|Iman's League / Courtesy of Iman's League|
By Jon Dunbar
Nuriman (Iman) Bin Mohd Nor is finally returning to Korea with his band, Singaporean melodic punk trio Iman's League, for a four-show, two-city tour after more than two years away due to the pandemic.
"This year will be our sixth time touring in Korea," he told The Korea Times. "We made it a point since 2015 to return to Korea every single year. The last time was in 2019. I guess if it's not for the pandemic we would have returned in 2020 and 2021."
Iman recalled their first Korean tour in 2015 was also their first time experiencing cold weather. On later visits, they came in the milder fall season for Zandari Festa 2018, during which Iman's League bass player Ishyam won an award for best bassist of the festival. And in 2019, they were here in the summer for IT'S A FEST, a beach punk festival held on Incheon's Muui Island.
|Iman's League performs at Channel1969 Dec. 6, 2015. / Korea Times photo by Jon Dunbar|
But international travel ground to a halt in 2020, and so did local live music scenes including Korea's and Singapore's. Iman's League missed out on their first U.K. tour scheduled for June 2020, and lost the chance to open for Green Day's canceled Singapore show in 2021.
On the other hand, they kept busy during the pandemic, continuing to play livestream gigs and scaled-down local shows. They also kept busy releasing music, putting out a full-length in 2020, a greatest hits album in 2022, a track on a four-song split album by Korean label World Domination in 2021, Inc. (WDI) and the singles "Ku Lepaskan" this year and "Gone Too Soon" in 2021.
"'Gone Too Soon' was a song we dedicated to our friends who passed on that year. That year was truly a sad one as we lost four of our friends in the local scene as well as overseas," he said.
|Iman's League performs at Club Steel Face during Zandari Festa, Oct. 17, 2017. / Korea Times photo by Jon Dunbar|
Now that pandemic travel restrictions have all but disappeared, the band is ready to finally return. However, he admits that they still have some concerns and anxieties about touring overseas.
"It's not just about the virus as we are learning to live with it," Iman said. "It's more of like if we have to cancel our upcoming tour plans if anyone of us caught the virus again. Planning a tour is hard work and it's gonna suck if we need to cancel it at the last minute."
It's an interesting itinerary, which is important for a band that's already been here five times.
Their first show this Thursday will be at the recently opened Irish bar Craic House, which is located in Itaewon pretty close across the street from the site of the deadly Oct. 29 crowd disaster that claimed at least 158 lives.
"We were really shocked when we first heard the news. One of the first things we did was to check on our friends in Korea just to make sure that everyone is safe," Iman said.
Iman mentioned that this will be a more intimate acoustic show, and he plans to play some of their more uplifting songs, such as "The Weekend Dream," "Hold On" and "Gone Too Soon."
"We are planning to talk more about the songs in hope of spreading positive messages," Iman said. "I think it's gonna take some time for the neighborhood to recover. And we really hope that by injecting some music it could somehow help in the recovery."
Angie An of Daddy O Radio will also play an acoustic set.
|Iman's League performs at IT'S A FEST! on Incheon's Muui Island June 15, 2019. / Korea Times photo by Jon Dunbar|
The Friday show will be with Polluter, Sweet Gasoline and Punk on Fire, in Phillies Basement at Haebangchon, part of the city's central foreign enclave which has started to take on increased importance for the local underground music scene.
On Saturday, they'll be down in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province, for Rise Up Fest, playing with Sink to Rise, Smoking Goose, Get to the Point and Deepbox.
The final show on Sunday will be at Binary Studios in Mangwon-dong, which is the closest they'll be playing to Hongik University this time. They'll be joined by …Whatever That Means, Monkey Gang War and Daddy O Radio.
"We are really looking forward to meeting all our friends and the bands we played with before," Iman said. "This is gonna be our first major tour after more than two and a half years. Really looking forward to the experiences like going to the airport, taking the plane, getting lost in another country and especially playing shows in front of foreign crowds and entertaining them. We are also eager to see how the Korean indie scene has changed through the years."?
Visit imansleague.bandcamp.com to hear their music, or go to fb.com/wdikorea for information about the tour.