Epaksa grew up singing 'Ponsori', Korean traditional music dominated by vocals and percussion. In the late 1980's, he decided to (as far as I can tell) use this background to become a superstar of 'Techno Trot' [a multi-genre musical fusion known for its speedy tempo that was popular in the Korea during the 1990s]. His novel approach incorporated keyboards, drum machines, and some excellent--if occasionally ribald-- dance moves with his formal Ponsori training. [Note the pelvic thrusts in the video below where Epaksa is hawking cockroach spray--ok, sure, while I privately have maintained for some time that spraying poison on cockroaches is somewhat titilating, Epaksa's spasmodic thrusts of his nether regions indicate that killing roaches might be exciting in a manner I have not considered thus far.]
Although Epaksa performed throughout Korea on a tour bus for nearly 20 years, he had his big break in Japan. In 1995, a Japanese indie label introduced Epaksa to Japan with a CD of his signature yelpy vocals and frenetic synthesizer beats. Fortunately, the president of Sony Music Japan was a fan and pushed for an album to be produced there. In the Spring of 1996, Encyclopedia of Pon-Chak Party 1 & 2 was released. By then his music style had changed, as Epaksa began singing words and lyrics as opposed to just making sounds with his mouth. Sony's promotion of Epaksa as “Korea’s Disco Emperor” enabled him to land a job as spokesperson for a large Japanese cosmetics company. Epaksa's appearance in a series of television commercials as a foreigner singing in his native tongue was unprecedented and helped turn him into a celebrity in Japan.
Today, however, Epaksa is virtually unknown (well until this here blog posting!) There were two epic twenty minute songs on his 1996 LP (cassette actually) called Sinbaram Epaksa Vol. 1, which sold over 100,000 copies. I played one on my show a few years back. As you'll hear, Mr. Epaksa doesn't mind choosing a 150+BPM setting on his drum machine and letting it run for ten or twenty thousand beats. I recall several people begging me to stop--and now's your chance to decide:
And check out the roach spray commercial:
Finally a video Epaksa made with a boombox in front of Egyptian Pyramids. (?)