Many artists have stage personas that are completely different from who they actually are. This disparity means they have to sort of turn on before hitting the stage. But glam metal band Victim Mentality is always on. Embodying the rockstar persona in every aspect of their lives, these four ’80s metal lovers live and breathe the rock and roll attitude in every way. Paired with their killer talent, they are without a doubt a force to be reckoned with.
The day before their performance at SXSW Seoulsonic, Seoulbeats had the opportunity to grab a drink and sit down for a chat with them.
So for those not familiar with you, can you give us a brief introduction of who you are?
Kyungho: We are Blitzkrieg heavy metal, Victim Mentality from South Korea. I am the guitarist Kyungho.
Tarantula: I am the drummer Tarantula.
Scorpion: I am the bassist Scorpion.
Krocodile: I am the singer Krocodile.
So how old are all of you?
You guys are very unique. What were your inspirations?
Krocodile: Motley Crue.
Scorpion: Iron Maiden, Judas Priest.
Kyungho: Steel Panther.
How do you think you fit into the Korean music scene? Do you feel different?
Krocodile: Most Korean bands’ appearances are very ugly, but we are the only handsome band.
Krocodile: That’s the only difference.
Do you think of the visual aspect of your music when you’re writing your music?
Kyungho: In Korea, there are no heavy metal bands. There are punk bands and rock bands. Glam metal bands, though — there’s only us. Other bands think we’re really weird, but we don’t care because we’re just a heavy metal band. You know, rock and roll.
Because you’re so different, do you prefer to promote internationally or in Korea?
Scorpion: We’d like to promote internationally if we had more chances, but until now we haven’t.
Krocodile: Heavy metal in Korea is fucked up. The domestic market has no meaning to us.
Do you think you will ever become mainstream and accepted by regular audiences?
Krocodile: Yeah, of course.
Kyungho: In Korea, there’s tons of pop music like Psy so we don’t know, but of course we’ll try.
Krocodile: Yeah, actually we don’t care.
Kyungho: Because heavy metal doesn’t change, it doesn’t matter.
So you don’t have a very big audience in Korea?
Krocodile: Actually, no, a lot of people.
Kyungho: A lot of girls like us.
How do you explain to Korean audiences what your concept is?
Kyungho: We just say that heavy metal is back — the same as the title of our first album — so we try to brainwash audiences with the idea of heavy metal, heavy metal, heavy metal.
How did you form the band?
Krocodile: I played heavy metal for 30 years. I’m 32 years old so, yes, I was two when I started playing heavy metal. I played for such a long time alone, and then twenty years later I met this guy [gestures to Kyungho], and he was the same as me. He played alone twenty years, too. We met and made music, and now we’re here.
Scorpion: We love ’80s heavy metal so we got together to make ’80s heavy metal.
How do you write your music?
Krocodile: Mr. Sohn [Kyungho] writes the songs, and I write lyrics.
What comes first: music or lyrics?
Krocodile: Music first.
Kyungho: Or sometimes he makes hints, titles, ideas that I get to make a hook or chorus from.
How do you see your music changing? What do you see as the future of Victim Mentality’s sound?
Scorpion: I think heavy metal is timeless so after 10 years we can keep doing the same thing.
Krocodile: Heavy metal is never changing.
If you had to pick one band from the ’80s to compare yourselves to, who would you pick?
Kyungho: Motley Crue.
Do you have a favorite song by Motley Crue?
Krocodile: “Kickstart My Heart.”
Scorpion: “Wild Side.”
Krocodile: “Looks That Kill.”
Kyungho: Too many that inspire us.
Do you take your inspiration from ’80s music videos, too?
Scorpion: Did you see our music video for “Magic Finger”? It’s an homage to Whitesnake’s “Is This Love.” We tried to imitate the camera work.
Krocodile: This guy [points to Kyungho] is a specialist in camera work.
Kyungho: We don’t have money so everything is done by cheap process.
How do you guys get along with each other?
Krocodile: We don’t play around. We just practice. We’re not family or friends; music is just business, just for money.
Kyungho: Yeah, we’re a business group.
Krocodile: I hate these people.
Do you ever feel pressure to do anything more popular?
Krocodile: No pressure. We’ve waited a long time so we’re okay to wait longer.
How long have you been a band?
Kyungho: We met in 2005, but we started officially in 2009.
Scorpion: I joined in 2013.
Krocodile: This is just the beginning. We’ll be a huge band.
Well, because you’re different and great so you have no competition.
Krocodile: Yes, we blow them away!
Kyungho: That’s the reason we chose glam metal. We started as a classic heavy metal band — you know, like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden — but we transitioned because there was no glam metal band in Korea, and we love glam metal music so it worked.
What other kinds of music do you guys like?
Scorpion: I’m especially inspired by Japanese heavy metal — Loudness, Anthem, etc. They show a certain look that I think is similar to glam metal.
Krocodile: I love Korean traditional music; trot is where the money is. If this band vanishes, I’ll change to trot. Trot is the best. It’s in Korean blood.
Kyungho: I like all kinds of music, but I like glam metal best.
Tarantula: I listen to a lot of music, but especially by the cute ladies.
How often do you practice? For how long?
Kyungho: Every single day for probably three to five hours.
What’s your favorite thing about performing?
Scorpion: Action! Because I think metal can give the audience fun. In a concert, the most important thing is that the band gives the audience some pleasure, some fun. I think that’s why we play metal.
Krocodile: I think the most important thing is eye contact with the audience. Some bands play without connecting with the audience, but I try to see everyone. I like to make a personal connection.
Did you always know you wanted to make music?
Kyungho: We always watched music videos and performances of metal bands, and we grew up wanting to be rockstars.
Krocodile: Like I said, I played heavy metal for 30 years. You know, my mom pushed me to play heavy metal. [collective laughter] I knew I’d be like this one day. [more laughter]
You guys seem very relaxed. Are you always like this?
Kyungho: Sure, we’re always like this.
Krocodile: This is our normal condition.
So you never get nervous when you perform?
Kyungho: No, never.
Krocodile: Okay, sometimes. [collective laughter] Kyungho: That’s true. A little.
Krocodile: Like the other day I was nervous and forgot how to talk and forgot English. I was totally fucked.
Are you excited? What are you expecting from tonight?
Krocodile: We’d love to get signed and get an easy way to the mainstream.
Kyungho: We want to show that heavy metal is back, and we want to make the audience feel that.
Krocodile: Heavy metal is classic, and we’re classic people.
Scorpion: You know, we are dangerous people.
Krocodile: This is a very dangerous group. His name is Scorpion, and he has a huge poisonous middle between his legs. [collective laughter] Scorpion: Yes! I love sex!
Krocodile: Yes, he’s very dangerous, but girls love dangerous!
Kyungho: Yeah, but he’s a virgin. [more laughter]
Do you have any message for your international fans?
Scorpion: Well, I really like sex so if you want to have sex with me, just call me. I’m waiting.
Krocodile: Do you like money? Me, too, actually I probably like it more. Buy our CDs, shirts, tickets, etc. Money and sex are the best. Sex for everyone!
Kyungho: Heavy metal is back! We’re going to rock and roll so buy our first full length album Heavy Metal Is Back. It’s the best album in the world!
The guys of Victim Mentality were gracious enough to give us a copy of their full-length album Heavy Metal Is Back along with a signed poster, and we’re giving them away! Let us know in the comments below why you think Victim Mentality is awesome and why you should get the signed poster + CD! We’ll pick a winner on
April 16 so you have two weeks to get your responses in! May 1, the new extended deadline!
Check out some of their music below!
“Don’t Spit on Me”