The DIY masters of perfectly organised chaos.
There’s nothing quite like finding an artist that instantly lift you out of your day with transcendent and jubilant force.
The Korean indietronica, art-rock duo Wedance (위댄스) are exactly that, especially with their latest album ‘Dance Pop’, released in July this year.
Meshing homegrown pop with industrial rave, glittering indie rock rhythms, sporadic pop bliss and topping it off with dashes of colourful techno and fuzz, ‘Dance Pop’ proves Wedance members, Webo and Wegi, to be the DIY masters of perfectly organised chaos.
Formed in Korea after a chance encounter on the street, thanks to Wegi’s unique fashion sense and kindred spirit, Wedance have established a knack for creating music that can feel at once anthemic and, of course, make you move in whatever weirdo way these unique compositions compel you.
While the duo has been releasing music prolifically since 2011, with 16 mini-albums and counting, it’s unlikely that Australians would have heard their music unless you managed to stumble across their energetic, off-the-wall performances at OzAsis in 2016 or Big Sounds Festival in 2018. Creating a type of ‘musical scavenger hunt’, the duo only carries a few copies of the plethora of their self-recorded and self-burned EPs around to their performances.
That’s what makes them so much more absorbing now, with Dance Pop being their first ever material to be available digitally, ever! With a transformation into the digital realm, Wedance have been able to connect with fans like never before, sparking their ‘Danceparty at Your Fingertips’ digital Australian tour, including online live streams for BIGSOUND, Isol-Aid and The Tivoli’s Open Session Program.
With the album now making the rounds on the airwaves and the duo now part way through their virtual tour, we sat down with two-piece garage band to get the deets on their journey into Korean indie-dance.
Congrats on the recent release of your album Dance Pop. Can you tell us a bit about how this came together? Was it in the works for a long time?
WEGUI: Thank you so much. We completed the songs for this album around a year ago now. At the time, we were wondering how to best release it, but happened to be contacted by our friends at Highjinkx and Beeline Records and we decided to work with them for the release.
WEVO: Around the time we were planning to release it we wanted to make some changes to the album, so the release date changed. Around that time, we decided to work with our good friends on the release so things changed some more. It affected both the overall nature and sound of the album and also the way the album was released. We were happy to have these changes.
The album is 11 tracks of electro pop bliss. Who are some of your influences for this release?
WEGUI: That would be Wevo. I think we always take the biggest influences from each other.
And in terms of the songs themselves, are there personal stories behind each one?
WEGUI: Songs like ‘ronism’ and ‘City Punk’ are about getting out of the slump from repetitive daily routines. The process of making these songs helped refresh me. I think it helped me open my eyes clearly. It’s a story I want to tell people through our music and at the same time, it is a story I really needed to hear myself.
WEVO: Aside from one song on the album, all the tracks were made at a similar time. At that time, I had suddenly begun to feel that my surroundings were too quiet. I wanted to create some kind of ‘fuss’ (disturbance) to mix it up a bit. That is how the song title for ‘Big Fuss’ came about. The sense of emptiness at that time was exaggerated by the irony that many things seemed to be happening, but yet nothing ever seemed to actually be happening. We like to make songs about things that happen to us in our everyday lives. Every song has its own personal story, it is impossible for them not to. It is not easy to explain, because the memories get modified as the songs get completed.
This is your first music available online with all previous releases exclusive via small run CD pressings. What influenced the decision to move online? Was that in response to the current pandemic or has this been the plan for some time?
WEVO: Ah, no. That had nothing to do with the pandemic. It was a decision we had made before, at the end of last year. I guess one of the reasons for doing it was to meet new people and to be able to introduce them to our music. Like you, the readers of this interview. We previously released all our music via handmade CDs, sold only at our concerts because we wanted to bring people to our concerts so they can get the full Wedance experience as well as take home an EP as a souvenir.
WEGUI: It wasn’t really a planned thing either. It was a sudden decision and what affected it most was ‘a change to make a change’. One of the reasons I think was just that it was something we had not done before. The good thing about digital is that it will keep the music alive for future generations.
Will you continue to release the CD pressings?
WEGUI: It is hard to be sure of exactly what will happen in the future, but I feel like we will continue to make physical things that people can touch, whether it’s CDs or LPs.
