MY Q’s Picks For The Best Music Venues In Seoul

Multi-disciplinary artist MY Q takes us on an auditory tour of the South Korean capital

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When you think of South Korea, it’s hard not to conjure up images of big, bold and immensely popular K-pop bands like BTS, Blackpink or Girls’ Generation. After all, these are multimillion-dollar-spinning music groups with fans all over the world. However, singer-songwriter MY Q is adamant that the music scene in Seoul offers a lot more diversity beyond K-pop.

“There is a growing appreciation for less-known and independent musicians,” he says. “Even as we bring certain Western elements into our music, there’s always that search for the original Korean sound. For me, that Korean sound is one that has a strong personality and taps into the true Korean heart and spirit.”

Ever since his first album drop in 2007, MY Q has released over 180 songs, including eight studio albums and 54 singles. The multi-disciplinary artist has also flexed his creative muscles in areas such as cinematography, song arrangement and mixing as well as stage design.

“I believe having a unique sound or vibe and sharing that with the public is a great power,” MY Q says. “When people open their hearts to creativity, this helps break barriers and pushes our culture to the next level.”

As someone so deeply entrenched in the local art and music scene, who better than MY Q to introduce visitors to the best places in Seoul to enjoy good tunes? Here are four of his favourites.

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Multi-disciplinary artist MY Q takes us on an auditory tour of the South Korean capital

When you think of South Korea, it’s hard not to conjure up images of big, bold and immensely popular K-pop bands like BTS, Blackpink or Girls’ Generation. After all, these are multimillion-dollar-spinning music groups with fans all over the world. However, singer-songwriter MY Q is adamant that the music scene in Seoul offers a lot more diversity beyond K-pop.

“There is a growing appreciation for less-known and independent musicians,” he says. “Even as we bring certain Western elements into our music, there’s always that search for the original Korean sound. For me, that Korean sound is one that has a strong personality and taps into the true Korean heart and spirit.”

Ever since his first album drop in 2007, MY Q has released over 180 songs, including eight studio albums and 54 singles. The multi-disciplinary artist has also flexed his creative muscles in areas such as cinematography, song arrangement and mixing as well as stage design.

“I believe having a unique sound or vibe and sharing that with the public is a great power,” MY Q says. “When people open their hearts to creativity, this helps break barriers and pushes our culture to the next level.”

As someone so deeply entrenched in the local art and music scene, who better than MY Q to introduce visitors to the best places in Seoul to enjoy good tunes? Here are four of his favourites.

role When people open their hearts to creativity, this helps break barriers and pushes our culture to the next level. role

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role When people open their hearts to creativity, this helps break barriers and pushes our culture to the next level. role

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Rolling Hall

Located in the vibrant Hongdae district — known for its quirky shops and lively street buskers – this performance venue plays host to a wide variety of music acts, especially on weekends. More than just a performing space, the people behind Rolling Hall are determined to give audiences high-quality music experiences and create a “communication cultural space” where people can come to connect with the local music scene. “Rolling Hall has been in operation for over two decades, and over the years, they’ve staged many incredible performances – from both big name artists to underground performers such as the iconic Yoon Do Hyun Band and indie darling Crying Nut,” MY Q shares. “They are an icon in the Seoul music scene, and if you get a chance, you should definitely catch a gig here.”

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Sang Sang Ma Dang

For a deep dive into the local art and music scene, this 11-storey building is a must-visit. Housing a cinema, live performance hall, art gallery and studio, this creative space is a gathering ground for contemporary artists to exchange ideas and share their work. “I’ve performed many times at Sang Sang Ma Dang, and it’s truly one of the best venues for an independent musician,” MY Q enthuses. “There is so much creative energy here and everybody is genuinely curious and supportive of your work.” Apart from live music performances, visitors can also catch independent Korean films here as well as purchase artwork from up-and-coming talents.

