QRIMOLE Episode 12: a date with Jrockalypse

It’s the return of Kpopalypse’s monthly question-and-answer series, QRIMOLE!  Read on as Kpopalypse answers more questions from readers!

There were a lot of questions about idol vocals that were prompted by The V Files Episode 4, many were similar to the below:

why do companies bother making idols sing with backtracks when they can just lipsynch? it’s the same idea and sounds less shitty

In your V Files, episode 4, you talk about vocal nodules and how unlikely they were given how rarely idols sing live, but there are a few idols like Kyuhyun who have gotten them. So I’m wondering, why? Why do idols bother to sing live–knowingly overworking their voices–when they can so easily get away with lipsynching? Is it like a point of pride for them or something that they should sing even with the mic turned off?

The answer to all of them is the same – because fans as well as k-pop cynics get upset about idols “cheating”.  Most idols don’t do pure lipsync but sing over the backing track that contains their own voice on it.  This is effectively “lipsync by stealth” anyway, and it’s not that far removed from miming because you can let the backing track do more of the work if you want to, but it also satisfies the requirement of fans that their idols “really sing live” to some degree.  This is why MR Removed videos cropped up, to try and separate the backings from the live vocals and determine how much idols actually really do sing (although MR Removed can’t actually determine this properly anyway).

The other type of question I received a lot this month was more or less like this:

Hello! I hope that you are having a good day/night.You talked about vocal nodules in your latest V files for which I wish to thank you because this faux worry for Rose everywhere was getting really annoying. But now I have a question: Daesung from Bigbang has vocal nodules which I have heard that he refuses to get surgery on because he fears that his voice might change. If he does, how much can it change and is it necessary that it will change? Also, in an average Bigbang song Taeyang has more lines than Daesung, then why doesn’t he suffer from vocal nodules too? Damn, that sounds wrong but I am curious. By the way I assumed that you liked GOT because of all that violence peppered with nudity. Also, I am waiting for that healthy porn for women post now that Winner are apparently going the Shota route (will Mino’s skirt be considered shota or bad cross-dressing,though).  Thanks Oppar!

Getting surgery on your voice doesn’t necessarily change your voice, but there is a risk that it can.  Usually the pitch changes rather than the tone, meaning that songs someone could sing before, they might not be able to sing after, because they won’t have the right vocal range to hit the same notes anymore.  Of course, a regular band would just change the song’s key to suit, but in k-pop people expect the backing track to always be the same.  Imagine SM having to re-record every single one of their backing tracks for Girls’ Generation in a different key because their singers had vocal surgery which meant they couldn’t hit the same notes anymore – the fans would probably get annoyed at the rewritten backing tracks.  Given this, plus that vocal nodules are basically a non-issue for any k-pop singer because of the plethora of cheating tools available, it’s generally a bad idea to get surgery to correct them.  Yes I know what people are going to say: “but if they’re cheating anyway, why not just get the surgery?” – sorry but that’s still a better reason to not get surgery than it is to get surgery!

It’s really often nowadays when I read something (usually about BTS) along the lines of “[Kpop group X] only has weak vocals because they’ve damaged their voice a lot over the years. They should start developing singing methods that don’t damage their voices so much before the damage becomes permanent.” I’m just confused since I don’t know a person can damage their own voice via poor singing. How and what poor singing methods can damage the singer’s voice and does it happen often in Kpop? If so, who are some idols with damaged voices?

I actually wrote The V Files Episode 4 before I read this question, which obviously answers this question.  As usual it’s k-pop fans making a big old fuss about something that doesn’t really matter and has no relevance whatsoever to the realities of pop music.  Given the plethora of miming and vocal cheating going on the chances of any k-pop star damaging their voice in a meaningful career-stopping way is essentially zero.

