Meet iDR, The Man Behind EXO’s “Love Me Right” And Other Upcoming Songs From SM Entertainment [INTERVIEW PART 2]

iDR discusses EXO's "Love Me Right" with KultScene

Producer, DJ, and musician iDR spoke to KultScene about becoming a producer in the K-pop world in the first part of our interview. iDR also spoke to KultScene about working with SM Entertainment, including upcoming releases from top girl group Girls’ Generation, details about the thought process behind EXO’s latest song, and some insight into an upcoming group.

EXO’s June release “Love Me Right,” the title song on the repackage, or re-release, of the idol group’s May album “EXODUS,” is an upbeat song. It’s also iDR’s first single with the widely popular boy band EXO, and one filled with a lot of subtle meaning even though it wasn’t initially planned for EXO. “I wasn’t aiming for EXO when I was writing it because it’s more of an uppity, happy, ‘let’s go, we’re up’ song and their [EXO] stuff is what I thought of as a little more aggressive.”


Also on KultScene: EXO’s ‘Exodus’ Teasers Herald The Group’s Rebirth

In the past, iDR’s written other songs for EXO, such as “Peter Pan” and “The Winter’s Tale,” but this is his first title track for the group. Their previous singles like “Growl” and “Overdose” were hugely popular across Asia and EXO is one of the world’s most popular boy bands. But in 2014, former members Kris (Wu Yi Fan) and Luhan left EXO to focus on personal careers in China, and a third member, Tao, appears to have followed the same path in 2015. When iDR was asked to write a song, he thought that the happy, very un-EXO sounding song would be perfect.

“The thing is, and I’m sure a lot of people realize, they [EXO] have gone through a lot of drama, lost a few members, and I think, I felt and the SM staff felt, that they needed something that isn’t such a dark and aggressive track. Something that’s upbeat and happy will put a spin on the whole thing and allow them to say, ‘Hey. We’re good, we’re cool, we’re moving on, and there’s nothing to be sad or upset about. Let’s keep it up, let’s keep it moving.’ And when we came up with that feeling and that concept, that track seemed to fit, and boom! We kind of knew as soon as we had it with the A&R’s input that this would be, if not the single, one of the single’s on their [repackage] album. I’m really happy that it turned out that way too.”


Also on KultScene: 4 Ways to Promote a K-pop Trainee

Even though “Love Me Right” was a new style of song for EXO to promote as a single, the track did well in Korea. But nothing is certain, and iDR was excited to see how well the song, and style, did. “It was one of those ‘will it really happen?’ When it [“Love Me Right”] came out, I saw the video and heard the final mix and mastered version, and I was kind of blown away. You know, there’s always that little inkling inside that says ‘I feel like this is the one,’ and I had that feeling for sure. I didn’t really speak about it until this minute. I had the feeling, and I was hoping that it would turn out this way.”

Not only was “Love Me Right” successful, it helped EXO achieved multiple milestones, including becoming the first K-pop male group in many years to sell over one million albums.

Along with working with EXO, iDR has had experience working with other SM Entertainment acts. His first K-pop song ever was Super Junior’s “No Other,” and now he’s working on songs for Girls’ Generation and SM Entertainment’s next male idol group.

When asked if he could say anything else about the upcoming songs, iDR admitted that everything is under tight wraps. “I will say that the rookie group is going to be something SM fans haven’t seen before, a new twist on a group, not the typical group that they [SM Entertainment] would put out. [And] The Girls’ Generation project is also something they are really excited about. Expect to hear a mature, seasoned Girls’ Generation with their signature spunk and flare.”

Check out the first half of our exclusive interview with iDR right HERE.

What do you think about what iDR’s shared? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Former Skarf Member Ferlyn is Ready to Have a New Beginning [INTERVIEW]

Ferlyn feature picture

She made history in Singapore when she debuted in K-pop girl group Skarf in 2012, after passing auditions by JYP and Alpha Entertainment. However, two years later, Ferlyn Wong left the girl group and debuted as a soloist in Singapore at the start of 2015 with her EP “First”. Kultscene spoke with her about her experiences as a trainee, her time in Skarf, and her solo endeavours.

Thank you for agreeing to this interview. Firstly, what was your trainee period like?

It was overwhelming. Although it was suffocating at times, it helped me tremendously in terms of improvement in my stage presence and skills. I’ve also learnt how to humble myself and to be less self centred.

You’ve said before that it took you a long while to adapt to the Korean way of life, are there any memorable experiences you remember from that period of time?

Korean culture emphasizes a lot on hierarchy which is very unlike Singapore, where I was born and raised. Many times I was punished and scolded due to actions and behaviours I did unknowingly, as these actions were viewed as rude in Korea. It took me a while to get used to that part of Korea’s culture.


Also on Kultscene: BTS ‘Dope’ Music Video & Song Review 


How was it like working with the rest of Skarf?

They are definitely a bunch of awesome girls. I’ve learnt a lot while working with them. It is not easy for people who came from different countries and who have different backgrounds to work together. Although we did have conflicts at times, we never ended a day without clearing up the misunderstandings and problems.

How did you feel when you left the group?

I left on a good note and I have no regrets. It was hard for me to leave because I really love my members but I knew deep inside that I wanted to do more. I wanted to make my own music and to progress towards my dream in music and acting. As for my precious members from SKarf, I will still be cheering for them no matter where I am!

What were some changes in your life that came with your departure from the group?

I gained freedom in my private life–meeting people, attending church at a frequent basis, serving my church. Career wise, I got the chance to write my own music, to voice my opinions, and to try things I never thought I would do in my career. I became more independent and responsible as a whole.

What are some skills that you’ve picked up from this first half of your music career that you can use as a soloist?
I actually picked up rapping while I was training in Korea. Skarf’s leader, Tasha, was initially selected as the rapper for the group due to her husky voice. While Tasha was having her rap lessons, I secretly went into the room beside her and eavesdropped on the lessons. After much practice, Skarf’s producer felt that I made the cut for rapping and got me to rap instead.

What inspired you for “First”?

The idea of having a new beginning – I wanted to show that I was stepping out from my comfort zone and that I was ready to make my journey towards my dream.

There are rumors that you’ll be coming back as the leader of a new girl group. How accurate are these rumors?

There will be potential collaborations, but in the coming two years I am likely to be focusing on my solo career, improving myself as a songwriter and artist. For further updates, do check out my Instagram and official Facebook page.


