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Playlist Sunday: Worst Korean Singles of 2015

Worst Korean Songs of 2015


Now that 2016 is well under way, we’re definitely ready to say “goodbye” to some of K-pop’s
worst singles of 2015. For this week’s Playlist Sunday, KultScene’s staff members each picked their least favorite songs of the year.

[Disclaimer: These picks are based on individual taste, so feel free to disagree in the comments.]

I get it. “Lion Heart” is the epitome of what Girls’ Generation represents: The archetype for the perfect feminine and demure woman. The song’s beat and the overall styling of the music video takes us back to the ’50s and early half of the ’60s, when young women aimed to look like their older and glamorous mothers. When the sexual revolution and women’s liberation was about to explode and a woman’s value equated to her looks and how refined she seemed. But fine, it’s a pop song, and every woman can choose to be anyone they want and dress however they want. But. That. Chorus… If you want to torture someone, just play “Lion Heart,” it’ll make their eardrums bleed. Truth is, SNSD’s latest album and singles (with the exception of “You Think”) were largely disappointing compared to their previous work. Especially considering that the album had better bubblegum pop with throwback feel contenders like “Fire Alarm.” The whole concept behind “Lion Heart” makes sense for a group like Girls’ Generation, yes, and we all like them for their girly ways. However, musically, they don’t have the vocal chops to carry that chorus, no matter how nasally and high they make Yuri sing.

— Alexis

Girls’ Generation’s “Party” makes me want to dive into the body of water that they’re filming the music video on and stay submerged for as long as humanly possible (without dying, of course). Can someone please tell SM Entertainment and Girls’ Generation to stop it with their attempts at rapping? Oh, and for Tiffany to stop it when her random ass English segments in their songs. Yeah, yeah, we get it, it’s party time. “Party” had a lot of ups and downs (emphasis on the down) moments for me; I couldn’t figure out if they were trying to make this a summer anthem or if it was an attempt of them being sensually cute by experimenting with livelier beats and adding alcoholic beverages in their lyrics but either way, I was disappointed. There were too many transitional breaks throughout the song, too many moments that had me waiting for someone to hit a higher/lower note than they actually did. Sure the music video was semi fun to watch, also very scattered, but the song just makes me want to pull out every strand of hair on my head. Can they have more concepts like “Oh!”, “Run Devil Run,” and “The Boys”?


— Tam

JYP Entertainment had a great year in terms of music. miss A released a pretty solid album, Wonder Girls finally came back, and the company even debuted two new rookie groups, both of which quickly grew in popularity. They did everything right and more… Except for one disservice. I don’t know what they were thinking with giving the green light to 2PM’s “My House,” but the song is a far cry from their usual good releases. I get that they want to spice up their sound and want to show that they are more than party boys and sex icons, but something feels lacking. Where are the interesting beats? Where is the build-up? Maybe it’s because I have been babied by fast-paced songs like “A.D.T.O.Y.” or “Go Crazy,” but “My House” feels bland. It’s very forgettable, and doesn’t add much to their already remarkable repertoire. The only saving grace was the video, which contained an underlying fairy tale thematic.
Oh well, better luck in 2016, boys.

–Shelley

Maybe I loved “Can’t Stop” way too much to have realistic expectations for anything CNBLUE could offer for their comeback but I was woefully disappointed with their 2015 release “Cinderella.” They may have achieved a lot of commercial success (as usual) for this song but while the song isn’t horrible, I’ve definitely seen (and heard) CNBLUE do so much better than this auto-tuned track that seems to only have two lines and a bridge that hardly seems like part of the same song. To make it worse, their album “2gether” actually has some great B-sides such as “Roller Coaster” and “Radio” that overshadow this title track completely. Seriously, what was going on in the heads of the album producers? In a K-pop industry with more and more popular bands (both indie and idol ones) CNBLUE really has to step up their game in 2016 to show fans what they’ve truly got.

–Anna

Let’s get one thing out there. Park Jin Young aka JYP is a great producer. But he’s a misogynist, and his hit song “Who’s Your Mama?” highlights that more so than just about everything else he’s ever said or done. The song’s funky, jazzy beat is good, and Jessi’s solo rap is nothing to sneeze at, but Park Jin Young is literally describing his perfect woman’s ass and saying that that’s all what he looks for when looking at women. I wish I could say that it’s satire a la Psy’s “Gentleman,” but that doesn’t seem the case. The song begins with Park asking a woman what her hip and waist measurements are before going into a song describing his love of big butts. “Shake that booty” is one of the most prominent lines of the song as Park diminished women as anything other than physical beings for him to oggle. “Who’s Your Mama?” is K-pop’s “Baby Got Back,” and the song did exceptionally well on charts, but that still doesn’t make it okay. 2015 was the year of the booty, but JYP took it to another level in a way that was blatantly sexist. We’re in 2016, let’s put an end to this obsession with equating women with their ass-ets.

–Tamar

I could have picked any song from the many iKon released towards the end of the year, but for sheer lack of imagination, I’ll go with “Airplane.” Apart from their whole shtick being based off what’s popular in K-pop right now (rap,) iKon also come across like Big Bang-lite (so like another WINNER but even less interesting.) “Airplane” has twee synth and piano sounds that are used to make their ballad sound less like a ballad. I’m all for ballads not sounding like ballads but this screams of trying too hard, “it’s not a ballad guys, we rap, we’re cool, I was on that rap show remember?” Speaking of Bobby, I’m also not one to care too much about line distribution but this is ridiculous. It’s unfair to both B.I and Bobby who should be in a duo or going solo and to the rest of the members whom might as well not exist. Mostly I hate how YG thinks he can put a bit more rapping into a song and that makes it good enough to be recycled over and over. It was great back in 2008, but it’s time to move on.

–Joe

Best December 2015 K-Pop Releases

Best December 2015 K-Pop Releases Feat.

It’s December – or at least it was – which means it’s time for the big labels to churn out their holiday ballads and festive company music videos. They’re usually cute and fun to watch, but unfortunately they’re also usually nothing sensational as well. Last year, one of our writers wrote about how scarce and disappointing end of the year K-pop comebacks usually are, and with year-end preparations looming over every idols’ mind at this time of the year, it’s understandable why this would be the case.

But there’s always room for exceptions, and the exception is called the K-pop releases from December 2015. For one, they were actually good. For another, there seemed to be more of it over the seasonal content typical at the close of the year. It’s honestly a shame that we published our annual list of top songs from the year before all the songs could be release, or else the following would be some very likely contenders.

December 2015 witnessed a plethora of unusually fine hits and I am sure I missed out on a lot more. Although some were more mainstream than others, all had the final say to one of the best years in K-pop in a while.

