pH-1 talks creative process, the future, & latest single ‘365&7’ [interview]

ph-1 ph1 korean hip hop rap h1ghr music
Photo credit: H1GHR MUSIC

By Stitch

pH-1 has been one busy guy.

Incredibly active since his 2017 debut The Island Kid, pH-1 has become a staple in Korean hip-hop thanks to his solid back catalog and excellent collaborations with a wide range of equally talented performers in and out of his label, H1GHR MUSIC. Looking at his discography over the past five years will make you wonder when he ever has time to sleep because he always has something incredible out.

pH-1’s path to hip hop excellence is an interesting one. Spending his teenage years and young adulthood in Long Island, New York, pH-1 studied biology and initially was on the fast track to working in the medical industry. He even worked as a dental assistant before turning to web development. With an interest in rapping that really kicked into gear during his college years, pH-1’s big break came after Jay Park saw one of his early music videos and reached out. Fast forward to now, and pH-1 is easily one of the most well-known Korean-American rappers in the game.

In the past two years, pH-1 has hopped on remixes with other big names of Korean hip-hop. 2020’s “Gang Official Remix,” a collaboration with Sik-K, Jay Park, and Haon, cracked the top five of the Gaon Digital Chart. Already in 2021, his collaborations have been legendary. First up was “VVS,” an ode to excess that saw pH-1 joining his H1GHR family members on a track that was all about flexing their success. In addition to that, pH-1 shows up on the very fun remix for “Achoo” and knocks that out of the park.

However, his solo releases over the past several years are a must-listen as well. “Nerdy Love,” his January 2020 track featuring Baek Ye-Rin hitting the top 50 on the Gaon charts. 2020 was also a big year for pH-1 because he released his second studio album, X, with H1GHR Music this time last year. 


Now, with “365&7”, his latest very spring-appropriate collab with powerhouse vocalist JAMIE, you get another glimpse at his softer side. KultScene had the opportunity to link up with pH-1 to chat about his latest collabs, his creative process, and the future of his music as we get ready to enter the second half of 2021.

This interview was lightly edited for clarity.

“365&7” is such a bright romantic song and it’s absolutely perfect for spring. What did the creative process look like for this song? How did you and JAMIE come up with the theme for the song and the sweet lyrics? Did you work on them together? 

pH-1:  When I first got the beat, I immediately knew it had to be about love. More specifically, I wanted “365&7” to play around the theme of “time.” Since COVID started, all of our lives have been put on halt in some ways, and we kind of lost sense of time. For example, I remember counting down on New Year’s Eve just a while ago, but it’s already May 2021. This made me realize that time goes by too fast, and we shouldn’t waste any of it — as lovers, friends, or family.

jamie ph1 ph-1 3657 collab
Photo credit: H1GHR MUSIC

Speaking of collabs… your collab with Ace Hashimoto, “GIRLS,” dropped a few weeks ago. How did that collab come into being? Do you have any cool stories from linking up with him for this collab? 

I met Ace about three or four years back when he visited Korea. After that we kept in contact, and he asked me to feature on his song “GIRLS”. The song was dope, so I hopped on it. He even came all the way to Korea to shoot a MV with me. But after that, he kind of went on a hiatus. Our management tried contacting him but couldn’t reach him. After about two years, he came back to tell me he was dropping the project. I was surprised but glad that we were able to put a great song out into the world.

When you’re working on your solo projects, do you have a creative routine that always gets you the best results? 

It seems to me that all my best songs were written fairly quickly. Whenever I struggle to write a song, it usually turns out not as good as the ones I write fast. I believe that good melodies should come out naturally without having to think too hard.

If you have to get something done on a tight deadline, how do you make yourself meet it? Do you lock yourself in a studio and write all day or do you do your best writing outdoors? What helps you focus?

Yes, I lock myself in the studio until I finish the project. I have never tried writing outdoors, actually. I think I’d be distracted by what’s going on around me, plus the noise. Mood lights help me focus. I turn off all the lights in my room and only turn on blue LED lights to set the mood.

Your 2018 album Gatsby pulled from the film based on The Great Gatsby. What other movies or books have inspired you lately?

I was very much inspired by the film Joker. The script and Joaquin Phoenix’s performance were outstanding. It made me think about people’s tendency to mock or cast out the ones that are different from us, and that we as humans always find ways to justify our actions, even if they are wrong and sometimes malicious. It also made me try and put myself in others’ shoes before judging or jumping to a conclusion without knowing too much about them. Everybody has a sad story, we just don’t know it.