This was highlighted further to me by a question (which wasn’t really a question, but was still interesting) that someone dropped on my ask.fm:

Just to add to your last V Files post and “vocal damage”, in Korea there’s a particular folk style of music called Pansori that is basically a form of musical storytelling with only one singer and a drummer. Pansori requires their singers to, in short terms, fuck up their vocal cords to achieve the specific sounds the style demands and the road to that is actually pretty difficult, with hours and hours of crazy training, counting coughing blood as a signal of good progress, outsinging waterfalls and other similar shit like that. These people spend YEARS and a whole lot of effort trying to develop vocal nodules, proving that maybe completely “ruining” and “killing” one’s voice just from singing “wrong” (like those concerned NB commenters said) is in reality a little more difficult than they believe. Here’s a video that explains it better than me and some reading.  Also a kpop example, Suzy did a movie about the first female pansori and took a whole year previous to the shooting, practicing the singing style, she also had a personal teacher with her at all times so she spent about two years deliberately practicing unhealthy singing that promotes vocal nodules, her voice? well, she said sometimes her throat would hurt at the time. I know she probably wasn’t trained at the same level as a true professional pansori singer and she’s had years of miss A hiatus to rest, but still that’s just another testament of the unlikelihood of anyone in kpop losing their voice from taxing their vocal cords with bad technique.

Trufax.  It’s also a classic example of what I spoke about in The V Files Episode 3, about how vocal techniques themselves are subjective and culturally determined.  The aspects of vocal technique that make a good pansori singer do not make a good opera singer or a good pop singer.

Onto some other questions:

Maybe I haven’t read enough interviews, but why does it seem like most solo acts state that they love touring, enjoy putting on a show and feeding off of the energy of the fans while most bands state that they find tours excruciating and at the end of them they feel miserable? Also, what is it like for you when you tour? What constitutes a good touring experience from your position as an artist?

Bands have to lug more equipment around, that’s one reason!  Carrying equipment fucking sucks!  But it might also be that most solo artists who tour frequently are in the pop realm whereas touring bands tend to encompass more genres and groups who are “less pop” are often a bit more honest, or have less commercial pressure to lie and say that everything’s great all the time.  Touring is pretty grueling for anybody who isn’t an absolute A-list celebrity but it also has good elements.  My idea of a good tour is one where the hotel is nice, there’s good places to eat, the sound and light engineers know what they’re doing, we play well, the crowds are cool and there are no transport mishaps.  Subtract any of those things and you have a “less good” tour!

 

It’s been a while since you made that post about privileges. But I wanted to say that some of us are lucky because our oppars don’t write music themselves. So, we can loathe Dean for having shitty taste in music but we can’t criticize EXO who are only waiting to be released from Sm’s shackles. Gotta say this: I enjoy this a lot. Also, it’s quite a privilege for them; they keep their taste in the innermost closets of SM dungeon.. safe from being exposed.

Being able to enjoy k-pop at all is a privilege.  Kpopalypse will continue to assist you in enjoying your privileges!

Sorry for bothering you, but, what do you think of this article:  Is this legit? I really like one point: “14. IT HURTS PEOPLE, SO IT SHOULD BE BANNED.  Lots of things hurt people, but creating rules where you’re not allowed to offend people is to invite tyranny. Besides, the most offended are often the least reasonable. In Iran, where they practice sharia law, the offended reign supreme, yet they’re still offended.” Does this makes me a heartless and/or ignorant person? Can I use this article to annoy the pretentious AJ? How? Thank you in advance Oppar…

I agree that offending people is healthy and that such things shouldn’t be policed.  I wouldn’t know about a lot of the other points in that article however, just on a factual level in terms of American history or whatever, because it’s not something I really follow or give a shit about.  Strange as it may seem, people in other countries don’t actually know or care that much about what happens inside the USA and whether they used to have minstrel shows or not.  What the fuck is a minstrel show anyway.  It sounds like the most boring shit ever.  Fucking hell you Americans are weird.  Nobody would even remember that stupid fucking minstrel shows even existed at all if you Americans didn’t have this weird fetish for pointing it out all the time every time somebody paints their face black for a completely unrelated reason.

 

I see that one of the greatest asset for an idol group is a member who can speak English. (Imagine BTS without Rap Monster). So if a company is making a group and it has to choose among members that have t*l*nt and others that can communicate in English, it will choose the later, isn’t it? Are Kpop agencies going to make their trainees learn English in the near future?

