Head-banging away within the shadow of a multi-billion-dollar Okay-pop trade, South Korea’s axe-wielding heavy metallic bands shred a modest path of destruction.
And in a society the place conformity is broadly anticipated, the mosh pit masters are as clean-cut as any common Seoul citizen.
Within the intimate, subterranean environment of a cramped basement room, the 5 members of Monsters Dive took half in a battle-of-the-bands earlier than a small viewers, principally seated till frontman Chu Yeonsik ordered them to their ft.
“Are you prepared?” screamed the 25-year-old nursing pupil, remodeled right into a fist-pumping alter ego leaping across the tiny stage as if he have been gracing a large-scale enviornment.
The band’s blistering set was meted out with the type of technical precision typical of the rigorous coaching of the nation’s intensive academic system.
“Often I by no means hearken to metallic music,” mentioned viewers member Nam Ji-eun, 23.
“However the efficiency was nice. Regardless that I do not know something about metallic, the songs have been catchy and I’ve the tune caught in my head now. I want to go and see different bands too.”
However Monsters Dive founding guitarist and music producer Kim Sangwan, 35, acknowledges that the style stays a distinct segment subculture.
“I do not suppose metallic music in Korea will ever change into mainstream as a result of it is a noisy style with solely sure followers. In Korea, it is minor even amongst the minors,” he says.
“South Koreans are inclined to observe a pattern and flock in direction of one factor; If it is Okay-pop, then they solely hearken to Okay-pop. In Korea Okay-pop and hip hop are widespread, however apart from that, most different genres are being uncared for.”
The slickly produced sounds and highly-choreographed dance strikes of Okay-pop have introduced it to the forefront of the “Korean Wave” that has swept Asia and past within the final 20 years.
The trade is now estimated to be price $5 billion (S$6.7 billion), with boy band BTS its newest high-profile act.
With fashionable pupil areas more and more being taken over by stylish cafes and karaoke joints, Seoul’s metallic subculture is essentially confined to unremarkable venues which can be typically actually underground.
Some musicians, appropriately sufficient, are transferring to former metallic workshops within the industrial district of Mullae and changing them into stay venues and rehearsal areas.
Chu, a latest addition to Monsters Dive with whom he has recorded one album, works part-time jobs in between his research to maintain his hard-rocking behavior.
Even their bigger gigs will solely deliver the band round $350, which — together with proceeds from merchandise gross sales — they put in direction of rehearsal rooms, recording periods and music video manufacturing to keep up their presence on numerous social media platforms.
Parental approval and help will be very important for metalheads who’re in it for love, not cash.
“I used to be as soon as within the automotive with my mum, and performed my CD,” recollects Chu. “She informed me it was too noisy and that listening to my voice filled with anger made her agitated and would possibly make her break the velocity restrict.
“However she mentioned she likes the devices, and helps my path.”