As you look into the world of Korean music, you’d be pleasantly surprised with all that the industry has to offer. Along with K-pop, the indie scene in Korea has been steadily gaining popularity over the years and rightly so! These artists provide us with music that deals with different emotions and aspects of life.
With budding artists filling every nook and corner of the industry, it can be hard to venture out to find these gems. Fret not, because we have a short list of artists that can give you a head-start on your journey into the K-indie world!
10cm started out as a duo with members Kwon Jun Yeol and Yoon Cheol Jong under Magic Strawberry Sound and POCLANOS. However, in July 2017, it was announced that Yoon Cheol Jong had to unfortunately exit due to health reasons, leaving it up to Kwon Jun Yeol to do justice to the music they are known to make.
Their songs are not only soothing to the ears, but also super refreshing. The themes that they explore are usually something simple and relatable. If you are a K-drama addict, you've probably heard their music as they are known to sing several soundtracks!
Like several indie bands, Hyukoh had a humble beginning in the streets of Hongdae only to rise up in fame in a short amount of time. Consisting of members Oh Hyuk, Lee In-woo, Lim Hyun-jae, and Im Dong-gun; they debuted under DooRooDooRoo Artist Company in May 2014.
Hyukoh's songs will allow you to travel through your emotions in a very simple way. If you are looking for music to go with a steaming mug of tea on a rainy day, armed with the raw vocals of Oh Hyuk, Hyukoh will provide you with the perfect background score.
Bolbbalgan4, also called BOL4 or Blushing Youth, will present to you sweet music that is bound to make your heart warm and fuzzy. Under Shofar Music, they rightly represent their band name, capturing moments of youth through their songs and stirring up emotions of both nostalgia and hope at the same time.
Their music is sure to calm your soul and give you that moment of peace you deserve!
Think of rhythmic music layered with dreamy vocals and strong lyrics, and you'll have Cheeze. Although the Cheeze we know today comes with only one remaining member of the band, Dalchong; she has maintained the emotions the band initially started out with.
Under Magic Strawberry Sound, the singer delves into themes of long lost love, nostalgia, and youth. The songs usually have lyrics that hold a lot of feelings yet are said so easily. Adding on to the aesthetic, the music videos will give your eyes a treat with their beautiful shots!
Okdal, also called Rooftop Moonlight, debuted back in 2010 under Magic Strawberry Sound. The music they explore is a full package of quirky beats and groovy rhythm, topped off with all the wisdom the artists have to offer.
Dealing with topics of anxiety that come with being new to a world so complicated and other truths of life, their songs provide the kind of comfort we need in this fast-paced world.
Initially debuting with the band The Koxx in 2010, Shaun took the world by surprise with his single “Way Back Home,” which topped several charts. With the single, he attempted to pursue his solo endeavors, and thankfully he did, because we surely love it! Since then, he has collaborated with famous artists, like Epik High, BTS, f(x), and more.
The song was well-received immediately after its release, and if you give it a listen, you would understand why! The general vibe of the song is upbeat and groovy. Perfect for your road trips, "Way Back Home" might make you pack your bags for a little adventure, and who doesn’t like that?
Famous for their K-drama OSTs, Rocoberry is an indie duo consisting of Roco and Conan who debuted back in 2014. Their music is filled with melodic tunes that are super calming!
Their songs are perfect for lazy afternoons and days when all you want to do is lay in bed. Give them a listen and spend your afternoons with the right background score!
- The Black Skirts
This one-man band led by Jo Hyu-il has been on the receiving end of a lot of love and appreciation from people. His lyrics are true to its core expressing raw emotions in a very matter of fact way.
Before settling in Korea, Jo grew up in the USA, which shaped his understanding of music. In several interviews, Jo expressed how it took him time to adjust to the Korean culture. This uncertainty and awkwardness is reflected in his music, making them honest masterpieces.
Today, we have different genres of music coexisting to create the perfect harmony. The world of K-indie is filled with songs that are bound to strike a chord with you. Give them a listen and start exploring!
Who is your favorite K-indie band? Tell us in the comments below!
Cover Image: Hyukoh (DooRooDooRoo Artist Company)
Written by Sayantani Banerjee