I think that a lot of the larger agencies do train their singers to speak English especially if they have designs on the overseas market.  I know that JYP did this with The Wonder Girls but he’s not the only one.  It’s not just about the overseas market however, English is the “language of pop” in much the same sense that Italian is the “language of opera” and so it’s probably beneficial for anyone singing pop music to learn some English catchphrases, just like it’s beneficial for opera singers in training to learn how to do those long, round Italian vowels.  Certain terms in English are seen as “cool” and “trendy” in some non-English speaking countries, for better or worse.

I want to leave this Kpop realm but it’s not easy. I realized that the short time intervals, in which I consume Kpop, together take hours of my precious time. Is there a way to get over this addictive drug that is Kpop?

No.

Oppar, you said that Red Velvet’s Red Flavor is like T-ara’s yayaya, is that mean a good thing or a bad thing?  And I’ll admit, I think I am tone deaf. Till now, I still can’t differentiate normal pop song with it’s subgenre like tropical shithouse, bubblegum pop, electropop, etc. I even surprised when you pointed out that Mamamoo’s Yes I Am was in tropical shithouse genre. Does Red Flavor is also a tropical shithouse song? I’m a little curious, since I wanna learn to be able to at least differentiate songs.

I’m amazed how many people actually asked me this.  T-ara’s “Yayaya” appeared on this list, so you should be able to figure out the rest from there.  No, “Red Flavor” is not a tropical shithouse song, I’d probably categorise it in the subgenre that there is no official name for but which I loosely refer to as “screechy bullshit”.  Telling genres apart comes with practice but really it’s not that important to be able to do this, at the end of the day it’s all pop music and you either like it or you don’t, for whatever reason, which is fine.

Hey Kpopalypse,
‘So I was reading the YouTube comments for Red Velvet’s new song Red Flavor and there were quite a few people talking about how well they harmonize. It got me thinking about how there is plenty of harmonizing in K-Pop songs, but harmonies are very rarely utilized in the live performances of the song.. they are usually just part of the Backing track. So here’s the first question… do idols even have to bother learning harmonization, or is it all done in the mixing and production of the song? Would the song producers have a member come in and sing the harmony line and layer it, or do they just modulate the pitch of the recorded vocals. Second, when groups do briefly harmonize on stage (like Mamamoo), what goes on during the actual recording of the track? Would they bring multiple members into the sound room and record their vocals together, or is it done separately and then mixed later with the understanding that the members will learn how to sing what is in the finalized track?

Almost no k-pop groups actually harmonise live.  It’s generally done on the studio track and left as part of the backings, probably because it’s a pain in the ass to try and reproduce harmony vocals accurately while also performing dance routines.  Vast modulation of the pitch is rare because it doesn’t sound very good to do this, it changes the quality of the sound quite a bit when you pitch-bend more than about a tone, it’s a fairly unnatural sound, however more subtle pitch-correction (Autotune etc) is used pretty much 100% of the time in commercial pop.  Since harmony vocals are often one of the first things to be ghosted (sung by someone who isn’t the actual “singer”) the standard technique on high productions is to record each part individually with overdubs.  Only groups where the “vocals” of more than one member are somewhat of a selling point (The Barberettes, Mamamoo and similar) would probably bother to cut studio harmony vocals as a group.

Heyo! How are you doing? I wanted to ask a music related question. I took up guitar quite recently as a hobby and I’m not much of a musical person so it’s difficult for me and I wanted to ask a couple of questions. I don’t want to hire a teacher btw because it’s nothing more than a hobby so I’m a bit lost. Should I be learning theory first? I’ve been learning songs but hardly any theory. Also, what’s the best way to learn a strum pattern? There are always too many vocals or other instruments over the guitar for me to realise. Lastly, I can’t seem to play a song smoothly without stopping really awkwardly in the middle to change chords. Any tips? Thank you!!!