Laboum “Aalow Aalow”

I’ll be real with you here – if you had asked me to name any one of Laboum’s songs two months ago I probably would not have been able to do it. That all changed, however, when the girl group kicked off December and captivated my attention with “Aalow Aalow;” now I can somewhat proudly list at least one. And while I still cannot explain the meaning behind the title (as far as I see it, it’s “Hello Hello” with a flair), I do know that the fresh single and its accompanying music video totally nailed the ‘80s Cyndi Lauper feel they were going for. Very retro, very colorful, they almost remind me of a younger Wonder Girls. The set may not be as elaborate or run on as high of a budget as the seniors’, but the minimalism completes the pastel confectionary aesthetics. The vintage styling is something out of the time period as well, which ranges from knee-length skirts, pinned up bobs, thick headbands and plaid patterns. Everything about this video is super modest, but definitely not the kind that would take away from quality or from being enjoyable.

And of course to complete the comeback is the song itself, which was released five days after the music video was uploaded. The piano glissando at the opening wastes no time to introduce the synth-y pop track about a girl who becomes excited over a boy. Sugary sweet, like its visuals. It’s catchy, with a clear structure and one heck of a build up and hook. It probably takes the cake for one of the year’s peppiest songs because there is just no way that these girls’ fruity voices won’t brighten your mood. What makes the song all the more unique is the instrumentals; the aforementioned synths blare like a horn and the ch-ki-tas from the backing vocal track accents the song as a drum and cymbal set would. There’s never a dull moment and hopefully with this stellar comeback these rookies will finally see the recognition they deserve. If anything, they now have an extra pair of eyes watching them.


Also on Kultscene: Top 5 K-Fashion Moments of 2015

EXO “Sing For You”

So I have complained about winter and holiday ballads in the past and by including EXO’s “Sing For You” here it might defeat the purpose of a list of comebacks that are not seasonal, but it’s simply too good not to add it in. Compared to any of their other songs, this has got to be the boy group’s most stripped down release. That is, the entirety of the track is simply vocals sung over an acoustic guitar. No rap, no “E-X-O”s. Just pure, unprocessed, breathy vocals. Ultimately, this creates for a very reassuring track to listen to on those blistering, cold nights. It’s a song all about being unable to express true feelings to a lover, so instead they will do it through song. It’s as if we are the girl in question because that is what they are literally doing – singing for us. Even if there is no climax, this song wonderfully brings out all the members’ voices (including Sehun who seldom sings), and that in itself is enough.

Like the song, the monochromatic music video is also pretty romantic and bittersweet. Member Kai is doing what he does best again here – contemporary dance. And there is no missing the elephant in the room, or rather whale in space, either. The marine mammal in the video alludes to the “loneliest whale in the world,” or a real life 52-hertz whale that emits at a different frequency from that of other whales. The miscommunication and failure to convey its heart goes back to the theme of the lyrics, which again is about one’s inability to articulate. This is even more credible when we consider how whales, like humans, sing to their mates as a form of communication. Pity that the 52-hertz whale feels so isolated when it has all these South Korean boy bands (BTS, too, devoted an entire song to the solitary creature) crooning about it.

Zizo “Diving”

Probably the least well-known on this list, “Show Me the Money 2” contestant Zizo’s “Diving” is a song that every Korean hip-hop fan should pay attention to. Something about it just feels so old-school to me. Whether it’s the synths or the children singing innocence in the addicting chorus (which you might expect to be cheesy but is actually not), it works. Zizo’s raps have a unique timbre as well, nothing I’ve seen from other rappers. It’s playful and chill, yet also full of personality. I would not expect anything less from the artist, since his roots are deeply planted in the underground. “Diving” is just one of the products of his journey to remain creative, even if it might mean struggling financially.

Personally, the song also has a special place in my heart as its music video was shot in my native New York City. Zizo takes us on a tour of the Big Apple while shamelessly singing along to his own song. It definitely feels more like a summer tune than a winter release. The editing and the low lighting filter, in addition to the various shots of the city’s most famed landmarks (the Brooklyn Bridge, DUMBO, Times Square), really hits home and only adds to the nostalgia factor.


Also on Kultscene: Top 20 Korean Albums of 2015

Turbo “Again”

Exactly 20 years after their debut, Turbo is reunited again – and this time as a full unit – with their ‘90s revival hit “Again.” With this entertaining and upbeat dance number, the trio brings us back to a time when electric sounds, MC intros, and post-dystopian music videos ran rampant as they sing about love and taking opportunities. And although the title “Again” refers to a rekindling in the context of relationships, it can also best describe their comeback and speak to their newfound youth. If I did not know any better, I really would have believed that the track was something from their debut days. Singer Kim Jongkook’s signature mosquito voice is still as high as ever, while rappers Kim Jungnam and Mikey prove to us that they still got flow. If I as a listener can feel nostalgic listening to a group who debuted when she was still a couple months old, then I can only imagine how it must feel to for them to relive their teen years.

The video is not much help either. Everything is a hark to the past, whether it is the train station reminding us that it’s their 20th anniversary or the futuristic sterilized tunnels or the room bedecked with all the titles of the group’s greatest hits. Fans are probably even more excited that the middle-aged men are up and dancing again, even if the choreography is not as intricate as it was in the past (but how about that whip during the hook though?). Just make sure to stick around until the end for a hilarious cameo from Kim Jongkook’s “Running Man” cast mate Lee Kwangsoo and best friend actor Cha Taehyun. Indeed, for those who are new with ‘90s K-pop, Turbo’s “Again” is as close of a modern day representation as you are going to get and makes for a fantastic introduction to the group and to the genre.

iKON “What’s Wrong”

Here we go. They say you save the best for last, and this is it. Their past releases might have been lackluster, but with iKON’s latest single “What’s Wrong,” the boys concluded the year on a final sound note. The guitar heavy, gravelly rock song is something out of the pages of their senior group, Big Bang, and whether that is a good or bad thing…

Just kidding, it’s always a good thing. The song itself has a Big Bang circa 2010 sound to it, before trap and other modern genres was a thing, yet retains a fun party vibe that the group of rowdy boys is known for. The song opens with a crescendo that in turn transitions into the catchy chants that will start and close the song. The song is all about fickle, problematic relationships, and the resentment that one feels while being in one is portrayed through the accusatory “What’s wrong?” of the choruses. There is not only variety in the contour of the piece but also in the line distribution. A real Christmas miracle! Yes, it’s no longer Bobby and B.I. featuring their backup dancers; it’s iKON as seven individual members with seven individual voices.

The music video was thoroughly enjoyable as well, though only if you are down for a hot mess. The boy versus girl emotional feud inspired from the lyrics is literally duked out here in a less than friendly game of dodgeball, with the boys of iKON on one team and masked female antagonists on the other. There’s rioting, there’s paper being thrown everywhere, there’s enlarged hands. Everything is anarchy and it feels liberating, especially gratifying for a song that paints a stuffy picture. This is exactly the kind of content that fans need to see more of from the rookie group if the group wants to grow their fanbase.

