Our interview with Apollo 18, one of Korea’s most hardcore Rock bands!

Canada get ready! Apollo 18 are coming next week and are prepared to rock the house! Following our spotlight on the band and their upcoming tour comes our exclusive interview with Apollo 18, where we talk about some of the challenges the trio had to overcome, and also what they plan to do during their free time. Beer anyone?!

So let?s start with an introduction: who is Apollo 18?

Dae-inn: We are a rock band from Seoul, South Korea. Sometimes our music is loud, sometimes it?s soft, sometimes it?s funky, sometimes it?s psychedelic, but it’s always rock music to us. I play bass, Hyun-seok plays guitar, and Sang-yun plays drums. Our band started in 2008. In 2010, we won ?Rookie of the Year? at the Korean Music Awards. Last year we toured in the United States and played at SXSW, and we were also invited to perform at Japan?s amazing Fuji Rock Festival and Taiwan?s very cool Beastie Rock Festival. This month, we?re traveling to Canada to play at the Pop Montreal music festival and to do a few gigs in Ontario. We?re really excited to be heading overseas again. Playing in new places and meeting new people is always a lot of fun.

What was it that made people start to notice you guys as a band, and when did Apollo 18 begin to really get popular?

Dae-inn: Maybe it was our good looks? Just joking! ?Korea?s rock scene is still growing so I don?t think we?re a popular band yet, but people started to take notice of Apollo 18 after we released our first EP, Red, in February 2009. Our full-length album,?Blue,?came out in July 2009 and around that time we played at Korea?s two biggest music festivals, the Jisan ValleyRock Festival and the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival. A few months after, we won the 2009 ?Hello Rookie? grand prize for being Korea?s top new band, and then in early 2010 we won ?Rookie of the Year? at the Korean Music Awards. Instead of blasting off like a rocket, we’ve had a much more gradual liftoff where every new thing we?ve done seems to help more people learn about us. We still have a lot to do though, and hopefully the fans we have continue to follow us as Apollo 18 moves forward.

Where does the band get its musical inspiration?

Hyun-seok: We get our inspiration from everywhere. The things we see, hear and experience every day impact the music we make. We?re lucky to have lots of very talented friends that inspire us with their music, art, actions and passion. Good beer inspires us, too!

Apollo 18 are steadily gaining more popularity globally which is awesome! Have there been any hardships you guys encountered on the way to the top?

Hyun-seok: No, there haven?t been any hardships. There have been some challenges, but we?ve learned lots of new things from these experiences. One challenge was releasing our Red EP, Blue full-length, and Violet EP over the course of 12 months. We were playing concerts nearly every weekend during that time too, so we were pretty drained when Violet came out. But we learned a lot during that year. Our USA tour in 2011 was also challenging because our previous indie label closed in 2010, so we were a completely unsigned act when we did that tour. Putting the tour together and financing it was a lot of work, but it definitely made us a better and smarter band.

Is this your first time coming to Canada? How?d you guys get the opportunity to perform at the Pop Montreal music festival?

Sang-yun: Yes, this is our first time. During our USA tour last year we played 16 gigs in only 13 days so we had kind of a crazy schedule. We?re only playing four concerts on our Canadian tour, so hopefully things will be a little less hectic so we can have more time to check out some sights and explore each city we?re visiting.

Hyun-seok: The dancer in our ?Orbis? music video is a Canadian belly dancer named Eshe. We?ve heard lots of good things about Canada from her, so we’ve been wanting to tour there for a while now. We read about Pop Montreal online and it sounded like an awesome event. Everything we?ve read about Montreal makes it sound like a really cool city too, so we decided to apply to play at the festival. We?re so thankful that the festival liked our music and invited us to perform. We?ve only spoken with the staff through email so far, but everyone we?ve dealt with has been really awesome to us and we?re looking forward to meeting them all in person when we play on September 21st at Quai des Brumes.

You guys mentioned that you want to?sightsee?while in Canada. Anything else you guys want to do during your downtime?

Hyun-seok: I want to eat Poutine and try different kinds of Canadian beer. ?Korean beer doesn?t taste very good, but I?ve heard Canada has lots of delicious beer.

Dae-inn: A friend also told us we have to try Tim Hortons. ?He said it?s a coffee chain that?s really famous in Canada. I?m hoping we have enough time to see Niagara Falls. I don’t think it?s too far from Hamilton, so maybe we can visit there before our September 19th gig. Ever since I watched Superman II, I?ve wanted to go to Niagara Falls.

What are some of Apollo 18?s future plans? Anything big in the works?

Dae-inn: We started making new songs for our next full-length album this Summer. We?ve got four songs finished and recently started performing one of the new songs at shows. Right now we?re rehearsing for our Canadian gigs, but after the tour we want to write another six songs for our album. We?re hoping to release it before the end of this year.

Sang-yun: We?re starting to think about doing some more international tours in 2013, too. We?ve talked a bit with a few other bands about possibly teaming up for tours in the U.S. and Europe. We also really want to return to Japan and Taiwan for more shows. We?ve received a lot of emails over the last year from Taiwanese people who watched us at Beastie Rock Festival asking us to come back. Their support has been amazing, and we really want to go back to Taiwan and see them all again.

Lastly, any final words for your fans?

Dae-inn: Thank you so much for listening to our music! ?We?re so grateful for your support. When we started Apollo 18 our idea was to just make music for fun among friends. We never thought we?d have fans in other countries and would be able to travel to different places and perform. To everyone that lives in the places we?re visiting in Canada, we?re really excited to meet you all next week and share our music. To people in other places, we hope we can hang out with you sometime soon. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thanks to the epic Apollo 18 for their time and good luck on your tour! Check below for their Pop Montreal tour dates and links to keep in touch with the guys!

September 19 Hamilton, Ontario @ This Ain?t Hollywood
September 20 Ottawa, Ontario @ Zaphod Beeblebrox
September 21 Montreal, Quebec @ Quai des Brumes (Pop Montreal)
September 22 Toronto, Ontario @ Bovine Sex Club