Interview: GOGOSTAR (South Korea) on musical influences, movies and Australia

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Hello Asia! had a chat with South Korean band GOGOSTAR as they prepare for their upcoming stage at Adelaide’s OzAsia Festival. Just prior to the festival will be a performance in Sydney which will be the official start of their Australian tour – check out the interview and get more information below!

Can you introduce each member of GOGOSTAR?

We’re composed of Lee Taesun who plays synthesizer, guitar and vocals, Seona who takes on the role of the bassist and backing vocalist, Yeonseok who does FX and Ali who plays the drums.

Can you tell us what the music of GOGOSTAR is like? Who are your musical influences?

We mix punk, new wave and disco to our liking to make our music. We usually find our musical influences through rock bands. We’re influenced by the ‘Yeah Yeah Yeahs’, ‘Devo’ and the Japanese band ‘Polysics’.

We notice one of the members of GOGOSTAR wears a mask. Can you tell us about the meaning behind the mask?

Rather than there being a special meaning, if I’m to sum it up simply it’s because I wanted to give a sense of mysteriousness. I’m the member who works on the FX electronic sounds but because I’m wearing a bird mask I hope I’ll also give off a somewhat suspicious vibe.

We understand GOGOSTAR is influenced greatly by Tim Burton. How has he influenced the image of GOGOSTAR? And what is your favourite Tim Burton film?

As the vocalist, when we first made GOGOSTAR and were thinking of what concept we should go with, a movie I had watched came back to mind. When I was seven years old I was moved by the film ‘Beetlejuice’ and received a lot of inspiration from it. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that GOGOSTAR was made while recalling the sight of that film and the music of ‘DEVO’. Of course we like all of Tim Burton’s films, but the film we like in particular is 1988’s ‘Beetlejuice’.

Which Tim Burton character can you relate to the most?

Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Jack Nicholson’s The Joker… I really love these characters. I personally think of them as the representative characters of kitsch and felt really influenced by them. Rather than me being able to understand or connect with them, because I like them a lot by nature I think it became naturally absorbed into our band’s character or concept.

How did GOGOSTAR form as a band?

I, who was in a punk band; Seona who performed with a different band at the same club where I performed; and my closest junior from high school, Yeonseok, all ended up forming the band together. Our drummer Ali was also my high school junior and we coaxed her into joining. Ali was actually originally our road manager, haha.

What makes people feel that your concerts an experience rather than a performance?

We think of this as a compliment and are really happy. You’re right! They compliment us saying that when you can feel our particular kitsch and energy right before your eyes, it’s all the more fascinating – we’re really pleased and happy about that.

Can you talk about your current EP ‘LOVEIN’ that was released this year?

If you sought out and pursued the rock sound from last year’s third full length album ‘Broken Night’, then this new EP is us returning to the roots of our music. We tried to pursue our initial sound while at the same time adding slightly more variety in our beats. We gained inspiration from horror movies for our album cover. Our drummer Ali dressed up as Frankenstein, haha.

What inspired the cover art and music video for LOVEIN? It seems to us you drew inspiration from different subjects.

That’s right. The cover art is Frankenstein. It’s the figure of a monster who longs for genuine love with a human. I really liked that aspect of it so we included it through the album cover. But if we made our music video in the same form it would be much more obvious and easy to anticipate, wouldn’t it? So the music video is the beautiful side of our music; in other words, we designed it prettily with the mindset of showing you the world that Frankenstein had wanted. But it’s a bit of a shame that our ugly selves made an appearance!

GOGOSTAR has released three full length albums so far. How has the music of GOGOSTAR developed over the past three years?

It’s a bit embarrassing to say that we developed by ourselves. It’s just that GOGOSTAR’s passionate fans have established [us], so we’re happy. Also, outside of that, we’ve been making an effort to let the general public see our charms. I think we’re adjusting a good balance between our diehard fans and regular music listeners.

We believe this is the first time that you are playing in Australia. What are your expectations of performing in front of an Australian audience?

We want to hurry and stand on the Australian stage. Meeting new audiences is always a really cool experience and something to be thankful about. I don’t think we can hope for the concert to be heated up with excitement right from the start, because I think the majority of the audience will be people who are seeing us for the first time. But the sight of our hot temperature [T/N: energy] and passion will raise the heat and temperature of the performance theatre. I want to convey that kind of heat and energy to the audience.

You will be performing in Sydney first on your Australian tour. What things are you looking forward to doing in Sydney?

Ah, what should I say first… there are so many things. The manager who is accompanying us said that he wants to take a photo with a koala but I personally want to meet a kangaroo.

GOGOSTAR is also playing the OzAsia Festival in Adelaide. What have you heard about the festival? GOGOSTAR is this year’s Korean music representative.

Yes, as the representative band for Korea, we want to introduce ourselves as well our music which is confident in itself. Also, whether it’s the history of the OzAsia Festival, I’ve heard that it’s a high-quality cultural event that even the Australian government is working on. It’s an honour to be participating. I want to receive reviews of us being the coolest breakthrough stage out of all the artists participating at the OzAsia Festival.

What are the plans for GOGOSTAR for the rest of this year? Will we see more recordings released by you?

After we coolly finish our Australian performance this time around it would be great if we were able to snatch up an Australian performance again in the future. We’re in the middle of planning performances around Japan. Also, we’re continuously writing new songs. If there’s a song worth introducing to you, we’ll try to release it right away. Please keep an eye out for GOGOSTAR. Thank you!

The band will be making their first appearance at The Concourse in Chatswood on the 1st of October at 8PM. Tickets are $35 for adults and $28 for juniors or students. Get your tickets here and find out more information through GOGOSTAR’s official Facebook page and website. You can also get more information on the Adelaide’s OzAsia Festival here!

Translation by Cassandra Monjo