For a group that only made its debut less than half a year ago, they’ve worked hard to show off a variety of sides with a whopping seven music videos, which is more than some groups who have been around for years. “What’s Wrong” is a step in the right direction, and if this keeps up it won’t be long before the group dominate the K-pop music scene.

What other December 2015 releases did you enjoy? 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.

MAMA 2015 Award Show Scoresheet + WINNERS

MAMA 2015 Mnet Asian Music AwardsThe Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA) will be held in just a few hours, and we’re ready for it! Join KultScene on our live Twitter coverage of the event, as we congratulate winners, applaud amazing stages, and judge everybody’s fashion choices in the nicest way possible.

And now… The award scoresheet that we’ll be marking up throughout the evening! (If you’re here early, check out our fantasy MAMA winners article from a few days ago.) Don’t forget to watch the show live via Naver V app or KCON.

Overall KultScene Award Winner- 2NE1

Best New Male Artist

iKON
N.Flying
Monsta X
Seventeen
UP10TION

Best New Female Artist

CLC
TWICE
Lovelyz
GFRIEND
OH MY GIRL

Best Male Solo Artist

Zion.T
Kyuhyun (Super Junior)
J.Y.PARK
Jung Yong Hwa (CNBLUE)
Jonghyun (SHINee)

Best Female Solo Artist

BoA
IU
Ailee
Taeyeon (Girls’ Generation)
HyunA (4Minute)

Best Male Group

BIGBANG
EXO
BTS
SHINee
Super Junior
SHINHWA

Best Female Group

AOA
Apink
miss A
Girls’ Generation
SISTAR
Wonder Girls

Best Dance Performance Solo

Ga-In (Brown Eyed Girls)- “Paradise Lost”
Niel (Teen Top)- “Lovekiller”
J.Y.PARK- “Who’s Your Mama?”
Amber (f(x))- “Shake That Brass”
HyunA (4minute)- “Roll Deep”

Oupu Best Dance Performance Male Group

BIGBANG- “Bang Bang Bang”
EXO- “Call Me Baby”
GOT7- “If You Do”
VIXX- “Love Equation”
SHINee- “View”
INFINITE- “Bad”

Best Dance Performance Female Group

AOA- “Heart Attack”
EXID- “Ah Yeah”
Girl’s Day- “Ring My Bell”
Red Velvet- “Ice Cream Cake”
SISTAR- “Shake It”

Best Vocal Performance Male

SG WANNABE- “Love You”
Zion.T- “Eat”
Kyuhyun (Super Junior)- “At Gwanghwamun”
Lim Chang Jung- “Love Again”
Huh Gak- “Snow of April”

Best Vocal Performance Female

Davichi- “Cry Again”
MAMAMOO- “Um Oh Ah Yeh”
Baek A Yeon- “Shouldn’t Have…”
Ailee- “Mind Your Own Business”
Taeyeon (Girls’ Generation)- “I”

Best Rap Performance

Gary- “Get Some Air”
Dok2- “I Will”
Mad Clown- “Fire”
Jay Park- “Mommae”
San E- “Me You”

Best Band Performance

CNBLUE- “Cinderella”
FTISLAND- “Pray”
NELL- “Green Nocturne”
JJY Band- “OMG”
Hyukoh- “Comes and Goes”

Best Collaboration & Unite

Zion.T & Crush- “Just”
Block B Bastarz- “Zero For Conduct”
VIXX LR- “Beautiful Liar”
Soyou & Kwon Jeong Yeol- “Lean on Me”
INFINITE H- “Pretty”

HotelsCombined Best Music Video

BIGBANG- “Bae Bae”
f(x)- “4 Walls”
SHINee- “Married To The Music”
Wonder Girls- “I Feel You”
INFINITE- “Bad”

UnionPay Artist of the Year

Bigbang

UnionPay Song of the Year

BIGBANG- “Bang Bang Bang”

Album of the Year
EXO- “EXODUS”

MAMA Worldwide Favorite Artist

BIGBANG

Thailand Favorite Artist

Potato

Vietnam Favorite Artist

Dong Nhi

Indonesia Favorite Artist

Ran

Singapore Favorite Artist

Stefanie Sun Yanzi

Japan Favorite Artist

AKB48

Best Asian Artist Mandarin Award

Jolin Tsai

Global Fan Choice Award Female

f(x)

Global Fan Choice Award Male

EXO

Best Producer Korea

J.Y Park

Best Producer China

Gao Xiaosong

Best Producer Vietnam

Phuc Bo

Best Engineer Korea

Ko Hyun Jong

Best Engineer China

Lup Groinig

Best Engineer Japan

Yoshinori Nakayama

Best Live Entertainment Korea

In Jae Jin

Best Live Entertainment China

Wu Qun Da

Best Live Entertainment Thailand

Vit Suthithavil

Worldwide Inspiration Award

Pet Shop Boys

World Performer Award

BTS

What do you think about MAMA 2015? Did the performances and awards match your expectations? Let us know 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.

5 Underrated K-Pop Rookie Songs

30th30k

K-pop companies introduce rookie groups at such a ferocious rate each year that numerous idols are vying for the spotlight at any one time, with the ultimate ambition of becoming A-listers. This heated competition means that talented performers can sometimes slip under the radar, so without further ado here are my personal choices for the top five underrated rookie songs.

Dawg’loo – “Oh”

Dawg’loo is a four member male vocal group who debuted in January 2015, under Danal Entertainment. Not much is currently known about them, except that they have all recorded solo songs and members RuBic and Hyun Jun previously performed with 2Track and DDABAND, respectively. R&B ballad “Oh” has a soulful sound which harkens back to the ‘90s and features stirring, mature vocals from the members. Sadly, no music video was produced for this touching song, but these supremely talented men deserve to be watched closely in the future.


Also on KultScene: Questions We Have After The End of ‘Sassy Go Go’

Awe5some Baby – “Why Should I?”

Awe5some Baby is a five member girl group who made their debut in June 2015, under TN Nation Entertainment. Illustrious ‘90s K-pop stars Tony Ahn (H.O.T) and Kim Jae Duc (Sech Kies) contributed to the formation of Awe5some Baby and consequently the members shine brightly in “Why Should I?” Ranging in age from 17 to 21, the girls display surprisingly accomplished vocals in this funky throwback R&B track, with all the charisma of more seasoned veterans of the genre. Tomboyish leader Jun is the first ever idol beatboxer in a K-pop group, making Awe5some Baby a unique force to be reckoned with!