The theory of rhythm will be helpful if you’re having trouble with strumming.  The basic crux of most strum patterns on the guitar is that you strum down on the beat, and up between the beats.  If you’re having trouble hearing guitar parts, try to at least start with music that is completely guitar-based, don’t try and do busy-sounding commercial pop music where there are several layers of other stuff which is often louder than the guitar.  Quick chord changes is pure practice and nothing else, but the thing to remember is that you don’t have time to move all your fingers one at a time, you have to move them all simultaneously.

Hi! I have some questions…

1. Do you think Apink can be successful if they do a very sexy concept? Or will they be stuck in the cutesy concepts forever?

2. Who do you think is the best vocalist in Kpop? Both male and female and why?

3. Kpop idols know that their job is hard and extremely tiring and can affect both physically and mentally. They have to deal with everything like schedules, interviews fan meets etc…. Sometimes idols quit or leave the group like recently Choa from AOA. So why do kpop idols audition and go through all of this if they know that it is stressful and it may or may not kill them?

4. I know that you dislike Mamamoo. I just want to know specific reasons why….

Apink will probably stick with their current thing forever.  It’s working for them so there’s no reason to change it.  They’re the AC/DC of kpop.

Best vocals – answered in The V Files Episode 3.

People become k-pop idols often because they have no idea how difficult it will be going into it. In rare cases they do have some sense of an idea but the perceived benefits of fame outweigh it (benefits which are actually pretty crap in reality).  Interviews and fan meets aren’t really all that super-stressful in isolation but the constant high-performance aspect of idol life certainly is grinding, and there’s often not a lot of consideration given for any shortfall.   It doesn’t “kill” that many people but it does tend to chew people up and spit them out, it’s a rare person who survives idol life without their mental health taking some pretty severe blows.

I dislike Mamamoo because of Frenchface – how dare they?  Seriously though, I don’t dislike any k-pop group.  Mamamoo just have (mostly) really poor songs, probably because they can actually sing a bit, so songwriters tend to write songs for them that are more templates for vocally showing off rather than actual decent songs someone might want to listen to just for the songs themselves.

Could you do a tour of the Three-D studio? Maybe a quick tour of the booth and all the super expensive equipment on hand? Perhaps livestream an episode of the radio show?

I’ve thought about this, however the main reason why I’ve been slack at livestreaming is that so few people engage with it.  My last livestream was two hours long and had about 40 watchers at its peak, whereas the blog gets more views than that per minute on a regular basis.  Polls related to livestreaming have also indicated that while you generally like the idea of streaming, there’s other content that you all prefer, and since I have limited time and streaming is a hassle to set up, it makes more sense to prioritise the things that are easier for me and more interesting for you.

You’ve explained how in the production of a group song what comes out is largely ‘vocal soup.’ How does this formula change, if at all, for soloists?

It may or may not depending on the soloist.  Someone who is expected to have a characteristic voice can’t really do the “soup” thing but what they can do is double/triple track their own voice a ton, which is actually a really common thing to do in the west too.  For someone with a fantastically generic voice (like so many idol group members) they could soup it but the more likely situation is to get someone else to sing it entirely!

please list top 10 bigbang songs that you truely ok with it. Thanks mate. hope you answer cunt

Nah get farked cunt

This caonima is learning things thanks to you. I want to ask about BTS, since they are marketed as a self-producing group. While I like some of their songs, I can’t help but feel that there’s something wrong with the sound.

Take Spring Day, which I can’t help but describe as “muddy” like I’m hearing it trough an old radio. The voices are unclear, some instruments seem at times off-sync. Is it bad production or are my caonima ears deceiving me? Because this only happens when I listen to BTS. I would appreciate if you could also tell me your opinion on the production of I Need U, Spine Breaker, and Dead Leaves.

This caonima much appreciates you.

