SXSW Special: The Rise of the South (South Korea @ SXSW)

March 6, 2014

On the back of a recently published article by my colleague Carina, it seems appropriate to ask if 2014 is going to be the year that we see the interest in Korean culture go next level? Whilst K-pop’s foray onto the global stage back in 2012 with Psy and his Gangnam Style may seem like a distant memory (it did after all feel very much the fad at the time), could 2014 be a deeper and more substantial year for the world to develop greater curiosity around South Korea?

Interestingly, it seems as though the stage is set – namely with Korean cuisine. But whilst there’s been growing banter around Korean cuisine’s appeal amongst the mass, perhaps another indicator could be more visibility around South Korean art and culture. In the spirit of our SXSW coverage, we invite you to taste some of the more interesting sounds coming out of the South (the Korean South that is) as we prepare to go to Austin to witness the action first hand:


To start off on a more gentle and accessible note, Big Phony claims:

“Fans of Elliott Smith, Bright Eyes, and Death Cab For Cutie will instinctively gravitate towards Big Phony’s sound.”

Interestingly, after growing up in the US, he relocated to South Korea (his family’s country of origin) to continue plying his craft.


Now to push it a little more. These guys are a Korean ‘Post Rock’ act (a difficult and often unfriendly label for bands) that make sprawling and evocative pieces of music that will speak to fans of acts like Sigur Ros, Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky and This Will Destroy you. The brilliance in Jambinai, is their capacity to mix traditional Korean instruments into the fray.

Hollow Jan

Now, I will say that if you watched the Jimbinai video above and found the final stages of the piece slightly angsty and jarring, then I don’t think Hollow Jan will be in your bag. The broad brushstroke that one could use to bucket HJ is ‘Post Hardcore’. To be referential, one would have to look no further that Japan’s Envy to see similarities in what these guys are doing. They’ve got a new record coming out in the very near future, and it looks like they’ll be destroying Texas fairly soon!

Other Korean Acts Playing SXSW:

Crying Nut (Seoul SOUTH KOREA)

Love X Stereo (Seoul SOUTH KOREA)

Galaxy Express (Seoul SOUTH KOREA)

Glen Check (Seoul SOUTH KOREA)


Idiotape (Seoul SOUTH KOREA)

Jay Park (Seoul SOUTH KOREA)

Kiha & The Faces (Seoul SOUTH KOREA)

Nell (Seoul SOUTH KOREA)

No Brain (Seoul SOUTH KOREA)

Rock N' Roll Radio (Seoul SOUTH KOREA)