Artist Spotlight: Pungdeng-E

Picture this. You walk the halls and grounds of KCON LA 2015. You see thousands of devoted K-pop fans giving some sort of tribute to their favourite groups. They wear full costumes from music videos, print out full body cutouts of their bias, they perform perfect renditions of their favourite dances. The attention to detail is evidence of the great devotion fans have for their favourite groups. But one man stands out from this obsessive crowd for going above and beyond what can be expected of a fan. This man does not have a detailed costume nor does he dance his bias’ best dance. All he carries is a poster, a bag, and a heavy heart.

The poster is of the mostly unknown three member K-pop girl group Pungdeng-E. The bag contains 500 copies of their album. And his heart is heavy for their lack of success. Here we see the most devoted fan of KCON 2015, a man wandering the grounds alone giving away free CDs of his favourite group that he paid for himself. All because he wants them to succeed.

 Also on KultScene: Breaking Down KCON ’15 LA’s Red Carpet Looks

On to the group in question, Pungdeng-E are primarily a hip-hop group who rap and sing in satoori, which is the general word in Korean for non-Seoul dialects of speech. Satoori is generally used for comedy these days and with Pungdeng-E this is no exception. Their songs and music videos are clearly not trying to be serious, it’s more about having fun and being able to laugh at yourself. Think of them as Crayon Pop’s embarrassing rapping aunties (Crayon Pop are actually older but don’t look or sound it.)

Pungdeng-E debuted in December of 2013 as DOMA Entertainment’s first girl group. Apparently each member uses a different satoori which is a fun gimmick but completely lost on foreign listeners. With their debut single “Al Tang” (al tang is a Korean soup dish) they use this gimmick for the theme of the song as well. It’s about a group of girls from the country who have come to Seoul to party and pick up boys. Immediately the satoori is evident, even to foreign listeners. It emphasizes the comedic tone of the song while also offering commentary on so-called country bumpkins and stuck up Seoul men. Pungdeng-E rap about how great they are and how much they like this guy without a moment’s notice of what the actually thinks. This is interjected by a man’s voice laughing and saying “don’t you guys even look in the mirror?” It’s quite broad humour but works well given the commitment to the joke.

Their next music video was for the cutesy “Cotton Candy,” I’m not actually sure if it was a single or not as information on Pungdeng-E is sparse. When I began watching the video I immediately hoped that it would be a parody of K-pop girl groups who try to be cute all the time. Honestly, I once again don’t know the answer to this. I couldn’t find any English translations of the lyrics so don’t know what they are actually singing about. I Google translated them but can’t really make any sense out of that. The visuals don’t show any obvious signs of parody but with a song like “Al Tang” under their belt I don’t trust just their video. All we can comment on is what we have though and that is a pretty substandard attempt at being cute. The production is cheap and generic. The vocals have their satoori hint but are uninteresting here. “Cotton Candy” is something you will forget not long after you hear it.

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Luckily for us their follow up single “Baechu Bossam” is almost impossible to forget. Continuing their food theme this song is about the Korean pork dish Bossam and specifically the cabbage it is wrapped in. Pungdeng-E seemed to have gotten an injection of money for this comeback as the song and video are of much higher production values. The music moves along with their rapping rather than just underlying it like in “Al Tang.” It shifts as they change pitch or delivery. It gives the song a fun, kinetic energy. It also contains a horn section that delights in its fevered bursts. Appropriately, the song is about having fun and eating nice food. Simple ideas for a simple group. There’s an endearing innocent fun to Pungdeng-E that gets rather infectious after a few listens of “Baechu Bossam.

The video is a step up too. It has Korean subtitles that explain what’s going so once again I am ignorant of the details. It seems to be a parody of overly serious conspiracy crime dramas that are quite popular in South Korea. They use cabbage as the so sought after item which apart from being an obvious stand in for whatever those dramas are built around (drugs, money, technology) but also work since everyone in the video seems to want it so badly because Pungdeng-E are rapping about how it’s the key to happiness.