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Club Evans

With its muted lighting, exposed brick walls and stiff cocktails, Club Evans is a quintessential jazz bar that has consistently delivered quality jazz performances for over 10 years. This is where to go if you’re looking for an evening of complex harmony, rhythmic invention and sweet, sweet blues. The club also hosts weekly jam sessions where anyone visiting can enjoy a moment in the spotlight by creating a ragtime trio or quartet for the evening. “Jazz clubs are like the playgrounds for musicians in Korea,” says MY Q. “If you’re lucky, you might even catch a big-name musician just jamming here.”

The Henz Club

For those looking to rub shoulders with some of Seoul’s coolest underground artists, this is the club to head to. Featuring a sparse, minimalist design aesthetic and a state-of-the-art sound system, you know the music is the central focus at Henz. “Henz is one of those places where you’ll find talented hip-hop artists and DJs every single weekend,” MY Q says.

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MY Q Finds Inspiration On The Streets Of Seoul

A guide to the multi-disciplinary artist’s favourite street art, museums and architecture

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From K-pop and fashion to contemporary art and cinema, South Korea is a force to be reckoned with in the global cultural milieu. And it’s not just big names that are making waves in Seoul and beyond. Pay a visit to the capital and you’ll find a thriving underground arts scene, including independent music clubs and cinemas, former office blocks and factories that have been transformed into vibrant art galleries, and city streets enlivened with arresting street art.

For artists like MY Q, inspiration can be found anywhere and everywhere in Seoul. “The entire city is bursting with creativity – you just need to know where to look and be open to the experience,” he says.

know where to look and be open to the experience,” he says.

The multi-hyphenate artist, who has released over 180 songs and dabbled in other creative outlets such as painting, cinematography and stage design, is definitely an authority when it comes to South Korean art and music. In this article, he lets us in on the best places in Seoul to immerse yourself in the city’s robust arts scene.

The entire city is bursting with creativity – you just need to know where to look and be open to the experience.

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If you’re looking for street art…

“The street art scene in Hongdae has been well known for quite awhile now,” says MY Q, referring to the neighbourhood surrounding Hongik University, the city’s leading arts university. Hongdae is packed with trendy boutiques, whimsical cafes and talented buskers, and in its backstreets, you’ll find many vividly-painted murals and graffiti art. Other artsy districts worth checking out include Mullae Art Village, a former industrial area transformed into an art hub, and HBC Art Village in the Haebangchon neighbourhood, where you’ll find over 30 colourful murals and sculptures dotting the area.

If you’re looking for contemporary art…

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) has four locations, each focusing on different aspects of modern art in Korea. MMCA Seoul is built on the former Military Defense Security Command building, and houses a wide breadth of artwork from both Korean and international artists. For something more intimate, MY Q recommends visiting Whanki Art Museum and 2gil29 art gallery.

“Whanki Kim is one of my favourite Korean abstract artists and his museum is a must-visit. The exhibits change every season and you get to immerse yourself in a completely different experience each time,” MY Q shares. “As for art galleries, 2gil29 is another must-go as they play host to many unique exhibitions throughout the year – from pottery experts to installation artists.”

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If you’re looking for cool architecture…

As a sprawling metropolis, Seoul has no dearth of exciting architecture worth exploring, such as the futuristic Dongdaemun Design Plaza and the Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, home to traditional Korean and contemporary art. However, MY Q recommends taking time to walk across the different bridges along the Han River which winds its way through Seoul. “There are numerous bridges that cross the Han River – such as Hangang Bridge, Banpo Bridge, Mapo Bridge and Yanghwa Bridge – connecting the north and south side of the river. This gives you a unique perspective of the different parts of Seoul and serves up views you probably won’t get anywhere else,” MY Q says. “I personally love walking along Dong Ho Bridge just before sunset as it’s always an emotional experience for me.”

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If you’re looking for local music…

Seoul has one of the most exciting nightlife scenes in Asia. But to experience the beating heart of the local music scene, head to Rolling Hall, which plays host to a wide variety of music performances every weekend. MY Q also recommends visiting local jazz salons such as Evan’s Lounge or hip-hop clubs like Henz. “This is where you’ll find many up and coming talents, and the opportunity to jive to the sounds of Seoul,” he says.

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