North Korea’s Breakcore Guerrillas: The Pyongyang Hardcore Resistance
I grew up on a healthy mix of metal, hip-hop and punk rock. It wasn’t until college that I started getting into fractured world of electronic music and all it’s variations.
I had heard months ago of an underground breakcore duo in based in North Korea that sampled Kim Jong II’s propaganda music and infused it with pounding techno beats and political resistance. Supposedly these raver renegades smuggled their beats through China and other outlets, however it was always a little unclear whether or not the story was legit. After weeks of investigation and asking the right people we were able to contact someone with regular correspondence the Pyongyang Hardcore Resistance, and was able to arrange a brief encrypted digital meeting with the group’s fabled founder.
(09:46:45 PM) PHRXCORE: hello! Are you there?
(09:46:53 PM) Swellco2000: Yes. Glad you could make it. Thanks for being here. I know you are taking great risk.
(09:47:14 PM) PHRXCORE: I’m sorry. This must be very short. Even while this is through Tor over wifi, and I am not my hometown- it still dangerous, but I can answer your questions. But only for few minutes.
(09:48:00 PM) Swellco2000: Can you tell us a little about yourself. How did you start the PHR?
(09:48:05 PM) PHRXCORE: I was born in the North but I was smuggled into the South when I was very young with my father. I grew up mostly in the South with him. When I was teenager I came across all kind of electronic music and went to many rave party. I wanted to make this music so through pirate websites I found some program like fruityloops and soundforge teached myself how to use them.
(09:48:56 PM) PHRXCORE: When I was 19 my father die and I had no family left. I wanted to return to my family in Pyongyang. When I return it was a long time before they let me rejoin my family. They put me in a camp for some time. But when I rejoin my family I pirated the programs again and started making music with a friend.
(09:49:27 PM) PHRXCORE: It is hard to get samples from anything other than the Nationalist Music of the North and sometime smuggled movies and music from the South. It;s hard to enjoy the music here. We have very small gatherings. Our Rave have 6 or 8 people. We play the music very low or sometimes with headphones for everybody. No E. Only sometimes wine we make at home.
(09:52:08 PM) Swellco2000: So the PHR is more about the music, just political in name?
(09:52:18 PM) PHRXCORE: NO and yes. We hate Kim Jong II. We hate that there is no freedom to listen to the music we want or watch the things we wish. That we must pirate or smuggle just to enjoy what other can. We create music to enjoy ourselves and to have our own freedom and moments of anarchy. Our music is our voice. The bassdrum is our truth.
(09:52:54 PM) Swellco2000: Do you many people like the music there? Do many feel the same way?
(09:53:09 PM) PHRXCORE: No, we can not share the music here very much. It is too dangerous, but we try and get it out of here so others can enjoy. The people are not happy but they are afraid of the west more than they are afraid of Kim Jong II.
(09:53:13 PM) Swellco2000: How has the missile exchange with South Korea affected the people?
(09:53:56 PM) PHRXCORE: The people are very angry with the South for attacking us but many are afraid for war. We know the USA will come and attack as well soon. So there is some fear.
(09:54:08 PM) PHRXCORE: i’m sorry I must go now. Thank you.
Unfortunately that was all we got, but given the fact they were supposedly communicating from one of the most locked down USA hating regimes in the world…. we’ll take what we can get.
In any case, if you’re into breakcore, or more likely just curious, their entire album is available for download here, courtesy of Dramacore.