I don’t really remember how I got to know Dead Buttons’ music. I think it must have been my friend, LuYin, who introduced me to their sound. My first impression was: “what brilliant music this is, however, it’d surely sound better if played live.”
Dead Buttons hails from Korea, where duo, Jihyun Hong and Kanghee Lee rock Seoul’s socks off. Despite starting as a punk trio in 2012, 2013 has brought new possibilities and seen many changes to the band. Dead Buttons put aside their old material and began to create something new and fresh as a two piece band. In February 2014 they released their first EP entitled Whoever You Are, which was a mix of different styles of music such as garage rock, blues, punk, and incorporating even elements of country. I loved it! Their EP brought a breath of fresh air to the British underground indie music scene. Jihyun and Kanghee have just kicked off their 2014 UK tour. Aside from playing at Liverpool Sound City, they will also perform in Bristol, Southampton and London. So get ready to rock & roll and jump up high to the sky with Dead Buttons!
We also had a change to interview the guys before they flew to the UK. Enjoy reading the interview.
VOTA: You formed your band in 2012 and went through some crucial changes in 2013, including the sound of your music. Are you happy with your current line-up and sound?
Jihyun: We first formed Dead Buttons as a trio, but we’ve been operating as a duo for nearly a year now. I think being a duo works better for our band. It allows us to better focus on the essential parts of the songs and create melodies that are more straightforward and powerful.
Kanghee: I’m happy with our line-up now too. I think things feel much more natural for us as a duo than they did as a trio.
VOTA: What genre would you classify your music as?
Jihyun: We’re a rock ‘n’ roll band. That’s the simplest and most accurate description of Dead Buttons.
VOTA: Jihyun Hong, apart from playing with Dead Buttons, you also play guitar for Combative Post, how do you find time to gig with both bands?
Jihyun: It’s not that hard to do things with both of the bands. Both bands have a schedule for gigs, practices, and other activities so it’s easy for me to properly keep track of everything that needs to be done and make sure that I have enough time for everything.
VOTA: In February 2014 you released your first EP Whoever You Are. Tell us more about the album.
Jihyun: We made our first EP as a tribute to all of the different kinds of music that we love. I think it’s better for people to just listen to the EP – there are only five songs so it won’t take that long – as opposed to listening us talk about it.
VOTA: I’m sure everybody asks you about what your inspirations are and who inspires you the most, however, I would like to ask you: How would you feel knowing that you are an inspiration to other people?
Jihyun: It would be amazing to know that we’ve inspired other people with our music. But we’re still a young band so I don’t think that’s happened yet. But maybe it will happen sometime in the future.
Kanghee: I think you just gave me my new standard answer to the question, “What is your goal as a band?” I think our goal should be to one day inspire other people. If we can actually succeed at doing that, I think we’ll both be really happy.
VOTA: So who inspires you to make music and whose music influences you the most?
Jihyun: Johnny Cash
Kanghee: The Sonics
VOTA: Have you ever doubted yourselves as musicians?
Jihyun: I don’t think we’ve ever doubted ourselves, but we do question ourselves about new songs. We often ask ourselves if we’re satisfied with a song and how it’s developing. If we’re not fans of the sounds that we hear, then we throw the song away.
VOTA: You are about to travel to the United Kingdom to tour with Patients, what do you expect from your UK tour?
Jihyun: Our expectations aren’t very high because this is our first time touring there and very few people know who we are. We realize that if we want to build a name in the UK, we’re going to have to keep coming back for more and more gigs. But this is the first step. And we’re going to try and learn some new things and have some fun with our pals from Patients. I think it’s going to be a good tour for both bands.
VOTA: Have you got any new projects in the pipeline?
Kanghee: We’re going to release three new singles in the coming months. We’ll put them on our Bandcamp page when they’re ready. We hope everyone keeps an eye out for them!
I can’t wait to see the guys in London. Whoever is in the capital please join us!
DEAD BUTTONS TOUR DATES:
May 7 Bristol, England @ The Hatchet Inn
May 8 Southampton, England @ Unit Club (WTFest)
May 9 London, England @ AAA
May 10 London, England @ Astbury Castle
Interviewed by Maggie Gogler
Guest Editor: Sophie Elwood