Bay.B – “Fancy”

Bay.B is a three member girl group who debuted in May 2014, with the company CAN Entertainment. The group’s fourth single “Fancy” is a smooth and sophisticated jazz number, featuring prominent use of a trumpet and melodic piano. Bay.B’s sultry delivery, combined with rapper Wu Tan’s edgy flow, result in a composition that harks back strongly to 1960s Soul and Motown. Unfortunately, this song also has no accompanying music video, but Bay.B’s powerful vocals make “Fancy” well worth a listen.

M.Crown – “Avenue Mumun”

Starpro Entertainment’s seven member boy band, M.Crown, debuted in October 2015. “Avenue Mumun” is a lively song with an infectious up-tempo beat, combined with elements of disco and boy band music of the 1990’s. The music video depicts M.Crown posing on Harley Davidson motorcyles and dancing in a baroque room, alternately wearing both smart and casual clothes. The suggestive choreography during the song’s chorus, combined with the group’s boyish good looks, will no doubt see many takers for M.Crown in the not too distant future!


Also on KultScene: 2015 Gift Guide For Fans Of Korean Pop Culture

VAV – “Under The Moonlight”

In November 2015, AQ Entertainment introduced VAV (Very Awesome Vampire.) This rookie boy band is a cross cultural mix of four Korean and two Chinese members, who were uniquely promoted with a webtoon prior to their official debut. “Under The Moonlight” is an unconventional composition which fuses synthesized ambient music with hip hop, while the song’s music video is beautifully atmospheric and showcases the group’s gothic concept to absolute perfection. All in all, a band with great promise.

What’s your favorite underrated rookie song of the year? Let us know 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.

2015 Gift Guide For Fans Of Korean Pop Culture

EXO ChristmasWhile it seems like the holiday season begins earlier and earlier each year, the Friday after Thanksgiving is the traditional kickoff for those of us living in the United States. Some of you may have already started putting together your wish lists or have started shopping, but in case you are looking for some K-pop or K-drama inspired presents, KultScene has you covered with our 2015 gift guide.

For The K-Beauty Obsessed

Korean masks – $2-$25
This is perhaps the most obvious choice on the list when it comes to K-beauty lovers. Have your choice from any of the masks we tested out earlier this year. Seriously, there’s way too many options out there, so just have your go at whatever happens to catch your eye
Glass Nails$2
Glass nails are the biggest thing out of Korea since K-pop, and are the trend that we most have our eye on. It’s cheap, and fun, and a great small item to include in any gift basket.102615-korean-glass-nails-lead
Chosungah 22 Flavorful Lipstick in Guava Tint Jello – $18
This is not only a beautiful, well-lasting shade to color your lips with, but the lipstick looks like jello. It may look like jello, but don’t start eating it just because it’s flavored.  The Chosungah 22 product is also a lip balm and has a lot of vitamins to help keep lips smooth.

chosungah22_flavorfullipstick_guavatintjello_900x900 Colored Hair Dye – $7-$$ (drugstore versus professional)
Red, green, pink, blue, galaxy… What color hair do you think you or your loved one deserves to wear next year? Korean stars have surpassed the normal blondes, reds, and browns, and it’s now your turn to help someone get a new ‘do.
The Little Book of Skin Care by Charlotte Cho– $14
The Soko Glam founder published her book earlier this year, following the rise in popularity of K-beauty. This is the newest, most updated guide for getting that special beautiful Korean skin, and what we’re all hoping to get this season.

518h1J16H6L._SX435_BO1,204,203,200_


Also on KultScene: K-Pop Inspired Gift-Giving Guide

For The Super K-Pop Fans

iTunes Gift Card – $10+
Don’t laugh. Nowadays, there’s Spotify and YouTube to listen to your favorite K-pop tunes on, but nothing beats owning a whole album the day it’s released and listening to it again and again and again.
YG Entertainment Apparel– $5+
This is perfect for any YG-stan out ther, or really anyone who likes some of K-pop’s biggest acts. YG Entertainment, one of South Korea’s largest entertainment agencies, recently started selling their merchandise directly to overseas consumers. Don’t miss out on your chance to get some of your own Big Bang or 2NE1 hoodies, CDs, or more.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 1.33.48 AM
Concert Tickets – $50+
It’s every K-pop fan’s dream to see their favorite idols live. There have been more overseas concerts than ever before in 2015, and A Pink (U.S), INFINITE (U.S), and Beast (Australia) are just some of the few acts going outside of Asia in the near future. If you or anyone you know loves listening, dancing, singing, and breathing K-pop, tickets to a K-pop concert near (or far) is a good gift. Tickets vary in price, but the experience is priceless.
CDs & Concert DVDs – $20+
Even better than songs on your computer or phone are K-pop albums that you can hold and cherish for all eternity (or until you run out of space on your shelves.) K-pop CDs and other sorts of merchandise can be purchased on a variety of websites, so a quick Google search or Amazon search is  sure to turn up a lot of options. Or, if you live near a Korean community, check out their local bookstore and you may be surprised.

For The Fashion Gurus

Retro black chokers – $7
The 90’s are back in full force, and it began first in Korea before coming west earlier this year. The stylish black necklaces (recently seen on EXID) are back and you definitely want to get your hands on one before the trend goes back into the past.

IMG_20151110_220141
Beanies a la Siwon in “She Was Pretty” -$10
Anywhere you looked in the second half of the year, it was almost impossible to miss Super Junior’s Siwon being absolutely everywhere. One of his biggest roles was in the drama “She Was Pretty,” and, along with all of the ridiculousness of his character, came one really amazing orange beanie.
choi-siwon-feature
Flared Jeans – $30
Going back to our retro styles that are in, flared jeans join the high-waisted trend that have been in for a while now to great some sort of uber nostalgia jeans. You can get flared jeans from anywhere, but these cute ones from H&M are currently on sale and sure to make anyone look good.

hmprod


Also on KultScene: Questions We Have After The End of ‘Sassy Go Go’

For The Foodies

Maangchi’s Cookbook – $17
Want to learn how to cook authentic Korean food? Blogger and YouTuber chef Maangchi released her cookbook “Maangchi’s Real Korean Cooking: Authentic Dishes for the Home Cook” was released in May. So grab a copy and start cooking some of her mouth watering recipes.

maangchi
Dolsot pot – $38
If you’re looking for a real Korean cooking expereince, getting one of these authentic Korean stonewear pots is the way to go.

41uhDno350L

For The Readers

“A Geek In Korea $13
Daniel Tudor’s guide to Korea is a great intro to the country you may have been introduced to by K-pop and K-dramas. Here’s your chance to get an inside take on the whole world of Korean pop culture.

a geek in korea daniel tudor review book korean kpop korea
“In Real Life” – $13
Lawrence Tabak’s young adult novel is about E-games, a side of Korean pop culture that usually doesn’t come into contact with fans of Korean music, dramas, and films, but it is a major part of Korean society and a fun read.

in real life esports book tabak
“Hello, I Love You” – $14
Katie M. Stout’s debut novel is all about romance, cultural understanding, K-pop, and idols. What more is there to want?

hello-i-love-you

Happy holidays from KultScene!

