Band plays Seoul for first timeWhile many musicians blame the Internet for illegal distribution of their music, Two Ton Shoe, a Boston-based funk rock band, uses the online media aggressively to promote its music globally and to gain recognition locally through live concerts.
The four-man band was formed in 1995 and set up a Web site containing digital music files the same year. In the late 1990s, the group was one of the most downloaded artists on such Internet sites as MP3.com.
Tonight , the band will play its first gig in Seoul, to promote a double CD released by a local independent record label for distribution in East Asia.
The JoongAng Daily spoke with the band’s guitarist Jake Shapiro on the group’s unique marketing strategy and their upcoming Seoul performance.
Q. Can you explain the music of Two Ton Shoe in your own words?
A. Two Ton Shoe plays a unique blend of blue-eyed soul with deep rock influences and a pop edge.
Our musical influences range from Steely Dan to Black Sabbath, from Stevie Wonder to Van Halen. Some people hear hints of Jamiroquai, for a contemporary reference.
We try to strike a balance between accessible rock tunes and choices that avoid the obvious, new twists on the standard fare. There's a thread of furious funk throughout our music, particularly when we play live.
Two Ton Shoe was one of the first bands to use the Internet for distributing music. Are the members Internet-savvy as well?
We're not all cybergeeks by a long shot, but one or two of us will admit to spending way too much time online (that would be me).
Most of our tech savviness is focused on musical gear and studio time, but I also run a nonprofit Internet company called the Public Radio Exchange.
Many musicians in Korea and around the world oppose Internet music distribution. How do you feel about this?
There is good Internet distribution and bad Internet distribution.
Now that there are reasonably good paid alternatives to the file-sharing networks I think we would all hope that fans use those sites that actually compensate the artists.
But for many small independent bands it's more important to have exposure than sales, and our own experience has supported that to a certain degree.
We wouldn't be coming to Korea if it weren't for free Internet distribution.
What can we expect at your Seoul concert?
Expect a great band from Boston playing a set of tight songs showcasing excellent musicianship and tune-smithing.
We tend to improvise a bit and depart from the recorded versions of our songs, so listen closely.
Is this your first time in Korea? Do you have any idea what your Korean fans will be like?
This is indeed our first time in Korea and we are tremendously excited. We have no idea what to expect, and are really grateful for the opportunity to visit.
We're frankly blown away that Two Ton Shoe has garnered a fan base in Korea, and we want to do anything we can to nurture that and build a relationship with Korean audiences.
by Wohn Dong-hee
Two Ton Shoe will perform at Club OTWO near Hongik University tonight at 6 p.m. Tickets (35,000 won) are available at the door. For more information, call Pastel Music at 02-3142-2981