Interview with Galaxy Express
Infront of their US Tour Galaxy Express shared their story with us.
Jonghyun: Hi! We’re Galaxy Express. We’re three rock ‘n’ roll loving guys from Seoul, South Korea! We formed our band in 2006. I play guitar, Juhyun plays bass, and Heekwon plays drums.
How did you end up creating a band?
Juhyun: Jonghyun and I used to play in punk bands. I was in a band called Ghetto Bombs and some of our members had to leave the band to do their mandatory service in the Korean army. So I wanted to make a new band. I had seen Jonghyun perform and thought we’d work well together so I called him and asked him if he wanted to start a new group with me.
What does music mean to you? Has the meaning changed throughout the years?
Juhyun: Music means passion and energy. Galaxy Express is a rock ‘n’ roll band. For us, rock music means having fun, getting wild, and feeling free. We feel the most alive when we’re onstage, sharing our love of rock ‘n’ roll and getting crazy with audiences.
You are a rock band, but have you ever thought of composing and performing other types of music, or infusing it with your current style?
Jonghyun: Our sound mixes elements of rock, punk, and psychedelic music. Juhyun and I grew up listening to rock music and it’s the style of music we love the best. Heekwon used to be really into acid jazz and fusion music before he joined Galaxy Express. Who knows, maybe we’ll work more elements of that into our sound in the future.
Where do you draw your inspiration to compose new songs? Is it random, or do you discuss themes you want to feature on your album?
Juhyun: We draw inspiration for our music from our daily lives. We’re inspired by all the people we meet and by everything we see and do.
Do you have special feelings performing at a certain venue or festival, a place where you are always happy to return?
Jonghyun: This month we’ll be playing at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Conference and Festival in Austin, Texas. We also played at SXSW last year. We had a blast there! There were so many cool people and good bands at the festival. The energy in Austin during SXSW is amazing. We can’t wait to arrive back there. Playing SXSW and experiencing everything the festival has to offer is our main reason for touring the USA again.
In the near future you'll be touring around the USA. What are your expectations?
Jonghyun: This will be our second time touring the United States. Last year’s tour was really good, but we think this year’s will be even better. We’re playing more gigs than we did last year. We’re excited to meet new people, learn about new bands, and experience new things. This tour is kind of like a musical adventure for us. We expect it to be really fun and to teach us new things that will help make us a stronger band.
How did you come to the decision to tour overseas? Are there more places you'd want to visit if given the chance?
Heekwon: Korea’s music scene is really small, so most musicians want to try and perform in other countries. Also, touring is a great way to experience new cultures and learn about different kinds of music. Who wouldn’t love that? We’ve been really lucky so far because we’ve been given opportunities to tour in Taiwan, France, Hong Kong, Canada, the United States, and Japan. We’re really grateful for this.
Juhyun: We want to tour everywhere we can and share our music with as many people as possible!
Jonghyun: I really want to play in North Korea. I’d love to see what people in North Korea think of our music.
What kind of response have you been getting from international fans? Was there something that surprised you or something particularly memorable?
Jonghyun: All the people we’ve played for in other countries have reacted very positively to our music. People have cheered loudly when we played, and said very kind things to us after the gigs. All of the reviews in the media have been good too! When we played in Taiwan a few years ago, we did a psychedelic song and this old man stood up and started dancing wildly to the music. It was really cool to see. Last year when we toured the United States we played a house party in Leander, Texas. It’s a small city that is about 30 minutes outside of Austin, Texas. We met a girl there that had all of our full-length albums and EPs. She said that she was a longtime fan of Galaxy Express. That was our first time touring America so we were really surprised that we already had at least one fan there.
The music scenes in Europe, South America and North America are more varied than the music scene in Korea. The Western influence in current popular music in Korea is massive, but what do you think, why it is so narrow?
Jonghyun: The music scene in Korea is small, but I don’t think it’s narrow. You can find bands playing all styles of music in Korea. In the Hongdae area of Seoul there are many good acts making rock, punk, psychedelic, pop, electronica, hip hop, dance, jazz, blues, folk, experimental music, etc.
Which elements of your music would you like to bring out more?
Juhyun: For our upcoming American gigs we want to add more of a traditional Korean psychedelic feeling to our sets. We want to try and make our songs a bit more dynamic and get deeper into the music.
Could you share an anecdote from your 'Wild 30' project?
Jonghyun: We decided to go to a noraebang (Korean karaoke room) and sing our song Jungle the Black. Juhyun and I jumped around and acted like fools while singing along to our own song. Heekwon played tambourine. It was really fun to do. There is a recording of us doing this on the Wild Days album. There is a video of us doing it as well on YouTube.
What gave you the idea to create an album in just 30 days?
Jonghyun: We split from our old record label in the spring of 2010 and started our own music company called Love Rock. Our goal with our company was to try and recapture the energy and passion we felt when we first picked up our instruments and began playing music. One way we thought we could do this was by trying to write, record, and release an album in only 30 days.
We started writing Wild Days on April 1st and released the album on May 1st. The project was a lot of fun to do, but we had a lot of good ideas that we couldn’t use because of the time limit we gave ourselves.
After completing your US tour, do you have any plans for future yet? Can we expect future releases for 2012?
Jonghyun: We’ll start work on our next album after our USA tour. We don’t know when it will be released, but we hope to have it out before the end of the year. We plan to spend more than 30 days working on this one! If possible, we’d like to do some more gigs in other countries this year too.
Any final words to our readers?
Juhyun: Thank you so much for reading about Galaxy Express. We hope we can meet you one day and do some wild and crazy things together! We’ll be touring the United States in March. If you live in one of the cities we’ll play in please come watch us and say “hi!”
KoME would like thank Galaxy Express for the interview.