After almost a decade of keeping the music of PATiENTS alive with the respected Kwon (piano & vocals), Sumin (bass and lead singer) and Jae- hyuk (drummer), it was time for some changes. A few months ago, the band came to the terms that it was necessary for them to let Jae-hyuk go and seek a new drummer, who would be able to bring more intensity into the band. They have decided to take Soo-won Choi on board, a musician who can drum hard and who, in spare time, plays daegeum – a large bamboo transverse flute – and Samul nori, a genre of percussion music which is performed with four traditional Korean musical instruments: “Kkwaenggwari (a small gong), Jing (a larger gong), Janggu (an hourglass- shaped drum) and Buk (a barrel drum similar to bass drum)”. After a few successful performances in their native Korea, PATiENTS have decided to come to the UK again, to present the new addition to the group, as well as to play their new material. The band has already toured three times around the UK, including one of the most prestigious music/arts festival in the country, the Liverpool Sound City. We have chatted to the guys before they boarded the plane to London, and now it was the time to meet up in the capital and talk about their tour, gigs and plans for the future. View of the Arts caught up with Sumin, Kwon and Soo-won before their gig at Windmill Brixton (London).
It is so good to see you guys again, you are back in the UK for the third time. How has your tour been so far?
Sumin: We have played four gigs already and are about to play our fifth one here in Brixton. We feel really good to be back in the UK. When we went to Liverpool Sound City to play again, we saw so many familiar faces, it was an amazing feeling to play for those who already know who we are. We are always happy whenever we are in this country.
You have changed the line-up a few months ago; you have a new drummer, Soo-won, how is that working out for you?
Kwon: Soo-won is my friend and I introduced him to Sumin, thinking that he might be a great addition to PATiENTS. Sumin saw him drum and we decided to take him on board.
So how was it for you when PATiENTS offered you a place in the band? Have you always played drums?
Soo-won: It is great and very interesting as it is my first serious band to play for. I have been playing drums for years, but I also play traditional Korean instruments such as daegeum and Samul nori.
You have played a few gigs in the UK already, which place was the most welcoming so far?
Kwon: That’s such a hard question (laughs), the crowds in Manchester, Liverpool and other cities that we have already played in were different. Manchester’s audience is very reliable, always a big crowd.
Sumin: I think Liverpool; I guess because it is a festival, with a bigger space and hundreds of different individuals (laughs).
How was the Liverpool Sound City this year?
Sumin: I think the biggest change for us was the stage. Last year, most of the stages, including Cargo stage, were bigger, in tents. This year we played Cargo stage, which was relatively small but we were still able to perform on it, and was outdoors. It was okay as we could enjoy the warm weather as well.
Sumin, you have opened Steel Face music venue/ club which supports, most of the time, young indie bands, how did you come up with the idea of opening the music venue?
Sumin: My idea was to invite talented young musicians, no matter what their music genre was. There are nice and big size clubs/ music venues in Hongdae. However, there are also small and not very good clubs in the city. I really wanted to build a small and nice club, and that’s what Steel Face venue is.
So what’s new for you guys? Are you working on new material at the moment?
Sumin: Yes, we are working on new material and we will perform two new songs at the tonight’s gig: Game Boy Game Boy and Space Call Girl. After returning to Korea, we will hit the studio and start recording a new album; we are excited as we will be recording it with our new drummer; we will also release a new single on a vinyl.
So how is London treating you?
Kwon: Very well, it is cold but it is okay. I love London, museums and parks. I can relax here. I am looking forward to playing tonight too.
Sumin: It feels nice to be in London, there is always so much to do in the capital.
Thank you guys for chatting to us and good luck with everything in the future.
It was great chatting to PATiENTS again, and it was definitely more exciting seeing the guys playing at Windmill Brixton for the third time. They kicked off with Game Boy Game Boy, a new track from their upcoming album; I must say that their new album will be very exciting, as the sound of the new song is slightly different from their previous ones. Game Boy Game Boy was followed by Sipalsegi, with Kwon playing the piano like there was no tomorrow, with Soo-won drumming intensively – yes! he is, without a doubt, a great addition to the band – and Sumin crazy jumping on stage, the song warmed up the crowd very quickly. There is always a lot of energy involved in PATiENTS’ performances, you kind of loose your breath while listening to them, simply because you jump so much. Spanking Jenny and Bad Fingers were performed well, at some point I thought that Sumin would have jumped into the crowd as he was super active on stage; he knows how to entertain his audience. I like the fact that Bad Fingers has a little bit of jazz tune combined with a rock sound. Space Call Girl was another new song performed by the band; in my opinion, slightly influenced by the 1990s music and filled with more piano arrangements by Kwon. I am loving the new and fresh PATiENTS’ sound! They played three more songs; Idiots v Psycho, R.I.P and All the Patients Let’s Go, with great energy, they really gave it all. Even though their music is not everyone’s cup of tea, you will always find people who love to just come and enjoy the PATiENTS’ gigs as they are simply frantic – mad. We will be waiting patiently for their new album and we will see them again, but in Korea this time.