Interview: The Rebellion Tapes – 18Fevers

Every once in a while a band comes along that just have that little something extra special about them. While just being themselves they manage to exude huge amounts of positive energy. And then they play and utterly blow you away. 18Fevers are one of those groups, a collective of musicians that gel perfectly on and off stage. Gary Trueman caught up with the Korean four piece ahead of their Rebellion Festival debut. Up for discussion was the punk scene in the UK and how it differs from the one in their homeland.

You’re primarily a punk band but like many emerging artists you blend in other influences too. So where do your influences come from as a collective?

“We loosely call ourselves Death Punk Disco, we’re based in Seoul but we have this attitude, this mindset, that’s more than just aggressive punk. We draw from gothic too and other music.”

Death Punk Disco sounds like you have a bit of a dance sound too?

“We try to incorporate a bit of that although we haven’t gone full bore, but we do want people to know anything is possible. We’re aggressive and dark and that just happened naturally.”

Korea is known as a quite conservative country so how does your music go down in your home country? Is there resistance to it at all?

“Some people just by our looks, people who don’t know we are musicians kind of judge us. It is a very conservative country and the punk scene there is very small, the music isn’t very popular there. So everybody knows everybody inside the scene. We’re all having fun.”

It sounds like it’s a little bit like it is here in the UK. It’s a bigger scene here but you do seem to keep bumping into the same people and get to know a lot of them well. So is it a more urban scene rather than spread out?

“Yes but to be fair we live in Seoul and are from there so we don’t know a lot about other city’s scenes. They do have punk scenes but Seoul’s is the biggest. Seoul has like 20 million people.”

Your song ‘Gatekeeper’ released in July this year is an interesting song that many people will relate to. It’s obviously something you have even in Korea?

“We wrote Gatekeeper because in Korea even with its small scene there’s still a lot of gatekeeping going on. Because it’s such a small scene it’s even more frustrating. It’s bad in any scene but when you don’t have that many people, like why would you do that? Why would you try to keep people out? We wrote it out of frustration.”

Do the alternative sub-cultures mix freely in Korea like they have done for a while now in the UK? They used to be separate but now here it’s much more of a unified community.

“It is going more and more in that direction. We’ll book a show and we might play with a metal band or we might play with keyboard and synths like an ambient band. The shows for sure are pretty mixed. Some fans might not like to do it but we like to do it. The hard core scene is more like oh you’re a punk band you can’t play with us, but we don’t give a fuck who we play with, indie rock, shoe gaze, we don’t care!”


Is there anything you’ve noticed about the UK that is weird or massively different?

“There’s a wide range of generation on the punk scene in the UK. There are older people and younger people. In Korea it’s much smaller like just people in their 20s and 30s. We don’t see a lot of older punks. It’s surprising in a good way to see all these different ages gathering together within music. Also the UK is way more queer friendly. Korea is very conservative and even in the punk scene there are things going on that are bad. It’s nice to see that everybody gets accepted here. The scene in Korea is maybe 30 years old and we try to explain to people that you can’t be queer phobic or transphobic because those people started punk. It doesn’t make sense, if you’re going to do that then stop calling yourself punk.”

Punks have become the new generational hippies in a way haven’t they?

“There’s that saying that punks are good people trying to look like bad people and hippies are bad people trying to look like good people. Things change. A few decades ago you had the hippies from the 60s getting older, but now you have the sound from the 80s and 90s, the grunge era, those people are the adults now.”

You’re obviously looking forward to playing Rebellion.  Is it known about much in Korea?

“Only the punk scene maybe. Not a lot of people knew about it but Rumkicks played last year so now more people know about it. We’re really looking forward to it (18Fevers smashed it out of the park – Ed). In Korea they might not know about it but if you show them the list of bands playing they’re like – Oh shit! You’re play that!”

You’ve put out an EP and a video recently, what else do you have planned for the future? Any plans to tour?

“Maybe Japan.”

Any plans to return to the UK?

“There are some talks happening, we’d love to come back.”

The world is a strange place at the moment. There’s all kinds of shit happening. You not doubt get a different perspective on it in Korea too with stuff happing in your part of the world that gets almost no coverage here, and visa versa. So if you could change one thing in the world what would it be and why?

“If everyone would just mind their own fucking business and not care how other people live everything would be fine. If you’re doing it for you and not causing anyone else any harm who cares? If people are queer or trans who cares? Let them be. Even if you don’t support them or believe in what they are doing don’t cause them any harm or destruction. What’s the point of that?”

18Fevers – Facebook

Interview and photos by Gary Trueman