Mini-Interview with Jun Bum Sun and the Yangbans

Jun Bum Sun and the Yangbans‘ album debut was one of the most overlooked releases of 2014. A great album full of strong songs, but with Jun Bum Sun himself off to England soon after the release there wasn’t much time to build much of an audience by playing shows around Hongdae as bands usually do. That has changed since, and it’s been a pleasure to see more and more of my friends turning into fans. Jun Bum Sun and the Yangbans will release second album 혁명가 (Revolution Songs) next Tuesday, April 21st, so I reached out to Jun Bum Sun to follow up on our first album interview.


Since you returned from Oxford and started playing shows around Hongdae it seems the band’s profile has gotten quite a boost. What do you think are the strongest selling points/most appealing features of Jun Bum Sun and the Yangbans?

I think our new songs are quite fun to watch live. I started wearing Korean clothes, straw shoes, and banging drums. When LOVE SONGS came out, people wondered “Why do these guys call themselves the Yangbans”? That was fair, given the fact that most of the songs had been written before I met the Yangbans. There was nothing much “Korean” or “Yangban-like” in them.

But when I was writing the materials for the second album in the UK, I started thinking more about how they would sound live, how the crowd might react to them, and so on. I also gave more room for the Yangbans so that they could contribute more to their own parts. So the overall result was that we began to sound more like an actual rock ’n’ roll band. And to look more like Yangbans.

How would you describe your new album? How does it compare to 사랑가 (Love Songs)?

Revolution Songs are supposed to be revolutionary. Not that the album conveys any political message. It is revolutionary insofar as it is about the revolutionary experiences that I had while I was in the UK. I had perhaps the best nine months of my life there. I spent the morning rowing, the day reading about the American and French Revolutions, and the night at pubs.

Revolution Song are also about love. But if Love Songs are nostalgia, innocence, longing, Revolution Songs are desire, lust, loss. So the lyrics are not as pretty, and the sound far heavier. I picked up my Les Paul again.

With the album successfully crowdfunded and almost released, what are your remaining goals for this year?

I want to sell my album! The showcase is on May 7th. Danpyunsun and the Sailors and Pavlov will be joining us. And then I want to play loads of gigs, and most likely go on a national tour. I was talking to National Pigeon Unity earlier about perhaps doing a joint-tour. We might also go on a US tour. A friend of mine in San Francisco is coming up with plans to make it possible.

I became tired of making full-length albums. It is satisfying, artistically, but demands too much work. I am thinking of dropping several digital singles later this year.

Can you share anything about your next album, 방랑가, already now?

I only have a very vague idea of how it would sound. I want it to sound trippy. Lyrically, it’s gonna be more folkish. I’ve been listening to Thin Lizzy – Whiskey in the Jar. I would like to make something similar, but Korean.

I’m very much looking forward to getting Revolution Songs in my hands–based on what little I have heard through various live performances it seems to be another great album, albeit rather different in style from the first. Revolution Songs is the second album in Jun Bum Sun’s Yangban rock triology: 사랑가-혁명가-방랑가.

In addition to the first album interview, check out IROK’s Jun Bum Sun and the Yangbans idol profiles to learn essential facts about all the members.

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