“Korean art-rock duo”. There’s a phrase you don’t hear everyday, but that’s exactly what Dead Buttons are.
Dead Buttons are big stars in South Korea and the wider Asian market. Their music takes strong influence from American rock ‘n’ roll – but with a strong contemporary feel. The band were spotted by label managers Jack Launer and David Pichilingi when they were over in Seoul visiting the acclaimed Zandari Festival. Jack Launer comments, “We were immediately blown away by their live show and also the amazing noise they make for just 2 people. They had the audience like putty in their hands and whipped them up into a frenzy. Just our cup of tea. And we thought they would be perfect for a British audience.”
The band was originally formed as a trio in the fall of 2012. Showing their ambitious nature early on, less than two months after making their live debut they traveled to Tokyo in December 2012 to perform at the Japan-Korea Punk Festival. In the summer of 2013, Hong and Lee parted ways with their bassist. Wanting a fresh start for Dead Buttons, they threw away all of their older material and began crafting new tunes as a two-piece. In October 2013, they made their first appearance at Hongdae’s Zandari Festa, an important international showcase for Korean bands, at which they caught the attention of several organizers of overseas music festivals, including Liverpool Sound City.
In February 2014, Dead Buttons issued their first EP, Whoever You Are. The five-track effort was recorded over the course of five hours. Whereas the band’s early material had more of a garage punk feel, the fantastic Whoever You Are boasts a wider sonic palette mixing garage rock, blues, country, punk, and psychedelic music to create an infectious sampler that showcases this fast-rising pair’s potential.
In May 2014, Dead Buttons performed several gigs in the UK in support of Whoever You Are including a stop at the Liverpool Sound City music festival. Continuing their foray into international touring, they were invited to play on the main stage of the ground breaking V-ROX festival in Vladivostok, Russia, in August 2014, along with several prominent Korean bands such as Idiotape and Galaxy Express. In October of the same year, they were not only one of the highlight acts of that year’s Zandari Festa, but also one of only five finalists chosen to play at the Mandoo Entertainment Showcase, with a view to taking part in the SXSW festival in Texas.
2014 proved to be a very successful year for Dead Buttons, as, after winning the EBS “Hello Rookie” award for July, they were also nominated for the “Rookie of the Year” under the same title, in November.
Deaf Buttons perform at Manchester’s Night and Day on 26 May 2016