Run River North Wants to Shape Race in Indie Rock | Music

Run River North Wants to Shape Race in Indie Rock


  • Photo courtesy of Nettwerk
Even though his band was created as a quick entry for a band competition, lead singer and songwriter Alex Hwang of the all-Korean-American rock act Run River North has big dreams for the future.

The band, which got its big break after an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night show, is now slowly starting to realize some of those ambitions after releasing its second album, Drinking From a Salt Pond. The band will play at the Cat’s Cradle Back Room in Carrboro tonight, showcasing sounds and songs that differ greatly from the 2014 debut, Run River North.

While the first album was mainly written by Hwang and felt like indie folk, this second album is more collaborative and skews toward indie rock.

“The songs I write are inspired by my own life,” says Hwang. “We’re all second-generation Asians, and our storylines are the same. We have immigrant parents who came to a country where they didn’t speak the language and were raising kids.”

“Monsters Calling Home,” from the band’s first album, reflects Hwang’s feelings of appreciation toward the sacrifices his parents made to come here. Asked about the significance of a Korean-American band playing indie music, Hwang touched on the complexities of race in generally white-dominated spaces.

“When two or more minorities gather in a place, people get suspicious,” says Hwang. “The fact that we are all Asian is a part of the conversation whether we like it or not. No one thinks about whether Cage the Elephant or Mumford and Sons is white or Asian.”

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