Hongdae (홍대), an abbreviation of Hongik Daehakgyo (meaning Hongik University (홍익대학교)), is also commonly known as Hongik University Street, or the Hongdae area. The area is a popular neighbourhood in Mapo-gu, Seoul, and is known for its indie music culture and youthful ambience.
Hongik University Station (Seoul Subway Line 2, Airport Railroad)
For the interactive map, click here: smrt.co.kr
Accessory shops, cosmetic stores, gourmet eateries, clubs, lifestyle stores and unique cafes are what make this hotspot popular with local youths, young professionals, and increasing number of tourists who want to know and be infused with the young culture in the capital city. The area also lines up with street art festivals, cultural performances, open-air gigs and performances that draw the majority of the crowds.
There is this Hello Kitty-themed café, and what makes this café popular is not just its attractive pinky concept but also the fact that it offers free and fast WiFi!
In the area, there are plenty clubs to visit: M2, Via, Jokerred, Tool, NB, Q-VO, DD, Saab, Hooper, Ska, O.R, Myeongwolgwan, Evans, FF, WATERCOCK, Freebird, Soundholic, DGBD, Hole, Liveclub Ssam and Spot. Popular and lesser-known indie-rock bands alike can be found performing in these venues. With the increased number of brands that are springing up in the area around Hapjeong Station, more new talented indie bands are springing out to perform, making the street the most prominent indie scene in the city.
One of the most popular clubs in Hongdae is Freebird. The club offers live indie band performances; even Lunafly frequents this club to perform too!
One of the biggest Korean entertainment labels, YG Entertainment, is located just near the street. It attracts tourists who are also K-pop fans to stroll the street, hoping for a lucky moment that they may chance upon their favourite idols.
In 2007, a old coffee shop in Hongdae was actually remodelled to be used as the film set for the MBC drama The First Shop of Coffee Prince, starring Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun Hye. Thanks to the popularity of the drama, the exterior and interior of the shop have been totally overhauled to become one of the most visited places in Hongdae.
Inside the coffee shop, visitors can find a number of props that were used in the drama, including a painting by Han Yoo-joo (played by Chae Jung An). If you have been a fan of the drama, you will want to take this opportunity to stop by for a cup of coffee and reminisce the lovely drama scenes at the actual film set.
How to get there:
Take subway line 2 to Hongik University, and go out of Exit 4. Turn right at Seven Springs corner and pass the intersection. At the 3-way intersection, turn left. Walk about 100 meters on the road above the playground and walk towards the road on the right side. Walk about 500 meters until you find the coffee shop on the right.
[Directions provided by VisitKorea.or.kr]
Later in 2011, a cafe in Hongdae was also used as one of the filming locations in tvN drama Flower Boy Ramyun Shop starring Jung Il-woo.
In all, Hongdae offers more than just clubbing or shopping experience. It is a vibrant gem of art and indie culture in Seoul.
We will constantly update this article whenever we have further information, pictures and videos, so join us as we set to discover more of Hongdae.
Bookmark this page if you are planning to visit Seoul soon!
Check out our stories on K-indie music below:
For articles on indie music, click here
Our exclusive interviews:
A project under Seoul Korea – Global Seoul-mate 2013
Watermarked photos: Adrian@hellokpop
Other information and photos belong to respective websites:
They call him Korea’s number one club DJ, but to Jeon Sang Yup (DJ Yup), that is nothing but a minuscule title. The decade-plus veteran of the DJ scene has performed at massively popular venues all over the world, collaborated with trendy and well-known K-pop artists, and has accumulated not only a highly dedicated domestic fan following, but also an international following that spans the globe. With fans from countries like Japan, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and the US, DJ Yup has become a widely sought after fan favorite at clubs the world over.
We at hellokpop, recently sat down with DJ Yup in Washington, D.C., before his very first performance in the city, to discuss how he got into the business, how the club scenes differ between the U.S. and Korea, how the PSY Phenomenon has affected the outlook on Korean artists, and what it was like working with Brian Joo from Fly To The Sky.
My shows are like my life, LIVE!