Also on Kultscene: Meet iDR, The Producer Behind Some Of K-Pop’s Biggest Hits [Interview Part 1]


 What are some future works we can look forward to?

I am currently working on song compositions, DJ-ing, and I’ll be involved in upcoming screen works as well. I hope to be able to meet you with my new release soon.

Any final words for the readers of Kultscene?

여러분, 잘부탁드립니다! 많이 사랑해주세요. 정말 열심히 할테니깐 예쁘게 봐주세요. [Everyone, please take care of me and please do give me a lot of love. I’ll work hard to present myself well in the future.]
It’s an honor to receive this interview from Kultscene and please do keep supporting them! I hope to see you soon, but let’s connect on social media for now!

Check out Ferlyn’s shout out video for our KultScene readers.

Also, do check out Ferlyn’s latest music video for “Luv Talk” and let’s look forward to her next release!

Read more

Meet iDR, The Producer Behind Some Of K-Pop’s Biggest Hits [INTERVIEW PART 1]

iDR talks to KultScene

As a DJ, producer, songwriter, and EDM artist, iDR (Denzil Remedios) may not be the most popular name in the music world, let alone South Korea, where his songs consistently top charts. But he is the mastermind behind many of K-pop’s biggest hits, including songs by Super Junior, EXO, Lee Hyori, U-KISS, and more.

iDR began working with SM Entertainment and other Korean labels after joining up with the production company Marcen Entertainment in 2010. His first Korean hit was Super Junior’s “No Other,” and iDR hasn’t looked back since. iDR took the time to talk with KultScene about his career so far and what it’s like working with Korean artists and companies.

“You know, when I first heard K-pop I thought it was kind of random, I didn’t really enjoy it, I didn’t really like it the first time I heard it,” iDr said during our phone call. “But when I made that cut [Super Junior’s “No Other] and after I started going over there to work specifically with those artists and labels, then that’s when I started to appreciate it. I thought that I didn’t like [K-pop], but it wasn’t that. [K-pop] is a lot harder to digest and produce and write, because there’s a lot of variation going on it where in comparison, here it’s like you have the verse, you have the chorus, BOOM, you’re done, then it’s onto the next song type of thing. With K-pop stuff, there’s so much going on that sometimes, like with the last EXO song, I’ll work on that and nothing else.”

Working in South Korea, iDR is just one of many people to partake in the creative process for K-pop stars, with multiple players with their own role in the creation of a single K-pop song. “I go over there and we work first with the top liners, or the writers, as everyone knows them, and they work on top of the beats that I’ve created or the vibe that I’m looking for. That’s usually told to us by the label or the A&R people handling the artists who say ‘this is the direction we want to go with now,’ and while we’re there working either at SM or another label, then usually the artist will come in. We’ll try their vocals out and see if this is their range and go from there.”


Also on KultScene: EXO’s ‘Love Me Right’ Repackaged Album Review

Even though he’s one of many, the songs that iDR produces are very much his own, even after being handed over to some of K-pop’s biggest stars. “A lot of people don’t really realize this, but what any of these artists like EXO, SHINee, or Super Junior, what they are cutting to is exactly what I sang for them. So you know, they’re just following my notes, my rhythm. I’m kind of the original, as one of the co-writers.”

While iDR’s spent a lot of time producing for K-pop acts, he’s also worked with the likes of Soulja Boy, Nelly Furtado, Fifi Dobson, and much more. He’s currently collaborating on an upbeat Girls’ Generation song with SAARA, and his latest K-pop latest song is Melody Day’s “Love Me,” which is not remotely related to the EXO song of the similar title. “I didn’t plan that, it just happened; the tracks didn’t get written at the same time,” iDR explained the coincidence.

As the producer, iDR has a lot of say, but not the final call. But that doesn’t bother iDR, since it’s what is uniquely Korean about it that makes K-pop so special. “Looking at K-pop generally, it has the sound that was just there that’s embedded in Korean culture and language, and how they [Koreans] choose to express things in their language as opposed to how someone from America or Europe would phrase the same thing,” he explained, before emphasizing that the linguistic style mixed with foreign producers is one of his favorite things about K-pop, along with the influx of foreigners working in the industry. “I think that the bridge between European, American artists and producers working in the K-pop system is just bringing more interesting sounds. It’s our little monster that I’d like to see where it progresses to because I think it’ll be a never-ending story of how [K-pop] will progress.”

iDR speaks to KultScene

As a foreign producer in Korea, iDR’s experienced a lot. Since working with K-pop for over five years, he’s seen a lot of changes within the Korean music world, including the influx of EDM. Whereas electronic dance music used to hardly play a role in the majority of Korean songs, the past few years have seen a lot of dramatic changes as to what type of musical styles makes up the K-pop genre.

“I’m personally excited that the whole EDM scene out there is doing well,” said iDR. “I’ve had a chance to work with U-KISS and Dongho, one of their former members, is DJing now and that’s definitely EDM. It’s just cool to see the transition happen and see the presence that hit hard out there. It’s nice to see that go into the mix with everything else in K-pop, which I think is essentially what is so special about K-pop. It’s not one thing, and you can turn on quote unquote K-pop and it can be a person singing on a guitar or to be a hard hitting EDM piece and everything in between.”


Also on KultScene: MFBTY Talks To KultScene About ‘Wondaland,’ Watching Reaction Videos, K-Pop as Escapism, and More

Have there been difficulties working in Korea? iDR’s flown out to South Korea from his home in Toronto many times, and admits that he didn’t know what to expect originally. But now that he’s a pro at working in Seoul, iDR’s noticed the differences between working with K-pop artists than other artists from around the globe.

“One thing that I have to say is that it is really different than with artists from the rest of the world is that Koreans, well they can have a million followers, people stalking them all over the place, no privacy. They can be super superstars but when they meet you as an individual, it doesn’t matter who they are, they will bow to you. They show such respect, I think, that’s something that I found is really special about them and that’s something to admire. That ‘Hey, I can be on top of my pedestal but I can be knocked off at anytime’ attitude. They really show respect and admiration for writers and anyone they’re working with. They’re really cool with their fans, and that’s one of the biggest differences that I’ve seen. When I’ve been working with them, they’re never coming in with too much pride, or that whole artist vibe of ‘I know more, look at me.’ It’s more like ‘hey, you’re the producer, you’re the writer, let’s team up’ there’s no ego involved.”

