Posted on May 21, 2016
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This probably goes without saying, but I’m someone who tends to be really into indie music. On any given evening I can usually be found at venues around town checking out that night’s show. Be that as it may, going to see live acts at these venues is not always a pleasant experience. Put simply, because of how much I love indie music, the weight of my expectations often leaves me feeling disappointed when I’m faced with a band that doesn’t peak my interest or quite reach that threshold of what I consider ‘good’. Recently, however, my ‘good band batting average’ at shows hasn’t been too bad as I’ve been able to find a musician I really liked about once every three or so visits to a venue. Some of the bands that have stood out for me are ‘Light & Noise, who invokes a little nostalgia by reminding me of the band ‘Pavement’ and Billy Carter, who is excellent at getting everyone completely engrossed and banging their head along with their bluesy style. However, the band that has made the greatest impression on me so far this year is ‘Bam-ShinSa’. Of course, it’s only natural that after seeing such cool bands I ended up buying copies of their CDs. It turns out that the aforementioned bands all have the one thing in common, that if you take a look at their album sleeves, they all contain the mark of a record label called Electric Muse.
Eh? Electric Muse, that’s a weird name.
Honestly, that was my first reaction. I didn’t think the name suited the label all that well. It might be because of my own prejudices the word ‘Muse’ makes me think of beautiful female singer songwriters, or perhaps because none of those bands I mentioned above are electronic in any way. The name, regardless of its appropriateness, got me interested and I found myself looking up other artists affiliated with the label. First, I discovered that my misconception about the word ‘muse’ was unfounded. Electric Muse has several prominent female singer songwriters like ‘Kang A-Sol’, ‘Earip’, ‘Big Baby Driver. What’s more is that there are some serious folk musicians such as ‘Kim Mokin’ and ‘Dringe Augh’ in their catalogue. Not only that, but the post rock band Say Sue Me, who we interviewed on DOINDIE recently (Click Here), are signed to the label as well. These days, rather than being interested in the name of the label I am more interested in the fact that the label has a wide variety of cool musicians signed to it.
Over the last few years it’s been increasingly rare to see labels really going out of their way to promote their artists. Talent programs such as EBS’s ‘Hello Rookie’ & CJ’s ‘Tune Up’ have become the main gateway to indie music in Korea. Indie artists have stood alone to promote themselves via their own SNS channels like Twitter or Facebook, and so the importance of labels has diminished somewhat.
However the artist incubating programs offered by broadcasting stations and corporations often feel particularly ‘business like’, so listeners might doubt or question exactly how much help they’ll provide to the artists. Additionally, simply relying on SNS channels to promote yourself is not enough to ensure sustainability for an artist's career. And so I yearn for the return of the good old traditional labels. It’s a bit of an outdated way of thinking, but I still think there is a much better chance of a good album coming out from a decent label than from these major corporate sources. I don’t believe that it’s a coincidence that the three musicians I’ve liked the most recently are all from the same label. In this context it’s really encouraging to see that all the artists signed to Electric Muse are receiving a great response from the indie scene as a whole, not just from your humble writer. I want to send my love & support to all the labels, not just Electric Muse. They’re doing a great job!
Electric Muse puts on a regular showcase concert called ‘Electric Side’ which features artists affiliated to the label. The latest will be the third show in the series and will feature The March Kings, Billy Carter, Light & Noise and Say Sue Me. If you are interested in indie music, this is a show well worth checking out.
Article: J-Myon Kim
English Translation: Patrick Connor & Doyeon Lim
Editing: Alex Ameter
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Date : May 28th (Sat) : 19:00
Venue : Club Bbang
Adv Ticket : 20,000won + 1 Free Drink (http://goo.gl/forms/EUcGuIR1JW)
Door Ticket : 25,000won + 1 Free Drink
For more information on Electric News, please check out the following websites :