I don’t think it has anything to do with the songs themselves, but rather the medium.  If you’re listening to them through YouTube remember that many videos are encoded onto YouTube with a really poor bitrate (sometimes deliberately to make piracy less viable), and you could be noticing this.  Also a bad YouTube upload (or a streamer with not much bandwidth doing the download) can actually insert timing errors and other glitches in songs, plus if YouTube is struggling to stream the song to you at full quality sometimes it will automatically drop the quality until your connection can handle it, and that includes both visuals and audio.  I doubt there’s anything all that odd about the production of BTS songs in their original format, if you’ve got the CDs listen to those and see if you notice the same things.  You might be noticing this more with BTS because perhaps you’re a fan so you’re more inclined to check out lyrics videos, videos with poor transfer and so forth.  BTS are as high-production as anything else in the upper tiers of k-pop, regardless of how much of the “self-producing” hype is true or false (I wouldn’t actually know).

Is there any business/money/practicality reason more nugu companies don’t have their nugu idols regularly pumping out song covers on Youtube? It seems like a simple way of keeping a group on people’s radar, but aside from Lunafly and Dreamcatcher, I can’t think of many nugus who take advantage of the free platform. Going along with that, what do nugu groups and their support teams do between comebacks if they don’t have gigs? Sit and twiddle their thumbs?

They’re training for the next comeback.  It takes a long time to learn those dances well enough so that they’re in muscle memory.  Remember also that Korea have their own equivalents of YouTube, so some groups are more active on other platforms.

1) Any thoughts on Rich Chigga? Is he the same as Psy, whose main schtick is a comedy gimmick that will eventually fade, or is there some genuine talent and potential for being taken seriously as an actual artist? Can the whole “cultural appropriation” argument be applied to him? How good of a rapper is he, really?

2) Aspiring to play guitar again, a little torn between upping my shred game or branching out into some acoustic fingerstyle/Travis picking. Any advice/practice tips? Learning to play super fast like Paul Gilbert is incredibly difficult but I also find that Tommy Emmanuel shit really fucking hard. My ear’s pretty shitty too.

3) Why do I find Sungha Jung boring compared to Tommy Emmanuel? A friend and I did some blind listens to some of their original stuff and we generally preferred Tommy’s guitar playing overall. I dont fucking know why.

I wouldn’t call Rich Chigga a “comedy gimmick” any more than any other rap music is.  Almost all rap music is deliberately comedic on some level, because it’s the ability of a rap line to get a reaction out of a listener which is one of the marks of a truly good rapper (more about this here).  For my money Rich Chigga doesn’t do much for me lyrically, and his beats are absolutely terrible.  As for cultural appropriation, I blame the Americans who exported this shit before anybody else.  Americans can’t be too sour when the rest of the world wants to act American, when Americans have been shoving their pop culture down the rest of the world’s throats for decades.

If you’re learning guitar I’d say it’s more valuable to be an all-rounder than a specialist.  I’m not the best guitar player around by a long shot, but I’m reasonably good at pretty much any style, which makes me more employable as a guitarist than someone who can only do shred and nothing else, or who only can do Travis picking and nothing else.  When grunge music broke through in the 1990s a lot of very good shredders suddenly found themselves out of work due to changes in music fashion, you want to have some insurance against that kind of culture shift.

Sungha Jung is technically amazing (especially for his age) but he doesn’t have a lot of expression in his playing.  Mind you Tommy Emmanuel has the oppsite problem – his playing is full of personality, but it seems to be the personality of a really smug fuck (although apparently he’s really nice in person) so maybe too much personality in your playing can be a bad thing, hahaha.

Hey oppar, love your articles! Was just wondering if you could shed some light on why Jessica was kicked out of snsd because all the fans seem to have different opinions about the whole situation,with some even putting the blame on Jessica herself

My limited understanding of it from half-reading Asian Junkie articles at the time is that Jessica wanted to do her fashion label thing and SNSD at the same time, but this conflicted with SM Entertainment’s plans (probably because they weren’t getting a cut) so they gave her the heave-ho when a resolution couldn’t be reached.  I doubt it’s got that much to do with any of the other girls, but being the reigning A-listers of the label at the time, their loyalty would have understandably been with SM.  Who knows for sure though, but you can bet that there’s bitchiness galore in that group, especially directed at anyone rocking the boat.