That’s ultimately what Pungdeng-E want. For people to be happy and have fun while watching them perform. The un-self-conscious delivery of the silly material makes them a joy to behold. it really helps them stick out in a crowded market of girl groups. It is also probably what holds them back though. The comedy angle only takes groups so far and if it’s not being seen on variety shows then it is all but unseen. Without really great songs behind them there’s little Pungdeng-E can do. Maybe that doesn’t matter either. Maybe Pungdeng-E are telling us that stressing over success is useless. All that really matters in the end is if we can have our favourite food. That’s something necessary that also brings us great happiness. Sometimes we need to hear these simple ideas again to learn their importance. For that I am thankful to Pungdeng-E and to the lone wandering hero of KCON.

If you like what you see and hear, stay tuned to Kultscene for your chance to win a Pungdeng-E related prize later in the week.

What do you think of Pungdeng-E? 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.

Breaking Down KCON ’15 LA’s Red Carpet Looks

Red Carpet fashion is always fun, but when it comes to a K-pop red carpet, we never know what we are going to expect. With no assigned dress code on KCON’s red carpet, the interpretation of fashion was open to the imagination of the artists’ stylists. Some opted for classic suits, while some looks seemed to come out of fashion editorials and others simply wore their performance outfits for that night of the “M! Countdown” concert. Here is this year’s break down of KCON ‘15 LA Red Carpet looks.

The Classic Suits

The easiest look for men on a red carpet is to go with a classic suit, but there are always some things you can add to make you stand out. Roy Kim kept it simple with a navy suit and paired it with a grey mandarin collar shirt and white sneakers. It was a very safe choice that transitioned perfectly onto his performance in the concert.

Photo Alejandro Abarca for KultScene

Photo Alejandro Abarca for KultScene

Son Ho-Jun, for his part, opted for a classic dark navy suit. The jacket had black detailing under the lapel that offered a modern take on the classic look. He paired it with a white shirt that featured a black collar and kept it crisp with a white skinny tie. The actor looked very happy and confident with his outfit, and made all the fans of “Reply 1994” scream and shout for him.

Photo Alejandro Abarca for KultScene

Photo Alejandro Abarca for KultScene

Also on KultScene: KCON 2015 LA’s M! Countdown Concerts Recap

Eric Nam’s bright and contagious personality really shone through his clothes. He wore a blazer and dress pants, but sported them with a casual shirt and sneakers, making him look fresh and modern but still appropriate for a red carpet. Eric is known for this kind of look, so this was no surprise for his adoring fans. Eric looked sharp and very handsome and created a great atmosphere on the red carpet that made everyone in the audience have fun and enjoy his three minutes in the spotlight.

Photo Alejandro Abarca for KultScene

Photo Alejandro Abarca for KultScene

In SHINHWA’s case, the group’s stylist made bolder choices. From Eric’s red jacket, and pairing black trousers with blue blazers on Jun Jin, the choices were daring but very fun. The member’s perfectly tailored suits looked incredible on them and made all of the Shinhwa Chanjos (SHINHWA’s fans) go crazy after their long wait to see this legendary group.

When Super Junior came out, everybody in the audience went nuts! The boys looked incredibly handsome and chic in their suits. The black suits fit well on each member, and everyone added their touch of their own personality to it. Heechul added his trademark style with a face mask that read SUPER JUNIOR” and paired it with amazing shoes that featured gold metal accents. Eunhyuk and Kyuhyun were the only ones that sported red bowties that made them stand out from the other members. Moreover, Ryeowook was the only one who wore a different jacket with a white trim on the lapel, but it still managed to look cohesive with the rest of the group’s styling. Super Junior was definitely one of the best dressed at KCON’s red carpet.

