It is interesting how one side project can turn into something bigger as it did for the band, …Whatever That Means…. Seoul-based melodic punk band, Whatever That Means started out as a “one-off project” for Jeff Moses (Guitar/vocals) and Trash Yang Moses’ (Bass/Vocals) wedding in 2009. Little did they know their project would morph into a band with four international members, multiple albums, numerous shows in Korea and touring in other countries.
I have had the pleasure of seeing this band on multiple occasions in Seoul and I had always wondered about their name and finally, through this interview I got my answer. Jeff said, “Trash and I have been married since 2009. Wanting to do something fun for our wedding, we put together a punk show for our wedding reception after party. Trash was playing in her old band, BBLT, and I was planning to throw something together just for that night. When the poster was being crafted for the show, I still didn’t know exactly what my band would be so the designer just listed all the other bands, and on the bottom wrote, “and Jeff….whatever that means.” That’s where the name came from. Once we had a lineup set for that show, we decided to call ourselves …Whatever That Means…as a joke just so we could say our name was on the poster! Seven years, a bunch of releases, and hundreds of shows later, we’re still using it. “
The name of the band might have started as a joke but they are definitely serious about their music. Since their birth in 2009, they have released 2 EPs, singles and 2 full length albums on top of playing numerous shows in Korea and organizing the monthly show, Second Saturdays. In 2011, …Whatever that Means… took their music “on the road” to the states where they played at the historic 924 Gilman Street in Berkeley, California. On top of being musicians, they became stars in the 2014 music documentary titled “Us & Them: Korean Indie Rock in a K-Pop World,” which released and screened at select locations throughout the US. In 2015, they toured in Malaysia and Singapore. Currently,..Whatever That Means…are back in the US for their second tour and celebrating the release a new split 7” with Seattle punk rock band Burn Burn Burn titled “Blowing Minds & Melting Faces.” I appreciate that I got to catch up with Jeff about their second tour in the states.
1.The band has already done a US tour before, what are your expectations for your second tour in the US?
Touring somewhere for the second time is always great. You can choose the venues and promoters a little better. You roll into towns already knowing some locals and knowing where you want to eat. Most of all, we have some fans who remember us from last time. Hopefully, that will add up to more fun and better shows.
2. Since you last toured around the US, how has your band changed or grown?
We’ve gone through a few member changes. Bialy(guitar/vocals) toured with us in Malaysia and Singapore last year, but this will be his first time in the States with us. This will be Daewon’s (drums) first tour with us. Member changes are always kind of frustrating, but we came out on this side of things with the best lineup we’ve ever had. I’m really excited for people to see it in the US.
3. …Whatever That Means…will soon be issuing a split 7-inch record called “Blowing Minds & Melting Faces” with the Seattle band Burn, Burn, Burn. How did this project come about?
We met Drew Smith, the singer for Burn Burn Burn, while we were on tour back in 2011. He helped run a show we played in Tacoma. We stayed in touch over the years and often talked about doing a release together. The timing finally seemed right once we decided to tour the US again.
4. What differences and similarities have you noticed between gigging in Korea and touring in other parts of the world?I
I see a lot more similarities than differences. That’s the great thing about DIY punk bands. There’s usually a very similar mentality. People are generally excited to see a foreign touring band come through town. They’re quick to help out whenever needed. People let us crash at their homes after shows and just really try to make sure we have a good experience. We’ve experienced that in cities all over Korea, Malaysia, and the US. It’s one of the things I love about being part of the punk scene.
5. What are some of the things everyone is most looking forward to about your upcoming US tour?
Like I said before, Trash and I are looking forward to getting back to see some of the friends we made on the last tour. Beyond that, I think we’re just excited about getting this lineup out on the road and showing people what we can do. We’ll also be playing record release shows with Burn Burn Burn in Seattle and Tacoma. Those should be some wild nights.
6. For newcomers to the Korean music/punk scene, what bands do you recommend checking out?
SkaSucks is always one of the first bands I recommend. Despite the name, they’re one of Korea’s best ska-punk bands. Burning Hepburn, Chain Reaction, Animal Anthem, and our label mates Full Garage are also some of my favorites. Trash and I run a record label called World Domination, Inc. and we just released a new Korean punk compilation titled “Them and Us 2” at the beginning of July. I think it’s a good way to check out of the best bands in the scene.
Thanks Jeff and good luck to …Whatever That Means… on your tour!
If you are interested in learning more about …Whatever That Means…. then check out their facebook https://www.facebook.com/whateverthatmeansmusic/?fref=ts or their website at http://whateverthatmeans.bandcamp.com/.
If you are in the states or have friends, here are their US tour dates:
July 23 Las Vegas, NV @ The Double Down Saloon
July 24 Fresno, CA @ TBA
July 26 Corvallis, OR @ The Interzone Cafe
July 27 Seattle, WA @ The Kraken
July 28 Tacoma, WA @ Real Art
July 29 Portland, OR @ Foggy Notion
July 30 Reno, NV @ PB&J’s
July 31 Berkeley, CA @ 924 Gilman Street
August 1 Los Angeles, CA @ The Redwood Bar