Posted on August 22, 2014


Burning Hepburn are one of Korea’s longest-running punk bands, and I’ve been planning to interview them for ages. Their participation in the New Generation of Ska Festival meant it was high time I did just that. These guys are from Daejeon, and they’re still headquartered there. They’ve worked for over a decade at expanding the scene outside of Seoul, even writing an official cheer song for Daejeon FC. They've built up a lot of experience over the years and have a keen insight into the music scene in Korea.

First, how did you come up with the name Burning Hepburn? What does it mean?

Burning Hepburn : We've been using the name Burning Hepburn ever since it was accidentally created by the original members during a discussion about the band name. We were only 18 and didn't give it any special meaning. We've been asked the same question many times and used to give a convoluted explanation, but to tell the truth, it's just a name without meaning. Ha ha.

Tell me about the Daejeon punk music scene.

Burning Hepburn : Actually there isn’t much of a movement that could be called a "scene" for punk or any other form of rock culture, but some bands are persevering by themselves. We are also trying harder to help get something started in Daejeon. In Korea, most things, including indie music, are focused in Seoul; in particular, counter culture like punk is thought to be quite difficult to maintain in other areas. Especially when it takes only an hour for audiences to get to Seoul by KTX.

I hear that Burning Hepburn wrote the anthem for Daejeon Citizen FC. Can you tell us about that? How important is that to you, your band, and your scene?

Burning Hepburn : We've got many cheer songs for Daejeon Citizen FC. Actually I didn’t write them because we were fans of DCFC. There were some football fans, workers, whom we knew personally. We started to take part as a local band and that paved the way for us to become familiar with the team’s supporters, too. Since then, the fans of DCFC who became interested in punk music have been very helpful at some live clubs in Daejeon.

Around that time, there was a band called The Great Van. As I understand it, this was basically Burning Hepburn. What can you tell me about The Great Van, and what happened to it?

Burning Hepburn : I haven't heard that name in such a long time. After I was discharged from military duty, I took a shot at changing the band name. We played as The Great Van for a little while but soon we changed back to Burning Hepburn. You know even what you really don't need to remember. The Great Van wasn't basically Burning Hepburn. We used that name only for a short time. Burning Hepburn was formed in 2000, before The Great Van happened.

Back in 2007, I recall there was a very cool punk club in Daejeon called Going Merry. Who operated that, and what happened to it?

Burning Hepburn : Going Merry was the club we used to run by ourselves after I left the army. Punk music was played every weekend. It was fun but it was more difficult to manage the club than we'd expected. Most importantly, we had a change of some members so it became impossible to run the club anymore. We reached a crossroads at which we had to decide whether to keep the band or to run the club. So we started recording our album instead of resigning the club lease. That's the way Going Merry went.

Have you ever felt the need to relocate to Seoul?

Burning Hepburn : Sometimes, I think it would give us more chances to play for more people if we were living in Seoul. However, all the members have their own lives here in Daejeon. It’s also not so far to get from Daejeon to Seoul so we don't feel it inconveniences us much (except the driver). And I hope someday there will magically be a local scene like Hongdae in Daejeon, too.

What is needed in order to develop a punk scene in Daejeon? 

Burning Hepburn : In Korea, everything converges on Seoul. It's not the only problem, but also I think there is a kind of tangled sense of inferiority which is felt in other provincial areas. For example, some people think that everything in Seoul is better and nicer, and things that are only in Daejeon don't seem so good, since they still stay in Daejeon... Somehow, bands from Seoul seem more glamorous and seem to play better, and so a lot more people go to the same live club in Daejeon when bands come to play from Seoul. I think it's important to both bands and audiences to solve this kind of problem. Bands should do their best when performing, and audiences should support and be prouder of their local bands and come to see their gigs more often.

What is the future of Burning Hepburn?

Burning Hepburn : The same as we've been doing. We'll keep enjoying playing in this band. Making songs about our thoughts, meeting friends at many shows.


Interview / Pictures : Jon Dunbar (
Translation : Goyang Carter

For more information on the band, check them out on the following websites :

Facebook :
Official Website :
Twitter :
DoIndie :
Email :

NGOSKA Festival : 

Burning Hepburn are one of the acts booked for the big FREE street ska festival on August 30. For more information about that huge show, read this interview:

Date : August 30th 
Venue : Sinchon's Munhwa Geori (Street of Culture) - 18-9 Changcheon-dong Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
Price : FREE
Lineup : Rollings (Japan), Autocratics (Japan), Bruce Lee Band (USA), Skasucks, Beach Valley, Burning Hepburn, Ska Wakers, No. 1 Korean, Rudy Guns, Lazybone, Reska & Pegurians ... MORE.

For more information on the festival, please head to the following sites:

Facebook :
Twitter (Skasucks) :
Tumblebug :
Contact :

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