I was rewatching your interview with Eric Nam from last year where at one point you mentioned that you create songs with a certain message and sound for your local audience and another for international audiences outside of Korea, like in North America. You also clearly put out music that has crossover appeal on multiple levels. How do you decide on the messages you put in your song lyrics? How do you deal with a song in progress that doesn’t fit anywhere?

 It’s very hard to explain in words. There are certain types of melodies and chord progressions that Korean people are more likely to relate to, more so than the international listeners — and vice versa. I think it’s because the styles of music around the world are so different that people all have different tastes. I always aim to write songs that crossover both Korean and American sounds because that’s who I am. I grew up in the U.S. as a Korean-American, so I have a good understanding of both cultures and what people like in music. All this to say, I have yet to make a song that does not fit anywhere. I believe that whatever I make, it will always fit somewhere. Someone will relate to it, and that’s all that matters. In terms of lyrics, I feel the most comfortable writing about my experiences and emotions when living my life. The biggest theme for most of my songs is about relationships between people.

So far, how has 2021 been different for you when it comes to how you’ve created and who you’ve created with? Have you hit any goals or milestones at this point in 2021 that you thought weren’t possible in 2020?

The writing process definitely has not been easy. Due to restricted activities and travels, I find myself lacking inspiration. I can’t wait to tour different cities and connect with the crowd. It’s really the source of energy for every artist. As far as milestones go, it’s only May of 2021, so I will have to see. But I am very happy that my following and listeners have been growing in numbers every year (thanks to Spotify stats). I just hope that I never stop growing as an artist and as a person.

How do you navigate a balance between making hip-hop that feels mainstream and music that feels authentic to who you are as a person? Have you struggled recently with that or are you secure in your journey through the industry?

I’m always struggling to find the balance. As an artist that has a certain following and fandom, I often wonder if I should make more mainstream songs to reach a wider audience or just do what I’ve always been doing. It’s a constant battle, but I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job balancing both sides of the spectrum.

Let’s talk snacks. What’s your go-to food fuel when you’re working hard on a new release? What about when you’re celebrating a new release like now with “365&7?” How did you reward yourself for another really great release?

I usually order-in because I spend a lot of my time at home. My go-to food is definitely Korean food. It gives me energy to work and makes me feel like I’m really “home.” When in celebration, I like to wine and dine myself. I recently went to a nice Italian restaurant, ordered some fancy plates of pasta, steak, assorted fruits and cheese, and a bottle of wine.

I feel as though you do a lot of genre blending across your different solo and collab releases. Are there any genres or musical styles you want to incorporate into your future rap releases that you haven’t been able to touch yet? If so, why do you think those genres remain out of reach for you?

I want to try blending Dancehall in my music some time in future. I think that Dancehall has remained out of reach for me just because I feel the need to learn more about it first. It has a very unique rhythm and bounce to it that I want to fully get comfortable with so that I can blend it well in my own flavor.

If you could get your newer fans — like the ones who you’ll get after “365&7” — to listen to one of your older songs, what would you pick and why?

If you enjoy moody, sentimental songs, I recommend you listen to “DVD.” If you’re a fan of hard-hitting rap songs, I recommend “Olaf” and “PACKITUP!”

Aside from your own music, what songs do you keep on repeat when you’re listening to music? What’s the most “unexpected” song that you just can’t get enough of?

Recently I have been repeatedly listening to Justin Bieber’s “Peaches.” I think the most unexpected song that I listen to is Rosé’s  “On The Ground.” Unexpected because I don’t know too much about K-pop. Rosé is very talented.

What do you think or hope that the rest of 2021 is going to bring for you? Any big musical plans you can spoil for us a little? 

I am going to take a little break because I’ve been working non-stop for the past couple of years. I will be working on my album that will be released within 2021.

How did you like “365&7”? Before you dive into pH-1’s back catalog to listen to all of his great work, let us know how much you liked his latest releases! And don’t forget to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

KultScene is a writer-driven website dedicated to creating a platform where diverse voices’ takes on K-pop can be heard. If you like this post and would like to see more, please consider contributing to the KultScene’s writers fund. Email us for more details.

BIG Naughty talks ‘Bucket List’ & being a Korean rap prodigy [interview]

Since his time on the popular rap survival TV show Show Me the Money, BIG Naughty has flexed his prowess as a leader in South Korea’s upcoming class of hip-hop. His repertoire includes collaborations with heavyweights such as Beenzino, Verbal Jint, Simon Dominic, Jay Park, Loco, and more. 

