Korean artists to show off own style at SXSW, TGE

Wendy Kim, March 1, 2017, 10:18 a.m.

From hip-hop and punk to idol singers, artists of different genres are set to showcase Korea‘s musical offerings at the upcoming South by Southwest festival in the US and at UK’s The Great Escape festival.

Musicians participating in the “K-Pop Night Out” stage, jointly hosted by the Korea Creative Content Agency and the Culture Ministry, discussed their goals for the events during a press event Tuesday in Seoul.

The annual concert, launched in 2013, showcases artists from a wide range of genres -- including garage rock, hip-hop and punk rock. The concerts typically feature mostly underground or lesser-known artists with one or two big names or idol singers thrown in.

Last year’s lineup consisted of Epik High, Crayon Pop, Asian Chairshot, EE, Eastern Sidekick, Hitchhiker and the Barberettes.

This year‘s lineup boasts more star power than usual, with popular girl group Red Velvet along with star rapper couple Tiger JK and Yoon Mi-rae on the stage. Hyolyn of girl group Sistar will make an appearance, Big Phony will also make their SXSW debut, while No Brain and Galaxy Express are returning for a second time.

“I think it’s important to show off our own colors (as artists). Some Asian artists tend to get timid in a foreign country, but the music is a language in itself,” said Lee Sung-woo, leader and vocalist for punk rock band No Brain.

Tiger JK, considered one of the pioneers of Korean hip-hop, advised fellow musicians not to blindly mimic other musicians and to establish their own unique styles of music.

“There’s no exact answer (on how to be successful overseas), but I think trying your best to make your own kind of music would give you the best shot,” he said.

SXSW is an annual festival in Austin, Texas, which showcases films, interactive media, music and conferences. This year’s event will be held from March 10 to 19.

In addition to the state-funded concert, other Korea-based artists including Kim Ban-jang and Windy City, Glen Check, Luna Lee, Neon Bunny and XXX have been invited by SXSW organizers to take part in the festival.

The K-pop showcase for TGE in Britain will feature bands Sultan of the Disco, the Barberettes and the Monotones, as well as rapper MC Sniper.

Sultan of the Disco said they became confident they could succeed overseas during their two past performances in the UK, when they noticed many of the same fans made repeat appearances at their show.

TGE, a three-day music festival held in Brighton and Hove, England, hosts around 300 bands from various genres throughout the city. This year’s event will be held from May 18 to 20.

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