Beyond K-pop: 10 Korean Indie Artists You Should Know

Beyond K-pop: 10 Korean Indie Artists You Should Know

After debuting in 2010 with their self-titled EP, acoustic pop trio Standing Egg (스탠딩 에그) quickly established themselves as a prominent K-indie act with the release of their chart-topping full-length album with later that same year. Since then, they’ve consistently churned out many singles, EPs, and albums over their long career—a fact that has led their fans to teasingly call them “the government employees of indie music.” Standing Egg tell in an email interview that they didn’t want to lose their steady momentum, so they kept trying to create new music. “And so before we knew it, 12 years flew by. But we’re always thinking about what we’re going to do next (laugh),” the anonymous members write.

The band’s unusual name was inspired by the tale of the Egg of Columbus, which also shapes their approach to music. “It’s hard to stand an egg on its end, but it’s not impossible. So it means we will always do our best to make great music, with a desire to ‘make the egg stand on its tip,’ so to speak,” they explain. The members are adamant about keeping their identities a secret and simply go by Egg 1, Egg 2, and Egg 3. “We want people to know us only for our music,” they say. “And having anonymity frees us to focus on our music.”

To this day, Standing Egg is beloved by many Koreans for their moving lyricism, warm and heartfelt vocals, and peaceful, soothing melodies. Their songs always carry a remarkable poetic sensibility that is also reflected in their responses to (though these simple English translations don’t do them justice). Although they’ve often experimented with different sounds, they’ve never wavered from their aim of producing music that’s comforting to the ears and soul. “Nowadays when there seems to be a lot of songs with aggressive melodies and/or offensive lyrics, we feel an even greater need to create music that embraces the little joys in life,” they say.

While they’ve released a ton of charting singles over the years, they’re perhaps still best known for two: their 2016 hit “Summer Night You and I,” which dominated the music charts in Korea despite the lack of promotion, and their 2012 track “Old Song,” which trended again in Korea in 2020 when popular trot/ballad crooner Lim Young-woong revealed it to be his favorite song and performed it on national TV. The group frequently appear on K-drama soundtracks (a couple of the more notable ones are Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo and Strong Woman Do Bong Soon) and have won several major honors in Korea, including Best Indie Musician at the Melon Music Awards in both 2014 and 2015 and Popular Singer of the Year at the 2022 Gaon Chart Music Awards.

But for Standing Egg, music was never about the awards or becoming famous. “For us, ‘making an egg stand on its tip’ has been simply about sharing great music with other people or living happily while getting to make music. In that regard, maybe we’ve succeeded in standing one small egg on its tip. But seeing as how our passion for music hasn’t subsided, we’re guessing that means we still have many more eggs left that we need to stand.”

Follow Standing Egg on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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