INTERvIEW

VOID

The visual kei band from South Korea
Could you tell us how the band was formed and why you chose a Visual Kei style?
Toa: All of us were originally members of different bands. But finally we came up with an idea of creating our own band with an unusual and interesting concept. Why did we choose Visual Kei? Well, we were actually inspired by such genres as Glam Rock and Glam Metal a lot. These two were really popular with Western audience at that time. But still one could hardly find an Asian Glam or Visual Kei band. So we decided to give it a try and create one.
You are performing at various festivals now. What kind of reaction do you usually get from the audience?
Toa: People usually get very surprised since our style and appearance are quite uncommon for Koreans. But surprisingly enough we still get a positive response while performing.
How many Visual Kei bands are there in Korea?
Toa: Almost none.
Suhyun: Just a few bands like this.
Shin: There are only 4 Visual Kei bands in Korea.
Toa: Yeah, about 4 or 5 bands.
Are Japanese Visual Kei bands popular in Korea?
Toa: There is one famous Visual Kei band in Korea. They were active in 2000 and got quite successful. There were other Glam/Visual Kei bands after them but all of them hardly put any make-up although this is one of the main features of the concept. As for now we are the only ones who not only perform Visual Kei music but also have a corresponding look.
Do your fans get fascinated by solely your music? Or does your appearance have an impact as well?
Suhyun: I think both are important in our case. So it will be fifty-fifty.
Please, tell us about your Japanese promotion.
Toa: Right, we promote our music in Japan as well. We debuted in Tokyo in last year's July. Japanese audience seemed really surprised to see a Korean Visual Kei band. But they did like our music a lot and we even managed to sell all our CDs out!
Is rock music popular in Korea?
Suhyun: Not really. Nowadays such genres as EDM (used by many idol groups) are trendy so musicians are sometimes just feel insecure of sticking to an unpopular rock music.
And what do you think of W24? Do you consider them a K-POP band or a rock band?
Suhyun: I'd rather call them a K-POP band.
Shin: Rock music used to be quite popular in Korea before. But starting from around 2000 various K-POP groups have been appearing eventually. Their popularity has skyrocketed in a blink which has obviously put rock music aside. That's why rock bands have a tough time promoting in Korea now.
Toa: Do you know FT ISLAND? They had their debut as an idol group but now they are commonly considered a rock band.
Which Korean rock bands do you personally like?
Shin: It's quite hard to tell. Honestly speaking there are not so many rock musicians now in Korea so we usually listen to some Western rock music. But if I had to choose a Korean band... I'd probably choose "Guckkasten".
Suhyun: "Jambinai".
Robyn: "YB".
Toa: For me it's "Wiretap In My Ear".
Please, tell us about your latest single "Last Romancer".
Robyn: Usually I'm the one in charge of songwriting but this time I worked with our bass guitarist (Suhyun). We wanted to try something new so this single is a bit different from our past releases. It was an interesting experience for me too.
Has Visual Kei become your lifestyle or do you use it only for band performances?
Toa: We don't dress up like this in our everyday life. Only the hair color remains.
Shin: Toa and Robyn stick to Japanese fashion style and I prefer Korean one, especially when it comes to wearing shorts.
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How much does it take to create your stage look?
Robyn: It's usually 1.5 hours per one member.
Toa: We always discuss the concept with a stylist beforehand.
Shin: Yeah, we have special staff to take care of our looks.
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Are there any girl bands performing Visual Kei in Korea? Maybe some girl groups like DreamCatcher, for example, can try this genre one day?
Shin: No, there aren't such girl bands in Korea. There are Visual Crush groups but that's different from Visual Kei.
Toa: We do enjoy their music but they are most likely not to get a chance to try this genre since it's not popular in Korea.
Suhyun: Cute and charming look is much more appreciated now.
Shin: So they would remain an idol group anyway
What do you think about K-POP?
Toa: This is the hottest issue in Korean music industry right now. We think positively about it. Personally, I really like Lovelyz.
Suhyun: And I like DEAN's music. Especially his song "Instagram". I'm giving guitar lessons and this song is the most popular choice among my students.
Robyn: I also like K-POP. If I need to name my favourite groups I'll choose BTS and Wanna One.
Shin: I like BTS. I haven't attended any of their concerts but I've heard that they communicate with their fans really closely. People say that the members seem to love their fans even more than their fans love them. And this is what I really like about this group.
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And how do you communicate with your fans?
Robyn: We usually do it after the concert. People come to us to take a photo or have a chat.
Suhyun: Our band also has a Facebook account. We use it to communicate with our fans.
Were there any incidents during your concerts?
Toa: Three strings of Robyn's guitar got broken during one of our performances.
Robyn: It didn't hurt me but I got really scared.
Shin: There was one funny incident and we even have a video of it. Once during the performance Robyn's wig suddenly got off his head. Our fans were literally crying with laughter!
You have an experience of being dressed like Japanese school girls during one of your performances. Who initiated that and why did you decide to do that?
Toa: It was our band's idea.
Shin: Actually it was Suhyun who suggested that first. And all of us agreed with him immediately.
Suhyun: We are ready to do everything our fans want us to do.
Shin: But no more wigs!
Do you have to pay the transportation and accommodation expenses by yourself?
Suhyun: It depends on the situation. We can either be invited or go somewhere by ourselves.
What are your plans for the future?
Suhyun: We'd like to do a world tour.
Robyn: I wish we can become as awesome as L'Arc-en-Ciel.