Meet the four 23-year-olds who stirred up the Korean indie scene, proudly claiming the title Band of the New Generation just one year after their debut. The band expresses the essence of youth—wild and free, but also empty and deserted— not only in their music, but also through their videos, fashions, and performances, offering indie-rock soulfulness in a sea of K-pop.
Without any media promotion, their September 2014 debut EP, 20, became a word-of-mouth sensation, and Hyukoh went on to open for musicians like Mac DeMarco, How to Dress Well, and Erlend Øye. In 2015, Hyukoh released a second EP, 22, and appeared on the top-rated variety show Infinite Challenge, securing their status as hottest indie artist of the year. That same year, their end-of-the-year concert sold out in less than two minutes. Hyukoh’s hotly anticipated debut full-length, 23, came out earlier this year.
If you’re curious about the spirit and attitude of Korean young people, try listening to Hyukoh. Composed of four youngsters born in 1993, the band expresses the peculiar “loser” sentiment felt among some Korean young people today, who feel directionless and find the success of their parents’ generation elusive due to low economic growth. If K-pop is a fantasy of Korea, the reality for Korean youth shines through in Hyukoh’s music.