With only three years in the game, the 17-year-old has been deemed a prodigy in his generation — a title that would be intimidating for many, but BIG Naughty manages to hold it with grace. His ability to effortlessly adapt to various genres while maintaining his authenticity has landed him on the radar of global audiences. With over 300,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, the rapper is proving to be a top player in South Korea’s music scene. And though recent disagreements between South Korean distributor Kakao M and Spotify resulted in a majority of his discography being removed from the latter, BIG Naughty shows no signs of slowing down. (The dispute has since been resolved and the music is back on the platform).

His new EP Bucket List, released under H1GHR MUSIC, navigates the woes of youth, love, and regret. It also features some of the most exciting, big names in Korean music, like Jamie, GSoul, Gray, and DPR Cream. From beginning to end, BIG Naughty takes listeners through a crash course on youth accompanied by various genres from R&B and jazz, to lo-fi. 

KultScene had the opportunity to catch up with BIG Naughty and talk about “Bucket List, his inspirations, and creativity.

KultScene: First things first: How are you doing?

BIG Naughty: Feeling damn good.

This pandemic has been crazy. What was it like preparing Bucket List during these unprecedented times?

Actually, I didn’t hang out a lot before the COVID so it was even better for me to finish the album lol.

What was the inspiration behind it?

From everywhere, my friends, love, and maybe you? lol.


How does it feel to be releasing your EP?

I feel proud of myself and also I feel so blessed that I can actually release an album. That’s craaazy.

You’ve been considered a prodigy, did that perception of you make you feel any extra pressure in preparing this EP?

Actually I felt a lot of pressure cause I got so many things in a short term so I thought I had to fully prove by this album.

You’ve collaborated with your peers at H1GHR MUSIC. Did you feel any difference in preparing for Bucket List compared to previous collaborations and releases?

That it feels a little retro?

What was your favorite part of creating this project?

Everything from beginning to end. Especially the artwork that I got to collaborate with Seongsu Museum. And the music video as well…

Each track shows a different side of you, but which one do you think represents you the most?

I can’t choose one. It’s all me, the rebellious side of me in “Brand New World,” a warm-hearted side of me from “Bravo,” and heart-broken side of me from “Frank Ocean.”

Bucket List offers everything from blues to grunge and lo-fi to neosoul. What genre do you enjoy the most, and is there a specific genre you would like to try?

Jazz definitely feels like a genre that will forever last. And it’s romantic~

“Frank Ocean” seems to be one of the most experimental tracks on Bucket List. What inspired it?

It was the time when my first love told me about the artist Frank Ocean, she went off to study abroad, and I missed my chance of telling her how I feel. There are some meanings here and there in the song that only I would know.

Is there a song on the album that you are particularly excited for fans to hear?

Joker!” I tried out just pure R&B, hope you guys like it!

Throughout the album, it’s evident you’re playing by your own rules. Have you always done your own thing regardless of what the people around you may think?

No not at all. (Actually I do, inside…)


What are some things on your bucket list? If you don’t mind sharing.

That’s a secret haha.

Since your time on Show Me the Money, you’ve accomplished a lot as an artist. What’s been one of the most significant moments for you? Why?

The day my EP was released, I was so proud of myself.

What do you want your fans to take away from Bucket List and your journey so far?

Dreams! Courage! Don’t lose your dreams and courage going through these hard times!

You’ll feel better after listening to the track “Bucket List”

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Thank you always for all the overwhelming support and love!! Stay safe!

What’s your favorite song on Bucket List? 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.

KultScene is a writer-driven website dedicated to creating a platform where diverse voices’ takes on K-pop can be heard. If you like this post and would like to see more by helping support KultScene’s writers fund, please email us for more details.

Korean R&B singer Golden talks ‘Blue Tape,’ H1GHR MUSIC, & K-music [interview]

In only half a decade, K-R&B and Soul singer Golden has written and rewritten his own narrative many times. From the smooth vocal pop and upbeat R&B outfits of his early career to the piano ballads on last year’s Hate Everything EP, Golden has moved in and out of the mainstream, centering his own artistry and finding new direction within the thriving soul, R&B, and hip-hop realms of Korean music. 

In 2017, he left K-pop powerhouse label JYP Entertainment to join H1GHR MUSIC, a label founded by R&B heavyweight Jay Park for rising hip-hop and R&B artists to pioneer their own musical and creative pursuits. In the world of K-music, such a shift is nothing short of a redefining. Golden isn’t afraid of new beginnings, especially when it comes to creating music in new ways. Last year, he even went on Voice of Korea, a domestic singing TV competition, in a move to re-experience the rookie mindset all over again. Naturally, he took home the first place spot. 

