Culture, Videos — September 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Hongdae Playground: Documenting Korea’s Underground Music and Art Scene


“Hongdae is a neighbourhood in Seoul, South Korea. Hongdae is alive. Its grimy streets are tattooed with the boot heels of the creative class. Seething punk rock explodes in joyous rage from behind closed doors. Alcohol, sweat, and sex drift onto early morning streets from basement clubs with booming sound systems shaking the pavement beneath your feet…”

Hongdae Playground is a new documentary presented by INDIEFRAME that aims to capture the spirit of Hongdae and the emerging independent art and music scene that is growing in South Korea, with the collaboration of Loose Union and AWEH TV. INDIEFRAME Film director, Jay Joo, has been following artists, bands, promoters, record labels, filmmakers, and audiences around Korea to document this exciting new underground movement in a culture and society that is most often thought of as extremely conservative by outsiders. 

As a pre-cursor to the upcoming full-length documentary, INDIEFRAME has released the above video excerpt which follows the journey of Used Cassettes, a Seoul-based band made up of expats, en route to playing their first Korean festival. By following the activities of such characters in the K-underground music and art scenes, Jay strives to reveal the uniqueness and the new wave of the Korean indie scene, while simultaneously offering a more intimate look into the lives of foreigners and expats who are heavily involved in the local Korean underground culture. 

The focus on such expats in the documentary serves as a catalyst for local and foreign entities within the scene to better understand and reconcile with each other through their shared passion for music and art. In a special interview with Music Weekly, Jay quotes the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” to demonstrate the general mentality of Koreans towards their own local underground culture. He continues, “I want to tell Korean artists and fans that Korean underground culture is already cool. To tell it, I want to show K-underground scene through [a] foreigner’s eyes, …[offering a] different opinion.” 

Amongst the members of the vibrant Korean underground scene who will be adding their voice and sharing their insights for the documentary include Super Color Super, an events promotion collective dedicated to cutting-edge live music and art, local bands such as No Respect for Beauty, No Brain and Romantic Punch as well as various club owners, respected music journalists, artists and more. 

Be sure to check out the above video for a slice of Hongdae Playground and hang on tight for the upcoming feature-length! 


  1. killa kam says:


  2. […] Weekly Asia Interesting slice of like in the Korean music underground—15 minute video with the band Used […]