On March 12th, South Korean indie band ADOY performed an intimate show at LA’s Lodge Room in Highland Park. Despite having to cut their original North American tour short, they brought as much energy to each stop as if nothing had changed. Prior to the show, ADOY sat down with Asia Pacific Arts to talk about their current tour and reflect on their past seven years together. Their current line-up comprises of Oh Ju-hwan (vocals and guitar), Zee (synths), Jung Da-young (bass and vocals), Park Geun-chang (drums), and Park Jae Hee (guitar).
Originally formed in 2015-2016, the group is no stranger to performing in front of international crowds. Prior to the creation of ADOY, several members had played at SXSW years prior under different bands. Fittingly, SXSW 2022 will be ADOY’s last stop on their current tour. Given the current surge of Omicron COVID-19 cases in South Korea, the members of ADOY expressed their joy at being able to perform in the US. Zee said, “It feels great, honestly.” The other members nodded in agreement. “We have two songs based on American cities, New York and San Francisco, so we’ve always had this admiration for America.”
Due to the pandemic, playing live performances in South Korea are very restrictive. “Audiences can’t make a sound, but when we started played in America, it was the first time in two years that we’ve heard crowd reactions. We love LA vibes and we’re happy to be here,” said ADOY.
Starting off the show, Toronto based artist Peach Luffe (pronounced Luffy like Monkey D.) entertained the crowd with soft, nostalgic guitar tunes. He spoke to an excited crowd about the inspirations behind his happy sounding songs. Surprisingly, many of them were all based on heartbreak and his triumph in overcoming his personal hardships.
Shifting gears, the five members took the stage to an overjoyed crowd. ADOY kicked off their set with various songs from their first EP, Catnip. Despite the small stage, all members of ADOY were firing on all cylinders. The Lodge Room, which comprises of a bar area in addition to the modest stage, was transformed into a performance stadium with Ju-hwan’s vocals and the other members’ musical talent, shaking the building. Between songs, the members were impressed by the devotion of the fans who brought handmade posters to the show. Although ADOY was a little shy to the intense response by the crowd, the members gave some fan service back to the audience during their performance.
With a promise to return for a bigger and even better performance, ADOY ended the night with an encore and a selfie with their fans to finish off their LA stop.
Check out the rest of APA’s interview with ADOY below.
Jae Hee: Shopping at the outlets.
Ju-hwan: Unlike what’s going on in Korea, where the Omicron peak is happening, I really enjoy the vibe in the US because it’s a bit more liberal and less restrictive. We’re also really honored to be touring and performing at SXSW.
Da-young: I love hamburgers, and I want to try real American greasy burgers before we leave LA.
Zee: I love watching American sports: American Football, NBA, etc. I was planning to watch one while I was here, but all of the teams are playing away games.
Geun-chang: Enjoying the weather in LA because there’s clear skies and no pollution (for now). I’m really enjoying the different environment.
Each member came from a different musical background. What made ADOY go in the path of synth-pop?
Zee: I was always based on synth and that’s the only instrument I can play. When we started the band, I was the programmer and that’s probably why we naturally implemented a lot of synth sounds. When we first came together as a band to try out new sounds, we didn’t have any sounds we wanted to make. We eventually made the base for songs like “Grace” and “Runner’s High,” and we decided to go with that sound and make an album out of it. Catnip’s release was way bigger than we expected, and we decided to continue down that path.
ADOY: The artist for those covers is Ok Seung-cheol, and his style is very anime-like. He’s actually a friend of Ju-hwan. He used to learn guitar from him ten years ago. We saw his artwork, and the Catnip art jumped out to us because you can’t tell what the character’s gender is or what their expression is. We like to leave interpretation up to the listener or the viewer. Even with the Her album, you can’t tell what gender or mood the character is in. With Vivid, the character is grimacing, and we liked that a lot.
When you describe the indie scene in Korea, you mentioned that it’s difficult to make money. What do you think is ADOY’s reason for success?
Zee: Catnip is unique in sound and visuals. When we picked the album cover, I wanted to pick an image that popped out even when you look at it shrunken. That’s why people on Instagram started making it their profile pictures without even knowing who ADOY was. The visual of the picture was great, and sound-wise, we weren’t thinking of making something new. But it became something new to the Korean audience since the city-pop genre was booming in the indie scene as well. We were lucky to ride that wave. I would say ADOY’s sound is pretty unique in the Korean scene.
ADOY’s sound is always changing. After being a band for about five or six years, what do you imagine is the sound for the next album?
Zee: We always like trying new stuff to see if it sticks to Da-young’s vocals. We’ve done different stuff, like “Porter,” where we implement a rapper and make instrumental songs. Or make Da-young solo songs. For the next album—we haven’t started making it yet—but we’ve been coming up with songs, individually. We’ll see what will sound good with Da-young’s vocals, but we don’t have a set rule of what we should make. Individually, I want to do more dream pop-style, but it might not stick.
Click on the photo below to see all our photos from the ADOY’s show in Los Angeles on Facebook!