Interview: Eat Your Kimchi

Eat Your Kimchi's Simon and Martina at the Toronto fan meet
Eat Your Kimchi’s Simon and Martina at the Toronto fan meet

I’m an avid reader of Eat Your Kimchi’s blog and watcher of their YouTube videos for two reasons. First, they bring back fabulous memories of Korea for me. You see, they started doing their thing right around the time I was leaving Korea and when I first found them – in 2010 I think – I was going through severe Korea-withdrawal (I almost went back the fall of 2010) and I loved seeing Korea through their eyes. It was almost like being there myself.

The other reason is they rock! They’re super funny in their videos that it’s a blast to watch them. Plus, I totally love how they are promoting different kinds of Korean music, not just K-pop. I’ve discovered new music through them which is great.

So when I heard they were coming to Toronto for the holidays and then doing a fan meet… of course, I had to go and interview them. Turns out they are just as nice and fun in person as they are in their videos. And they were kind enough to answer a few questions before their fan meet. By the way, interviewing them was lovely! They’re so friendly that it was more like a conversation than me just asking questions!

Eat Your Kimchi's Simon and Martina
Eat Your Kimchi’s Simon and Martina

Eat Your Kimchi Interview

I’m with Simon and Martina from Eat Your Kimchi, how does it feel to be back in Toronto and to see all your fans that have come to see you?

Martina: We were actually thinking that perhaps only four people would show up, my mom and dad and your [Simon’s] mom and dad. So we’re really shocked when we walked down, even just so far, I didn’t realize that line up was for us.

Simon: Because this is definitely cold outside, and anyone who’s actually showed up today, I actually have a lot of respect and gratitude towards because it’s crazy cold. And otherwise I’m just really nervous whenever we do events like this. I start pacing and rambling and I don’t know what to do.

Martina: We never know what to expect so it’s always a welcome surprise.

Lots of people came out in the -35 winter weather
Lots of people came out in the -35 winter weather

So you guys have done some amazing things to help people from outside Korea learn more about Korea. 

Simon: Thank you.

Eat Your Kimchi's Simon and Martina at the Toronto fan meet
Eat Your Kimchi’s Simon and Martina at the Toronto fan meet

I found your videos because I taught English in Korea for a couple of years.

Martina: Ah, that’s cool. Where did you live?

I lived in Ulsan for a year and then two years in Seoul. So when I see your videos, it’s like reliving everything which is wonderful. So can you tell me a little about what you have planned for 2014.

Martina: We have a whole bunch of plans because we always have so many goals. We don’t know how many will work out. Well, I’m going to talk about my Indie goal.

Simon: Okay, you do that.

Martina: One of our goals is that I really want to introduce a lot more Indie. We’re trying to do it more often, currently we do a Sunday segment. I really think the whole music scene is awesome, not just K-pop. But the indie scene gets neglected and being left behind. So we’re trying to find ways of doing interesting interviews with Indie artists rather than sit down interviews. I don’t think a lot fo people would find that interesting. So we are trying to get involved in that scene. And then outside of music…

Simon: We have one big thing that we’re working on. I don’t want to say anything about it but it’s probably as big as the studio. 

Martina: It’s a second kind of location. But…

Simon: You’re not supposed to say that much [laughing]

Martina: [laughing] It has unicorns, we’re leaving. But anyways, it’s going to hopefully be a location where, hopefully, people could actually visit someplace physically. That’s all we’re saying.

Simon: When we did our pop up event we right before we flew out, where a bunch of people could come to the studio and visit, we realized we really wanted to find a way to connect with people offline. Not just at these events which are difficult to organize. But a regular place and we’re really trying to figure out a way to do that.

Martina: And something you’ll actually understand totally with this, living in Korea it can be hard for foreigners to meet other foreigners, especially people who have a similar set of interests. We’re trying to find a place that can be a place where people can meet each other and bond and make friends… and that’s it, that’s all I’m saying.

Simon: Do you want to say everything?

Simon and Martina were as fun in person as they are in their videos
Simon and Martina were as fun in person as they are in their videos

Sounds like a wonderful thing. One last question, what’s a highlight of your time so far, of everything you’ve done as Eat Your Kimchi?

Simon: A highlight of everything? Oh jeez, I don’t know.

Martina: That’s really hard.

Simon: It seems like every month just keeps getting better and better for us. I was just really amazed when we started doing these actual events where we meet up with people and people come to us. Because when you read comments online, it’s just like, you’re an anonymous person online and it’s difficult for me to connect. But as soon as we see people in real life, that really moves me emotionally.

Martina: Because you’re making videos in your own space, you just don’t think about the fact that there are people watching them, not really. You just think it’s your family or someone else. So when you get a chance to meet people physically, you realize that, oh my god, there are actually real people watching these videos. And then when you talk to them and you realize that they’re super cool, it’s like being in a giant extension of your family, cousins your didn’t know you had and you get along really well with. I think the touring really helped us realize that. Like, oh my god, real people.

Simon: So that’s it for me, that really hits me the hardest.

Posing with their fans
Posing with their fans

Excellent, thanks so much for your time! 

Martina: Thanks for braving the cold to come out here.

Simon: Yes, thanks.

Answering fan questions
Answering fan questions

Just the facts – Eat Your Kimchi Edition

The Eat Your Kimchi Toronto fan meet was organized wonderfully by University of Toronto’s Korea Club and the East Asian Studies Students’ Union.

Want to see a video of the event? 

And the bloopers! ^^

Both videos were shot by Jennifer Martin of Nuddy Bar.

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

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