We first met up with DJ Yup and his good friend, translator and MC, Tony Henderson (Crazy T), at their hotel in Hanover, Maryland early in the day. After an impromptu photo shoot, several hours of casual conversation, and getting to know one another personally, we sat down together in their hotel room for a fun talk that felt more like “two friends catching up,” than it did an official interview.
Could you tell us a little about what made you want to be a DJ?
[DJ Yup] ”As I was growing up, I was always been in to music–mostly old school Hip-Hop and rap. I used to get recordings of music videos on VHS tape and watch them secretly. I have cousins that live in the States, and they would send me tapes to listen to. I’d watch MTV, record it, and listen to them over and over and over.”
His love of music is what compelled him to start a career in the field. When he was twenty, he started DJing in Korea under the tutelage of seasoned DJ’s. While he was learning the trade, DJ Yup worked long hours for little or no pay. He was content with just learning.
[DJ Yup] “Korean clubs close at six in the morning. So, I would be there at 8 p.m., setting, and finish up around six. I did that for almost a year without any pay. It was hard, but I learned a lot.”
What is it about DJing you like the most?
[DJ Yup] “When you become one with the crowd and the crowd becomes one with you. It feels great. When I throw my hands up, the crowd does the same. We become in tune with one another. It’s beautiful.”
When you DJ, do you have a set list, or do you just make it up as you go along?
[DJ Yup] “Some DJ’s make a playlist beforehand, but I don’t. It’s live. A playlist is a good thing sometimes–it’s safe. But for me, free-styling is more exciting. My shows are like my life, live!”
Do you think the art of live DJing is more popular in Korea or in the US?
[DJ Yup] “It’s very popular in Korea. One thing is different though. In Korea, DJ’s only DJ. When I’m asked what I do for work, and I answer “I’m a DJ,” eighty-percent of people ask me why. In the States, if you’re good at something, people give you credit and respect. So, I don’t get that question.”
What are the latest trends in Korea when it comes to live DJing?
[DJ Yup] ” Electronic music is really hot right now in Korea. Korean DJ’s don’t usually play Korean music, but remixing Korean songs has become very popular now also.”
How has the DJ scene changed in the last five years or so?
[DJ Yup] “Hip-hop was very popular five years ago, but right now electronic music is in. Hip-hop DJ’s are hungry right now. They can’t spin big festivals or clubs, only smaller ones, because of EDM‘s (Electronic Dance Music) popularity. A lot of DJ’s change their music to fit trends, but with me, I play everything, because it’s the music that I like.”
We wondered how the explosion of PSY’s Gangnam Style and its global popularity has affected the DJing scenes both domestically and globally. So, we asked DJ Yup what he thought about the “PSY Phenomenon.”
[DJ Yup] ” We give thanks to PSY for being that first person to open that door, to give Korean artists the opportunity to become ‘known.’ He showed the whole world what we can do. He did it. He made it happen.”
We were curious as to how the views on nationality and race have changed since PSY’s historic rise to global fame. Music transcends all barriers of ethnicity, nationality and language, and has become a place where people from all walks of life intermingle happily together. However, Korean artists, unfortunately, still find that they are being discriminated against due to their nationality, and they are not always received with open arms. We asked DJ Yup how he handles these types of situations.
[DJ Yup] “I get it sometimes, but I don’t sweat it. The funny thing is, I usually just smile at them when I get comments like that and just show them what I can do. Afterwards, they become a fan and want to friend me on Facebook. [laughs]“
After discussing such a serious topic, we wanted to delve into something a little more fun and lighthearted. We asked DJ Yup about his experiences working with Brian Joo and sought out the answer to the burning question, “What is Brian really like?”
In 2011, You were the opening DJ for Brian Joo’s Unveiled Tour in the US. How was is like working with him on the tour? What is Brian really like in person, and would you be willing to work with him again in the future?
[DJ Yup] “Brian and I have a good relationship, so I asked him if I could be his opening DJ and he said yes. We toured together. It was great, and that’s how I met IAMMEDIC and New Heights as well. Brian is a very nice and kind person. He takes very good care of his family and works really hard. He’s a very private person by nature, and even though we respect each other’s privacy, he and I are always there to talk if one of us needs to. He’s a very humble person and I respect that a lot. As for working with him again, I’d love to.”
