Korean artist-turned-band LØREN stunned SXSW with two dynamic performances and a melancholic pop punk sound in advance of his debut EP, ‘Put Up a Fight’!
by guest writer Freya Rinaldi
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There’s no doubt that Korean music has been making waves all over the world. In an industry saturated with electronic beats, rap bridges, and catchy pop choruses, LØREN brings grungy alternative rock with punk influences to the table. Taking part of SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas with two showcases; LØREN’s deep voice and guitar heavy tracks, made him an artist to watch. LØREN first came onto the scene as a multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter. He produced music for popular Korean acts like Blackpink and G-Dragon under the name Cawlr and DJ Boid. He made his debut as a soloist in November of 2020 under YG Entertainment’s associate company, The Black Label.
During the showcase by Jaded x Balming Tiger called ‘Tiger Den,’ he dropped a bombshell that he was no longer a soloist and will be permanently with the band accompanying him. “We just don’t have a name yet, but it’s all of us now” he chuckled between songs. The band is composed of guitarists Jack and June, bassist Mikey, drummer Leeoh, and LØREN himself on guitar and vocals. Their set was vibrant and engaging from start to finish, despite running behind on time due to technical difficulties. The giant neon smiley face and big disco ball built into the stage of the popular queer bar Cheer Up Charlie’s added a twist to the dark concept and destructive lyrics of his songs. LØREN had an amazing stage presence and interacted with the crowd every chance he got. Even with only a total of three released songs, fans showed their love by singing along to his most recent release, “All My Friends Are Turning Blue.” Finishing off the set with unreleased songs, the night ended with a loud roar of cheers from the crowd.
The next day LØREN took to Instagram to announce he had been added to Mix 94.7 West of the Fest showcase. Even with the last minute announcement, fans that found him from the Tiger Den show flocked to Buford’s on West 6th. It was a cold and cloudy St. Patrick’s Day morning and the atmosphere was very laid back and lull. But as the third act finished and LØREN was set to take the stage, the then empty barrier was suddenly lined with fans and a crowd formed around the band as they were setting up their instruments.
This showcase was more easy going and shorter than the previous one, but you could still see the excitement on the band’s faces. LØREN had to remind himself that they had a 15 minute time limit after joking about loving Texas so much he was ready to move there. “We have to play the next song or I’ll keep talking,” he exclaimed as the audience giggled. The band played only unreleased songs, including “Folks” and “Submarine,” which proved to be a crowd favorite. Submarine was a contrast to the rest of their raucous set, with a slower build and softer tone. Their overall sound gives a nostalgic feel of melancholic pop punk hits from the 2000s with Cobain type vocals.
The band hovered behind their van for a smoke after packing everything up post-show.
A few fans gathered around and took turns taking pictures with them while gushing praises and expressing their hopes for a future American tour. The five-piece posed on the westside of Austin’s iconic 6th Street and thanked everyone for coming. When asked how their first ever experience in the states was, LØREN pushed his hair back and blurted out “oh it was so fun, it was just so good.”
Mikey chimed in stating that the whole experience was “the best of the best.”
LØREN recently signed to indie label 88rising, home to several Asian American and Asian artists. He also already booked his second stateside gig as a part of Head in the Cloud Music Festival inaugural launch in New York this coming May. His debut EP Put Up a Fight will be available across all streaming platforms on March 24th.
Freya Rinaldi (she/her) is a digital media & social media marketing manager during the day and a live music enthusiast & freelance writer by night. She attends upwards of 50 concerts a year and travels throughout the country to chase the artists and bands she loves. When not at a concert, Freya is either reading, at an art gallery or in bed with her black lab, Gaia. As an Indonesian-American and first generation immigrant, Freya is an advocate for women of color in the media and is PR of the women run Indonesian Indie Label 8Creations.
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