And what’s next for iDR and his work? Along with Girls’ Generation’s upcoming music, iDR is working on some stuff for one of the most highly anticipated K-pop acts that has yet to debut. “I got a couple more with different artists at SM, a new rookie group that hasn’t even been named yet, that they all tell me will be as big as EXO, so I’m really excited about that too.”

Make sure to check out the second half of this interview, which will be published later this week.

Do you have something to say to iDR? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Juck Juck Grunzie Brings Psychedelic Sounds To Asia, Glastonbury, And Beyond [INTERVIEW]

Juck Juck Grunzie 2

In the last couple of years, Korea has seen a steady increase in female bands, one of which is thepsychedelic noise-rock band Juck Juck Grunzie. The band consists of four members, three of whom are female with an accompanying male drummer. Juck Juck Grunzie spoke to KultScene about their unique band name, influences, their upcoming summer European tour, and much more.

It’s great to have a chance to talk to you. Could you please introduce Juck Juck Grunzie to KultScene’s readers? Read more

Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio’s Dance-Rock Band Sound Is All About The Energy [Interview]

Rock 'N' Roll Radio Speaks to KultScene

After forming in 2011, Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio’s big break came when being asked to play at the 2012 Korea Live Music Festival. And that was before Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio had even released their first album, the 2013 EP “Shut Up and Dance.” After winning multiple awards and performing abroad, the band has gone on to become one of South Korea’s most intriguing bands.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio consists of vocalist and guitarist Kim Naehyun, guitarist Kim Jinkyu, bassist Lee Minwoo, and drummer Choi Minkyu. Kim Naehyun took a few minutes of his time to talk to KultScene about what makes the band tick, how they work together, their experience winning prestigious awards, and much, much more.

After seeing you perform in New York City at 2014 Seoulsonic, I’m very excited that you are willing to talk to KultScene. Would you please introduce yourselves to our readers who may not be familiar with Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio?

Hi! We’re Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio from South Korea. We won “Rookie of the Year” at the 2014 Korean Music Awards and last year toured the US twice. We had a great time during both visits! This June, we’ll be performing in France for the first time to play at Midem Festival in Cannes and also do concerts in Paris and Saint-Étienne.

Our songs are melodic and exciting, and we express different feelings with our energy and grooves. In Korea, some people say that our music sounds like British rock music. We can’t deny that the Korean music we grew up on and the British music we love to listen to now have both influenced the songs we play. Maybe KultScene’s readers will think our music sounds more British than Korean? Please listen to our songs and let us know what you think!

Rock'N'Roll Radio 2014 seoulsonic nyc

Would you mind telling us the meaning of the name “Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio”? Does it by any chance have to do with The Ramones’ song “Do You Remember Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio”?

There’s no special meaning behind our band’s name. Jinkyu, Minwoo, and Minkyu previously played together in a band called Go Go Beat, and one of the songs that they wrote as that group was called “Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio.” When we were discussing band names, there were a few other monikers we were considering including Shall We Dance, but Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio sounded the best. And we do love that Ramones song!

We’re actually a bit sad with the name we chose, and that’s because it’s really hard to find our band when people Google us!


Also on KultScene: South Korean Patients Dream, and Curse, in A Hybrid Punk World [Interview]

You are a rock band performing dance style rock songs. What’s your creative process like? What influences you the most when making music?

We make our songs through jamming along to guitar riffs or melody lines. While we’re jamming, Jinkyu suggests how a song should progress. He’s influenced by many British bands such as Franz Ferdinand and Foals. The rhythm guys, Minkyu and Minwoo, are influenced by bands with strong rhythmical sounds such as Jamiroquai, D’Sound, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I’m influenced by ‘80s post-punk bands such as Depeche Mode and Talking Heads. Since we draw our inspiration from many different bands, our songs sometimes travel in unexpected directions, which is a very cool thing.

In 2014, Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio won “Rookie of the Year” at the 2014 KMAs. How did that feel?

We were nominated in three different categories at the Korean Music Awards, and we won the prize for “Rookie of the Year.” It’s one of the most prestigious awards in South Korea so we were very honored to win. The K-pop idol group EXO was nominated for “Rookie of the Year” too and they had many fans at the awards ceremony. We apologized to all their fans during our acceptance speech!

Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio’s performed all over the world. What has it been like performing for audiences who aren’t aware of you?

We were nervous during our first gig outside of Korea, but we quickly realized that music speaks for itself, and people will love a band if its music is good. At our first overseas gig, we still remember how thrilling it was to witness the moment when people’s faces started to shine because they were enjoying our music even though they had never heard us before.

How do you feel about the Korean rock and indie scene as it is now?

It’s a shame that the Korean music scene is focused only on big entertainment companies and idols at the moment. However, there are so many superb musicians that continue to emerge in the rock music scene despite its small market size, and we feel very proud of this. If music lovers start paying more attention to indie music, then they’ll have chances to listen to a wider variety of music and this will ultimately bring a better and brighter future for both listeners and musicians.

Are there other Korean rock artists that you feel international audiences would appreciate?

Definitely! People should try to check out Korean bands like Galaxy Express, Goonam, 3rd Line Butterfly, Asian Chairshot, Bye Bye Badman, Love X Stereo, and Maan.


Also on KultScene: MFBTY Talks To KultScene About ‘Wondaland,’ Watching Reaction Videos, K-Pop as Escapism, and More

2014 was a big year for Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio. What can we expect from you in the future?

Last year was great for us and went by in the blinks of an eye! We want to keep making great music and performing in both Korea and overseas. As I mentioned before, we’ll be going to France in June to play at Midem in Cannes as part of the K-Pop Night Out concert there and then we’ll be doing other shows in a few more cities. While we’re in France, we’re also going to record a new EP with some friends in Paris – Romain Tranchart from the French band Modjo and Gregory Louis and Yan Memmi. They are going to work with us to produce, record, and mix the EP. We’re planning to release the EP in France and Korea in late summer or early fall.

Is there anything else that you would like KultScene’s readers to know?

Thanks so much for reading about Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio. Please give us your love and support!

Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio is heading to France in June and will perform at three different cities:
June 6 Cannes, France @ Midem Festival
June 11 Saint-Étienne, France @ Thunderbird Lounge
June 15 Paris, France @ Le Buzz

If you’re unable to catch Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio overseas, check out their album “Shut Up And Dance” on iTunes, or watch them perform their song “Shut Up and Dance” live:

What’s your favorite Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio song? Tell us what you think about this band in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

K-Pop & the Collective Body

If I were to pick one thing that makes K-pop stand out over other pop music it would be dancing. Not since the death of the boy and girl group in the 2000s has the West seen much dancing at all in music. Even at the heights of the nineties there was no collective dancing as what we see in K-pop. The effort put into dancing in Korea is unparalleled within pop music history. Each member of a group is required to be at least a great dancer. They must be able to pull off complex movements as an individual and as part of a group. The collective dance is key to K-pop but it is not always pulled off.

The many ways in which the collective bodies of a K-pop group moves can tell us things about a group. For some groups, the dance charts an evolution, for others it is a statement of unity.

Nine Muses’ troubles with members has been well documented yet the effect it has on their dances has not. They have consistently failed to do well on the charts since their debut in 2010, and we can find part of the reason for that in their dance. No Playboy is a complete mess. The production is cheap and it seemingly wants to play to the weaknesses of the group’s vocals.

The dance at first glance is what you would expect from the first ever supermodel-dols. Each members struts her stuff across the stage as if it were a runway. After this intro though, they delve into a cavalcade of awkward, erratic movements. The model like movements could have been something interesting to take away from an otherwise failure of a debut. But their long, skinny bodies end up hurting them when coupled with a dance like this. They are all protruding elbows and knees. What should have been elegant looks awkward as a result.


 Also on KultScene: When K-Pop Lineups Change – 9 Muses

Cut to their next single Figaro, which is in general a vast improvement, but brings up problems that would last a lot longer for Nine Muses than bad production. First of all, my least favorite thing in group dancing, the walk around. This is when the member who was last singing has to get back into formation by walking all the way around the group to the back. It is distracting to watch as usually not a lot is happening elsewhere and shows a lack of thought being put into the overall machinations of the dance. In nearly every case, it is clear that it could have been avoided. It ruins what it is otherwise a great mix of perfectly synchronised model and disco movements in this song.

It wasn’t until they were back to having nine members after a series of line-up changes that the dance come together. They returned with Dolls and continued refining their dance until their best yet, Glue. The shame of this is that it was also their last song with this particular group. The changes they went through prevented their dance from finding its footing for so long. It took four songs into their second run as nine to come back with something that really worked. Everything from No Playboy to Gun was mediocre at best.

Glue shows a group who are finally moving as one. They move from formation to formation swiftly and gracefully. A lot of the time they are split in two which is an efficient and satisfying way to control a large group. They even managed to use the walk around yet not let it distract due to these dual formations which can act like a kind of wall to those walking around.

Larger groups will always have this problem so I’m not singling out Nine Muses. One group has shown that coherence and quality can go together when it comes to big groups though. This may be due to their split nature, but EXO have consistently delivered when it comes to choreography and delivery. Their concept of a Korean half and a Chinese half becoming carries over into their dance. This plays out by first having one half performing the first part then being replaced by the other half. For the climax all of the members are on stage performing together. This has been their style for every single when all 12 members were performing. How they perform this is also interesting.

The changing of members here also poses some problems for EXO, but we’ll come back to that later. What’s really interesting is EXO’s manipulation of the stage and their bodies around it. Coming off the back of the ‘Growl’ music video, they began to interact directly with the camera. It would sweep in and out of their formations, giving us insights into places we hadn’t seen before. It adds a layer of participation that works so well with EXO’s fangirls.


 Also on KultScene: #CallMeBabyXWin: Korean Music Shows & the Songs That Win Awards

EXO also handle the shifting of groups within the one performance well. In ‘Wolf,’ they dramatically ran off stage while the rest run back on stage. It works to transition not only the dance but the song too. In ‘Growl,’ they used both sides of the stage as opposing groups. When the song changed, the camera just has to turn around and the switch is made instantly. ‘Overdose’ uses the same technique as ‘Wolf’ but also adds some new elements. The opening is especially great where the camera flows all over the stage to give time to each member. Each performance showcases great form and structure while sticking to the 50/50 theme. They contain some of the most complex moves in K-pop yet never let one move dominate a dance.

The problem of losing members has caused EXO to adapt their style to something functional but lacking for their latest single, ‘Call Me Baby’. Instead of 12, there was 10 (and now maybe 9, oh no wait 8). They kept the idea of not having all members on stage at once but this time it didn’t have to be half and half. Any amount of them can be on stage from 1 to 10 and every time it works. It helps build a more seamless dance as they are not slaves to a formula anymore. What they make up for in structure they lose in theme.

To find a group with a real unity in performance we can look to EXO’s labelmates, SHINee. In particular their most recent singles ‘Sherlock’ and ‘Everybody’ have shown an attention to detail that exemplifies their work. In both, they exhibit a manic kinetic energy between each of them. Seemingly every move they make is connected or passed between them. Even when one member is on his own, the others soon mimic a move he did. These songs are the best examples of a group as one. Each member is only part of a larger performance and each is integral to it working.

It is the ultimate advantage of a smaller group. Bodies move gracefully and collide on a K-pop stage in all manner of ways. When stripped down to five or six they do this with great beauty. SHINee’s ability and clarity of movement is the best example of this. They use their bodies in increasingly interesting and amazing ways to attach greater meaning to their work.

Nine Muses could certainly learn a lot from both of these groups of boys.

This is only a tiny window into what K-pop bodies can achieve. There are so many different takes on the type of dances I just talked about and then there are some that approach it completely differently. VIXX’s themes, miss A’s simplicity, Infinite’s synchronicity, and 2pm’s acrobatics are only some examples of the wide possibilities used by K-pop acts. Each one is as interesting as the last and they all offer new spins on old ideas, something so intrinsic to what K-pop is.

What do you think of these groups’ dances? What are some of your favorites we didn’t mention? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

South Korean Patients Dream, and Curse, in A Hybrid Punk World [Interview]

Korea may not be known for its rock music internationally, but just because K-pop is making headlines everywhere doesn’t mean that other genres of music are lacking in South Korea. Punk rock band Patients has had a role in creating modern punk music in Seoul, playing a role in the underground punk scene and now offers space for up-and-coming bands to play at in Hongdae, Seoul.

The band recently came back with its latest, self-produced hybrid punk album 18 ahead of a three-stop tour in England. The band, comprised of vocalist and bassist Jo Sumin, keyboardist Kwon Hyukjang and drummer Lee Jaehyuk, took their time to discuss their album, career, dreams, and more with KultScene.

Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. Can you introduce Patients and yourselves to the readers who may be hearing of you for the first time?
Hi! We’re Patients from Seoul, Korea. We play a style of music that we call “hybrid punk.” We just released our second full-length album. It’s called “18.” This month we’ll be heading to the UK to play shows in London and in Liverpool. We love touring overseas so we’re really looking forward to our tour.

Patients just released a new album called “18,” what’s the significance of that number to the band members?
In Korean, the word for 18 sound like “sipal” which means “f#ck.” Just like the word “f#ck” in English, the word “sipal” can be used for good and bad things. Mainly, there are two topics on the album. One is about negative things happening in society and the other is about seeking endless pleasure. When thinking about those two different things, we thought 18 would be a good title because of its ambiguous meaning. Also, we want to continue to do more and more overseas, so we thought 18 is a good title because it’s just a number and everyone can read it no matter which language they speak.


What is the meaning of your band name, “Patients”?
It literally refers to patients or people who are sick. I think everyone is a patient at some point in their life.

I’ve heard your style of music is called “hybrid punk”. What does that mean to Patients? What’s your style of music like?
We decided to call ourselves a “hybrid punk” band for two reason. The first was that we wanted to distinguish ourselves from other bands. Some punk bands just want to mimic old classic punk acts. However, I think the essence of punk is to create new things and to destroy and overturn old ways of doing things. But some people are too set on what they think the fixed image of punk should be. So that’s one reason why I wanted to give our version of punk a different name. The other reason is that by calling ourselves “hybrid punk” we have more freedom to do whatever we want since it’s a sub-genre we created! We love the DIY attitude of punk and love being able to mix elements of punk music with lots of other sounds too. “Hybrid punk” is our dream version of punk.


Also on KultScene: MFBTY Talks To KultScene About ‘Wondaland,’ Watching Reaction Videos, K-Pop As Escapism, And More

 


How has your music changed over the years? I know you’ve had some lineup changes, leading to different sounds and style.?
In our early days, we were influenced by classic punk rock from the 1970s. So we just followed that style. But then we decided we wanted to try and do something more unique and interesting. We started experimenting more and adding other sounds and styles to our music. In 2012, we parted ways with our guitarist. Instead of bringing in a new guitarist, we decided to ask Hyuckjang to join the band as our keyboardist. So now we make music as a bass-keyboard-drum band. This set up is a lot of fun for us, helps us add lots of new sounds, and opens up many more directions for us to explore as a “hybrid punk” band!

You’ve spent some time performing abroad. Where is your favorite place to perform?
My favorite place to perform was at the Liverpool Sound City music festival. We went there last year for the first time and had a blast! Our shows went well and we really enjoyed getting to see other cool bands perform too. There was a great vibe in the city during the festival. I’m really, really excited to be playing at Liverpool Sound City again soon!

How do fans at international shows differ from Korean fans?
In Korea, the audiences we play for are usually familiar with us and very friendly so the shows are really comfortable. When we play overseas, audiences usually respond really quickly to our music which is awesome. We’re really moved by this because we know most people don’t know who we are and can’t understand our lyrics because they are in Korean. When we play outside of Korea, we communicate only by sound and energy which is a very different and interesting experience for us.

What do you think of the current Korean rock/punk rock scene? What do you think of Korean music in general?
In the Korean punk rock scene, there are some awesome and very talented musicians, and there are also some musicians who are not-so-talented or are stuck in the past. As for Korean music in general, I feel sad because the mainstream media only focus on popular artists. Musicality and creativeness seem to take a backseat to popularity. But many musicians and music industry staff are trying to fix this so I expect things will get better in the future.

In 2010, Patients began Steel Face Records. What’s that like, running a record label for rock music in a country where rock music isn’t necessarily mainstream? ?
It can be challenging, but it’s fun! Steel Face Records was started so that we could have the freedom to do whatever we wanted to. Our label is small, but we’ve released music by Patients and some other bands, and we operate a live space above our label office called Steel Face Rooftop 3639 where bands can play high above the busy streets of Hongdae. We’re always open to talented artists with a similar mindset as us joining Steel Face Records.

How do you want people to remember your music and band? What would you like your legend to be?
We’d like to be remembered as a band that took listeners to a place that made them feel better. If people remember us like that, it would be an amazing thing.

Was there a pivotal moment in your career where you realized “wow, we made/accomplished our goal/dream”? What’s your current goal?
We felt a real sense of accomplishment when we finished our second full-length album, “18,” and released it on April 29. We worked really hard on the album and are excited for people to experience all of the things we’re trying to do as Patients. As for our current goal, we want to use the songs from 18 to make some fantastic live shows for people to enjoy!


Also on KultScene: Victim Mentality Brings Glam Rock To South Korea And SXSW [Interview]

Who are your punk influences and who are your rock influences? OR who influences your music?
Sex Pisols, Ramones, The Cure, Beethoven, and many, many more acts. We all like a wide range of music and have been influenced by many different musicians.

With over ten years in the industry, what has inspired you in the past to pursue this path and what continues to inspire you?
The late ‘90s, when the indie scene first started coming together in Korea, is what inspired me to become a musician. What continues to inspire us are young indie bands all over the world.

What can we expect from Patients in the future?
You can expect us to continue to get better. We strive to be a band that is always improving and always creating better things.

Any final words for KultScene’s readers?
It’s really nice to meet you! Thank you so much for reading about Patients! Please check out 18 and we hope to see you in Korea or somewhere else in the world!

Patients UK Tour KultScene Interview

If you’re going to be in England this May, check out Patients live:
May 19- Korea Cultural Center UK, London
May 23- The Heineken Tall Ship Stage (Kaskelot)- Liverpool Sound City, Liverpool
May 24- The Cavern Stage- Liverpool Sound City, Liverpool

What do you think of Patients and their hybrid punk sound? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts. Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

#CallMeBabyXWin: Korean Music Shows & the Songs That Win Awards

Here’s a question for you: Does popularity mean great? That depends.

I used to think that for a song to win numerous music shows and to top charts, it had to be a very good song, or at least of a better standard than the rest of its competitors. The more I am exposed to the kpop world however, the more I realise that I was under a misconception.