We then turned our attention onto the fans. While every fan is different, and subsequently, every fan of a specific genre is also different, we wanted to discuss with DJ Yup what his fans are like and how they treat him around the world.
How does your experience with fans differ between Korea and America when you’re performing? Do fans treat you differently here than the fans treat you in Korea?
[DJ Yup] “Yes. The crowds are different. American clubs are smaller than Korean clubs. The bigger the club, the harder to get into. In Korea, crowds come for the show and leave right after, where as American crowds stay around outside waiting to meet me and thank me for the show. They want to get to know me better.”
[Crazy T] “People in America are more free-spirited and friendly.”
You have garnered a substantial amount of fans worldwide with your tours, performances, and collaborations. How does it feel to have so many fans, and what are some of the things you do to show your appreciation to them?
[DJ Yup] “It’s great. I just try to keep traveling to different countries, like the Philippines, Japan, China, for the fans. Promoters sometimes don’t even have the money to pay for my plane ticket, but I come anyway. I pay for it myself, so I can perform for the fans. I really like to meet new people.”
As our interview was nearing its close, we talked a little bit about the night’s upcoming performance. DJ Yup and Crazy T told several fun stories about their time as friends, but when it came to the final question of our interview, we were in for quite an interesting answer, as Crazy T volunteered to field the question first.
How does it feel to be considered/labeled Korea’s #1 DJ?
[Crazy T] “Can I answer this question? Working with DJ Yup, he always finds ways to improve himself. Even though people label him as the number one DJ from Korea, to him its just a title. In his mindset, there are a lot more DJ’s in Korea better than him. So, when he’s given that title, he really just brushes it off, because to him, he’s still not at the level that he wants to be yet. He’s always learning.”
[DJ Yup] “Unlike many DJ’s that spend their pay on clothes and things, I invest it back into myself. I travel a lot for shows, and oftentimes pay for the trips myself. I pay to market myself. I am very confident in my DJing skills, but I want to continue to improve as time goes on. DJing is my life and I never want to stop.”
DJ Yup recently released his first single, A-Bomb, with Soulte and Crazy-T. The single became available for download on both Junodownload and Beatport earlier this week. He is currently shooting the music video for the track.
We at hellokpop would like to thank DJ Yup, Crazy T, and their crew for giving us the opportunity to meet and work with them, and for their much appreciated hospitality. We look forward to watching your careers with great interest and wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
Check out our gallery below for some of our shots from the photoshoot along with photos taken during the performance at Capitale DC, in Washington, DC.
While superstar PSY has been dominating the global K-pop scene, but back home, what do the Koreans think? Apparently not much of what the international fans thought so, it seems.
In a most recent survey by Gallup Korea, a nationwide mobile phone survey was carried out on 1,005 adults randomly. The findings concluded that although 74 percent of the respondents had seen the music video of PSY’s latest hit Gentleman compared to 64 percent who had listened to veteran Korean singer Cho Yong-pil’s comeback songs Hello or Bounce, most would rather attend concert by the latter, with a 53 percent mark higher than PSY of 38 percent.
The overwhelming popularity of Cho Yong-pil in Korea can also be confirmed when he took over the Korean real-time charts with his digital single Bounce over PSY’s Gentleman without much effort.
Is it because of Cho Yong-pil being revered as one of the most influential Korean pop figures, or PSY’s style doesn’t go well with the Koreans anymore?
Source + photo:
As one of Korea’s leading indie rock band, Apollo 18 has released four albums since 2009 with each named after a colour: Red, Blue, Violet, and the last is Black. They have won many prizes and toured the world.
In sitting down with them for our last exclusive interview from the Korea Rocks Tour in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, I was not interested in any sort of average questions as we already have held a thorough interview with the group’s past, present and future last year. So this time, I dug inside these awesome rock and roll artists to find out what their hearts were made of, and I was not disappointed.
Some of the questions sparked long discussion among the members before coming out with a satisfied answer. Here we bring you the inner story about Apollo 18, which you may probably have never known about them; the meaning of their music and the meaning of being Apollo 18.
