www.groovekorea.com / June 2014 74 Edited by Emilee Jennings (Emilee@groovekorea.com) MuSIC & ARTS ROCK N ROLL SEOuL Column by Sophie boladeras / Photos courtesy of baekma b a e k m a r e c l a i m i n G s o c i e t y , o n e s o n G a t a t i m e Groove Korea: Tell us about the band’s name and why you decided to use it. Steph Bankston: Baekma means white horse in Korean, but men have used it in the past to re- fer to Western women who are, let’s say … on the promiscuous side. I believe it started as slang for Russian prostitutes, but now it could mean any white slut, really. We liked the idea of reclaiming the term for ourselves and showing, through our musical abilities, that Western women aren’t just easy sexual conquests. A lot of our motivation for creating the band came from wanting to give an English voice to the women living in this culture. It can be frustrating to live in a place where women are extremely sexu- alized in the media, but have no ownership of their own sexuality. If you do not meet this impossible standard of beauty here, you are basically ignored. How was your frst ever gig? I read that you threw presents into the crowd? Bankston: It was Christmas Eve, so we gathered random stuff from our apartments and wrapped it up. Everyone got a gift from Santa and a hangover eye mask for Christmas morning. Eilis Frawley: Our first gig was like showing the world my first love; I was so excited and proud to work with these girls and to show people what we had been working on. BaekMa Maggie Devlin guitar, vocals Stephanie Bankston synth, vocals Mike McGrath bass Eilis Frawley drums O n one of those hazy and sleepless nights out in Seoul, a chance en- counter on a packed dance floor saw the first meeting of what would eventually become Baek- Ma. This Seoul-based four-piece has gone on to make delightfully versatile mu- sic together ever since. Lyricists Maggie Devlin and Steph Bankston are both avid writers and are committed to expressing their thoughts and experiences through music. Perhaps unsurpris- ingly, it’s often the things that piss them off the most that inspire their best songs, many of which feature lyrics about drinking, riding (men), mak- ing mistakes and that feeling that you get when you lack direction. Their thought-provoking lyrics are heightened by a progressive and experimen- tal sound that melds rock, pop and dance genres into one unique sound. Offstage, however, the three girls all have distinctly different tastes when it comes to music. While Devlin is into folk and rock and is a diehard fan of The Clash, Bankston is more into chill wave, and drummer Eilis Frawley comes from a classical music background and is inspired by anything from Tchaikovsky to Gypsy punk band Gogol Bordello. Combined with the group’s creativity and talent, these varied musical influences ensure that BaekMa always put on a unique and unforgettable show.