What are you buying this season? Let us know 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.

Sultan Of The Disco Does Funky Right At Seoulsonic NYC 2015 [Interview]

sotd2Seoulsonic returned to New York City last week as part of CMJ’s 2015 music marathon with a new set of acts performing at SOBs (Sounds of Brazil) in Manhattan on Oct. 15. Three Korean indie acts — Sultan of the Disco, HEO, and WYM— performed throughout the night to showcase the music coming out of South Korea’s indie scene nowadays. I had a chance to speak to each of the acts before the show to hear about their careers and experiences at Seoulsonic.

[This is the second of a three-part interview/review series from the event. The interviews with HEO and WYM can be read HERE and HERE.]

Seoulsonic NYC 2015 began around midnight, but when Sultan of the Disco took to the stage wearing dragon-covered robes, shower shoes, and headbands, it was clear that the night was just getting started. The ‘70s inspired funk band hit all the right notes for the audience, getting everyone involved right away. With a full-fledged band onstage plus one member of the band dancing along to the rest with major aplomb, it was hard to not clap along and move to the sounds.

Sultan of the Disco is, when broken down, physical comedy meeting Korean musical innovation. Singing in both English and Korean, the group began its life as a dance troupe named Sultan of the Disco but over the years transitioned into a band with a heavy emphasis on dance. Their first single, “Magic Prince,” was released in 2007, and their latest song “SQ (We Don’t Need No EQ IQ)” came out this past July. Surpassing language barriers, the group’s played overseas in the past, although this was their first show in New York.

Lead vocalist Nahzam Sue sat down with me for a few minutes before the show began to tell me a bit about the band.


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“We want the immediate reaction of the audience to be able to dance and enjoy it,” Nahzam told me before explaining the band’s unusual inclusion of a member who just dances along while the rest of the band performs. “One dancer remains in our team, so there’s that spirit. He just dances… There’s a lot of energy [shared] between us and the audience.”

And indeed, on stage later that night, J.J Hassan stood there on stage, dancing alongside the other members as they played their music. Nahzam also had his own moves to show off while he sang, going back to the group’s origins as a dance team.

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“At the beginning, it was me and three other guys. It wasn’t an official band, but a dance team,” said Nahzam. “One by one, during sessions, guys who played instruments joined us and the Sultan of the Disco dance group became the band we are now.”

The band that they are now has had an album, 2013’s “The Golden Age,” nominated as the best electronic/dance album at the Korean Music Awards, but they’re moving onto the future.


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“We’re working on a new single now, that will be released by the end of the year,” the lead singer said. “The single will be a lot slower, a slow jam that’s different from what we’ve done. Even though our music is based in humor, we want to make our music maybe a little slower, groovier in the future [with more meaning.]. We want to be a more emotional band.”

Being emotional seemed like the last thing on their minds that night, though, as Sultan of the Disco connected with the audience through music, dance, and trying their best at talking in English. Pumping up the crowd in all the right ways possible, the band made a lasting impression at Seoulsonic NYC 2015 that the had us all wishing we were living in the disco age.

What do you like the most about Sultan of the Disco? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear you thoughts and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

WYM Created Haunting Electronic Music At Seoulsonic NYC 2015 [Interview]

WYM2
Seoulsonic
returned to New York City last week as part of CMJ’s 2015 music marathon, with a new set of acts performing at SOBs (Sounds of Brazil) in Manhattan on Oct. 15. Three Korean indie acts — Sultan of the Disco, HEO, and WYM— performed throughout the night to showcase the music coming out of South Korea’s indie scene nowadays, brought together by Seoulsonic. I had a chance to speak to each of the acts before the show to hear about their careers and experiences at Seoulsonic.

[This is the second of a three-part interview/review series from the event. The first interview with HEO can be read HERE.]

Retro synthpop is at its best with the one man band WYM, the final act of the night at this year’s Seoulsonic NYC. Described as sexy danceable music by WYM, his music incorporates electronica elements and intense drum beats.

WYM, or Byun Joon Hyung, is a one-man band, created by the South Korean artist known as Bjorn, the Scandinavian word for ‘bear.’ “A lot of people outside of Korea can’t really pronounce my Korean name, but my surname is Byun and a friend suggested I use ‘Bjorn’ as my artist name,” WYM explained during our interview. The band name in turn stands for “Would You Mind?” and the Korean phrase, “우주마인드,” (lit. “space mind”) pronounced “wujumaindeu.”


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On stage at Seoulsonic, WYM had an unpretentious stage manner and image, a sharp contrast from the heavily coordinated K-pop artists that have popularized South Korean music in the world. WYM stood behind a wide array of synthesizers, with the plastic tube of a talk box in his mouth to aid him in vocal distortion. A backing drummer, truly excellent at his craft, provided the only traditional instrument on stage during the set as WYM created his dark, wailing dance music.

The musician studied in the United States and collaborated early on in his career with a friend to create the project band MDS, which released remix music of Korean song in an electronic style. MDS released an album and a few singles before WYM was created.

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“I felt like I had to do something,” WYM said. “That MDS thing, I still wanted to do it. But I wanted to concentrate more on something that I really like and want to express, and show people what I can do, what I believe, what I can sound like. I started as a soloist under the name Bjorn, then I released a single “Empty Desire” in 2011. Then I thought I needed to do more band-ish stuff. But alone. So I created a name, WYM, as my solo project name. So under WYM I made an album and released it last year.”

The LP “After Moon” was released in 2014 and proved WYM’s worth as an artist whose songs you want to listen to while dancing in a club and then ruminating in a drunken state afterwards.

“I want to make sexy music. That sounds, like, really sexy but also danceable stuff. That, and I really want to do some really emotional stuff too. On the album, there’s some of all of that. I have everything, I think. “

What WYM can do is outstanding. On stage, in front of Seoulsonic’s eyes, he went above and beyond, transforming his normal voice into a mechanized instrument and creating beats that were at once fun, introspective, and haunting. The five-song set included synth and distorted elements, but also showed hints of reggae and rock before settling firmly in the world of electronic dance music. The thumping beats of the drums were just as important to the music as WYM’s electronic sounds, both coming together to get the crowd moving.


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A year after releasing WYM’s first EP, it’s a big deal for him to be a closing act at CMJ’s Seoulsonic and he hopes to perform at this year’s SXSW, despite the difficulties of being a Korean indie musician.