Our dream is not to become rock stars (…) what is really important is that we are together.
It’s your first time in the UK, are you excited?
Dae Inn: Very excited, the weather is beautiful (laughs as it was currently raining)
What is your target as a group? What do you want to achieve as Apollo 18?
Sangyun: There is no target. We want to enjoy ourselves; to have people watch our show and enjoy the music.
But what was your initial dream when you started?
Daeinn: Just play music really, expressing our feelings…
Are you satisfied with your current status or do you still want to become bigger?
Daeinn: Sure, we want to get bigger.
What if things never change and keep going with the exact same level of success, same audience, same album sales for the next 20 years; would you be happy with this scenario?
Hyunseok: Actually, we’ve been together for a long time. That’s really important… our dream is not to become rock stars. Of course having success and earning a living is important but what’s really, really, important is that we are together.
Daeinn: Keeping playing together, that’s what’s important.
Could you tell us a bit about your recording process? Do you have a precise plan when you create a new song?
Daeinn: No, no, we have no plan. We just jam.
Hyunseok: But then of course we don’t just record jam sessions, we rework and make many, many, small changes to the bits that we like.
Daeinn, you acknowledge Kurt Cobain as a personal influence while growing and Kurt Cobain always claimed that the lyrics didn’t matter, only the music does. What is your personal view on that? What kind of balance do you try to find between music and lyrics?
Daeinn: We have no lyrics in our last album; well we hardly use any.
Hyunseok: For us it’s not about delivering lyrics; this is more about using the lyrics and the voice as part of an instrument.
In joining this UK tour, do you feel you are representing the Korean indie rock scene, and have a mission to promote it?
Hyunseok: We don’t think we are representative of indie bands of South Korea. We have more opportunities to go abroad and tour unlike most other artists. I mean, we have this opportunity to do those international tours, but still a lot of people do not recognize us in Korea. We’re not mainstream or Kpop; that’s what South Koreans are really interested in.
Last year, The Koxx produce a song for 4Minute. What would be your reaction if an idol company approaches you about producing idol music?
Hyunseok: We don’t want to change our musical style; but we’re assuming that if an idol group like 4Minute asks for a song or a collaboration, they would expecting us to stick to our own sound rather than us adapting to theirs.
Potentially, we want to prove that we can go abroad and do the tours or concert freely, without any complex and having people recognizing us. As long as we can prove that other bands in South Korea will get inspired by it.
What do you think of a group like Glen Check? Do you think they belong to the same music scene as you or are they different?
Sangyun: No they are different, completely different from us.
I’m asking this because Kpop is expanding as a genre, embracing all its artists at once and not just one or a few isolated ones like SNSD or T-ara. Do you think there is a similar process for Korean indie music?
Apollo 18: We don’t think the Indie music will ever be as popular as Kpop inside or outside Korea. But what we want to do, potentially, because Korean Indie is still behind other any other Western rock band, or any kind of bands, we want to prove that we can go abroad and do the tours or concert freely, without any complex and having people recognizing us. As long as we can prove that other bands in South Korea will get inspired by it. But it’s not really our intention anyway.
Ok, what about Jrock? Do you think Krock can become as big as Jrock internationally?
Apollo 18: Well it’s going to take some but we hope so. Jrock has this fundamental base; it’s been there for a long time. We don’t think we’re going to catch up on it easily, but as long as we keep doing tours and good music, then eventually, we might be able to catch up on it.
Alright, what do you think about an artist like Lee Seung Yeol? Do you think you belong to the same indie scene?
Apollo 18: He’s major. He’s very famous. He belongs to one of the biggest label in Korea; we can’t really compare to that. He is a mainstream artist, however he plays indie.
Would you consider signing for a big label while still playing indie?
Apollo 18: As long as the label does not ask us to change our music style, there is no reason why we would not join a major label like Lee Seung Yeol.
We think [our music is] just a sketchbook. We provide the page and people write their own story. It’s up to the listeners to give our music a colour, an image.
Could you describe your sound as a band in one image?
Apollo 18: There is no image; just Apollo.
What about a colour then? Since you use colours for your album names and covers, what colours fits you best, defines your sound?
