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[INTERVIEW] KARD: mixed-gender band looks inward

Mixed-gender K-pop group KARD released its fourth mini-album
Mixed-gender K-pop group KARD released its fourth mini-album "RED MOON" on Wednesday. Courtesy of DSP Media

By Dong Sun-hwa

K-pop band KARD is singular.

It is the only mixed-gender idol group on the K-pop scene today, which has been pulling off diverse sonic styles ranging from tropical to moombahton ― a blend of reggae and electro house.

The four-piece group has experimented from its beginnings in 2016, diving into genres that were not yet in vogue in Korea. But thanks to the genres' worldwide popularity and the band's compelling performances, KARD rose to global stardom and formed a solid international fandom, especially in South America. It has played numerous concerts outside Korea as well.

But this engendered a misunderstanding that the group solely focuses on the overseas market. Thus, many domestic fans have been calling on it to juggle its career in Korea too. The four members ― J.Seph, BM, Somin and Jiwoo ― are well aware of this and they revealed they also crave to seize more opportunities here.
Jiwoo and BM. Courtesy of DSP Media
Jiwoo and BM. Courtesy of DSP Media

"We also want more engagement in musical activities here," Jiwoo said in an interview with The Korea Times at a cafe in Seongsu-dong, Tuesday. "An official from a Korean broadcasting station recently told us that KARD was like a fictional group to him (as we rarely make a public appearance in Korea). He said he was so surprised to bump into us."

She added: "Legions of people, including our fans, are also telling us to be more active in Korea. We would like to do so and have asked our management company DSP Media for more chances."

J.Seph said he felt sorry for domestic followers, because the band had to embark on a world tour soon after releasing "Dumb Litty" in September. The quartet could not meet lots of Korean fans then. Hence, he wants more meet-ups this time.

KARD dropped its fourth mini-album "RED MOON," fronted by the lead track of the same name, on Wednesday. The number is a catchy combination of moombahton, trap and EDM, which likens the steamy chemistry to the red moon.

"We came back with a moombahton-flavored song to display KARD's unique charm once again," Somin said. She was mostly reserved during the interview, but was eager to speak up when the reporters asked about KARD's music.

BM dubbed moombahton "a symbol of KARD."

J.Seph and Somin. Courtesy of DSP Media
J.Seph and Somin. Courtesy of DSP Media

"In the beginning, we chose moombahton because of its trendiness," Jiwoo said. "As our moombahton-based tracks gained popularity, many listeners began linking the genre to KARD."

BM, who contributed to the composing and lyrics of B-side tracks, said the band was not yet ready to make a dramatic shift in its music.

"While tuning up for the album, we had to decide whether to adhere to our original style or take a risk," he said. "But frankly speaking, we were afraid of tackling a fresh challenge. I believe more time and practice are needed."

Although KARD is known for its breathlessly powerful choreography in its releases including "Hola Hola" (2017) and "Bomb Bomb" (2019), the band has a thirst for singing.

"I want to try filling the stage only with our voices, without any dance movements," Somin passionately said.

Jiwoo agreed, saying: "We once covered 'thank u, next' (2018) ― sung by pop star Ariana Grande ― in our concert without dancing. But our audience was still fond of it."

Meanwhile, the four-member group is facing a big change this year ― J.Seph, 27, is set to join the Army.

"I am quite anxious about serving compulsory military service, because I am afraid of being together with strangers," he said.

Hence, KARD's goal this time is to make as many public appearances as possible and accomplish musical feats before the rapper's enlistment.

"While he is away, the remaining members will make use of the time to grow up," Somin said.


Mixed-gender K-pop group KARD released its fourth mini-album
Mixed-gender K-pop group KARD released its fourth mini-album "RED MOON" on Wednesday. Courtesy of DSP Media

By Dong Sun-hwa

K-pop band KARD is singular.

It is the only mixed-gender idol group on the K-pop scene today, which has been pulling off diverse sonic styles ranging from tropical to moombahton ― a blend of reggae and electro house.

The four-piece group has experimented from its beginnings in 2016, diving into genres that were not yet in vogue in Korea. But thanks to the genres' worldwide popularity and the band's compelling performances, KARD rose to global stardom and formed a solid international fandom, especially in South America. It has played numerous concerts outside Korea as well.

But this engendered a misunderstanding that the group solely focuses on the overseas market. Thus, many domestic fans have been calling on it to juggle its career in Korea too. The four members ― J.Seph, BM, Somin and Jiwoo ― are well aware of this and they revealed they also crave to seize more opportunities here.
Jiwoo and BM. Courtesy of DSP Media
Jiwoo and BM. Courtesy of DSP Media

"We also want more engagement in musical activities here," Jiwoo said in an interview with The Korea Times at a cafe in Seongsu-dong, Tuesday. "An official from a Korean broadcasting station recently told us that KARD was like a fictional group to him (as we rarely make a public appearance in Korea). He said he was so surprised to bump into us."

She added: "Legions of people, including our fans, are also telling us to be more active in Korea. We would like to do so and have asked our management company DSP Media for more chances."

J.Seph said he felt sorry for domestic followers, because the band had to embark on a world tour soon after releasing "Dumb Litty" in September. The quartet could not meet lots of Korean fans then. Hence, he wants more meet-ups this time.

KARD dropped its fourth mini-album "RED MOON," fronted by the lead track of the same name, on Wednesday. The number is a catchy combination of moombahton, trap and EDM, which likens the steamy chemistry to the red moon.

"We came back with a moombahton-flavored song to display KARD's unique charm once again," Somin said. She was mostly reserved during the interview, but was eager to speak up when the reporters asked about KARD's music.

BM dubbed moombahton "a symbol of KARD."

J.Seph and Somin. Courtesy of DSP Media
J.Seph and Somin. Courtesy of DSP Media

"In the beginning, we chose moombahton because of its trendiness," Jiwoo said. "As our moombahton-based tracks gained popularity, many listeners began linking the genre to KARD."

BM, who contributed to the composing and lyrics of B-side tracks, said the band was not yet ready to make a dramatic shift in its music.

"While tuning up for the album, we had to decide whether to adhere to our original style or take a risk," he said. "But frankly speaking, we were afraid of tackling a fresh challenge. I believe more time and practice are needed."

Although KARD is known for its breathlessly powerful choreography in its releases including "Hola Hola" (2017) and "Bomb Bomb" (2019), the band has a thirst for singing.

"I want to try filling the stage only with our voices, without any dance movements," Somin passionately said.

Jiwoo agreed, saying: "We once covered 'thank u, next' (2018) ― sung by pop star Ariana Grande ― in our concert without dancing. But our audience was still fond of it."

Meanwhile, the four-member group is facing a big change this year ― J.Seph, 27, is set to join the Army.

"I am quite anxious about serving compulsory military service, because I am afraid of being together with strangers," he said.

Hence, KARD's goal this time is to make as many public appearances as possible and accomplish musical feats before the rapper's enlistment.

"While he is away, the remaining members will make use of the time to grow up," Somin said.


Dong Sun-hwa sunhwadong@koreatimes.co.kr


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