Who is Mike and why is he your man?
Mike is the boyfriend of the girl that introduced us in South Korea. When we started the band, she was even supposed to be the singer of the band but we never practiced with her. Everything started as a joke, she was always talking about her boyfriend as „my man Mike“ and when we started looking for a band name, the idea of taking this one came because it sounded funny, especially when you say it fast. However, when she heard about the possibility of picking up that name for our band, she was so pissed off that she decided not to talk to us anymore, even to this day. So we knew it was the perfect name… The funny thing is, we never met Mike but we know he lives in Osaka. We played there a couple of weeks ago and hanged a vinyl for him on the wall of the venue we played, hoping that someone knows him and will give him the record.
You are based in Seoul and come from South Korea, France and America. How did you guys find together?
Mathew lives in Seoul since 6 years now, he met Sunwoon a long time ago through mutual friends.
When I came to Seoul 2 years ago, I knew some Korean people in the punk scene because I toured in Japan and Korea in 2010 with my band. The girl that organized a show for us in Seoul contacted me one night to go drinking and she was with Sunwoon and Mathew. We directly became friends and started hanging out together. After talking about music and realizing that we all love punk/hardcore, it was obvious that we had to start a band together.
In which way are your different cultural backgrounds reflected in the music of MYMANMIKE?
We all played in different bands before MYMANMIKE, punk hardcore or not, even now for some of us. We didn’t have exactly the same idea of the music we wanted to play when we started the band so at the very beginning we decided to cover some songs of famous bands like VICTIMS, TRAGEDY or PUNCH.
We started creating our own songs without knowing exactly how we wanted to sound, and it was interesting to confront our ideas and tastes. But we knew one thing, we wanted to play fast.
Now when one of us comes with an idea, we all work together so everyone can bring his own personal touch.
You released your debut record „Will You Marry Me?“ earlier this year. What can you tell us about the production process of this output?
After creating our first 10 songs, we recorded them in a studio called Bubblegum Sound in Seoul, this is also the place where we used to practice. But after listening to a lot of Korean punk, hardcore or metal productions, we never found a sound we really liked so the idea of making the mix outside of Korea came.
I was in contact with Ben from Cylens Mastering in France that did an amazing job with mixing and mastering the album of one of my other bands the year before. So we sent all the files to him and a couple of days after he sent a first premix that was almost perfect. He totally understood what kind of sound we wanted.
„Will You Marry Me?“ was produced and released DIY. Do you like being in total control or haven‘t you found the right label and/or distribution partner to help approaching a wider audience yet?
MYMANMIKE is DIY and will remain DIY. We always liked the idea of having the total control of our music and I always booked the tours of my bands by myself. For releasing our first album, I contacted many DIY labels in Europe and Asia and finally 15 labels were enthusiastic about helping us. That was crazy and also helps us a lot about spreading our music in many different countries. A big label wouldn’t have done a better job I think.
Your lyrics are often dealing with political topics, reflecting thoughts and feelings regarding your respective countries of origin. Does MYMANMIKE in terms of different views and continental angles sum up what’s wrong in the (western) world?
It’s so interesting to compare what’s wrong in our own respective country, a lot of things of course…
When we write some lyrics, we can talk about anything, serious stuff or not. Obviously sometimes we feel like it’s important to talk about the problems that surround us, especially because we have a different background and a different culture.
But we don’t pretend anything with our lyrics. We just write what we have in the head at a certain moment.
How have the reactions on „Will You Marry Me?“ been so far?
Really good. The different reviews and messages we received from people that bought our album are very positive. I hope it will be the same for the nexts!
Earlier this year you toured Europe. Which countries did you visit and what impressions did you get?
We played 59 shows and visited 14 countries: France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Austria, Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy. It was the longest tour for each of us. and such a nice experience. We were pretty lucky because usually many people shown up at the concerts, what can be difficult when you play almost everyday during summer in Europe. We have lots of unforgivable memories because some shows were just crazy!
What is impressive is that after 2 months and a half living together, hitting the road in a small van, we’re still friends! So we’re just looking forward to start the next tour.
Where do you see the biggest differences between independent music scenes in Asia, America and Europe?
I would say that America and Europe are pretty similar on that point. Asia, and especially South Korea is different. First, there is no DIY labels, and the culture about collecting vinyls is not so much developed.
About the shows, the main difference is that here is South Korea, only few bands from outside come for touring. The geographical situation is an important part of that problem, and it’s possible to set up Punk shows only in few cities in the country. So even if there are lots of Punk bands in Seoul, the shows are usually similar what can be a bit boring. But the good thing is that the public still comes to the shows.
What comes next for MYMANMIKE?
We should record new songs in the beginning of 2014, probably releasing a new album and maybe one or two splits. We also plan to go to the USA and South America, this summer if possible, but it will depends on our schedules. We also keep the idea about going to Indonesia…
People who want to get in touch with you or want to get the idea what your music is all about should…
come to our shows! It’s the best way… If you cannot, you can listen and download our first album for free on bandcamp : http://mymanmike.bandcamp.com or follow us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mymanmike666
Any last words you would like to spread?
The punk and hardcore scene in South Korea is great, but we need more bands from outside to come. So if you come touring in Asia with your band, try to think about South Korea too!