“As an indie artist in the electronic form of music in Korea, it’s a really hard life, it’s not easy,” he explained. “People don’t really like electronic. I mean, people go to clubs to listen to really mainstream EDM stuff but not a lot of people listen to the kind of washed out stuff in Korea. It’s hard to be recognized, I think, but I was happy [to be nominated for the 2015 Korean Music Awards Electronic Dance Album of the year award]. With that nomination, Seoulsonic asked me to join. I was very honored to be recognized.”

The show ended with the audience cheering for WYM, as the tunes went in and out of danceable melancholy and euphoria, ending the show with “Trying.” Despite the late hour, WYM’s energetic electronica had us all moving to the rhythm before 2015’s CMJ Seoulsonic came to an end.

Do you like WYM? What’s your favorite Korean indie band? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear you thoughts and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

HEO’s Ambient Rock Sound Takes The Stage At Seoulsonic 2015 [Interview]

HEO1
Seoulsonic returned to New York City last week as part of CMJ’s 2015 music marathon, with a new set of acts performing at SOBs (Sounds of Brazil) in Manhattan on Oct. 15. Three Korean indie acts- Sultan of the Disco, HEO, and WYM- performed throughout the night to showcase the music coming out of South Korea’s indie scene nowadays, brought together by Seoulsonic. I had a chance to speak to each of the acts before the show to hear about their careers and experiences at Seoulsonic.

[This is the first of a three-part interview/review series from the event.]

Hard rock meets ambience in the Korean duo HEO, comprised of male vocalist/guitarist/producer Heo and female vocalist/bassist/keyboardist Bo-yeong. During the live show, the pair and a drummer created a new take on dreamy indie rock, combining rock instruments with synthesizers and vocal distortion. The result was something akin to a waking dream, where music acts as the guide into wonderland.

The music during HEO’s set, the second of three at Seoulsonic’s New York City show, tip-toed the narrow line between the genres, never going too far off into either the rock or electronic genres at any one moment, but instead bringing them together to become a perfect indie rock dreamscape.


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Even before the show, it was clear that the pair were consummate musicians, with Heo and Bo-yeong discussing their career passionately. Despite the fact that HEO had won the electronic dance album of the year award at this year’s Korean Music Awards for their LP, “Structure,” the pair still has a lot that they want to achieve.

The pair has been together since 2014, when Heo decided to bring in another vocalist. He knew Bo-yeong from their college days, when she was an underclassmen. “I already knew that she played keyboard and vocals, so I suggested, ‘let’s play together’ for the second album.”

On stage, despite the fact that the band is named after Heo, it is clear that the two are a pair and neither one overpowers the other. Heo’s intensity on stage as he sings, wails on occasion, and creates the electronic elements contrasts sharply with Bo-yeong’s blank gaze as she sings in her Lana Del Rey-esque voice and plays her bass and keyboard, but the songs would feel empty without one of the pair on stage. If anything, the two came off that night as living embodiments of indie meets rock: Bo-yeong wore the favored fringe and body glitter popular at indie music festivals, while Heo wore the iconic black leather jacket of classic rock.

HEO played at SXSW earlier this year, and the CMJ show was the second part of that journey with Seoulsonic. “This time around, touring with my band, especially coming to New York, which is world famous, it’s a huge honor and privilege,” said Heo. “Especially because so many of our favorite bands have played in New York and a lot of our favorite movies take place in New York so it’s very exciting.”

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Heo had appeared at Seoulsonic 2012 as a session guitarist for 3rd Line Butterfly, and was already familiar with Seoulsonic and the tour before HEO was brought on to the tour as the duo gained attention in South Korea and abroad.

Winning the Korean Music award for “Structure” was a big deal for the pair. “We couldn’t believe that we had won. It was a bit of a surprise that someone relatively unknown could win such a big prize.”

But despite the prize, they don’t feel like they’re famous yet.

“This whole album [“Structure”] was made without aiming for the mainstream,” explained HEO. “So as to why it even won is still a mystery.”

“If there’s anyone reason for why we won. It may be the fact the style of music is something that others haven’t really seen or heard before. It was very much a hybrid mix between rock and electronic, and while others have kind of experimented with mixing it, nobody else has really done it in Korea to this degree, with such a full force approach.”


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With twelve tracks, many of which HEO performed at Seoulsonic, “Structure” is a full length LP of electronic rock songs that sound like the average night’s dreams on a lot of acid.

As for plans after they head back to Korea? “We’re going to go back to the studios and start working on songs, with the goal to release a new single every month. Hopefully by next spring, we’ll have enough to release an EP or a full length album from all of those singles. More importantly, we’re releasing a vinyl album.”

Do you have a favorite song by HEO? What’s your favorite Korean indie band? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear you thoughts and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

KCON 2015 NY’s M! Countdown Concert Recap

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

This year’s KCON might have been the best one to date for American K-pop fans as they learned that not only would the annual event in Los Angeles be expanding into a three day experience and moving into the legendary Staples Center, but that it would also become bi-coastal. For the first time in its four year history, East Coast K-pop fans could finally rejoice over the fact that they would not have to fly out over to California just to see their favorite acts since the con would be bringing their M! Countdown concerts to the just-as-legendary Prudential Center in NY’s metropolitan area. This didn’t change the fact that some die-hard fans still attended both events, though.

Being the forerunner to anything carries a lot of weight and responsibility to set the standard for the following years, which is why KCON NY saw less acts than its LA counterpart on August 8th. It took four years for KCON LA to grow to where it is, so the hope is that the East Coast con will also continually grow. Planning for KCON NY could have been better as attendees saw repeats in acts from the previous years as well, though none of that really mattered once the crowd of 17,000 KCON-goers started trickling in through the metaphorical gates. With this particular event, KCON proved that groups like Teen Top still got it, while confirming the popularity of relatively newer groups such as VIXX. And like the fanboy turnout at KCON LA, KCON NY too observed a very noticeable testosterone-heavy presence for the alluring and sexy Girls’ Generation and AOA.


 Also on Kultscene: Inside KCON NY 2015

But before we get to the main attraction, we have to give a warm mention to the other performers of the night. Prior to the concert’s official commencement, attendees were treated to a performance from the winners of the K-Pop World Festival in New York, The Class. Based in NY’s own Washington Heights, the group danced to VIXX’s “Hyde,” giving the original pioneers a run for their money later that evening. Popular Youtuber Jun Sung Ahn, who is better known by his social media handle JuNCurryAhn and who also attended KCON LA the week before, followed up with a morose cover of BIGBANG’s “Loser” on his trademark violin. It’s not really a song to dance to, yet that did not stop some from getting up from their seats to groove along to the tune.

INTRO NY (5)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

After much teasing and prolonging on the host’s part, Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany finally made her grand entrance via stage lift to introduce KCON. Considering how she was the only native English speaker out of the four groups due to perform, it was really no surprise the organizers would select her to act as MC. Regardless, her appearance and the positive reception it elicited from the crowd indicated that the show was finally on the road.