When it comes to new beginnings, redefining narratives, and bridging gaps, Golden’s new label H1GHR MUSIC does exactly that. In Young Money Militia style, the H1GHR MUSIC family dropped two LPs—the rap-centric RED TAPE and feel-good R&B BLUE TAPE— in August and September, respectively. 

I got the chance to speak with Golden over email and ask about the creative process behind the albums, as well as his larger direction as an artist and vocal powerhouse in the exploding Korean music industry. 

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KultScene: What was it like collaborating with H1GHR artists on these albums? Do you find that your artistic process changes when you collaborate versus when you make solo music?

Golden: It was a bit challenging, but also fun, to try a little different sounds and styles with different artists.

Which H1GHR MUSIC artist did you enjoy working with the most on the H1GHR projects, and why?

I’d say it’s Big Naughty, because I was very impressed with his execution and some of his choices on melody.

How does your work on RED TAPE and BLUE TAPE differ from your previous work? What was new, exciting, or scary to you about these projects?

Well actually, I wasn’t as involved on the RED TAPE except for the intro track “H1GHR” that Jay Park and I participated in. BLUE TAPE was fun, and I like the fact that most songs from the album are uplifting and feel-good types of songs. I think people need that right now.

Is there a particular song on BLUE TAPE that you’re particularly excited for fans to hear? What is special about that track?

Definitely my solo song “Selfish.” It’s the song that I was keeping for my own album, but I’m happy that it’s released sooner through this project. 

You’ve been in the industry for a while, and have gotten to work under different agencies and labels, and with different artists. How is H1GHR different from previous labels you’ve been under?

H1GHR music has a system where artists get to have more creative control which is always good for artists like myself who creates all the contents of mine. The former label that I was in was a larger entertainment company that mainly produced idol groups with a more strict system.

You just won Voice of Korea. Congratulations! What inspired you to go on the show, and how did it change your outlook as a singer and artist?

The production team reached out to me and I thought it’d be a good opportunity for me to learn how to consistently deliver my music under pressure. I’m very grateful for the experience.

Your music has taken a lot of different forms, including smooth R&B, upbeat dance tracks, and piano ballads. Which is your favorite sound, and is there a particular style or genre you’ll be doing more of in the future?

I’d have to say “Hate Everything” type of genre. Don’t we all in 2020? Lol… I’m really just open to trying new different things, whether it’s in music or anything in life. But musically, I definitely want to try and make a jazz album.

You make a lot of English-language and Korean-language music, and fans really love both. Does the process of writing and making a song differ depending on what language you’re writing in? How does your English discography feel different than your Korean discography, and how are they similar?

I read that phonetically, it is easier to sing in English than Korean. Many Korean writers write the English lyrics first for that reason. But yeah, it’s definitely a blessing to be able to sing and write in different languages.

Since your debut—how do you think your sound has changed over time? Even more personally, how have you changed as a person since you’ve entered the spotlight?

I’ve written many different styles of music. And I think it helped me become more adventurous and open minded as a person. And I think my music has become more soulful naturally with more experience as I got older.

Also on KultScene: Time Flies: 5 Years of Wonder Girls’ ‘Reboot’

Fans often debate whether K-R&B and Korean Hip-hop is related to, part of, or completely separate from K-pop. Given that you’re an artist who dabbles in all three kinds of music, what’s your take on that?

This is an important question, I think. In my opinion, musically, most K-pop songs are rooted in the western music. R&B/Hip-hop music started in the U.S., but especially because of the internet, we all have access to all kinds of music all around the world. Music has become universal. However, “K-pop” to me, is not just about music. I see it as more of a cultural phenomenon followed by a very unique and wide international fan base.

What advice do you have for the amateur performers, songwriters, producers, singers, and rappers out there?

Study the business before you get into it. Music business is changing drastically. All talents will have to have more knowledge in business and creative ideas to make profits off their hard work. Also, stay humble so that you can always grow and evolve.

What can we expect next from you? What would be a dream collaboration to feature on your next release?

I’m working on a few collaborations right now. I just want to continue to make good music that moves me and inspires people around the world. That’s all.

More broadly, what is the message you hope listeners take from your music? 

Everything. The pain, joy and a lot of love.

What are your thoughts on H1GHR MUSIC’S BLUE TAPE? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

KultScene is a writer-driven website dedicated to creating a platform where diverse voices’ takes on K-pop can be heard. If you like this post and would like to see more by helping support KultScene’s writers fund, please email us for more details.

James Lee talks working with friends, ‘Falling’ memes, & latest releases [interview]

james lee singer kpop
Courtesy of SubKulture Entertainment

James Lee is taking control of his career and doing things on his own terms. The former bassist and keyboardist for the Korean rock band Royal Pirates is exploring variations of synths and visuals as he brings his music Stateside. Having spent his life performing in rock bands, Lee is using his expertise in producing, writing, and singing for his new projects. 