Ever since EXO came back on March 30th with its new album EXODUS and the title track, Call Me Baby, the particular hashtag #CallMeBabyXthWin (X representing the number of wins, i.e #CallMeBaby18thWin) has trended regularly on Twitter. For readers who are not familiar with this hashtag, it’s commonly used by fans to celebrate the music show wins of their favourite groups, and it normally starts trending right after the results of the music shows are announced. Said music shows include SBS Inkigayo, Mnet Mcountdown, to name a few. These shows run throughout the week on different days, and are the main channels in which idol groups can promote their new singles and albums. As of May 5, 2015, EXO’s Call Me Baby won 18 awards from six different weekly Korean music shows.

Call Me Baby Loser trends

Screenshot of trends in Twitter (2/5/15)

These music shows are also competitions, with battles for the #1 song every week. When I was first introduced to the world of K-pop, these music shows caught my eye, mostly because of the cool and flashy performances by various artists or because of the artists posting pictures or tweets after winning to thank their fans. Either way, I used to think that these shows were a big deal, and that the songs that won on music shows were definitely good. But not anymore. I believe now, that music shows do not determine which songs are better than others but instead represent popularity.


 Also on KultScene: EXO’s ‘Call Me Baby’ Song Review

Disclaimer: I don’t intend any offense or harm to any of the artists mentioned. In fact, I’m a big fan of most of these artists and their music!

Before we dive deeper into this question of whether winning on Korean music shows is a way to determine the quality of a song, let us examine how the results of these music shows are even tabulated. For the purpose of this article, I will be using the examples of 2 particular music shows, Mnet’s M Countdown and SBS’sInkigayo (The Music Trend.)

mcountdown

Inkigayo-chart
As seen above, anywhere between 30%-45% of these two music show scores are determined by active fan-voting, be it on social media sites or via live voting. The percentage weightage of Digital sales points as compared to those of physical album sales are also very high, ranging from 50%-60%, which is vital because digital sales opens the market to a larger and more global audience. Hence, it can be seen here that idols who have larger and more international fan bases definitely have an advantage over less well-known idols, and will therefore have a higher chance of winning these music shows.
Admittedly, it is not easy for idols to claim that trophy on music shows, let alone for several shows in a row, regardless of how many points a large fan base can acquire. Staying atop of the game for multiple weeks is something only a popular song could achieve.
This begs the question, what is a good song? A song that is catchy? Addictive? In my opinion, a good song would be one that showcases the individuality of the artist/group and still sounds coherent as a whole. It would be an added bonus if the artist/group was able to showcase a new side of themselves, or to show some growth and development in the music they release.

EXO miss A Red Velvet

EXO’s win against Miss A and Red Velvet on Inkigayo (12/4/15)
Bringing it back to the context of EXO’s recent comeback, there were other songs released at the same time as Call Me Baby, but failed to receive any recognition from music shows. Notable examples would include Miss A’s Only You, the title song from their newest album Colors, which was released on the same day as EXO’s album, on the 30th of March. Miss A achieved a triple “all-kill” on Korean music charts with their song appearing in first on all Korean music charts, but still failed to win a single number one on music shows as the girl group was constantly in second place behind EXO. That wasn’t because Miss A’s song wasn’t catchy, addictive, or original, or even popular. Rather, it was more likely because Miss A’s fanbase, Say A is a significantly smaller one as compared with EXO’s “EXO-L” fanbase. Although both groups are famous internationally and have members from both China and Korea, the popularity of EXO is astronomical and few other K-pop idol groups could compare, thus aiding my point that large fan bases are an integral part of music show wins and wins should not be a factor to determine the quality of a song.


 Also on KultScene: Playlist Sunday: BIGBANG

Another example displaying this point would be the respective comebacks of Big Bang and BTS. Big Bang came back on the First of May with two tracks, Loser and Bae Bae. Both music videos reached one million views on Youtube within 8 hours of the same day. On the other hand, BTS (Bangtan Boys) also came back with their latest mini-album on the 29th of April, and the contrast between the groups is extremely clear. One, Big Bang, is one of South Korea’s most popular musical acts and releasing its first music for the first time in three years. The other, BTS, is a popular K-pop idol group but had not previously released a song that won awards on Korean weekly music shows.

Big Bang Loser YouTube Count BTS I Need U YouTube Screenshot

Screenshots taken from Youtube (2/5/15)

The difference in MV views can be attributed to a few factors, most significantly the size of their fanbases. Big Bang has an extremely huge and global fanbase, as can be seen by the fact that Big Bang’s 2012 album, Alive, was the first k-Pop album to chart on the United States’ Billboard 200 Album Chart. Big Bang is also established and respected as artists, both as a group and as solo artists. In comparison, while BTS also has a sizeable (and still increasing) fanbase, it is definitely smaller than that of Big Bang, and BTS is also not as well-known globally. Being a relatively new group as compared to the veteran Big Bang, these statistics are understandable, however does this mean that BTS’s song is of a lower quality than that of Big Bang? MV views also contribute heavily toward music show rankings, so the same question can be posed. Do music show wins define the standard and quality of a song?

There are plenty of examples of this in the Kpop world, be it in the underrated but amazing releases from rookie/relatively unknown singers or the classic releases of singers who have, after a certain number of years, lost their popularity. All of them deserve recognition for their work, but there can only be one winner. Let us not allow these music shows to define the quality of a song for us, but let us formulate our own opinions and follow our hearts. After all, how good a song is is really dependent on everyone’s personal preferences, so there shouldn’t be a way to judge these songs, be it through music shows or through any other mediums.

What is your opinion about kpop music shows? What do you define as a good song? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

SM Entertainment: The ‘Brand’

sm entertainment smtown sm artists idols groups

A few weeks back I wrote about the idea of authenticity that YG Entertainment uses to sell its artists. While I stand by most of my opinions, I feel it comes across as too one sided. I was ready to slam YG and I didn’t stop to consider the ideals of other companies. By other companies I really mean SM Entertainment. They are the yang to YG’s yin. My YG article clearly misses that yang, there is a sense that I prefer a different approach to the YG one, but don’t touch on it. I don’t know if I prefer the approach, but I do prefer SM’s music, so that probably influenced my opinion.

The Asian idol system is a thoroughly transparent one. Fans are allowed to see all elements of how an idol comes to be, their extensive training in not just singing and dancing but acting, PR, and fitness. It is not an entirely glamorous regime, but it’s what it takes to be a star. This transparency means, however, that fans are also under no illusion as to the creators of the music and its authenticity. SM makes no attempt to hide this or push their artists beyond this. So why is SM so popular and yet have no discernible musical figureheads?