WEVO: Pressing CD is one form of releasing music. I hope our album will end up being included in lots of peoples CD collections. Making a CD is not difficult and it has a certain charm to it. There’s no reason not to really. Just looking at products that have a simple purpose of playing music, such as CD players and LP players, makes my heart beat faster. These are obviously not the most convenient ways to listen to music, but they are symbols of music itself. It’s not that complicated a process either though, you simply need to buy a cool CD and put it somewhere, then open it and play it when you feel like it. Someone somewhere will be listening to music like this. It makes me feel good just to imagine that.
In the last nine years, you’ve released 16 EPs and three full-length albums, which is an incredible feat. How does Dance Pop sit within your discography? Is it a clear progression in sound or have your releases varied in terms of sound?
WEGUI: Dance Pop is an album that had an orderly process to it. We basically like the low-fi sound and state, so of course that is at the forefront of the album. As a result I think this album has a good balance between its arrangement and Wedance’s natural characteristics. That balance can sometimes come across as strange and sometimes as a bit risky. It is somewhat like someone standing on a very slender bridge. But overall, I think the music on the album fits well with the name ‘Dance Pop’.
WEVO: I think that every release can be a bit chaotic, but each one has a ‘hot spot’. That spot often guides us in a direction we did not expect. That’s what happened with this most recent album.
You’re on a mission to help people dance through their boundaries and to experience life fully on the other side. In what way do you believe music can do this?
WEGUI: From my personal experience, I think there is no other media that can help people do this as well as music can. But I don’t think it is possible if the music is simply used as background music. If the conditions are right for the music to penetrate you, music can make magical things possible at any time.
WEVO: The possibility of multiple meanings in a sentence stimulates me. Music doesn’t exactly explain all the possible meanings though, music simply encourages us to express answers naturally through our imaginations. It is an expression that can not be forgotten. Music is the most outstanding format to help people dance through their boundaries.
You’ve been creating music together for a while now. What are the biggest things that have changed in the band since then (besides new material)?
WEGUI: If we are talking about ‘back then’ and ‘now’, of course there are lots of differences. But I think that there are differences between yesterday and today as well. I’d like to talk about those differences. Yesterday’s us, today’s us and tomorrow’s us are very different, depending on our attitudes and how we are dealing with life each day. I think that even if we were terrible yesterday, we can still be really great today. I think we do that often.
WEVO: We used to plan and execute everything, just the two of us. Recently though, the number of people we can discuss things and worry about things together with has increased. As a result, there has been a change in the way we do things. I think this is the biggest change we have had in 2020. Many concerts are being performed online, but the amount of concerts we can play have been reduced a lot. I guess without that change, there is a chance we would not be doing this interview at all. I doubt I would have time to concentrate on writing these answers. To be honest, in the past we have hardly done any interviews. I didn’t even care about them.
When I am completely immersed and sharply focused, I truly feel like I am making music and at that time the sparkle in my eyes changes. Wegui is a perfect match for me. I’m just thankful that my belief in him is unshakable. Changes do not occur parallel with the length of time passed. Change is an opportunity that repeats itself. We capture those changes and turn them into songs. Therefore, what we have always emphasized in our songs is ‘still important’.
You’ve brought your unprecedented energy, charisma and penchant for all things fashion to our virtual shores, a first ever by a Korean artist. How have you found the whole transition to online performances? Is it something that you’d like to continue?
WEGUI: Online performances are definitely different from face-to-face performances. I have concerts that online performances can not accurately convey the vividness or the feeling of flying that we want to get across. I don’t think the Pandemic is going to end easily, so we are trying to find a way to entertain ourselves in this situation. I think these kinds of things are the only things we can do only now. But honestly, I’d rather meet you face-to-face at a live concert.
WEVO: Playing online is not satisfactory. We have continued doubts about it. I keep changing my mind about it all, to the point where I feel a bit like a crazy person. There is a sense of uneasiness because we haven’t yet found the answer. My mind is vigorously working on this every day. I don’t want to be a person looking at the changing tides from afar. The rougher it is, the more beautiful it looks from afar. There are times when I feel like I’m completely caught up in the current, and I try to remember that feeling as vividly as possible.
You can check out Wedance on the remaining dates of their virtual tour of Australia via Iso-Aid Festival on 31 October (3.40pm EDT) and supporting Jaguar Jonze at The Tivoli (Brisbane) on 20 November.