Magna (adj.): a Latin term meaning “great” or “large”.
Fall (noun): 2) an act or instance of falling or dropping from a higher to a lower place or position.
Magna Fall (noun): A three-piece rock band based out of Seoul, Korea, responsible for numerous gasps of wonder from audiences during their eclectic live performances.
BUSAN, South Korea — Magna Fall have been doing anything but falling lately. With their recent studio recordings and weekly (sometimes twice weekly) shows around Seoul and the Korean peninsula, it is safe to say that this star is in its ascent.
Formed a little over a year ago in Incheon, Korea, the band consists of members David Holden (drums), Neil Smith (bass/micro-korg/vocals), and Kevin Heintz (guitars/vocals).
As far as expat bands in Korea go, there is nothing special about a three-piece band consisting of two lads from Ireland and one from America. But the sound that Magna Fall have cultivated over the past few months belies the manifold artistry behind their pure rock energy.
Magna Fall began as an outfit called “Bastards of Bupyeong”—for which they are still known among many of their fans. Quickly outgrowing that moniker, they changed the name to something that would fit their expanding sound. “Magna Fall” is actually meaningless as a name, though it captures the spaciness, the funkiness, the gravity of a band that wishes to exceed boundaries and avoid labels.
They’ve been referred to as “indie”, “metal”, “classic rock”, “funk”, “electronic”, and even “punk” (so far). Somehow none of these labels can be denied, though none of them explain the composite sound and feeling of their songs.
From the raunchy “Boshintang”; to the heavy Hendrixesque saga “Truer”; to the electronics-laden “Phantasmagoria”; to the pensive and calypso song-narrative “Gear Boy”, and back again, the genre of this trio is impossible to peg. Influences range from Led Zeppelin to Talking Heads, from Rage Against the Machine to Radiohead, from Muse to traditional Irish music.
But the true strength and power of Magna Fall lies in their live performances, where adrenaline and energy meet song craft. Ask anybody who has seen them—in Seoul or Daejon, Gwangju or Busan—and they will tell you: this is a rewarding band to catch live. It is likely you will get some sweat or spit on you if you are standing close enough. But as they say—nothing good comes without a little blood, sweat and tears…and beer.
This weekend catch Magna Fall Live at Vinyl Underground in Kyungsung.
Magna Fall will be playing all throughout the summer at various venues and festivals, including Mudfest in Boryeong (July 16 and 17) and Gwangju World Music Festival late in the season, as well as many, many gigs at clubs near you. You can check out their songs and shows by searching YouTube for “Magna Fall” or by visiting their websites www.magnafall.com and www.reverbnation.com/magnafall.