[SPECIAL] Interview with The Geeks, January 2015

What makes The Geeks survive and still stand tall in Korean hardcore scene for more than a decade? We believe that it’s not only the music but also the passion that has lead the band to their current position. For The Geeks, music is a tool to deliver positive messages to their fans, something you might rarely encounter nowadays. They sing about changing the world, and most importantly, they mean it. After a visit in 2009, The Geeks will finally rock Indonesia once again as a part of their South East Asia tour 2015. Curious about what they feel about the upcoming tour, we interviewed Ki (vocals), Jun (guitar), Gene (guitar), Bong Kyu (bass) and Young (drums). We surely got a lot from this interview!

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We read that some of The Geeks’ members have a full-time job? How do you manage the time between your job and music?

It’s not easy but it’s not difficult. As stated in our songs, this is what we believe. Something we have faith in. When you are so passionate about something, any obstacles on the way is just inspiration. Playing our music loud on the stages keeps us alive inside and it definitely helps me focus on quality of work when I’m at work. There’s synergy effect. Personally, I’ve obtained great communication skills and project management skills not to mention public speaking skills over the past 15 years of heavily involved in music management. This has helped me a lot at work and what I’ve learned at work also has helped me better manage the band. Plus, this is also financially helpful 🙂 Win-win situation! We are fully aware that we are in such a unique position and we really appreciate it.

What makes The Geeks different from other hardcore bands?

This is the toughest question anyone has ever asked me! Our sincere attitude toward music and message, unique songs with big sing along parts to the fullest, our energetic live shows are main differentiators.

What kind of message actually does The Geeks’ music want to deliver to the fans?

Positive mindset brings positive changes. But in order to do that, you need to be mindful of your surroundings and know exactly who you are, where you are and what you aspired to be. Question things around you and ask why. Be strong and take actions to bring positive changes to your life. Action speaks louder than words. These are the main message I put my best endeavour to convey through our lyrics.

It’s not easy to survive in an indie scene, but you guys have made it so far. What are the keys?

The key is to have an enduring passion for the music and put relentless efforts to achieve our dreams. As cliche as it may sound, this so holds true. I think anyone, any organization, any band if you want to success and sustain and improve your core value, you need to have a strong vision that guide all the people involved in it. And it has to be deeply embedded. It is a culture.

We have it in The Geeks. We’ve been through a lot. The Good and The Bad. It all taught us to improve and sustain. Every time hardship hit us, it just made us stronger. It is just our attitude that once goals were set, we went for broke. This band has been always about pushing the envelope. Granted, we don’t get them granted. Being grateful of what’ve achieved and what we have now is imperative.

Being in the hardcore scene for more than a decade, what kind of significant differences did you notice in the scene?

This so called Digital World (a.k.a. connected world driven by iPhone) has changed everything. How we think and behave. It has impacted the scene a lot. It has changed (for the worse) the music industry and challenged conventional business approach. As a result, music industry is suffering. The same goes for hardcore scene. However, the core has stayed the same. Hardcore is still well alive everywhere.

How do you guys feel about the upcoming South East Asia tour? What kind of audience do you expect? You played in Indonesia back then in 2009, and this will be your second time. What makes you want to go back?

We are very excited. We’ve been to various countries and cities in the region for the past few years. Kids really welcomed us. In fact, “welcome” was underestimated. Kids went crazy for us and has inspired us. We played some of our best shows. Their constant love for us has one of the key motivational drivers.

To be more specific, we will be in Thailand for the first time. It will fun! I personally love the country and hardcore kids over there. As for Malaysia and Indonesia, it’s been 5-7 years since we went there last time. Way long overdue. I know there were bands that actually covered our songs. I’m so flattered… SEA has definitely one of the best hardcore scenes in the world. It will be legendary!

You have toured in many countries. So far, which audience has left the biggest impression on you?

You are killing me! I can’t pick one! Great question though, I would say all of them. Just off the top of my head – All the tours in the US, Malaysia, Indonesia, Tokyo.

You played in SXSW in 2013. How was it? Do you guys think it’s the highest achievement so far?

It was an honour to play SXSW. How we were invited to play there officially was unbelievable. General director of the festival came to Korea for music conference hosted by Korean government and there was a business session between them and our record label. I came in and pitched us to them through a 30 min presentation. A month later, we got the deal. We got to play with some of the best korean rock bands and K-pop bands. We were featured main news on the KBS and SBS, which are the mainstream tv broadcasting channels. In terms of publicity, it was one of the top moments for the band. I just still can’t believe all of this actually happened.

I honestly don’t think it wasn’t the highest achievement though. Our record deal with US based record label Think Fast and the first / second US tours were the highest achievements if I had to choose. What I’m most proud of is the fact that we’ve toured the world as one of pioneer bands from Asia and inspired a lot of kids and we contributed to building strong and healthy  Korean hardcore scene with our friends.

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What are your goals for 2015?

SEA tour is our top priorities for now. After that, we will spend more time on overseas tours. We are now in talks with big plans that I think will blow people away. We will announce them once they are all confirmed. We also have great shows lined up in Korea with awesome bands. With the strongest era for the band, we will continue to play as much as possible domestically and internationally. We will release a quick documentary for this SEA tour and release a new music video! It will be another exciting year for us. 16 years but still dedicated to hardcore!

The Geeks’ SEA tour 2015:

January 16: Bangkok (Thailand)
January 17: Jakarta (Indonesia)
January 18: Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)

Buy The Geeks’ latest album Still Not In This Alone here.

[The Geeks’ Facebook] [The Geeks’ Myspace]

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