Fans of the Korean rock scene will know of Galaxy Express for their high octane, runaway bullet train escapades. A scintillating tour de force trio, Park Jonghyun, Lee Juhyun and Kim Heekwon wildly whiplash audiences with a centrifugal forging of raw, sweaty, psychedelic rock’n’roll. Their new album “Walking on Empty” was released on 6 August and pays homage to their past as well as paving a new future of strength with their growth into new adventures.
The band had toured the UK back in 2013 – just as the hype for the Korean indie scene began to make a stir, and with a mix of explosive performances accompanied by their garage rock, punk, and psychedelic sounds, the trio have wowed audiences all over the world by holding gigs in Canada, the US, Taiwan, France, China, Japan and Russia. MTV Iggy wrote about the band, describing how, “With their amped energy and stage exhibitionism, they’re the best live act to come out of Korea since… well, maybe ever.” The group’s unique sound, which is pretty far from mainstream, means they stand out from the crowd, and for all the right reasons.
On 1 April 2010, the members announced that they planned to write, record and release an album within just 30 days: this was rightly titled “Wild Days”. True to their word, a month later the album was released and went on to win the band “Musician of the Year” at the 2011 Korean Music Awards. The trio went on to perform at a multitude of stages at some big events, such as South by Southwest (SXSW), Japan’s Summer Sonic Festival and they were even the opening act for Linkin Park when they toured South Korea.
Skipping forward to 2014, their new album “Walking On Empty” was recorded over a year, with the music being recorded in May 2014 and the vocals recorded in April 2015. Recorded and mixed by Adrian Hall, known for his work with Black Eyed Peas, Depeche Mode and Ray Davies, it was mastered at the famed Abbey Road Studios by Miles Showell, who has worked with legends such as Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and Underworld.
Of the new album, guitarist and vocalist Park Jonghyun says, “We took a lot more time making this album than we have with our past albums. I think having no set deadline to meet gave us more time to think about what exactly we wanted to do and allowed us to create an album that is a lot calmer and more detail-oriented than our previous offerings. With ‘Walking on Empty’ all ten of the tracks have their own unique feel and character. We’re really happy with how the album turned out and we think it’s really good… but then we think all of our albums are really good.”
When asked about why he chose to work with Adrian Hall and Miles Showell, Jonghyun happily replies, “We wanted to try something different that we’d never done before. We’ve made some rough recordings in the past but this time we thought it would be cool to try and make a more polished, professional-sounding album. And we have wanted the chance to work with renowned engineers for several years now, so it seemed like a good time to finally do it with this album. When we started Galaxy Express, we never imagined that we’d one day have an album that was associated with Abbey Road in any way!”
If you are in Korea between 2-4 October, the Zandari Festa will be taking place and is a chance to see Galaxy Express as well as a whole plethora of acts from around the world performing along the streets and inside the famous indie clubs of Hongdae.
Galaxy Express are also interested in returning to Europe. Says Jonghyun, “We are hoping to play abroad again soon. It’s always a blast getting to travel and share our music with different people around the world. Hopefully we can visit some more new places and get back to some of the great countries we’ve played already again in the future.” So keep your eyes peeled.
Be sure to keep checking back to MCM Buzz for more coverage of the band, as well as other great music from all areas of the Korean music industry. If you have the chance, be sure to check out Galaxy Express on iTunes and show your support for the band’s latest album “Walking on Empty”. In the meantime prepare to tap your feet and nod along to their latest music video release “Time Keeps Rollin’ By”.