Hailing from Seoul, rock-n-roll duo Dead Buttons are Korean Jihyun Hong (guitar/vocals) and Paraguayan/Korean Kanghee Lee (drummer/vocals). Hong is not new to the Korean indie music scene; he’s had his hand on punk with Sweet Guerillaz and Oi! Resolute; hardcore with Combative Post; and garage-rock with The Infamous Orchestra. Now with Lee, whom he met after his mandatory military service, Hong goes under the name Dead Buttons. Their first EP, Whoever You Are, just released in February 2014, shows influences of many musical genres, including garage rock, blues, and even country – probably the latter sounds to be a bit odd of a choice, but Dead Buttons manage to blend all these influences finely. Their first overseas gig was in Tokyo for Japan-Korea Punk Festival back in 2012, when their line-up still included a bassist, but now as a duo, they’re getting ready for their second overseas visit, and this time it will be the UK! Lee answered our questions to them; let’s get to know this band better through the following interview!
If given the chance to introduce yourself to a music listener who does not know you at all, how would you explain yourself to them?
We’re Dead Buttons from Seoul. We’re a rock ‘n’ roll duo. I play drums and Jihyun plays guitar. We released our debut EP in February. It’s called Whoever You Are. We’ll be promoting the EP internationally in May during our first UK tour. If you enjoy bands with an analog sound, you should give us our music a listen. We think you’ll like what you hear!
With currently only two people in the band, we guess you cannot cast a vote to decide on anything should there be any differences. How do you solve problems or differences between the two of you?
We have similar taste in music so we rarely have any problems. And if we do have a small problem or disagreement, we always respect each other’s opinions so we never fight.
You used to work with a bassist in the band. Is there any possibility in the future that you might add more members (not just additional players)?
We have no plans to add any additional members. Our music now doesn’t need a bassist. In the future, if we need a bassist for part of a song, we’ll just hire a session player.
We noticed a heavy influence of blues and garage rock in your music. Who are your favourite blues and garage rock bands/musicians? If you could perform with any legendary blues/garage rock musician, dead or alive, who will that person be?
These are really good questions! Our favourite blues and garage rock acts are Gary Clark Jr., Kings of Leon, The Jim Jones Revue, 22-20s, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Eagles of Death Metal, and many more. We’d love the chance to jam with Muddy Waters in heaven, The Sonics, MC5, and The Stooges.
Looks like Seoul is a nice place to hang out for us rock lovers! Can you recommend any areas or places that fans of Korean rock should visit when they go to Seoul?
They should definitely hang out in Hongdae. Spot is a cool punk rock club. FF has lots of great Korean indie acts with a more mainstream sound. And Ruail Rock has a fair amount of bluesy rock ‘n’ roll acts.
What are you most looking forward to about your forthcoming UK tour? Anyone you want to see at Liverpool Sound City?
We’re looking forward to meeting new people and playing in new venues. It’s going to be our first time touring in the UK, so I’m sure we’re going to have some interesting experiences and will be able to learn a lot. Hopefully things will go well and next time we return, there will be folks waiting to see us that know our songs already.
At Liverpool Sound City, I want to see Fuck Buttons, The Neighbourhood, Wild Club, and New Street Adventure. And I’m looking forward to meeting lots of musicians from the UK and other countries during the festival.
Last but not least, please give your fans (and would-be fans) out there a message!
Our upcoming UK tour will be Dead Buttons’ second time gigging abroad, and we hope to do lots of more international tours in the future. If you live in the UK, please come see us play in May. And if you live somewhere else, we hope we can rock out with you sometime soon. We’re going to release a few new singles soon. Please keep your eyes out for them. And please keep up with Dead Buttons in the future. We promise we have some cool things planned for all of you. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and for paying attention to our band!
Dead Buttons UK tour dates:
May 2 Liverpool, England @ Heebie Jeebies (Liverpool Sound City)
May 3 Liverpool, England @ Kazimier Gardens (Liverpool Sound City)
May 7 Bristol, England @ The Hatchet Inn
May 8 Southampton, England @ Unit Club (WTFest)
May 9 London, England @ AAA
May 10 London, England @ Astbury Castle