Apollo 18: Oh, very hard question (laughs). We think it’s just a sketchbook. We provide the page and people write their own story. It’s up to the listeners to give our music a colour, an image. This is part of the reason why we don’t write lyrics that often because if we do so we give directions, a definition to all the tracks. But we would rather leave the listener decide and figure out what the music is.
But then what precise role plays the colour chosen for each album? Isn’t that an indication, a direction, a definition?
Apollo 18: Again, it’s very difficult but it’s ok, we like it. We’re happy with the question but we want to be careful at what we say. We don’t have our own colours. The colour that we decide depends on the album we make; it can be red, it can be blue, it can be yellow next time. It is referred by the style of music we make at the time. The colour chosen for the album represents the mood, not the story. We don’t actually put album title on the covers. They’re known as red or black because of the cover’s colour. Again, we want to leave things to the listeners; they can think on their own, freely, as they listen.
What context suits best the listening of your music?
Daeinn: Sex (laughs)
Hyunseok: Maybe by the river side.
Sangyun: I think it’s best in a club, as live music.
Is your lifestyle matching your music?
Hyunseok: It was, but not anymore; because we don’t make a living out of it. There are bad things and good things about being in a band – there are actually more good things. However, if we’re too hungry and unable to make money out of it, we can’t enjoy as much as that as a band.
Is there any moment in your life that you forget being part of Apollo 18 or being a part of Apollo 18 is your identity?
Apollo 18: No. Everyday, nonstop. We are Apollo 18 and want to be together and keep making music. As we said before: our hope is to keep together till death.
As I came to the conclusion of this interview, the heartfelt answers left a deep impression on me and the burning passion they have for the music they believe in. On behalf of hellokpop, I would like to wish them what they hope for: to keep making great music together until death!
You can read the following related stories from the Korea Rocks Tour at Tunbridge Wells:
You can find out the latest updates of Apollo 18 by following them:
Coverage provided by Marty M.
PR/Technical Assistance provided by Nicole@hellokpop.com
2013 NU’EST L.O.Λ.E Tour is coming to Singapore!
On 22 June, it will be the Pledis Entertainment’s one and only boy group, NU’EST, to hold their first ever full-fledged showcase in Singapore. Prior to debuting, the members were already exposed to the entertainment scene as backup dancers and featured in multiple live performances and music videos for labelmates – After School.
Short for Nu (New), Established, Style and Tempo, NU’EST calls themselves an urban electro group, with great influence on their music styles. Comprising of 5 members; JR (leader), Aron, Baekho, Minhyun and Ren, NU’EST made their official debut in March 2012 with title track Face. Their debut song was made popular by its unique choreography, which includes the chair-dance.
The group sets themselves apart from the saturated industry by injecting social messages into their songs. Aiming to be the ‘voice of teen generation’, their meaningful lyrics talk of issues such as school violence and bullying (1st single – Face), striving for freedom, individuality and dreams (1st mini album – Action). Their recent comeback veered away from the catchy electro tunes and highlights their vocals with an R&B ballad titled Hello.
NU’EST has been staging many overseas performances. Recent ones include K-CON 2012 in California, Korean Music Wave 2013 in Bangkok, and not forgetting their 2-day debut anniversary concert in Tokyo, Japan. This will be their second time in Singapore, since the mini showcase held last year.
Fans can expect to be electrified and blown away by this urban electro group with their talent, charms and visuals!
Music Video: Face
Music Video: Hello
Venue: Kallang Theatre
Date: 22 June 2013
VVVIP- $228* (Red Zone Ticket / High-touch / Autograph / Poster / Individual photo)
VVIP – $188* (Red Zone Ticket / High-touch / Autograph / Poster)
VIP – $148* (Red Zone Ticket / High-touch / Poster)
Cat 1 – $98* (Blue Zone Ticket / High-touch / Poster)
Cat 2 – $68* (Green Zone Ticket / High-touch / Poster )
Cat 3 – $48* (Purple/Circle Zone Ticket / Poster)
Official Ticket Sales start from 17 April.
Tickets can be purchased online at Ticketbrite: www.NUEST.eventbrite.sg or by calling +65 9775 9169.