Another writer on KultScene got to the heart of this when she wrote about how SM and Disney are very similar companies. It wasn’t totally positive either, equating the recent controversies of SM to Disney’s own troubles with diversity and such. In the context of the companies actual content though, for me, it boils down to the “brand.” These companies are loyal to their brand and what will make their brand the most money. SM has time and again shown that the overall company is more important than any individual. From apparent slave contracts to over-worked idols, no company has had as many high profile departures than SM. The amount of cases show it be a serious problem for young idols and show a lack of understanding from an imposing company.

While groups like Shinhwa and Fly To The Sky left SM after their contracts expired and achieved much success, leaving SM Entertainment prior to the end of the contract has meant difficulties.

The worst of all, of course, is the case where three members left former-quintet TVXQ,  which left Junsu, Jaejoong and Yoochun  (who formed JYJ) unable to attend any Korean television programs. If they do, the station that shows them will potentially not get any SM coverage in the future, losing the station a ton of potential viewers. So JYJ is essentially blacklisted (although Junsu just performed for the first time on television in six years, thanks to EBS.)

 


 Also on KultScene: What Will SM Entertainment Look Like In 2015?

Like Disney, people have grown to essentially worship the brand of SM. Even after all these controversies, loyalty remains and the fans nearly always side with the group and not the individual. This sort of attitude can lead to a company becoming a Disney-like juggernaut, and that’s a problem. If SM continues growing and accumulating smaller companies, like Woollim Entertainment, they can build a possible monopoly. This might not seem so bad since Woollim has been proceeding business as usual with their affairs, but they’re still under SM’s control. If this continues, the whole Korean music industry would revolve around SM, making it possible that if SM goes under, so does all of K-pop.

Let’s steer away from the dramatics for now and back to a real, current problem for SM: the treatment of individual stars. Maybe it’s not a problem, but just a clear difference in style to YG. Emblematic of SM’s love of the brand, they prioritize cohesive groups over individual talents. It was actually listening to F(x)’s Pink Tape and realizing how replaceable they are as a group that gave me the idea for this article. Yet I still think it is one of the best full length albums in K-pop history. Apart from TVXQ and to a lesser extent, SHINee, all of SM’s groups feature members that could be left out and would make no difference to the quality of their music. Similarly, no group has a defining creative head like G-Dragon, CL or even Bobby, whenever iKon debut. Even TVXQ who are possibly the most talented group in K-pop history, do not have a creative head, merely extremely proficient singers and dancers. This lack of strong individuals shows SM are not interested in people who leave the group or company, in order to shine on their own right as solo artists, overshadowing their previous SM-related efforts. When one of them threatens to possibly do this, they are swiftly taken care of, like former Girls’ Generation member and head of fashion line Blanc & Eclare Jessica Jung.

What about the music these large, anonymous groups are releasing though? This is where it gets tougher to pin SM down. SM is known for creating songs it dubs SMP, SM Music Performance. This is a type of song that is created together as a complete song and performance, which cannot be separated. Essentially, these are incredibly complex songs that go above and beyond what a pop song is expected to be. Examples are SNSD’s I Got A Boy and TVXQ’s Rising Sun. What’s really interesting though is that these are the type of songs that big brands would never dream of releasing. They play with structure in strange ways and swap genre without any notice. Pop songs were designed to lull you into security, make you feel at ease so you won’t go against the system. SM does the opposite and its makes for an interesting case.

To find out why SM does this though, is not easy to find out. We can look at the producers of the songs. A lot of them are outside producers, people like Teddy Riley, Will Simms and The Stereotypes. SM would not let them produce such weird tracks without their consent though, and probably would have even specifically picked out songs like this. This comes across as more of a negative in reality, as it makes SM seem uninterested in even their own artistry not just their groups. Always using outside producers gives them an image of business people rather than musicians, but this is not wholly true either. There are many in house writers and producers like Yoo Young Jin, who has worked on almost every great SM song since its inception.


 Also on KultScene: Artist Spotlight: DaeNamHyup

My last and most likely theory has more to do with the Korean public than the music itself. South Korea did not have pop music as we know it until 1992 when Seo Taiji and The Boys burst onto the scene with their musical fusion. They mixed rap, metal, dance, and many more genres to create something never heard before in the country. At the time they used this music to criticize Korean society (see Gyosil Idea,) which Seo Taiji still does to this day, and it worked thanks to the genre mashing and structure bending forms of their songs. They were so popular, however, that this style of music eventually became commonplace in K-pop. So maybe SM’s songs today are not as strange and revolutionary as I thought, but merely the norm in the country.

One thing I can be sure of though is that SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment have completely different ideologies when it comes to their brand. Of what I have written about, they do share at least one thing in common, having lots of great, artsy teasers, but not delivering with the final product (WINNER for YG and EXO for SM) and I hate them both for it. Ultimately, I don’t know what side I come down on in favor anymore. I prefer SM’s music, but I don’t respect any of their individuals as much as I respect CL and her brazen individuality amongst idols. Either way I’m supporting a big brand whose only goal is to make lots of money.

Let’s support neither of them. Go find a smaller company whom you can get behind and encourage by rewarding quality music and artistry with your support. Like Chrome Entertainment, home of Crayon Pop, whose DIY attitude is already changing K-pop or Source Music who have been accused by netizens of making deals with journalists so G-Friend can get on the charts or any other of the large number of smaller, less corporate companies currently struggling to stay afloat.

What do you think of SM Entertainment’s system? Who do you prefer SM or YG? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

[This article was updated on April 21, 2015.]

MFBTY Talks To KultScene About ‘Wondaland,’ Watching Reaction Videos, K-Pop as Escapism, and More

MFBTY talks to KultSceneWhen Korean music royalty releases an album, it’s worth taking note of it and MFBTY’s latest album, Wondaland is one of the most, if not the most, outstanding albums to come out of Korea in recent years. As a creation from the minds of Korean hip hop royalty Tiger JK, Yoonmirae, and Bizzy, Wondaland offers elements of hip hop, rap, electronica, reggae, and more to create an eclectic, otherworldly experience for listeners. With an ample amount of English, the message of Wondaland is highly accessible to music lovers around the world.

