On a first listen to the debut single, ‘Cockroach’, from Sailor Honeymoon, you’ll be immediately charmed by the infectious bass line, the classic punk riff and deadpan lyrics – it’s old-school fun. It’s a tune that just makes you smile, the sound of three friends clearly enjoying themselves.
The accompanying video of the band, Spray, Spanner and Carrots chasing a life-sized cockroach out of their house is 2 minutes of exactly this joy and fun that you can hear.
As you delve deeper, however, you find a treasure trove full of the classic punk ethos. Sailor Honeymoon was born as a collaboration between photographer Abi Raymaker 장인화, techno DJ Zaeeun Shin 신재은 and singer/songwriter Meaningful Stone (real name Jimin Kim김지민), to, in Raymaker’s words: “express ourselves without being edited or corrected in any way”.
The whole project is born as a middle finger to Korean pop music culture, where artists are encouraged to be flawless and pristine. The band doubled down on this by swapping instruments to create a rawer aesthetic. Describing this ethos, Raymkaer says: “We’re not perfect musicians and we’re not mimicking anything in particular. We take inspiration from stuff directly around us too, from women in our scene, or from each other, and run with it rather than trying to make something clean or perfect.”
It’s exactly the mindset that kickstarted the UK’s punk scene in the 70s. A punch from a fist where every finger is wearing a ring straight to the face of pop culture’s expectations. Sailor Honeymoon are not only refreshing but ripping up the rulebook and empowering musicians and creatives around them. When you write music this fun and this enjoyable to listen to; the world is your oyster.
‘Cockroach’ serves not only as the debut single from South Korean punk band Sailor Honeymoon, but is also the first release through their Seoul and London-based label Good Good 굿굿 Records, of which the band’s Abi Raymaker is a co-founder.
A photographer by day, Raymaker is joined in the band by techno DJ Zaeeun Shin and singer-songwriter Meaningful Stone – though you shouldn’t let any of those tags lead you to form any pre-judgement on what they might sound like. The band themselves switched up which instruments they’d all play once they started rehearsing, in order to bring an extra rawness to their sound.
“For us, Sailor Honeymoon is our chance to express ourselves without being edited or corrected in any way”, says Raymaker. “We’re not perfect musicians and we’re not mimicking anything in particular. We take inspiration from stuff directly around us too, from women in our scene, or from each other, and run with it rather than trying to make something clean or perfect”.
Still, it’s not so raw as to be inaccessible. Far from it. The first listen had me grinning from ear to ear, thanks to the Kim Deal-esque deadpan delivery. I think cockroaches might be a metaphor for something else, you know. Anyway, it’s an extremely fun two minutes and I’d like more now please.