Assuming very little, Placebo steps on stagePlacebo may be a popular act in Britain, and this weekend they’ll be performing on a Korean stage for the first time, at the Incheon Pentaport Rock Festival.
Since the band was founded in 1994 among schoolmates Brian Molko, Stefan Olsdal and Steve Hewitt, they’ve played venues such as David Bowie’s 50th birthday party at Madison Square Garden and been featured on soundtracks such as “Velvet Goldmine.” Their hits include “Without You I’m Nothing,” which they performed with Bowie; “Crawl,” and “Every You Every Me,” which was on the soundtrack for the Korean movie “Tell Me Something.” The JoongAng Ilbo recently had an e-mail interview with Molko, the band’s vocalist.
JAI: Many Placebo fans in Korea have been waiting for you to perform here for a long time. How do you feel about that?
Molko: It’s a step into the unknown for us. Every time we go to a new country for the first time, we wonder if anyone will turn up to the show. Most of the time, we’re pleasantly surprised, as I’m sure will be the case in Korea.
Placebo is the headliner on July 29, which of the three days has had the most tickets sold so far. Did you know that you have so many Korean fans?
No. We’re always surprised to have so many fans in a country we’ve never visited. We never assume that we will be big everywhere we go. Respect and devotion are things you have to earn.
Your latest album, “Meds,” was leaked over the Internet earlier this year. Did this affect the sales of your album?
Since IT technology is developing rapidly, album sales are declining. I understand fans’ impatience to have access to Placebo’s newest unreleased sounds, but they have to understand that if they don’t buy their favourite band’s records, their favorite band won’t be able to pay the rent and will have to stop making music and touring to get a real job!
I’ve heard that you became a father recently. I’m wondering if you have a different view towards life or music after having a child.
Fatherhood changes everything. It’s very significant to have someone in your life you care about more than yourself.
It has been 10 years since your debut in the music scene. When is the most memorable moment?
Being onstage with Bowie, Frank Black (of The Pixies) and Robert Smith (of The Cure).
A lot of the band’s fans in Korea remember your song “Crawl” from the movie “Tell Me Something.” Are you familiar with popular culture in Korea?
I am a huge fan of Korean movies, especially those by Park Chan-wook.
by Chung Hyun-mok
More in Features
Kakao TV launches this month, takes on Netflix
[TURNING 20] In a sea of hate, change flourishes
Criticism of sex ed books for kids raises more questions than answers
When it comes to sex ed, this Danish author says just talk about it
The traveling grandma who's 'alive and kicking it'