We all already know that Daniel Henney is a gorgeous man. But with the look he sported on the red carpet, he made everybody in the audience fall in love with him even more. The cream suit paired with a white shirt and black patent leather loafers was a risky choice, but it turned out to be a home run for Henney. He managed to look elegant and casual at the same time by opting out of a classic bow tie or wearing a tie. The look was minimal and clean, and it clearly made a fashion statement in the red carpet.

Photo Alejandro Abarca for KultScene

Photo Alejandro Abarca for KultScene

There’s really not that much to say about Kim Soo Hyun; he is simply perfect! For his very short appearance in the red carpet, his stylist dressed him in a beautiful classic three piece black suit. He looked like a prince out of a fairy tale. His hair was pulled up, letting us see his gorgeous eyebrows and facial structure. Plus, the oversized black bow tie added a little fun to his look.

True To Their Concepts

In comparison to the men who were generally decked out in suits,girl groups usually dressed in costumes or their current concept of the album that they were promoting. SISTAR sparkled in their red carpet outfits. Hyorin, Bora, and Soyou opted for sequin daisy dukes in silver, gold, and emerald green, while Dasom sported a sequined long sleeve crop top, making the girl group look cohesive and performance ready. SISTAR wore these outfits to the concert and, literally and metaphorically, shined on stage.

Following their recent concept for their comeback “Heart Attack”, AOA sported their cheerleading outfits. The orange V-neck crop top with white and black trim was balanced perfectly with the circle wrap skort with orange piping. The outfits flattered each member and the color combination (even if it was a very Halloween palette — made the girls stand out.

The ladies of Red Velvet went a more casual and normcore route in their styling. They all wore tennis skirts in different colors, paired it with school athletic tees. Seulgi and Wendy wore baseball caps that made them look really cool. The pastel color palette looked great on the members and made them look very relatable and down to earth. They managed to look fun and young while still following their “Ice Cream Cake” concept.

The Fashionistas and Avant-Gardists

BLOCK B’s stylist really had fun with each member. Everyone was dressed in a different style that still showed each boys’ personality and fashion sense. Jaehyo wore one of the most coveted fashion items for this season, a Moschino by Jeremy Scott soda sweater. Zico wore a Thrasher jacket full of patches, tank top, and sweatpants, making him effortlessly cool. P.O. looked amazing in his suit and B-Bomb rocked the culottes in a very cool way.

Furthermore, GOT7 graced the red carpet with looks especially created for them by designer Ko Tae Young, who held a mini fashion show with the group during the convention. Bam Bam wore an amazing coordinated bomber jacket and shorts that were styled over ripped jeans a longline T-shirt and amazing Chelsea boots. JB looked very handsome with his hair up, oversized sunglasses, and patched military jacket. Mark stood out in a sleeveless jacket, showing off his arms, and paired with white culottes. While the rest of the members were styled in similar fashion, the group looked cohesive and ready for a fashion editorial.

Also on KultScene: Inside KCON LA 2015 [PHOTOS]

MONSTA X is another case like Block B. Each member had a different styling that showed their personalities really well. They had a more urban and streetwear inspiration for their styling, which made them look edgy and cool. The best look was Hyungwon’s long parka with the amazing Raf Simons for ADIDAS sneakers. Wonho and Minhyuk almost looked like twins, but still managed to bring out their personalities through their styling; Minhyuk looked cute, while Wonho looked sexy. Jooheon looked handsome with his red hair and a pink snapback. Shownu, Kihyun, and I.M.’s styling was a little bit more simple than the rest of the members, but still made them stand out and look cool.

Zion T. & Crush were two of the coolest men to grace the red carpet. And even if Crush’s look was a little bit more casual, the one who stole the show was Zion T. We all are accustomed to the amazing avant-garde looks and silhouettes he presents with his daring fashion choices. He looked simple yet fashion forward with his wide legged black culottes, a simple black T-shirt layered with a printed dress shirt (which had the same print as Crush’s dress shirt), an oversized blazer, Vans sneakers.

Which artist was your favorite in KCON’s ’15 LA Red Carpet? 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.