(Photo : Jean Libert for Kpopstarz ) KOCCA and the organizers of the Seoulsonic showcase did a fantastic job in bringing amazing performers to Austin, Texas for South by Southwest (SXSW). SXSW 2015 contained five straight days of Korean music, providing a multitude of opportunities to hear the sounds of pop, hip-hop, punk and hair metal.
(Photo : Jean Libert for Kpopstarz ) Korean rock and electronic acts helped to kick off the entertainment extravaganza at the Geeks from Gangnam event on March 18. Technological exports from Korea were on-hand at Brasshouse, to show off their latest inventions during the Korea @ SXSW event. Punk legends No Brain headlined the technology meetup, providing performances with Asian Chairshot and The Solutions.
Kpopstarz was invited to check out The Solutions, who rocked the crowd with their unique blend of electronic rock. KTown Cowboys provides a poignant take on the web series, providing a fictitious examination on the lives of the central characters. The cast of KTown Cowboys, who premiered their film at SXSW, were on hand as emcees. The actors made a strong presence throughout SXSW 2015, attending the majority of Korean entertainment events.
Before K-Pop Night Out commenced on March 19, Kpopstarz attended an interview session and screening of KTown Cowboys. Comedian Danny Cho, Sunn Wee, Bobby Choy, Shane Yoon, Peter Jae, Angie Kim and Camila Greenberg weighed in on the movie while providing their thoughts on SXSW 2015.
During the upcoming interview, Bobby Choy, who indie folk as the singer-songwriter Big Phony, discussed the relationship K-pop has had in generating interest in Korean culture. While he performs a unique style of music as Big Phony, he does have appreciation for the role K-pop has had in spreading the Hallyu Wave. He said, Even though I perform indie and am not a K-pop artist, I do love the attention that it gets. People listen to K-pop and want to know what else Korea has to offer. Some people find Korean indie after falling in love with a K-pop act, thats what I am interested in.
Electro-pop duo Glen Check are at the center of the soundtrack, providing further context to the dedication to Korean and Korean-American entertainment in KTown Cowboys. The film features a fantastic mix of Korean indie and pop, including an hilarious scene featuring Crayon Pops hit Bar Bar Bar.
(Photo : Jean Libert for Kpopstarz ) Before Crayon Pop took the K-Pop Night Out stage on March 19, select media had the opportunity to participate in an interview session, where the girls were clad in their FM comeback attire. During an upcoming interview with MTV Iggy, Crayon Pop spoke about their first male collaboration with a Chinese pop star, their complex choreography and their dedicated male fans. The charismatic girl group followed their press junket with a filming session on the streets with the Korean network jTBC.
(Photo : Jean Libert for Kpopstarz ) Crayon Pop departed from the press junket and hit the streets of Austin to film a segment of the web series "Funny or Die" with Be FUNNY Studios, a leading producer of Asian entertainment. Crayon Pop, along with Hitchhiker, are the latest K-pop stars to participate in the "Funny or Die" series. Past K-pop participants include f(x) and HyunA.Producers for the series encouraged fans to watch the filming, which included Crayon Pop in their "FM" costumes.
The lines for K-pop Night Out formed early in the afternoon, with fans vying for a spot to see their favorite acts including Crayon Pop and Epik High.The audience contained a unique balance of male and female fans, who eagerly awaited the start of seven-hours of music.
Epik High fan Christine Lee, explained the origins of her love for the hip-hop trio. She said, When I was younger, I watched a lot of Korean variety shows. I enjoyed watching them on TV before listening to their music. The University of Texas junior mused about Epik High, stating, I started listening to them when I was eleven years old and I continue to love their music.
(Photo : Jean Libert for Kpopstarz ) (Photo : Jean Libert for Kpopstarz ) K-Pop Night Out kicked off at 7:30 p.m. with a rocking performances from Eastern Sidekick and Asian Chairshot. The evening then segued to the infectious sound of the retro revival pop trio, The Barberettes.
(Photo : Jean Libert for Kpopstarz ) (Photo : Jean Libert for Kpopstarz ) The art pop duo EE brilliantly executed a captivating mix of modern dance, electronic and hip-hop.
(Photo : Jean Libert for Kpopstarz ) (Photo : Jean Libert for Kpopstarz ) Before they arrived in Austin, EE were thrilled to deliver their unique act to the showcases of SXSW. According to Little E (Yunjoung Lee), Were expecting to meet lots of energetic people from all around the world who are crazy about music. Were excited to perform at our showcases and to see lots of other performances by other artists as well.
(Photo : Jean Libert for Kpopstarz ) SM Entertainment producer-turned-EDM personality Hitchhiker took the stage before Crayon Pop catapulted the crowd into an intergalactic party. While his identity is known, Hitchhiker remained in costume throughout SXSW, even while walking on the streets of Austin. Fans and members of the press who wanted to interact with the personality were referred to his trusty sidekick. Hitchhiker transformed K-Pop Night Out into a visual feast, through his incorporation of bizarre visual effects.
Hitchhiker provided the perfect segue for the magical girl stage of Crayon Pop. Crayon Pop always exhibited an otherworldly air but their concept for FM catapults the group into a new category. The debut performance of the song was awe-inspiring, transforming bubblegum Korean pop into a genre that toughest critics who were present at the event found noteworthy. FM was a highlight for their stage but audiences were also thrilled by their delivery of fan favorites including Saturday Night. Their signature track Bar Bar Bar was enhanced by their interstellar spacesuits, as they performed the song, with their black and white helmets.
(Photo : Jean Libert for Kpopstarz ) (Photo : Jean Libert for Kpopstarz ) (Photo : Jean Libert for Kpopstarz ) (Photo : Jean Libert for Kpopstarz ) K-Pop Night Out was capped off by a killer set from Korean hip-hop royalty, Epik High. The crowd went wild as each member took the stage, beginning with DJ Tukutz on the 1s and 2s. Tablo commanded the stage along with Mithra Jin, who expressed his enthusiasm by drinking a shot of soju. Their appearance at the show, which was kicked off with an uncensored performance of Born Hater provided context for the 21-and-over restriction on K-Pop Night Out. Epik High wowed the crowd at Elysium with eleven songs, including two encore tracks.
The first three days of the Music festival at SXSW 2015 was jam-packed with Korean entertainment. The excitement continued on from K-Pop Night Out to a fantastic rockabilly closing performance by The Barberettes at Palm Door. Kpopstarz was present for the entire run of SXSW 2015 and had the opportunity to cover a majority of the Korean events. Stay tuned for additional coverage beyond K-Pop Night Out, including exclusive interviews and photos.