In the age of the anthropocene, where humankind reigns but humanity is scarce – an electro power pop duo from Korea seek to dismantle the self-serving psyche and conjure a joyous community of impenetrable, universal togetherness in its wake. Introducing Wedance (위댄스): a band, a statement, a warning. After releasing a treasure trove of glorious a-tonal, spasmodic pop bliss by way of 16 EPs and three full length albums since 2011, the beloved happiness conjurers are back with their latest LP Dance Pop featuring the certified banger, ‘Ironism’ (아이러니즘). To celebrate the release, Wedance have just announced that they will be heading to Australian palms, fingertips and screens of all sizes over the next month or so, in the country’s first ever national digital tour by a Korean artist. We had a chat to Wegui and Wevo of the band all about it.
Hey Wedance it’s so great to have a chat with you today! We’d love to know how and when you started creating music together?
WEGUI: We started making music together in the early 2010s. We were attracted to each other’s talents and personalities, so we came together.
WEVO: All of what he said there is right, but it was 2011 when we started out. haha
Your bio says you spend a great majority of your time on stage living up to your name, and after watching some live videos of your performances, we couldn’t agree more! When people see you perform or listen to your music, what do you hope they take away from their experience?
WEGUI: I think that the best way to get an idea of what our music is about is to put down your phone (after finishing this interview), and put on our music. I’m thinking of putting my earphones in and going outside to do just that after writing these answers.
WEVO: The stage is a special space for us. Playing our music live is awesome. On stage I allow myself to be myself and let various energies enter and exit my body. The sounds, expressions, and body fluctuates with the music. I’m not sure how it looks to people, but it’s probably a sight that is hard to see in everyday life. It’s a unique experience for everyone involved. It’s a waste to miss the opportunity to see us play. We are always ready to play. Therefore, it will be a very special experience if you make up your mind to see us.
You released your most recent album Dance Pop in July this year, and it was the first LP of yours to be available digitally. What is it about tangible CDs and LPs that you love, compared with being able to access music online? And why did you finally make the big change in 2020?
WEGUI: In the swirling era of ‘possessions’, we can buy an album in the form of CD or LP.
This direct way of purchasing is merely the act of ‘naming’ something as yours. Music, like many other things, can lose its fun at the moment it comes into your hands. I released our song in the digital format just because it is something we have not done before. I don’t think it is bad to have music from artists like the Velvet Underground in the online world. It will keep it alive for future generations.
WEVO: The act of loving something is a very personal thing and at the same time requires you to be completely honest with yourself. Some people choose to listen to music on streaming sites and YouTube through their smartphones. Other people like to have a CD or LP in their room so they can touch it, read it and listen to it in physical form. I think everyone just tries to find a way that suits themselves. The reason why we have released most of our songs only on handmade CDs and in most cases, sold them only at shows is simple. It was to bring people to our concerts. When people come to the venue and see us perform in person the album seems to sell really well. This year’s album ‘DANCE POP’ was one that could have been released last year. If it had been released last year, I might have done it in a different way. In 2020, many performances have been canceled and turned into streaming performances. As a result, we have not been able to do our planned overseas tour this year. Although the decision to release digital music did not come as a prediction of this currency situation, it has worked out well.
Can you give our readers an insight into your local live music scene in Seoul? What are some of your favourite venues and Korean acts?
WEVO: My favorite Korean musicians, more than anyone else have their own unique ‘colours’ (qualities), intelligence and cool attitudes. Takes listen to the music of ‘Amateur Amplifier’, ‘Yamagata Tweakster’, ‘Uhuhboo Project’, ‘NON’ & ‘Anakin Project’. You will find a variety of music that is perhaps difficult to label as a specific genre. It would be sad to not include WEDANCE in that list as well, wouldn’t it? It is regrettable that many of the names listed above are no longer active. The act of creation itself is not easy. I hope that more time for creation will be allowed and more attention will be given to those who do what we really need. I hope that these creative people grow to be more powerful and strong. Cool venues in Seoul? You should check out anywhere we are playing!
You’re about to be heading to Australia’s virtual shores for a short run of live streamed performances over the coming months. Can you let us know about these shows? How and when can we watch them?