Hi! I’m going to a new school this year and one of my goals is to be more confident and outgoing. I’m a pretty insecure person and always get nervous around people, without any actual reasons. Any advice?

Remember that “being outgoing” and “confidence” aren’t quite the same thing.  I’m an extremely confident person, but I’m also quite quiet in groups, not because of any shyness but just because I often don’t have anything that I really want to say to anyone.  I’m exceptionally introverted, but I also have no problems with going against the grain of what other people think, I don’t care about social acceptance or disapproval, and I can get on a stage in front of any number of people and perform with no stage fright whatsoever.  I think true confidence comes from knowing yourself well, and that takes time, and it doesn’t necessarily translate into being outgoing (it might, but it doesn’t have to).  I’d say don’t put pressure on yourself to act a certain way, as long as you’re enjoying your time and getting through school okay then that’s what really matters.

Hi Kpopalypse! Not a complicated question, just wanted to know would you be interested in reading the book The Culting of Brands by Douglas Atkins? It’s not about Kpop per se, but since idols are brands anyway I thought you might be interested. If yes, I will find a way to send it to you!

P. S. Sorry for asking this in QRIMOLE question box, it seems that ask.fm keeps on deleting my question about this book coz I have been asking about it a few times.

All good.  I highly recommend that if you have a burning question that must be answered, and you can wait up to a month for the answer, the Qrimole box is always better than ask.fm!  I would like to read any book and there’s a postal address in the “about” section of my website, however sending k-pop related books is best because I can then write reviews for you.  Oh and don’t send porn because a secretary opens all of my mail and if she sees a Hitomi Tanaka DVD she’ll probably just throw it out (unfortunately).

Hello!
I am a fan of e-sports (LoL) and kpop and when I first got into e-sports (specifically the Korean side) I felt that the fan culture was similar to the culture in Kpop in the sense that they would send gifts, take fancams, have fanmeets and events.
I was wondering why that is the case and would like you to expand on your statement of “a crossover between pop idols and e-sports gamers”.
Sorry if this is confusing and thank you if you answer!
Hope you have a nice day.

Because of my age, I’ve seen computer games grow from a niche concern for teenagers to what is probably becoming the dominant entertainment format.  The people of my age who were the first generation to grow up with computer games as youth, now we’re older guys who are CEOs, managers and have large amounts of disposable income to throw money and infrastructural support at gaming.  This is what’s really pushing the move towards computer games as an entertainment medium, and it’s why something like League Of Legends can have global penetration.  Now that the infrastructural support is there, the young people today have a more robust platform to take gaming to the next level and we can have legitimate gaming “stars” just like we have music, sports and movie “stars”.  To me, this seems similar to how pop music companies evolved in America in the 20th century and then later in other countries.  I think gaming is going to become a bigger and bigger aspect of culture and it can’t help but tie into other areas, just like how actors tend to get into music and sports performers become TV personalities, I think gaming will also enter that mix, where it’s not so unusual to see a singing celebrity livestream their gaming, or someone who built a name for themselves as a pro gamer cross over into a TV series or movie, etc.

Why do you think is so hard to see successful older female singers in kpop. In the US there are singers like Beyoncé, Britney Spears and others almost in their 40s. In Japan they have Namie Amuro, Utada Hikaru, Ayumi Hamasaki.
But in kpop it seems that when women gets close to their 30s they just quit the industry and get married. Is this related to Korea being very sexist?
Do you think Boa, Taeyeon, and others might have a long term career in this industry as singers?

The gender roles in Japan aren’t that much different to those in Korea, but what is very different is the music market.  The Korean music industry has more to do with “selling the idol” than “selling the music”, and older females are just a “tough sell” in a marketplace which is ever-crowded with fresh new performers.  Boa and Taeyeon are good examples of idols who still have “currency”, at least for now, but will they have it in 15 years time, who knows.  Even in the west it’s tough for female pop performers as they get older.

You said it doesn’t make sense to “mourn” disbanded groups because their songs are going to another younger group but this is a contradiction with another thing you always say: kpop industry is about idols not music. People mourn disbanded groups because they are invested in those specific people and want to see them as a whole doing things and making music.

