Smacksoft to tour US, Europe

By John Redmond

While the commercial music scene is dominated by an endless string of girl-group, boy-band clones hoping to capture international fame, Korean post-punk band Smacksoft has been setting the local expat music scene on fire.

Smacksoft will head to the U.S. next month to play at SXSW in Texas and at CAAMFest in San Francisco, followed by a show at the CinemAsia Film Festival in Amsterdam in April.

The band will hold a fundraiser show at Nest Nada in Hongdae March 7 to help it cover some of its tour costs.

Smacksoft is one of the top rock bands in Korea. Its front woman, Whang Bo-ryung has been active in the indie scene since the mid-1990s and is one of the Hongdae’s most-respected female rockers.

Smacksoft’s 2012 “Follow Your heart” album was nominated for Best Modern Rock Album at the 2013 Korean Music Awards.Whang will be releasing a new seven-song solo EP called “As if Nothing Ever Happened” this week, and the band will release a new full-length album in June.

Widely recognized as one of the top acts in Korean rock music, Smacksoft crafts a fantastic, densely-layered hybrid sound of post-punk, rock and electronica. Whang has been at the forefront of the country’s underground scene since debuting with “Cat with Three Ears” in 1998.

Releasing the album under her own name, she formed Smacksoft shortly after issuing her second solo album, “Sun Sign,” in 2001. Touring in support of “Sun Sign” as Smacksoft, in 2002 the band showcased the offering at gigs throughout Korea and Japan.

Shortly after that, Smacksoft went on hiatus as Whang took time off to travel and focus on her education. The band is heavily influenced by artists such as Brian Eno, Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth.

Post-punk is a rock music genre that paralleled and emerged from the initial punk rock explosion of the late 1970s. The genre retains a strong association with punk, especially art punk, but is more complex and experimental.

The members are guitarist and vocalist Whang, guitarist Rainbow99, drummer Suh Jin-shil, Shin Ji-yong on bass and Kang Ha-neul on keyboards.

The show starts at 8 p.m. and will cost 20,000 won. Performers will include Apollo 18, Rainbow99 and belly dancers Eshe & Navah.

The closest subway station to Nest Nada is Hongik University, exit 8.