will be our first time to play in the UK.  We’ll be playing at the Focus Wales festival in Wrexham and the Liverpool Sound City festival.  We’re excited to check out both of those events.  We really want to hang out in some parks in the UK too.  We love parks, and we’ve heard the UK has some really big and beautiful parks.

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Chincha: Korean rock music is becoming more popular and accessible abroad, this tour being a good example of that. What do you hope the fans will take away from your performances outside of Korea?

Ung Joh: We just hope they have fun and enjoy themselves.  We always try and create a good mood to share with people during our performances.  So if people are happy then it’s a good show for us.  We’d love to see some folks in the UK dancing along to our songs as well.

Chincha: Apollo 18, Galaxy Express, and Gate Flowers will be joining you for the Korea Rocks tour kicking off in Kent, England on April 24th. Besides playing alongside of Galaxy Express on the Seoulsonic tour, have you performed with any of the other Korea Rocks bands in the past?

Ung Joh: Galaxy Express did their own solo tour of the US, but they joined up with us for the Seoulsonic show in Los Angeles a few weeks ago.  Goonam and Galaxy Express were paired up to play together at a party during SXSW as well.  We played with Apollo 18 in Seoul before, and we were also on the bill with them for Jeju’s Stepping Stone music festival in 2011.  We get along well with the members of Apollo 18 and Galaxy Express.  And we’re looking forward to spending more time with the guys from Gate Flowers too.  It’s going to be fun to explore the UK with all of the other bands on this tour.

Chincha: Goonam collaborated with Hyundai Card Music for the single “” in 2012, which we can’t stop listening to (” translated to English means “blood”).  The video begins on a beautiful day with a car driving down the street with the windows down, making me extremely nostalgic for summer days in the USA when I had a car. In the video you guys seem to have a great time and not take yourselves too seriously. What was the most important thing for you to portray during shooting?

Ung Joh: We just wanted to show ourselves enjoying playing music.  Playing music is fun, and we take great pleasure from being able to make music and perform together.  The video mixes us playing in our normal clothes and traditional Korean clothing as well.  That was the filming team’s idea.  They thought that traditional clothing fit well with the mood of our music.  We thought it sounded like a cool plan, so we went ahead with it. We’re glad you like the song and video!

Chincha: Besides the Korea Rocks tour, what do you have in the works for the future that people should keep their eyes open for?

Ung Joh: We’re going to release a new Goonam album later this year.  We’ve got a lot of new songs to choose from, so hopefully we can make an album that is really fun and interesting.

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Listen to Goonam on SoundCloud and follow on Facebook. If you live in the UK the tour dates are April 24: Tunbridge Wells, England @ Tunbridge Wells Forum, April 26: Wrexham, Wales @ The Bank (Focus Wales); April 27: Wrexham, Wales @ Yales Café Bar (Focus Wales); April 28: London, England @ Barfly; May 1: Manchester, England @ Night & Day Café; May 3: Liverpool, England @ Studio 2 (Liverpool Sound City); May 4: Liverpool, England @ Kazimier Gardens (Liverpool Sound City).

Interview by Colleen Whately.


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