Last month I finally set up Spotify at work (a music streaming service often touted as the answer to illegal file sharing in Sweden) and after giving Indieful ROK’s Spotify Korean indie music collection playlist a spin I soon found myself listening to Bobbyville. When I first heard The Men Of The 3M some five years ago I was very curious as to how that kind of music could’ve come from Korea, and thanks to Bobby Chung, the mastermind behind the project, I was finally able to find out some more.
How would you like to present the band and the music that is Bobbyville?
Bobbyville is a country music project, which I started back in 2006 with my fellow players. The band itself have had a hiatus since the first album The men of 3M. We tried Korean version of Bakersfield sound and we sang about drinkin’. Drinkin’ has been a very successful and popular theme in country music and I thought it could be a liaison between traditional country vibe and Korean listeners.
How did you get the idea to get into country style music?
At first I was so into Scottish powerpop bands like Teenage Fanclub and BMX Bandits. Then I got to know that they(at least their musical style) got deeply influenced by Sweetheart of the Rodeo-era Byrds and Gram Parsons. So it can be said that It was one of my first country experience. Different from that, I really liked listening to AFKN(a radio channel for US Army in Korea) and they played ‘American Country Music Top 40’ at Sunday afternoon. I usually drank a lot of alcohol on Saturday and woke up with a slight hangover feeling. I used to do nothing but play that AFKN channel and listen to contemporary country with some classic country. It felt so good, cozy and nostalgic though I’ve never been to U.S.
Are there any other bands in the same vein you’d like to recommend?
I’m afraid that we in Seoul have no decent country band. At least there’s rarely a band who says they play country music. I heard a Busan band named 일요일의 패배자들(translated as Losers of Sunday) plays a nice country music but I haven’t got a chance to hear them live. 무중력소년 (Zero Gravity Boys) really likes Americana-type of music and prepares for his debut record. And for some of who are interested in original Bakersfield sound, I recommend Merle Haggard and Dwight Yoakam. Junior Brown is awesome as well.
What can we expect from Bobbyville in the future?
I’m pretty unsure if Bobbyville could play live as a solid ‘band’ in the near future. But still there’s a talk of new songs going on. Beatball music offered me about releasing a couple of songs in a digital format at November or December. Actually I’ve written a dozen of Bobbyville songs but as I haven’t got enough time for a regular record, it’s a nice little way to update Bobbyville songbook.
Yay, new songs coming up shortly! Even if country music isn’t usually high up on your list of favorite genres, you may want to give Bobbyville a spin if you haven’t already – Bobby Chung has some great skills when it comes to writing songs as shown through both Julia Hart and Autumn Vacation, and moving a step away from indie pop has done nothing to change that. You can listen either with Spotify or through Deezer.
The Busan band mentioned in the last question are called Sunday Losers.