Sunday, April 17, 2011

K-RoK Interview: Apollo 18 - SXSW Follow-Up

If you read my blog with any kind of regularity you'll know of my love of Apollo 18. And I was lucky enough to get a follow-up interview on top of my original one!!! I think the guys were a little exhausted during their first US tour, but sounds like they had a great time and made lots of memories! 

Upon landing here in the US, what were your very first impressions?

Everything was so big!  The highways, signs, and buildings were all really large.  We stayed at my cousin's house in Arlington, Texas on the first day we arrived.  We got lost driving there from the airport.    

I think they found Texas!

How were the crowd reactions to your shows? Were they different than in Korea any way?

The crowd reactions were all great.  Audiences were a lot louder than Korean club crowds are.  People shouted and clapped really loudly while we played.  Hyunseok jumped off the stage at Super Happy Fun Land in Houston and began playing on the floor.  The sound guy actually got down on his knees and started bowing at Hyunseok's feet.  That would never happen in Korea!  It was pretty funny.

After all the gigs people came up to us and gave us some many great compliments.  It felt really good.  People were so kind and said things like "You are awesome" and "Apollo 18 is my new favorite band."  

Our last performance in Austin was during an all-day concert at Cheer Up Charlie's.  We played at 2:30 p.m. and the show was scheduled to finish around 11 p.m.  After we finished, one of the staff said "That was easily the best thing that will be on this stage today."        

Our merchandise sales were much higher in the U.S. than they are in Korea, which was great.  We are so thankful to everyone who bought Apollo 18 CDs and t-shirts during the tour.  We got lots of compliments about the free Apollo 18 iPhone cases we were giving out, too.

I'm not gonna lie - I want and would have bought one of everything! 

What surprised you the most about America? 

Everyone we met was so kind.  The people were all very welcoming.  They tried to help us anyway they could during the tour.  Many people said that next time we tour the U.S. they want to help, too.  A few people invited us to stay at their homes when we return.   

People seemed really interested to learn more about us and about Korea and Korean music.    We stopped at a really small restaurant in New Orleans to eat po-boys and gumbo for lunch.  The cook was chatting with us and asking some questions.  When our tour manager said that we were a Korean rock band the cook quickly pulled out his laptop and asked how he could hear our music. 

We told everyone we met to come and visit Korea one day.  We said that Korean food is very delicious, but Korean beer is crap.  That made them laugh.  

Speaking of food, one thing that really surprised us was how salty American food is!

I know you guys were excited to eat your way around the US, and I saw one tweet with you at Wendy's which made me laugh. Did you find something you like? What was your favorite?

Texas BBQ was really good.  The Mexican food we ate was very good, too.  We ate a lot of American fast food because we were very busy playing gigs and driving to different cities.  It would have been nice to have enough time to eat at more proper restaurants.  We were really missing Korean food by the end of the tour.  

Did you guys find and musical inspiration while you were here? 

We saw lots of new places, met lots of new people, and had lots of new experiences.  We played 16 concerts in 13 days.  Not many Korean indie bands have done tours like that.  

We learned and saw so much during our time in the U.S.  We got to see beautiful places like the French Quarter in New Orleans and the town of Hot Springs in Arkansas.  We got to play at a house party in Memphis.  The club we played in Houston, Super Happy Fun Land, had all of these toys and was like a giant playroom.  It really is a "super happy fun land."  We stayed in a really cheap and dirty hotel in Houston.  The worker at the front desk stood behind thick glass and there was a sign saying that customers only had three minutes after paying to check their room and decide whether they wanted a refund.  Staying there was not one of our better experiences, but it was memorable.       

We're going to start writing new music next week.  I'm not sure what influence the tour will have on our new songs, but we're inspired by everything we see and do so I'm sure it will impact our playing in some way.    

Were you able to catch any other performances while you were at SXSW? 

There were so many great bands at SXSW.  There were bands playing everywhere in downtown Austin and we were blown away by how strong and talented all of them were.  Some of the bands we really enjoyed were Moja and Zoobombs  from Tokyo, Head Crusher  from Columbia, and Mutiny of the Bounty  from Luxembourg. 

Are you still planning to come back later this year? If so, did you learn about any new places that interest you? 

Yes, we want to try to come back in October. We want to perform at The Eclipse in Tulsa again.  The club owner is a really awesome guy.  We would love to visit Hoeks Death Metal Pizza in Austin one more time.  The staff were great there and the pizza was delicious.  It would be fun to return to Stash House in Memphis for another show as well.  

We don't know what new places we'll be able to visit yet.  We will start thinking about our next North American schedule soon.  It would be nice to have a few days off during our next tour to do a little sightseeing and relax.  Our schedule this time was pretty crazy.

Looks like they did a little site seeing! 

I know you also played a couple of shows in Japan on your way back home, how did they go? 

We had a stopover in Japan on our way home from Dallas to Korea, so we played two gigs in Tokyo at Shibuya Kinoto and Shimokitazawa Basement Bar.  The concerts went pretty good.  They were planned at the last minute so we couldn't do a lot of promotion for them.  We will go back to Japan this summer and will have more time to prepare and properly promote it.  

The live houses in Tokyo are very professional and well organized.  Shibuya Kinoto recorded our performance on April 1 and gave us a CD of our set, which was very cool.   

In Tokyo we were able to meet some of our friends from Smashing Mag and Zankyo Records.  We were able to meet Moja again and became friends with an awesome man from the music production company Japonicus.  It was great getting to spend time with all of these fantastic people.  

Now that you're back home in Korea, what are your plans for the next few months?  

We're going to record a new EP during the first week in June.  In July we'll play at the Jisan Valley Rock Festival in Korea.  We're going to play at another major music festival this summer, too.  We're pretty excited about it, but we can't say what festival it is yet.  Hopefully it will be announced soon.

I just want to say "Thanks Again" to Daeinn for answering my questions.  It really makes me feel connected to the band and I hope they make a stop in Minneapolis next time. I'm also hoping that all the interviews with Apollo 18 help garner interest in them here in the US so that next time they come they have lots of fans waiting for them. 

I wish them good luck in their recording and I hope they have fun this summer playing the rock festivals! 


  1. Great interview! Awesome guys.

  2. Hey anonymous, thanks for dropping by. Yes. I definitely feel like I know the guys from their interviews. I hope to meet them in real life some day to be able to connect more. ;)

  3. I saw them play in San Antonio. All I can say is, "Wow!" Apollo18 were awesome. They totally blew everyone away. I got to speak with two of the members briefly after the gig. They were very kind and seemed genuinely thankful for all the praise everyone was giving them. I'm definitely a fan now. I can't wait to see them again!

  4. The story of the sound guy in Houston is pretty funny. Great interview.


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