VIXX – The Kickoff or the Grand Finale?

Going in order of seniority and following a boy-girl-boy-girl pattern, VIXX was the obvious choice as the opening act. Based on the way they put on a performance, however, they might as well have been the closer. The night started off with the boys lined up in a row, standing chicly until the spotlight shone on each individual member. With all eyes on them, they took turns to break out in powerful dance as the screens overheard flashed their names. This transitioned fabulously into their song, “Error,” which requires the same sobriety that was seen in their introduction. “Error” really got the crowd riled up, and this enthusiasm was equally seen throughout their next two performances for “On and On” and “Eternity.”

VIXX NY (4)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

With their darker songs out of the way, this left room for some of their more lighthearted songs, so what else but the loveable “G.R.8.U” and their latest release “Love Equation?” Member Leo lived up to his title as main vocalist in the former song time and time again as he belted those high notes, filling up the whole of the indoor venue, and the group took no breaks as they delved right into the latter song. Though the single was released earlier this year and went by largely unnoticed, the group was able to change that with their aegyo (cute display of affection) that made all the fangirls in the building swoon. The high-spirited nature of the song allowed the members to wing their performance, which inevitably meant running around on stage (like the goofballs that they are) and getting closer to the audiences. At the climax of the song, the center was nothing but a rainstorm of streamers and screams, which just goes to show that this is one song that is better live. Whoever decided on ending their set list with “Love Equation” definitely deserves a golden medal.

VIXX NY (9)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

AOA as The Chaser

Immediately after VIXX had exited the stage, the members of AOA strutted confidently to own the stage for the next half hour. The anthem of the summer, “Heart Attack,” heralded in the group’s first performance in the States (okay, so technically the first performance was at KCON 2015 LA but close enough…), where the girls delivered harmless girly fun. And just like their stage at KCON LA, they also revealed their provocative side in hits like “Like a Cat” and “Confused.” As expected, the fan boys chose these moments to declare their undying love for the members and were very on point with the fan chants.

AOA NY (1 (2)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

They continued their sensual concepts with other favorites, such as the booty-shaking “Short Hair” and the sultry “Miniskirt.” While AOA debuted the same year as VIXX, the girls stood out more as the supporting act due to a lack of variety in their songs. No fancy celebratory streamers here. Nevertheless, the girls earns props for making sensual look so natural, especially with their closing song “Miniskirt,” in which sub-vocalist Hyejeong got down low – and I mean real low – on the stage floor. With the flawless execution of each song that left audiences in an uproar that night, AOA is certainly the next hot girl group to watch out for. Girls’ Generation, y’all better watch yo backs.

AOA NY (1 (9)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Teen Top is the Dark Horse of Live K-Pop

When you are getting goose bumps all over your body during a concert, you know it’s good. And when it’s during a slow song, you know that’s even better. The “M! Countdown” concert in NY has been an exciting and hot-blooded one thus far, but Teen Top was able to extinguish those flames with the mellow performance for “5 Seasons,” straight off of their most recent album. With such as easy-going song, the members kicked it back on the stage’s steps and swayed their bodies in time to the guitar strums of the instrumentals. It would only make sense that the subsequent performance would be for another track fresh off of their latest album, which is exactly what they did with “Ah-ah.”

TEENTOP NY (2)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

After their member introduction, where lead rapper L.Joe showed off his limited English from his five years living in the States, the group threw it back to their Brave Brothers collaboration days with “To You” and “Miss Right.” Other than the upbeat melodies, the beauty behind Teen Top’s songs that always make for a captivating live performance lies in their intricate choreography. Despite the fancy footwork that the group is known for, the moves for the upper half of the body are rather straightforward, which is why many fans in the audience were able to follow along easily in their seats. Indeed, “Miss Right” had the fans shaking their hands in the air, engaging hundreds of attendees with the idols in this one simple gesture.

The group concluded with “Rocking,” which could not have been a wiser choice, seeing as how this was the song that started their dance image and is the closest thing they have to a club banger. The free step may look impressive done behind the computer screen, but done live? That’s next level. The mix of hard synths, adrenaline, and their go for broke attitude had everyone singing along to the addictive “jangnan anieyo” (”it’s not a joke”) hook and hollering for more. It also helped that L.Joe is an insane mood-maker, what with his repeated ad-libs. Teen Top may not belong to any big name entertainment company or have the largest fanbase, but they sure know what it means to have a good time. Maybe it’s time to book them again for KCON 2016 for the fourth consecutive year.

TEENTOP NY (28)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America


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When in New York, Sing a Song About It

While Girls’ Generation were preparing for their performances, and in order to hype up the girls who were headlining the concert, the special stages that have always been critical to the “M! Countdown” concerts were scheduled right after Teen Top. Unfortunately, SONEs (Girls’ Generation’s official fandom) would have to wait just a little bit longer before they get to see their eight angels. Because the annual event was also held in New York this year (to be precise, it took place in New Jersey but how many songs about the Garden State can you list off of the top of your head?), AOA’s Yuna, Hyejeong, and ChoA did the East Coast proud by bringing a strong yet abbreviated rendition of Beyonce’s and Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind” to the table.

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Teen Top’s Niel and Chunji collaborated on a duet as well, but since English is not exactly their forte, they opted for the safe, slow-tempo “When I First Kissed You” by Extreme. The emotional song left audiences in as much of a hush it was ever going to be that evening.

22 KCON 2015 NY [CONCERT SPECIAL STAGE]

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Girls’ Generation Shuts Down the Show

They’re the poster child of girl groups, at least in our generation. And in a sea of pink that illuminated the arena here and there, it’s clear who many were here for. With eight years of experience under their belt, it’s really no wonder that Girls’ Generation was saved for last. When the group finally emerged in their (American) patriotic sequined colors, the crowd went wild, and when they opened with “Catch Me If You Can,” the song that marked their comeback as eight members, the crowd went berserk. In a similar vein of recent songs, they followed up with “Check,” the smooth RnB number that demonstrated a more mature side of the girls. They’ve come a long way since their flight attendants and jegi-kicking (shuttlecock-kicking) days, but if their next song, “Genie,” is any indication of anything, it’s that they also have not forgotten their roots. And of course, what is Girls’ Generation without “Gee,” the hit that practically created them? It’s a requisite in every Girls’ Generation set list and if it were not for the fact that the girls had recently comeback with a new single, it would’ve been the cincher like it was in the previous year to an amazing KCON.

Girls generation (18)

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

But they did comeback with “Party” last month, so naturally it was the closer of the night. They were all smiles as they had the honor of concluding the first ever KCON NY on a lively note. Concert-goers expected the burst of yellow streamers that permeated through the air, yet we were still caught off guard when it happened after leader Taeyeon hit the intense notes during bridge. And we all still cheered like mad.

