‘World Domination 2’ features 4 bands, 4 countries
Four bands representing four countries have come together to release a four-song compilation album on the Korean label World Domination, Inc. (WDI). This is volume 2 of the “World Domination” series, this time spotlighting skapunk bands from Korea, Malaysia, the U.S. and the U.K.
“Since four bands from four different countries have come together for this album, we’re really happy to have the opportunity for people in other countries to listen to our songs,” said Kim Song-yi, frontwoman of Korean band TalkBats. “We’re motivated to try even harder to become a band that stays true to ourselves while improving on our music for everyone who’ll listen to us.”
TalkBats contributes a song titled simply “TalkBats!” According to Kim, the song is “about how even though we don’t know what will happen in our future and we don’t know what we want to do, we want to enjoy this moment without any worries and share this fun moment with all of you.”
The song features a bouncy skapunk track reminiscent of 1990s bands like Dance Hall Crashers and Save Ferris, but with the TalkBats’ signature keytar sound which gives their music a unique vibe and serves as the backbone for their whole sound.
“When we’re in the process of making songs, we tend to think of the main riff for the keytar before anything else,” Kim said.
The keytar is so important, it survived a major lineup change a few months ago, losing both keytarist Nagi and drummer Hyunmin. “We were able to start practicing with our new keytarist So-yoon and drummer two months before Nagi and Hyun-min’s last show,” Kim said. “Our new members individually practiced really hard and we made sure to practice together as a band often, so it didn’t take long for TalkBats to have a show with our new members. For that, I’m really thankful to our original members as well. So-yoon actually bought her keytar as soon as it was decided she was going to join us. It looks really cool…”
Kim got into ska at age 20, when she went to a punk show in her hometown Busan with the Korean band Skasucks playing. “I bought their CD right away and even got their autographs,” she said. “After that, I listened to their songs every day for a while. And then I moved to Seoul!”
Now she has her own band, and it’s on a worldwide compilation with Dan P and the Bricks from the U.S., Faintest Idea from the U.K. and Plague of Happiness from Malaysia.
Dan P and the Bricks is a 10-piece band featuring members from MU330, Slow Gherkin and the Bruce Lee Band signed to Asian Man Records, contributing the danceable crowd pleaser “Weak at Heart.”
Faintest Idea started as an angry punk band that over time accumulated ska influences, which are mixed together in the incendiary anti-fascist song “Stomp Them Down.”
Plague of Happiness is the oldest of the four bands, founded in 1999 in Malaysia’s Johor Bahru. They contributed the poppy number “Matahari.”
None of these bands have met before — although Dan P has toured Korea twice with the Bruce Lee Band — and it’s unlikely any of the bands will meet up for some time. The music scene has slowed down, both here and around the world, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For Kim, though, not much has changed, partly because her personal style has for years included face masks.
“One thing I can say for sure is that I wore it for fashion!” she said. “Thanks to that though, I already had a lot of masks at home when
COVID-19 first started. In Korea, I rarely see people without masks now. I understand it might be uncomfortable but I hope everyone wears their masks, not only for their own safety but for the safety of everyone around them!”
The compilation is already available on TalkBats’ Bandcamp page, and an official release party is scheduled for this Saturday at Club SHARP in Mangwon-dong, western Seoul, where the 7” will be for sale. TalkBats will be joined by reggae band Reseters and punk bands Jonny’spark, Smoking Goose and Far East Asian Tigers. Safety procedures will be taken, such as temperature checks at the door, providing hand sanitizer and mic covers, and attendees are urged to wear masks.
WDI is printing 500 records, which will be sent to all bands for distribution in their home countries.
“The main goal is just reaching out to other scenes and expanding our networks,” said Jeff Moses, co-organizer of WDI. “TalkBats may never go to the U.K. But because of this record and Faintest Idea’s efforts, people in the U.K. will know who TalkBats are. Plague of Happiness may never make it to Korea. But because of TalkBats, Koreans will know who PoH is. We run WDI like a charity. We organize. We give our time. We give some money that we will NEVER get back. All for the greater good.”
Visit fb.com/wdikorea for more information about the show or TalkBats.bandcamp.com to hear the album.
TalkBats plays at It’s A Fest! at Incheon’s Hanagae Beach on June 14, 2019.
The cover of “World Domination Vol. 2”