Examining PATiENTS -An interview with the Korean Indie Band


The Indie band Patients that hail from  Seoul were recently in London for their UK tour. The 3 member band that orignally started out in 2005 began the first leg of their UK tour  in Chester on the 25th May then finished up in Worthing on the 5th June. They played a total of 6 venues around the country. They have been described as punk, indie rock, but  the group have their own definition of their music. In 2010, they established their very own record label Steel Face Records. Initially they started  out  as a quartet but over the year became a trio. The band are: Sumin Jo (bass and vocalist) Hyuckjang Kwon (Keyboards) and Soowon Choi (drums).

This was their third consecutive year playing in London so I decided to catch up with  Sumin and Hyuckjang  inbetween gigs to find out a little bit more about them.

For our readers of DiyaOnKorea can you tell us a little a bit about your background – how you all met each other and how you decided to become a band that focused on indie rock? Also why did you choose the name Patients? Is there any special meaning behind it?

Sumin: I started Patients back in the mid-2000s.  Hyuckjang joined the band a few years ago and Soowon became our drummer at the beginning of this year.  Hyuckjang and Soowon have known each other for a long time, so when it was time for us to look for a new drummer he gave Soowon a glowing recommendation!  As for our music, I think we all like to make music that is geared towards our own unique tastes and we love having a DIY attitude, so being an indie band suits us well!

 And I chose the name Patients for the band.  I picked it because I thought it reflected the fact that we all have scars and that music can be a good way to heal ourselves.

You describe your music as being ‘hybrid punk’ can you explain a little about it? Also what makes you different from the other independent bands from Korea?

Sumin: I love classic punk rock and it has had a big influence on my life and attitude.  However, Hyuckjang and Soowon don’t really care about punk.  But we all respect each other’s tastes and mix everything we like together to make music as Patients.  And because of this, I called our style ‘hybrid punk.’  It’s just another way for people who haven’t heard our music before or are listening to us for the first time to try and understand us a bit more.  A great thing about ‘hybrid punk’ is that we’re the only band in the world that play this kind of music so we can do pretty much anything we want!  

I think our sound and attitude set us apart from other independent bands in Korea. 

This is your third consecutive year playing in the U.K.

What do you enjoy most about playing here? What are your plans for playing here in 2017?

Sumin: I love the audiences in the UK.  I think they know how to really enjoy and appreciate live music.  And the UK has a great history with rock music and the arts, which we all really like and respect as well.  Next year, we’d love to release an album in the UK and come back for our fourth tour!

Are there any differences between your UK fans and those in Korea? What do you feel about these differences?

Sumin: Our lyrics are mostly in Korean, so we connect with our UK fans through our music and energy.  Korean fans can understand our lyrics so we can also connect with them in that way.  Both ways are fantastic to us.  We’re incredibly thankful and appreciate everyone who supports our band in the UK, Korea, and other parts of the world.

How do you write your music?  Do you all work collaboratively together to make up a track?

Sumin: Hyuckjang or I bring material to the studio.  Hyuckjang often starts with a melody and I often start with some lyrics or just have an idea about something I want to say.  From there, we all work as a team to create a song together.

(2016) Patients 2

You have played in a few cities whilst here.  Did you have much free time during your UK tour?  If so, what did you do/see in that time?

Hyuckjang: We had four days off in London, which was great!  We went to some museums, walked in some parks, and met with all our friends in the city.
Sumin: I was able to enjoy some exhibitions and visited some famous punk venues.  We have had a great time on this tour and loved having some time off between our London and Worthing concerts.

What do you do to unwind and relax when you are not jamming?

Hyuckjang: Drink, smoke, and play games … I think it’s not so different from what lots of other  guys do.

Using a time machine what advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the business?

Hyuckjang: I would tell my younger self ‘practice playing piano more!’                  

Sumin: I would tell my younger self ‘I love you forever.’

If each of you could have ONE superpower what would it be and why?

Sumin: I would love for all of us to be able to teleport.  It would make international touring much easier and cheaper!

If people wanted to find out more about you and your music – where can they do that?

Hyuckjang: They can find us on Facebook at facebook.com/patientspunk and on Twitter at twitter.com/patientspunk.  And they can stream our ‘18’ album that came out last year on Bandcamp at patients.bandcamp.com.  While they’re there, they can buy the album too if they’d like!
Sumin: And if any of you visit Seoul, you can come see us at Club Steel Face in Hongdae.  It’s a live music and venue that I own and run so it’s an easy place to find us.  It’s a cool place.  Come watch some great bands, have a few drinks, and have fun with us there.

Finally is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?

Sumin:  Thank you so much for reading this.  And thanks to everyone in the UK that has come and seen us play!  We’ll be putting out two new singles in the coming months called ‘Space Call Girl’ and ‘Game Boy Game Girl.’  Please check them out when they are released.  I’m sure you’ll like what you hear.  We hope to see all of you sometime soon at a gig in the UK, Korea, or somewhere else on the planet!

See them in action and find out more:

Music Video of Sipalsegi

Music Video of Bad Fingers

Their website wearepatients.kr


͞18 2015
Let’s Drive, Let’s Go! (EP)2014 (tour-only release)
Kitsch Space 2011
All the Patient’s Let’s Go (EP) 2007
Hanging Revolution (EP) 2006

UK Tour 2016

May 25th Chester at Live Rooms
May 26th  Manchester at Night & Day Cafe
May 27th  Whitchurch at Percy’s Cafe Bar
May 29th Liverpool at Liverpool Sound City (Cargo Stage)
May 31st London at Windmill Brixton
June 5th Worthing at Bar 42
Thank you very much to Sumin Jo, Hyuckjang Kwon and Shawn Despres for the interview.
All images displayed on the page are courtesy of the band.

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