I was really excited to talk to three bands that came from abroad to play at Zandari Festa. I think it is one of the cool ideas of Zandari to connect Korean musicians and fans with overseas musicians. The first year, there were only two countries represented and now it is up to a dozen different countries. For fans, Korean and foreign, it is the neat way to travel around the world in a night and be connected through music.
The guitarist and vocalist Mari Kono from Japanese rock band TsuShiMaMiRe, vocalist Ivan Sosnovtsev of Russian electro-rock band Starcardigan, and Polish rock act Back to the Ocean the alias of musician, Agnieszka Olszewska-Kaczmarek kindly answered my questions about what attracted them to Zandari, what to expect from their shows.
Why did you want to come Seoul and play at Zandari Fest?
Mari (TsuShiMaMiRe): We’ve toured in the US many times, but have never played in other Asian countries. And Korea in the number one country we’ve wanted to visit. Audrey from the Japanese record label Benten told us about Zandari Festa and we checked it out online. It looked cool and we’re thrilled to get to see and perform with lots of indie bands in Korea! Also, I’m a huge fan of Korean dramas. My friends are students from Korea and I love Korean food and fashion too! I can’t wait to go there this week.
Ivan (Starcardigan): Zandari Festa is a great place for us to show our music to people from the Asian Pacific region. There is so much good music all over the world, and every band is always looking for new ways to introduce their music and that’s what we want to do too.
Agnieszka (Back to the Ocean): Performing at international festivals is always a great opportunity to present your music to a new audience. When I saw Zandari Festa’s call for artist applications I was very excited. I thought “Oh my God, South Korea, Asia, an exotic land, a different culture”. To play in front of a Korean audience and participate in the conferences seemed like it would be a great adventure and a milestone in my music career. How will people react? Will my music touch the hearts of people who attend the festival and who will these people be? These are questions in my mind right now. And of course Zandari Festa with its conferences is a great place for networking and bizmatching. I want to take advantage of all opportunities Zandari Festa gives, so it’s going to be a very busy time for me.
2. What can the audience at the festival expect from your Zandari Festa set?
Mari (TsuShiMaMiRe): They can expect to experience our heavy and tight grooves! They can expect to see Mizue beat the drums and Yayoi’s chopper bass technique with sexy dancing. I’m going to play crazy guitar riffs and sing. We’re wild ladies!
Ivan (Starcardigan): Our music is a mix of electronic pop, indie pop, and house. But we prefer to call it “sentimental dance music.” If you like bands like Flight Facilities, Anoraak, Medsound, Movement, The KDMS, or Hot Chip — Starcardigan will be great for you.
Agnieszka (Back to the Ocean): Very sincere, melodic music with rhythm changes and lyrics based on my experiences. A combination of intimacy and open expression on the stage. Usually when I perform, I fully become each of the songs, telling the story and showing it with my emotions. I also love to involve the audience; it’s always great fun for as things happen spontaneously – something attracts my attention, comes to my mind and I share it with the audience at the same moment.
3. What is one of your favorite things about touring overseas?
Mari (TsuShiMaMiRe): The best part is when we can go to a place we’ve never been before and don’t speak the language. But once we start playing, everyone can understand each other. We are happy to meet audiences this way! I am sure we’ re going to have fun in Korea and I hope the audience in Korea love our music.
Ivan (Starcardigan): Travelling to Zandari Fests will be our first experience in another country. New people, new places, new feelings … it’s exciting! We hope that Zandari Festa could be a place for us to form a strong Pacific Asian music community because cause music is a universal language.
Agnieszka (Back to the Ocean): People. People have always been the most interesting thing for me and they are different in different parts of the world, so it is very exciting to experience the response I get from different audiences. And it is always so soul stirring to recognize that at the bottom of our hearts we are all the same – we seek love, go through ups and downs, fall for someone … that is why music is so universal. And that precious moment when someone in another part of the world tells you that your song moved them. You wrote it a few thousand kilometers away, but it works everywhere. That’s amazing to me.
If you are interested in a preview of the bands, here is a video from each and their schedule for Zandari Festa.
TsuShiMaMiRe — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SiYr074L_w. These lovely ladies from Japan will play on October 4 at Badabie at 4 pm.
Starcardigan — https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=1&v=dVAJlOxJ8H8
Starcardigan from Russia performs at Zandari on October 3 at Freebird at 1 pm.
Back to the Ocean — https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=1&v=6t0FHi7xTMI. They have two shows this weekend, one on October 3 at the Wowbook & Zandari Outdoor Stage at 4 pm and the other on October 4 at FF at 7 pm.