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[K-Indie Musician #3] No Need to Be Handsome to Be Sexy! Sexiest Band Ever, ‘Rose Motel’

The word ‘Indie’ from ‘indie musician’ is short for ‘Independent.’ So the true meaning of indie musician is a musician who is not affiliated to any big entertainment agency and independently makes his/her own music without any pressure or others’ will. This column is to find those hidden musicians who have their unique colors and charms like a gemstone and introduce them to the world. 


[by Chloe Yun] At the time when K-Pop industry started feeling bored with numerous handsome idol stars, five ugly men appeared, attracting women with their indescribable charms. 

As singing a cheesy, funny song titled ‘Bong Suk E’ which states their desire to go to a motel with a woman, they stole Koreans’ heart off guard without giving us time to think, ‘Who the hell are they?’ They introduced themselves as Rose Motel.

Rose Motel is a five-member indie band who has emerged as one of the hottest bands in Korea after appearing on reality competition TV show ‘TOP Band 2’. From ‘Bong Suk E’ to ‘You Might Not Be Able to Marry’, every song that the band sang on the show became a hot issue, entering Korea’s major music charts. 

Rose Motel was 20 minutes late for the interview, but I couldn't get mad. The moment I saw their faces (It’s really hard to describe their face, so please refer to the photos), I found myself all captivated with their innocent smile and happy energy. Yes, they were definitely charming, in a weird way. 

After the photoshoot, we talked about their music, love, and life in drowsy Monday afternoon. I didn't even need my after-lunch coffee; Their charm was strong enough to keep me awake. Can’t imagine? Click the link below and check out the making of Rose Motel Interview! (http://youtu.be/YYp5v1WeuwU)

◆ How Did They Become Rose Motel? 

Photo: Kang Joon Woo (vocal & guitar)

Despite of their seasoned performance and strong teamworkship, they started the band less than two years ago. After ten or more years of roaming around the small concerts and moving from this band to that band, the five members finally gathered for one huge incident, which eventually gave them a whole new life. It was reality competition TV show, ‘TOP Band 2’.

“At the time when four of us performed together on the stage as a group once or twice, there was ‘TOP Band’ fever among Hong Dae musicians. Every musician seemed to apply, so I suggested that we do it, too. But other members opposed and said, ‘We've just started a band. How can we compete with such veteran bands who have worked together more than 10 years?’ So I applied without telling them (laugh).” –  Kang Joon Woo 

The five members used to continue their music life as writing a song in their basement and performing it on the stage of small live concert or night club once in a while. 

Since ‘TOP Band 2’ the ‘no one knows’ band has become one of the most beloved bands in Korea. Rose Motel captivated Korean audiences with their irresistible charm—charmingly ugly face, un-Seoul dialect, and weirdly sexy performance—and unique music style. 

◆ Innocent Country Boys’ Lonely Life in Seoul


Photo: Bae Sang Jae (electronic guitar)

“To be a musician, I quit law school when I was a freshman. I just came up to Seoul carrying my guitar on my back without any specific plan. I didn't know anyone here so I stayed at a motel for about a week.” – Bae Sang Jae 

Among the five members, there is not even one person who was either born or raised in Seoul. The 20-something-year-old boys came up to Seoul without enough money or plan, but with young confidence and passion for music. In the building forest called Seoul, they were lonely, cold, and hungry. 

“I just got my own rooftop house last year. I've been staying in my friends’ over the past few years. It is my very first house that I pay the rent and utility bill by myself. On the first day I moved in, I just stared at the night sky for hours; I couldn't believe that I finally got my own place.” – Yook Jung Wan

The five bachelors in their mid 30’s finally released their first LP album last April and told the public through the songs how they have endured their lonely musician life. The public pleasantly listened to their story and cheered for them.   

◆ We Like You Because You Are Ugly 
Photo: Yoon Jang Hyun (bass guitar)

“People call us ugly, but it doesn't hurt our feeling or scratch our pride at all. Sometimes when we look at each other, we were often surprised and think, ‘Wow, he is really ugly’ (smile). But there are two different kinds of ugliness: charming ugly and uncharming ugly. We believe we are charming ugly (laugh).”  - Kang Joon Woo 

World has definitely changed; at least Korea has. People found chubby-belly men who sing about old bachelors’ lonely life sexy (and,surprisingly, so did I!). Cheesy bossa nova melody, funny true lyrics, and sexy husky soft voice…. One out of several factors that made Rose Motel ‘dirty Sexy’ was their confidence. 

◆ Rose Motel Pretends to Be Single for the Fame? 

Photo: Yook Joon Wan (vocal & guitar)

Including married man Lim Gyung Sub, all the five members are in a relationship. But their album contains few love songs; rather, it is filled with songs about loneliness of old bachelors. Are they pretending to be single to get female fans’ attention? Then, they would be true casanovas.

“It’s our marketing strategy. Kidding. (laugh) There are thousands of love songs out there already. Instead of writing a song to get people’s empathy, we decided to sing about how we really feel and what we think— our true life story. Handsome singers are in charge of love songs. (laugh)” –Yook Joong Wan

The core of pop music is ‘emphatic’ and ‘catchy’. Most singers mainly sing about love and breakup, which are the easiest subjects to empathize with the public. However, Rose Motel didn't take the shortcut; they stick to their own style and sing about themselves. Their song is like an old friend who frankly talks about his life and worries as drinking beer at a neighborhood bar. Their songs make us feel comfortable and relaxed. 

◆ Music That Has Never Existed Before 

Photo: Lim Gyung Sub (drum) 

“We don’t favor any genre. We didn't gather to do a certain genre of music; it's just that five friends who loved music formed a band as drinking beer together. We focus on the message. First we decide the story--what to tell through the song, and then we find the genre that fits it.”  - Kang Joon Woo

“From dance to rock, we want to try every genre. Our album is filled with the emotions and feelings that we experience in our 30’s. When we enter our 40’s or 50’s, we will sing about how we feel at that age. This is Rose Motel’s strength and specialty.” – Yook Joong Wan


People felt in love with Rose Motel not just because they were ugly and funny. It’s not because they were good at singing funny, sensual songs either. Regardless of trends or popular appeal, they've always stick to their own style even when the public didn't listen to their music. 

Rose Motel was always confident about their music, and that is what attracted the public. They may be funny, but their music is not. Rose Motel is one of very few musicians who have their own genre. Rose Motel is and always will be one of a kind. 

photo: bnt photographer Oh Se Hoon
video: PD Park Soo Min
makeup: Hwang Jung Eun with Beauty Salon 

contact: news@bntnews.co.uk 

bnt slide | Click on the photo you can see the next picture.

Show Champion Red Carpet

Write: 2014-03-20 19:28:39 / Update: -1-11-30 00:00:00

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