Drinking Boys & Girls Choir Are Keeping Punk Alive In Korea

Drinking Boys & Girls Choir have been through their share of ups and downs, but they couldn’t live without punk rock.

“Without music, I was just really empty,” bassist and vocalist Meena Bae tells BTRtoday.

Along with her two band members, Myeongjin Kim, AKA MJ (drums), and Bondu Seo (guitar/vocals), Bae played in a few failed punk bands before they started playing together, but a series of events put them on a new path. MJ broke her backbone in a car accident and Bae left Korea to for London.

When Bae returned to Korea she couldn’t stand another second without music, so she called up her drinking buddies and Drinking Boys & Girls Choir was born. Now, with the trio sipping on beers, martinis and Soju, they’re about to release their debut full-length album Keep Drinking in March on Damnably records.

The album is full of fast and furious tracks that make your heart rate skyrocket and your mouth drool. They easily capture the essence of old school punk rock by mirroring the drumming insanity of Black Flag and The Dead Kennedys and vocals similar to Kleenex or Bush Tetras.

“Usually, when I feel angry I compose a song,” Bae says. “The worlds ‘cool,’ ‘punk rock’ and every D.I.Y artist [inspires us],” MJ adds.

Read the entire interview with Drinking Boys & Girls Club below and smash that play button to hear the single.

Album Preview OUT 3/8 via Damnably! 

BTRtoday (BTR): You guys seem to have been through a lot. Tell me why making music is important to you.

Myeongjin Kim (MJ): At first, I was doing band stuff just for fun. I started a band and then that was that. When that one ended, I started another one (or two or more haha). I just wish I could’ve done that band for a longer time for fun. Then I was in a car crash and broke my backbone—suddenly, my drumming became so precious to me because I was afraid I might not be able to play drums again.

Meena Bae (MB): Before DBGC [Drinking Boys & Girls Choir] formed, my first and second bands ended very badly and I was so disappointed. After I quit the bands I moved to the beach and didn’t keep in contact with any friends and just worked. In 2012, I participated in the London Olympic games as a part of Korea’s Olympic champion crew. At that moment I was really happy, but I felt very empty. When I got back to Korea from London, I felt like this wasn’t my real life. Suddenly, I called MJ and I told her, “I’m coming back to Daegu and I want to start a band with you.” Without music, I was just really empty.

BTR: Since you guys are a drinking choir, what’s your go-to drink?

MJ: I prefer Soju, but I have to make sure my stomach isn’t empty when I drink that. So, casually, I like to drink beer or Tequila shots. Actually, these days I rarely drink. I am sorry, I am a betrayer.

MB: I like all kinds of alcohol. A few years ago I was really into beer. I bought a home brewery kit and made my own brew. Recently, I watched Grace and Frankie on Netflix and Miss Grace drink dry martinis all the time, so now I’m enjoying martinis at home all the time. But, depends on my mood if I make it vodka or gin.

Bondu Seo (BS): In Korea, usually after a show most of the musicians and some audience members go eat and drink Soju. Last time at Busan we ate pork rice soup with Soju—we call that Dwaejigugbab—the famous dish in Busan.


Drinking Boys & Girls Choir 

BTR: What’s your songwriting process like?

MJ: When it comes to me, I record casually by phone. Usually, some short words and melodies pop up and then I put some chords with my acoustic guitar. After that, I’ll either leave it or I’ll put a few of them together and ta-da. Or I record and make simple drumbeats for the rest of the band and then we complete it together.

MB: Usually, when I feel angry I compose a song. So, lyrics tend to end up coming first for me. I write down every word I want to say and then edit them and hum along to some bass chords. Then I’ll play it to the band and we’ll clean it up together.

BTR: Who are some of your inspirations?

MJ: The worlds “cool,” “punk rock” and every D.I.Y artist [inspires us].

MB: Especially to Bondu, the famous Korean punk band Crying Nut. In 1998 Crying Nut released its debut album, he was only in elementary school, but he grew up with Crying Nut and Lazybone.

BTR: Is there a strong punk rock culture in Daegu City?

MJ: Here there’s just like two or three punk bands. Hip-hop is really the strong and trendy thing here. Who wants to listen to punk music anymore? haha

MB: Yeah, it’s not too popular here, but we want to make fun events with our friends and keep doing it.