We all know that K-Pop is all the rage when it comes to the Korean music scene. It’s a multi-billion Dollar industry that gripped not just South Korea, but the rest of the globe as well. However, beyond all the catchy songs, slick choreography, and the glamor that K-Pop projects, there sure is more to Korean music today than just… well… pop. And if you’ll dig a little deeper you might just find yourself drowning your ears to some indie tunes that might just be as addictive as K-Pop.
Here are some Korean indie music artists that you should check out now:
1. O.O.O (Out of Office)
Best played during: laid-back weekend mornings
If there’s a word that best describes Out of Office’s style it’s comfy. The sounds this four-member band produces are not far from the ordinary. They don’t try to set a trend with flamboyant techniques, nor do they attempt to achieve something beyond what they are capable of. They work with what’s familiar to listeners and develop their own tone from there, making their tunes – simple as they are – instantly likable and easy to the ears.
While O.O.O has been hanging around the indie sphere since 2014, it was only last year they got a much deserved break by minting a song titled “Autumn Sky” in the soundtrack of the first OnStyle drama series“Because It’s The First Time”. They released their first EP called “Home” earlier this year.
“Autumn Sky” (2015)
“모래”/”Gold Dust” (2016)
Best played during: late nights or rainy afternoons
Singer-guitarist Seong Yong Uk and drummer Yoon Heyong Ro crossed paths several times in school and at amateur band meet-ups before finally coming together as a duo. With a burning passion for making music and a strong desire to break into the indie scene, they formed Zitten and debuted in 2005 with a self-produced mini-album titled “Rock Doves”.
Their songs are often a fusion of folk and pop with hints of rock thrown here and there. Because of their unique sound quality, a number of Zitten’s songs were featured in OSTs of movies and TV shows, including the 2015 sitcom “The Producers”. Zitten enjoyed a steady career before announcing their split in 2011. Vocalist Seong Yong Uk continues to release music under the band’s name.
“별,달,밤”/”Star, Moon, Night” (2008)
3. Standing Egg
Best played during: warm summer days
The band composition of Standing Egg is ever changing. Apart from the three core members and founders – who prefer to go by the nicknames “Egg 1”, “Egg 2”, and “Egg 3” – the rest of the band is made up of temporary members, who are usually vocalists. When Standing Egg holds live performances, indie musicians Ryu Seok Won a.k.a. Clover (guitar/vocals), Lee Han Kyul (double bass), Song Hana (djembe), and Windy (vocalist) often join the band onstage.
Since their 2010 debut, Standing Egg has become one of South Korea’s most recognizable independent music acts. They are best known for their sugary sweet tunes that encompass various musical genres such as bossa nova, jazz, folk, and even reggae. They recently made a comeback with their mini-album titled “Voice”.
“넌 이별 난 아직” (2010)
Best played during: weekday mornings, when you’re preparing for work or school
There’s something about the nectarine vocals of Kim Yoon Ju and Baek Se Jin – the two talented women behind the indie-folk duo OKDAL – that can turn any bad day into a brighter one. Add experimental sounds like whistling and the delicate ringing of triangles or xylophones to the equation, and what you get is a positivity pill crushed into bits, generously sprinkled over their absolutely eargasmic songs.
Their most notable work to date is a collaboration with K-Pop boy group VIXX in 2013. The two bands came together for the single “여자는 왜” or “Girls, why?”.
“달리기”/”Keep Running” (2015)
“여자는 왜” or “Girls, Why?”
5. 커피소년 (Coffee Boy)
Best played during: your down days
Want a dose of good vibes? You can count on Coffee Boy to deliver just that. Known for his soothing vocals and “healing” lyrics, Coffee Boy is all about lifting his listeners’ spirits through his well-crafted words and melodies.
His material is always cozy; never intimidating. Simply put, the feel of his songs can be likened to the feeling you get when you come home after a tiring day at work or school. Really now, give this guy a listen. You deserve it.
“힘내”/”Cheer Up” (2015)
“행복해”/”Happy” feat. Taru (2014)
Written by Krew Member Andy Flores