Say Sue Me hail from Busan, South Korea. After hearing the group via Bandcamp Daily, we were determined to reach out. So reach out we did.
TSOFDs: Hi. Thanks a lot for communicating with us. We’ve read that your influences span from Dick Dale and The Beach Boys through to Pavement and Yo La Tengo, but are there any South Korean bands that have influenced you or an act on your local music scene you think our readers should check out?
SSM: In Korea, the music scene is mostly concentrated in the Hongdae area in Seoul. We’re Busan-based, so we’re far from Hongdae and its trends and energy, but from that scene we’d like to recommend Cogason. As for bands from our hometown, Busan, we’d recommend Genius. We think of these bands as our best friends.
TSOFDs: How can we resist a band called Genius? You’re currently in the UK touring. At the time of TSOFDs emailing you this you’re probably winding down after playing the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. How have you been enjoying the gigs – any British food you’re getting attached to? Been trying the local beers?
SSM: Leeds is truly a beautiful city. Sadly, we couldn’t see much of it apart from what was near the venue, but what we saw felt like a quintessentially English town to us. The crowds have been packed, and it’s been beautiful to see them watching us right back. I had a meat pie in the venue and heard this was a very English food item. I couldn’t finish it, but the combination of meat and pie was fascinating. We’re sad that we haven’t had a chance to try much local beer, but I had an East London Brewing pale ale with fish and chips and that might’ve been the highlight of the tour.
TSOFDs: Haha with your love of food I think you would enjoy playing in China. Have you been to China or is China a country you can see yourself visiting to play gigs in soon?
SSM: We haven’t been to China yet! I’ve always wondered about it and wanted to go though, as it’s an Asian country but so different from Korea. I really want to play there, and if we get the chance we’d be there in a flash.
TSOFDs: Let’s make it happen! You’re quoted as stating musicians in Busan don’t play to ‘gain popularity’ but as a band that has been covered by the likes of Pitchfork, Stereogum, and now of course, reached the dizzying heights of TSOFDs, you are, arguably, increasingly popular. What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring musicians? Perhaps there’s something you know now that you wished you’d known when you first started?
SSM: Honestly, it’s still difficult to feel that we’re popular. Why? It’s been getting better gradually, but we still feel that interest about us in Korea isn’t so high. There aren’t as many people coming to the venues as we’ve seen abroad. However, media interest has been promising and I hope that as journalists keep talking about us, the buzz will grow. Sorry, but we don’t have any insightful advice. The most important thing is to start. And keep starting. Don’t get impatient. Believe in yourself and what you’re doing, and then keep doing it. That’s all we can say so far. Really though the most important thing is your health. I wish I would’ve known that earlier. We might’ve drunk a little too much for fun…. We’ve had great times, so we don’t regret anything, but it might’ve been nice to take it easy? Heh heh…
TSOFDs: No, there’s some good advice there. OK. The music. We’re loving the sound of your recordings. What can you tell us about the process?
SSM: For the new album ‘Where We Were Together’, we used a Macbook and Logic to record demos and then tracked the songs at Mushroom Recording in Seoul. Before this, we used GarageBand and our cell phones to demo the songs on ‘We’ve Sobered Up’ and the ‘Big Summer Night’ EP and then recorded right in our practice room for a naturally lo-fi sound. Our new album is the first we’ve recorded professionally and personally I think this method is better for us. We could try different instruments, set-ups, and methods we’d have never thought of on our own, so while we might’ve had prejudices before, we became more accepting of change. Here’s the biggest secret: we like having complete song structures and a definite sound in mind when we walk into the studio, but we’re open to hearing advice from our engineers. There’s nothing wrong with their input…as long as it’s useful!
TSOFDs: If someone was spending the day in Busan tell us how they should spend their day and evening. What should they have to eat for example? Where should they visit or go to for a gig?
SSM: We have a member we’ve nicknamed Mr BB, or Mister Big Breakfast. Actually, it’s just our bassist Jaeyoung. According to him, you should start with a delicious breakfast of 복국 (pufferfish soup). It’s a great help for those who might’ve enjoyed themselves too much the night before. For lunch, he recommends a Busan signature dish, 밀면 (noodles made of wheat flour, and sweet potato and potato starch, in a meat broth). Sounds tasty, right? It’s served cold with a spicy chili paste: very refreshing and stimulating. After lunch, there’s nothing special to do, but he wants to stroll along our sanctuary, the Gwangalli beach. Listening to our music while strolling would be great. Now for dinner: Korean style BBQ with the national liquor, soju. Yum! If you’d like to enjoy some drinks afterwards, he’d take you to 백석 (Baekseok) near Busan National University. Forget a gig! This cozy bar has plenty of vinyl and you can play the songs you want to hear. It’s a wicked place though. Here, as if by magic, you’ll lose all desire to go home and, instead, just keep drinking with your lovely friends. By the way, Jaeyoung is single. Message him.
TSOFDs: Haha great answers. Thanks so much for your time and have an amazing adventure regarding the rest of your European tour. Eat some croissants for us in Paris.