WEGUI: Yes! We were actually supposed to come for real in August to play some shows. We were really stoked about that, but sadly, like almost everything that all fell through because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully we have this opportunity to come to you digitally instead.
At the moment we have three performances confirmed, but we are hoping to add a few more as well. We have a digital showcase at Bigsound (Wed 21st Oct – Thurs 22nd Oct). That will feature a pre-recorded live video we shot here on a small farm just outside Seoul. You can see us playing songs in a small sink-hole and in a greenhouse as well.
We will also be performing at the online Isol-Aid Festival on Saturday 31st October. That will be a live stream performance and we will be joined by some other fantastic artists from across Asia as well.
Finally, we will be the digital opening act for Jaguar Jonze at the ‘Open Session Program at The Tivoli’ on Friday 20th November. We really wish we could be there in person to see Jaguar Jonze perform.
We’ve already finished filming the sets for some of these and it is really crazy. I received the sound recording file and listened to it first, and I seriously want to make it a live album from it. Filming took place on a remote farm in the countryside outside of Seoul , we had some lights and the shadows – designed by nature. There were lots of surprises in the live video that are never possible on a video shoot set or in a concert hall. Look at how happy I am in the videos. We will also have a live streamed performance for the ISOL-AID festival. I’m hungry to perform again, so I am not sure what is going to happen there.
In pre-COVID times, you’ve been to Australia before and have toured internationally multiple times playing festivals such as Fuji Rock, Primavera Sound and more! What do you love most about touring internationally and playing to audiences from different countries?
WEGUI: This may be similar to the difference between real touchable stuff (like a CD or LP) and an online digital sound source. There are so many experiences to be had when we visit other countries to perform. From languages to the accommodation, food to street scenery and people’s facial expressions. It’s so much fun that I can’t get my head together from the moment I arrive until the moment I leave. It’s so strange and vivid. But I try to stay alert during the performances.
WEVO: We have been lucky. Until now, even without a separate management company we have had the opportunity to participate in big and small performances overseas every year. We have had lots of shows here in Korea as well. It has all happened due to human power. Now I think this is a miracle. People have really supported us and our music, acting on our behalf without expecting anything in return. There is such a person in Australia. He is called Dave and he runs the TIVOLI. If I meet him, I will express our love to him. Our music is for everyone, irrespective of gender, nationality, or race.
Do you have a bucket list of places or festivals you hope to one day perform at?
WEVO: On a perfectly well-organized stage we may look more comfortable, but it is not necessarily so. Of course I’m not saying it is not helpful to be on such a stage. I get in a state of ecstasy that is enough to forget where I am. Every place is perfect in itself. Even places that seem to have nothing to do with the performance.
WEGUI: I think it is more fun to perform in small clubs here and there, rather than one-off performances at a big festival. I think it would be really good fun to do a month-long tour of a certain country. That way you can learn so much about the place and experience so many things. We would love to do that in Australia one day soon.
What’s your favourite festival or live gig that you’ve attended as a punter?
WEVO: The festivals where live performances take place over several days are really exciting. I have been using the sunglasses I got from the Big Sound Festival this summer, and I use the cup holder on my bike.
And finally, what’s next for Wedance? Any more releases on the horizon? Any potential collaborations etc.?
WEVO: Our Dance Pop album is out now. I will make some more special songs this winter. I would like to continue working with David, the director of the soon-to-be-released Ironism music video as well. He also helped with our upcoming live videos for Australia. We are also planning a long bike trip as well.
WEGUI: We are thinking about writing new songs now. We will write some good new songs.
To get a taste of what’s to come on Wedance’s upcoming Aus Tour, check out the live video for ‘Ironism’ below and pop the following dates in your diary!
Wedance ‘Danceparty at Your Fingertips’ Digital Tour Dates
Bigsound ‘Dancing On The Farm’ Showcase & Q&A
Showcase time: 7PM AEST
Saturday 31 October
Time: 3:40-4:00PM (AEDT)
Open Session Program at The Tivoli – Supporting Jaguar Jonze
Friday 20 November
Tickets $35 for cabaret style show via thetivoli.com.au/events/wedance