75 How would you describe your sound and style? Maggie Devlin: That’s a hard question for us! We all come from different approaches and bring a lot of different references to our songs. Some of our stuff is poppy, some danceable and some rocky. I come from a folk/alternative background, and Steph’s flavor is more dance. For the first few months, we struggled to find our sound. I think now, though, we’re more at home with each other’s tastes and letting the songs define themselves. We’re in no rush to sound like X, Y or Z band, or any particular style. Bankston: I agree with Maggie. We are still finding our sound, and I hope it is something that will constantly evolve. Frawley: For me our sound and versatile style is the best element to BaekMa. Every song has a unique and challenging element; it’s really expanding my drumming ability. I’m also pushing for the more poppy/dance sound, but maybe that’s just because I find it the most enjoyable to play! What groups and musicians influence/in- spire your sound? Devlin: Too many to list. I’m a diehard fan of The Clash — ever since I saw pictures of them loafing about Belfast in the ‘70s. Joe Strummer is a personality I really admire; I’d like to be as forthright and unapologetic as him when I write songs. I lived in Glasgow for sev- en years, so the Glasgow scene and Jeepster Records bands like Belle and Sebastian are important to me too. There’s a bit of every- thing in my head when I’m writing: Ann Pee- bles, Bowie, Leonard Bernstein. Bankston: I’d love to play simple, chill synth hooks like Washed Out or M83, but with some rocky aspects a la Metric or with even more drive, like Queens of the Stone Age. Frawley: I come from a classical music background, so am mostly inspired by larger ensembles and really enjoy world music; any- thing from Tchaikovsky, Reich, Cage, Hyp- notic Brass Ensemble to Gogol Bordello. The more I spend time with Steph and Maggie, the more I’ve grown to love “popular” music, es- pecially Haim, Solange, Bombay Bicycle Club, Ben Folds and Belle and Sebastian. What types of things do you sing about? Devlin: Drinking and riding. Making mistakes and feeling directionless. We’ve got one song about The Troubles (British band) and another about a guy who stole a puppy. I think my- self and Steph are both similar in that we’re very invested in the lyrics, even if they seem daft. The songs are us processing the big, bad world, I suppose. I could never do the David Byrne thing and just write a song about an ev- eryday object. Bankston: Some themes are (about) trying to grow up, but you live in Never Never Land and expectations are imposed on you by so- ciety. It’s the artist’s dilemma that the painful things, the things that piss you off the most, inspire the best songs. What does each member bring to the band? Devlin: Eilis gives our songs the shape they need, and has an enormous sense of experi- mentation. She’s a very brave musician. She’ll play anything. If she can’t then she’ll learn it and play it for us the following week. Mike is a recent addition to our band. He’s a fun bass player. He’s a great find for us. Steph’s voice and playing are gorgeous; I was a fan of hers when she was in On Sparrow Hills. She really cares a lot about the project, and songwrit- ing with her is a breeze. I can’t really speak for myself. I bring my guitar. I once brought hummus. Bankston: Maggie is a workhorse. She is so dedicated to improving her craft. She has been writing songs for a lot longer than me and has a great sense of lyricism. Her songs are like stories, and her words go beyond the cheesy cliché nonsense you often hear in mu- sic. It doesn’t hurt that she’s singing those words with the voice of a Gaelic angel. Eilis is so talented. Without her, we wouldn’t ex- ist. Even though Mike is new, he already has great ideas and is a nice balance to our femi- nist ramblings. Frawley: Maggie and Steph spend a lot of time working together developing the songs in lyrics, harmonies and structure. They’re inspir- ing to play with and are constantly working on improving individually and as a unit. Because of their hard work, my job is easy. I come along with a beat or style I want to try out and make it fit; sometimes I like to push the songs in directions they hadn’t thought of — that’s the power of being a drummer! I try to mix my drumming style up as much as possible from song to song. What is the creative process behind your songs? Bankston: It really depends. Sometimes the words seem to flow out of you. Other times, you have the idea for a melody or structure of a song. I seem to get both at different times and then put the two ideas together later. I look forward to when Maggie and I can bring our ideas together and fill in each other’s blanks. What do you enjoy about the live indie music scene in Seoul? Bankston: I think the music scene in Seoul makes it very easy to practice and play gigs. There are so many jam spaces with top quality equipment and plenty of venues that are usu- ally open to all kinds of bands. There isn’t a competitive vibe here. I like the intimacy within the artist community. We are all working to- wards seeing Seoul become a more creative and progressive place. McGrath: There are a lot of exciting bands trying different things. The good bands far outweigh the bad bands. Frawley: I enjoy going to play a show and having a venue provide a drum kit, amps and usually a decent sound engineer. This takes a lot of pressure off young bands from buying gear, which means being in a band is more accessible than in many other places around the world. The affordable practice spaces are also ace. Do you get nervous before performing? Maggie: It depends who’s in the crowd. I got really nervous when the boys from my other band, New Blue Death, came to a show re- cently. Each show comes with fewer nerves, though. At this rate, I’m expecting that in a year or so I’ll be as ballsy as Grace Jones. Steph: I like to have a drink to take the edge off, but not too many, or I’ll end up saying ri- diculous things into the microphone. Wait, that happens either way. Frawley: I get nervous, not because of the crowd, but because I want to give the songs the best I can give. It’s kind of a nervous ener- gy that I really enjoy. McGrath: I don’t really get nervous, but I do like a drink. What do you have planned for the future? Devlin: It’s the dark cloud that hangs over every band in Seoul: the “What next?” We just want to keep working together for as long as we can. We’re saving and prepping for an al- bum to come out by the end of this year. Bankston: I definitely want to record an al- bum before we all go our separate ways and move on from Korea. I’d also love to open for an international touring act! Frawley: I hope we can continue to make steady progress as we have over the past six months, and I’m excited for our future! MORE INfO j Website: fb.com/baekmaband