23 KCON 2015 NY [CONCERT GIRLS GENERATION]

Courtesy of CJ E&M America

Just like that, KCON 15 NY came to an end. As the first installment on the East Coast, there were some things this “M! Countdown” concert did right that should continue in the ones to come, such as the proportionate distribution of set times in spite of seniority and the high security. But then there are other things the concert could have improved upon, including more opportunities for a solo/sub-unit stage and more line-ups. With room to grow, fans can only anticipate for an even bigger and better KCON 16 NY.

Check out more pictures from the night:

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What’s your favorite KCON artist? Let us know 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.

Inside KCON LA 2015 [PHOTOS]

Red Velvet KCON 15 LA KultScene Red CarpetIn its fourth year, KCON LA expanded to add an extra day from last year, and headed to a larger venue at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Between July 31 and August 2, fans and purveyors of Korean culture in the United States kept busy with a variety of different activities.

Expo

This year, KCON LA’s booths became a full on expo. Previously, KCON had featured only a handful of vendors, websites, and fanclubs. But this year, there were many more booths, plus an added business conference on the first day. The expo area was divided into different sections, including CJ Street featuring a variety of CJ E&M booths, the Marketplace where attendees could free up their dollars, the K-ICT Dream Zone featuring technology, and the K-Goods Zone, selling an array of Korean products.

Some of the most prominent booths included Verizon, Asiana, MBC America, Nongshim, and Toyota, sponsors of the event, but Korean beauty and technology brands, like Iope, K3I, The Face Shop, and Kakao, also were spotted throughout the event. People walking around could sing karaoke, try out virtual reality goggles, purchase Korean oriented clothing or ridiculously cute t-shirts, check out booths hosted by Korean channels like Mnet and TvN, buy K-pop posters and albums (and, of course, official KCON souvenirs!), and practically anything Korean wave related. Websites like Soompi and Glow Recipe also hosted their own booths.Glow Recipe KCON 15 LA KultScene

Fanclubs played a big role in this year’s expo, with many K-pop fanclubs organizing fans in a variety of special events planned for artists during the concert. One Super Junior fanclub planned a banner event with the members of the group, while another handed out blue headbands that led to the first night of KCON 2015 appearing like a sapphire blue ocean. Fans of the show “Running Man” set up a Running Fan corner of the expo, where KCON-goers could try to reenact their favorite games of the variety show. Red Velvet fans sold jewelry featuring the members, and even fanclubs of artists who weren’t appearing at the show made themselves known. Fanclubs of groups like EXO and MYNAME were also there, gathering in North American fans.


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Along with the expo panels themselves, there was a central stage that featured performances throughout the three-day event, including Roy Kim, Buzzfeed’s The Try Guys (!), performance group Double The Fire, and violinist and dancer Jun Sung Ahn. GOT7 even surprised the convention on the second day by putting on a fashion show in collaboration with the Korean fashion brand Beyond Closet. Designer Ko Tae Young also appeared at the event, and GOT7 wore the clothes for multiple events throughout the day.

Panels

With a whole three days to fill, there were a lot more panels at this year’s KCON, and a lot of interest. Many panels were cram-packed with people who wanted to hear what was going on, with multiple lines wrapping around the corner of the convention center as fans tried to get seats close to their favorite panelists.

Irene Kim KCON 15 LA KultScene

Korean drama producers, fashion icons, actors, YouTube stars, writers, and other sort of industry insiders made their rounds, giving their thoughts and opinions on a variety of subjects. Panels addressed the meaning of K-pop, Korean indie music, cultural clashes, behind the scenes of websites and dramas, K-Pop’s LGBT fandom, and a lot lot more.

KCON attendees were also able to learn the dances of their favorite songs, cook food, learn tips about applying Korean beauty products, and a lot more. For more culturally inclined people, KCON-ers could try on traditional Korean clothes, watch a Korean wedding ceremony, and learn about traditional Korean tea.

Adrienne Kdramastars KCON 15 LA KultScene

Several Korean dramas and films also were aired during the convention, including “Twenty,” “Emergency Couple,” and the premiere of “Mr. Baek The Homemade Food Master,” featuring KCON guest So Ho Jun. One event that gained a lot of attention on the Internet post-KCON was an 18+ fan fiction open mic, hosted by KCON’s Hoon Bae.

Fan Engagements

One of the highlights this year for many fans at KCON was the success of the fan engagements. In previous years, there were issues with meet and greets being too limited so that many fans couldn’t attend, poorly timed events, cancelled events, or not enough interaction between fans and their favorite idols. But this time around, KCON LA got everything very right.


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Many of acts who would appear at the M! Countdown concerts, including SHINHWA, AOA, Monsta X, Red Velvet, Got7, and Block B, held fan engagements with their fans. All of the meet and greets featured question and answer sessions, and most featured hi-touch events. After initial confusion on the first day, when two fan meets had to swap their times due to scheduling issues, all of the rest ran orderly and the majority of fans possible were able to enjoy. Morover, attendees also got involved in the KCON meet and greet black market, where you could trade tickets and, maybe, make a bit of cash. It was hard to walk through the convention without hearing “Looking for GOT7 hi-touch tickets!” or “Who wants a Roy Kim audience ticket?”

JB GOT7 KCON 15 LA KultScene

Food

Let’s talk about the grub. Along with the standard convention center fare of hot dogs, pizza, and coffee, there were free McDonalds samples being given out throughout the majority of the weekend and Korean cooking lessons from brands like Bibigo, where KCON-ers learned how to make bibimbap, a Korean meal in a bowl. There were also food trucks and stands from several Korean-oriented companies, like Tous les Jours and Shin Ramyun.

Bibigo KCON 15 LA KultScene

Klub KCON

While there were three days of KCON LA 2015, there were only two nights of concerts, so for the first day KCON introduced something brand new. Klub KCON opened up in the convention center after the expo ended for the day on July 31, giving attendees a place to party. SISTAR and Monsta X performed at the event, surprising KCON-ers in the intimate atmosphere with tastes of what they were going to perform the next night at the Staples Center.

Sistar KCON 15 LA KultScene

KCON App

One of the most innovative things at KCON LA 2015 was an app that people could download to their phones, which would alert KCON attendees about events going on and schedule changes. People could look up the location and time of events and even make planned out, personal schedules for themselves.

Red Carpet

The Red Carpet was the highlight for many fans, since artists like Super Junior and Kim Soo Hyun had not held fan engagements, meaning this was the event to get close to them before the actual concert. But let’s not bore you and go straight to the pictures from that day of all of Korea’s top celebrities.

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Did you go to KCON or wish you had gone? Share your experience and 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.