Super Psychedelic: Interview with Galaxy Express
It’s not right to call Galaxy Express just a band. They’re a phenomenon. From the beginning, the trio has garnered attention and blasted their way to the top of the Korean indie music scene. From their meteoric rise documented in Turn It Up To 11, to their first performance in the United States six years later, the band has been riding high on a cloud of praise and excitement from the music industry worldwide. I’m happy to have had a chance to get to interview this talented group on the eve of their second US tour.
Check out the music video promo for Galaxy Express at this years’ SXSW Festival.
First things first, please introduce yourselves to the YAM readers!
Jong-Hyun: Hi, everyone. We’re Galaxy Express from Seoul. How are you? We’re fine, thank you! Our band has three members. I play guitar, Ju-Hyun plays bass, and Hee-Kwon plays drums. We like to play rock, punk and psychedelic music. It’s nice to meet you!
How did Galaxy Express form?
Jong-Hyun: Ju-Hyun and I formed the band in 2006. We both played in punk bands before. Some members from Ju-Hyun’s old band had to do their Korean military service, so Ju-Hyun wanted to make a new band. After seeing me play some covers of old Korean rock songs and Ramones’ songs he called me and asked if I was interested in starting a band together.
Where does the name come from? Any relation to the anime?
Jong-Hyun: Our name is not related to the anime. Ju-Hyun wanted our band name to have “Galaxy” in it. We both came from punk backgrounds, but we wanted our new band to be a mix of different musical styles. Ju-Hyun felt that the word “Galaxy” had a very big and wide open feeling. We thought of many different “Galaxy” names like Galaxy Fish Finders, Galaxy Bastards, Galaxy Busters, etc. I finally suggested Galaxy Express and we both agreed that it would be a cool name for our group.
You have been known to crank out music in a very short amount of time. (one month!) What is your creative process like? Is it different for each album?
Jong-Hyun: We don’t have a set creative process. Sometimes one member brings in an idea and we work on it together in our practice room. Other times we just jam together and see what comes from that.
Creating a joint album is a rarity in the music scene. How was working with Crying Nut on Naughty Boy?
Jong-Hyun: Naughty Boy is a split EP between us and Crying Nut. Both of us have a few songs that we recorded on our own on the EP, so we didn’t work directly together. Last summer we did a Korean tour with Crying Nut and Yellow Monsters. We were hanging out and drinking together with Crying Nut while we were on Jeju Island. They said that they wanted to release a CD single in the fall and we said that we planned to do the same thing. We decided that night to combine the two singles into one joint EP.