Dead Buttons are a Seoul-based rock ‘n’ roll duo comprised of Korean guitarist/vocalist Jihyun Hong and Paraguayan/Korean drummer/vocalist Kanghee Lee.
A veteran of Korea’s indie scene, Hong previously played guitar for the Seoul hardcore band Combative Post as well as punk bands Sweet Guerillaz and Oi! Resolute, along with the psych- and pop-tinged garage rock act The Infamous Orchestra. He met Lee after Lee had finished his mandatory military service and the two decided to make Dead Buttons.
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 groundbreaking 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.
Dead Buttons continues to play club shows in Seoul and other cities every week and gain more local and expat fans. They are currently working on new songs for an album to be released in early 2015.