Howl Atthe Moon is a music bar located in Gung-dong. Unlike most bars located in and around Eoeun-dong, KAIST’s main drinking neighborhood, Howl Atthe Moon offers more than just an alcoholic getaway. The main concept of the bar is that you can request and enjoy music other than the usual K-pop played everywhere else. At this year’s Spring Festival, Howl Atthe Moon and the Graduate Student Association (GSA) hosted an indie music party titled “20th Century Kid.” The KAIST Herald met with the owner of the bar to find out more.
Could you briefly introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Tae-Lim Kim and I am the founder and owner of Howl Atthe Moon. I am 32 years old and I come from Pohang.
What is Howl Atthe Moon and how did you think of opening this kind of bar in Gung-dong? Do a lot of KAIST students visit the bar?
I opened Howl Atthe Moon two years ago, and the idea behind the bar’s concept when I opened it was to provide college students a place and a stage where they can share, perform and listen to music together. If you look inside most of the bars in this area, they are all divided into group slots or rooms and I really didn’t understand why these bars would separate and divide the space. I wanted Howl Atthe Moon to be open and spacious to allow for communication and sharing of ideas between everyone who visits our bar.
When I initially started Howl Atthe Moon, I thought the target customers would be students from Chungnam University because of our location. However, I was very surprised to find that a lot of KAIST students visit as well, even though the bar is located closer to Chungnam University.
How did you end up organizing “20th Century Kid” for KAIST’s 2012 Spring Festival?
I am pretty good friends with the President of the GSA because he comes to our bar very often. One night we were drinking at the bar after closing hours, and we got to talking about having a party for people our age (currently in their late 20’s) with music from our generation. We really liked the idea, and the President offered to collaborate on an event for this year’s Spring Festival.
So that is why we called our indie music party “20th Century Kid,” because the songs performed during the party can be enjoyed the most by people who went to elementary school in the 80’s and 90’s. After our theme was decided, I dived straight into the planning and development phase.
How did you select the bands that performed at the party?
I was always curious as to why the school would pay so much money to bring idol groups to perform for the festivals, since you can listen to their music through so many different mediums already. So I tried to focus more on providing KAIST students a chance to listen to Daejeon’s local bands.
The bands that performed at the party were local bands that have already performed at Howl Atthe Moon. Bands such as Mechanical Stagbeetles and E.T. are in fact from KAIST themselves.
What do you think about the music scene of Daejeon and KAIST?
The indie scene has grown nationally in the past year, and I think that Daejeon hasn’t fallen back at all. In fact, there are a lot of talented local bands, to the point where people are organizing local festivals such as the Daejeon Sound Festival. The only problem is that the flourishing music scene in Daejeon is not well known among the city’s residents. My only wish is that these bands were promoted more so that more people can enjoy the local music.
As for the music scene at KAIST, I’m starting to believe that smart people make good music as well. It’s hard to preserve a band’s color when it enters the music industry, but I think Mechanical Stagbeetles, training under Boonga Boonga Record, are doing a good job.
Do you have any last words or comments you’d like to say to the readers?
I’d like for KAIST students to move away from focusing on one type of culture and broaden their horizons. It would be great for KAIST students to found a creative culture. Whether it’s through musical performances or other methods, I encourage students to express their inner selves through cultural means. Thank you.