Those two things aren’t contradictory at all, and in fact my opinion of one exists because of my opinion of the other.  I look at k-pop from a music fan’s perspective, and when I say that “it doesn’t make sense to mourn disbanded groups”, then I’m talking from that perspective – the music doesn’t change if a different group gets the same song, so if you’re a fan of music first, why would you care?  However the Korean idol industry is all about making you care about the performers instead of the music, so they push these fake personalities onto listeners and so forth, so those listeners get more emotionally invested – as JYP says “we don’t make music, we make stars”.  Part of the reason why I’m so interested in exposing the reality of the idol machine is because it’s my way of saying “I’m a music fan first, and there’s a whole industry at work trying to distract you, but I don’t want to forget about the music or put it second to something else”.  Sure, some women in k-pop are pretty and so forth, but for me a good song always wins at the end of the day.

Last question – a date with Jrockalypse:

What other Japanese bands are good other than x japan? Have you heard of Buck Tick, Maximum the hormone, The Gazette, Yuki Kajiura?

I’m not Jrockalypse but I’ve heard of most Japanese bands outside the pop realm.  Most of the ones that k-pop fans care about are insufferably boring though.  Here’s some Japanese music that I do actually like.

Shonen Knife were one of the first Japanese bands to have an international profile.  I managed to get out of the shitty job I was working in at the time in just enough time to catch a live set of theirs, they were great and sung lots of songs about food.  Many of their songs sound like The Ramones but they also had a Black Sabbath sounding song about fruit and vegetables or something, and their version of The Carpenters’ “Top Of The World” is light years better than the original.

Merzbow is great, I was in a group that supported him on a show in my city.  During his soundcheck there was so much bass from his rig that the ceiling of the venue shook and released all this dust that went into my sound equipment and permanently fucked up the keyboard controller (which I still have).  I tried to interview him for my radio station, but even with a Japanese interpreter to help, he was a man of few words.  However he knew exactly what to say to the sound guy when he was asked how he should be mixed – “everything as loud as possible!”

I also went on a short tour with King Brothers when they toured Australia a few years back.  Oh my god.  Maybe not the best live band I’ve ever seen but certainly the craziest.  This band could never exist in the USA because only a country with a proper healthcare system could maintain a group of touring musicians that injures themselves so much onstage.  Every evening before the show I would watch the bass player re-bandage his bloodied fingers.

Mono are the only really good instrumental “post-rock” band, stuff like Explosions In The Sky is boring.

Melt Banana are another band that I enjoy, and they sound like nothing else.

Sigh are great because they’re a metal band that don’t give a fuck about genre-hopping in a genre known for conservatism and extreme risk-aversion.  They’ll put out cool, groove-laden stoner-rock stuff like this and then do…

…orchestral black-metal kinda stuff as well.  Reminds me of Norway’s Darkthrone in terms of diversity, probably the only other band in metal this daring.

Last one – Cibo Matto were great before Sean Lennon’s boring acoustic-strumming influence ruined the group.  The Beatles – ruining music for generations.


That’s all for this eqisode of QRIMOLE!   If you have a question that you feel deserves a proper answer and not the shitty answers I write in ten seconds on ask.fm, ask it in the box below and your question may be featured in next month’s episode!

2 thoughts on “QRIMOLE Episode 12: a date with Jrockalypse

  1. Still cannot get into Melt Banana, saw them live about 10 years ago as the opening act for Tool, which thinking about it now is pretty funny since I’m pretty sure no one there expected that.

  2. “Certain terms in English are seen as “cool” and “trendy.”” So we get Sowon starting a video with “Yo, what’s up?” A glorious moment for us English-speakers! But seriously, having Umji (and Yuju) in Gfriend are two big pluses, besides how cute Umji is; make that 3 big pluses.
    “Is there a way to get over this addictive drug that is Kpop?”
    No.
    Truly a classic statement, the shortest essay on record! Implicit in there is not only your appreciation for our failure to get over this addiction, but also maybe your own…
    And thanks for the Jrock! I shall browse all of these.

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