MFBTY, an acronym meaning “My Fans [are] Better Than Yours,” is comprised of married couple Tiger JK and Yoonmirae, also known as Tasha, and producer-songwriter Bizzy. The three have worked together throughout the years, collaborating on solo projects, Korean hip hop groups like Drunken Tiger and Movement, and started performing under the MFBTY name in 2013.

KultScene had a chance to talk with MFBTY regarding their album and the Korean music industry.

How does it feel to make a comeback two years after the release of The Cure?

Yoonmirae: It’s exciting and nerve–racking! It’s the worst and best feeling.

Tiger JK: I was in a deep funk for a while and I wanted to quit music. In a way, this project helped me get out of that funk and I realized that I need to thank those who have love for me.

Bizzy: This time has been more challenging for me because it’s MFBTY’s first full-length album and has 16 tracks.

The three of you have worked together for several years. How has your music changed over time?

Yoonmirae: I don’t think we’re ever fully aware of the changes we’re making or have made at the time. Personally, I would say that I’ve started to focus on myself more in terms of what makes me happy musically and a lot less on what’s going to sell.


Also on KultScene: Artist Spotlight: Yoon Mirae

Tiger JK: I’m a product of my environment when it comes to writing. I think I’m going through a terrible stage as an 8-year-old right now. Actually my son is a bit more mature than me. I dig what my son digs at the moment, but I think I will soon grow out of this stage.

Bizzy: Music is my best friend and is always there for me. So are my group members. I’m still willing to change for ghood and express my feelings with Feel Ghood Music.

Your group has members of different ages and experiences, and two of the members are married. What’s the most challenging part in working together?

Yoonmirae: Musically we always come together so I don’t feel there’s ever really a problem. The problem with us – and I’m sure the others will agree with me – is we suck at TV and interviews! There’s something about being in front of the camera that rattles us. You’d think that after all this time we’d be used to it but it just get worse for us! Poor JK has no choice but to try and answer everything because Bizzy and I just freeze. And let’s not even get started on our stage fright!

Tiger JK: Tasha is a meanie and she doesn’t understand my struggles.

Bizzy: From time to time I feel left out because I’m not married. Maybe I should get out and look for a wife right now!

Other than Bang Diggy Bang Bang and Buckubucku, which MFBTY released music videos for, if you had to pick one song from Wondaland for people to listen to, what would it be and why?

Yoonmirae: I’d rather people go through the whole album. I believe there’s a song on this album for everybody.

Tiger JK: I recommend Half Time, Rebel Music, Angel, and everything else on the album. But if you’re into “real” hip-hop or are expecting to hear that, maybe this album isn’t for you.

Bizzy: There are so many different styles of music in this wondaland so the choice is yours.


What would be your ideal reaction from someone who hears Wondaland?

Yoonmirae: Hearing that someone appreciates your music is always wonderful! Whether it helped them in some way to get over whatever struggles they are dealing with, or they like it just because it’s something they can dance to, it’s always a blessing! And may I add we are all addicted to watching the reaction videos of our videos and it has been the best gift ever! Watching those videos alone made me feel like we did a good job and reminded me of all the reasons I love music so much. So thank you to everyone who makes those.

Tiger JK: A big priceless smile … a very genuine smile preferably while they are blushing. Then some stank face, like you are taking a big ol’ shit after being constipated for days!


Also on KultScene: EE Are South Korean Performance Artists Fitting Outside The Box [Interview]

There were a lot of artists you worked with on the album, including Tiger JK and Yoonmirae’s son Jordan. What was that experience like?

Yoonmirae: Everyone was so nice and so humble. It’s always cool to see how other people work and everyone definitely put in work! With people’s hectic schedules, a lot of times artists just record their vocals separately and send the files in, but everyone drove an hour out of Seoul, stayed till I don’t even know what time, recorded what they needed to do, and just hung out. It was ghood times!

Tiger JK: Interacting with others is always a healthy experience for me.

Bizzy: Everyone who took part in this album, I really thank them from the bottom of my heart. This journey is just beginning, so get ready.

[KultScene note: Rock band Deulgukhwa, BTS member Rap Monster, Beast member Yong Jun Hyung, Dok2, EE, Son Seungyeon (Sonnet Son), Kim Banjang, Yoo Heyeol, Dino-J, and Jordan were all featured on Wondaland.]

You worked with K-pop idols BTS’ Rap Monster and BEAST’s Yong Jun Hyung and I saw an interview where you described Wondaland as a K-pop album. K-pop is often trivialized for being too manufactured. Do you think that’s changing?

Yoonmirae: I don’t trust myself enough to answer this question in the “politically correct” way I should!

Tiger JK: It is manufactured. Some trivialize it and others idolize it. There are side effects to all things manufactured. But as long as y’all know the right dosages, it’s fine. Healthy escapism is what I call it. Just be able to snap out of it when needed perhaps.

How did you decide to go K-pop with this album, and how do you feel like it’s different from your past music?

Yoonmirae: As MFBTY we’re making pop music. And I guess since we are from Korea, it’s K-pop. We’re not trying to emulate anything, we’re just trying to have fun with this album.

K-pop has been popular throughout the world for several years, but recently we’ve seen growing interest in Korean hip hop. Shows like Show Me The Money and Unpretty Rapstar are extraordinarily popular. How do you feel about the current state of Korean hip hop? Can you see your influence on it?

Yoonmirae: I’m going to stick with the answer I gave before – I don’t trust myself enough to answer this question in the “politically correct” way I should!

What does Yoonmirae think about being an inspiration to young female rappers and being practically the only established female rapper?

Yoonmirae: I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel good. But it’s also a lot of pressure, which I try to take as a good thing because it keeps me on my toes.

Wondaland contains a lot of English. Do you think MFBTY would ever release an English language album?

Yoonmirae:I would love to do that.

Tiger JK: Yes. Hopefully we can do it very soon.

Bizzy: It’s going to be a new challenge for me.

And the last question, which many people are interesting in hearing the answer to… Why ARE your fans better than mine?

Yoonmirae: Because they are mine!

Bizzy: Because they know me. To me, that’s the best.

If you haven’t taken a listen to Wondaland, now’s your chance to do so. Purchase the album on iTunes or at your local Korean music retailer. MFBTY announced that all proceeds will be donated to charity, so there is absolutely no reason not to buy Wondaland right now!

What do you think of Wondaland and MFBTY? What’s your favorite song by the trio? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.