Last year, the singer released his first solo EP “The Light” thanks to a successful Kickstarter, detailing his journey through recovery after a restaurant’s windowpane crashed into him leaving him with a severed wrist in 2015 while living in South Korea. Despite five surgeries and painful physiotherapy, Lee was unable to regain proper function of his hand ultimately leaving his position in Royal Pirates two years later. Following “The Light,” Lee linked up with NEKO, Amber Liu, and more artists for his following singles. 

To ring in his new career endeavours, Lee embarked on his first Stateside tour alongside rock band Fyke and Kevin Woo, former lead vocalist for K-pop boy band U-KISS. Lee also teamed up with Woo for their first collaboration “Falling.” Originally released in August, the pop track explores a missed chance at love and an unsuccessful attempt at moving on. 

While its lyrics are melancholic, the music video displays a relentless desire of sabotage. The music video, released on Oct. 26, opens with a bloody Lee before cutting to him unsuccessfully delivering a speech to a blushing bride and groom. From there, chaos ensues as Lee and Woo disrupt the wedding with fire, chainsaws and commotion. “Falling” features cameos from Lee’s family and YouTubers Mike Bow and Linda Dong. 

In Lee’s follow-up single “Losing It,” the crooner opens up about his mental health during his rigorous rehabilitation from a life-changing accident in 2015. Backed by pop-synths and subtle bass, the track’s somber lyrics and emotional delivery redirected listeners from “Falling”’s comedic moments. In sharing his struggles, Lee hopes those suffering from PTSD know that they are not alone. 

Since speaking candidly about his injury over the past few years and redirecting his career, Lee is looking forward to making more feel-good tracks. The singer partnered with Thai-German based singer/actress Janine Weigel for an upcoming track scheduled for release on Nov. 22.


Lee took time from his busy schedule to chat with KultScene via email about new music, support, and his future. 

You and Kevin completed touring together recently. How was sharing that homecoming with him? 

“It was so much fun to be able to play shows with one of my best friends. We all had the same energy and just wanted to make sure the shows were fun for everyone. I hope we are able to do it again in the future!” 

How does opening this new chapter in your career feel? 

“I’ve been working on other artists’ music, and I feel so lucky that I’ve been able to build a career this way, but I would also like to release my own music consistently. I hope that this chapter leads to more opportunities for better music. I also want to be the best version of myself that I can be, and this feels like the right direction.” 

Initially, “Falling” was released in Aug. What made you decide to release the song and music video at different times? 

“At first, we weren’t sure if we would have the budget, but a company called graciously stepped in and helped us out! We also had to shoot some pickups, and I was traveling quite a bit, so I had to wait until I got back to LA to film the flamethrower scene.” 

 Where did the concept for “Falling” come from? What was the process like? 

“Everyone knows that feeling of falling for someone, whether it be a slow drip or unexpectedly finding yourself in love —so, lyrically, it was really easy to write. I’ve also been in rock bands all my life, so the arrangement was fun for me to write. I also knew that the contrast between Kevin’s voice and mine would give the song more depth —and obviously, he killed it.” 

“Falling” has dark comedic moments in it. How do you feel about the memes coming from the music video? Do you have a favorite? 

“The memes were the best part. I loved seeing my fans excited and proactive about the video, and the fact that there were so many memes shows that the video had a lot of interesting moments. My favorite was a clip of Kevin singing, ‘I keep coming back every time,’ but the top of the image had the words ‘My Acne,’ basically calling Kevin a pimple lol.” 

How did the blow torch and chainsaw become incorporated into the video? 

“That was actually the director’s idea (Brad Wong). They just seemed like outrageous things to have at a wedding, so we thought it’d be great to throw them in there.” 


How does it feel to have your parents be a part of the music video? What were their reactions? 

“Anytime I can involve my family is such a pleasure. I feel lucky that they get to be part of my projects, and it’s fun for me to see their acting.” 

What was the best part of working on this project? 

“Creating so many memorable scenes with some of my best friends.” 

Earlier this year you released “Mad” featuring NEKO and “Anxiety.” How was the journey from then to now with “Falling?” 

“With NEKO (Erik Lidbom), I wanted him to take the driver’s seat because I respect him so much. Not only does he have hundreds of hits, but he is a great guy and taught me so much in such a short amount of time. I was a bit more angsty with ‘MAD’ and my own track ‘Anxiety,’ and my goal was to make something artistic that represented my journey. However, with ‘Falling,’ the goal was to also have fun, and I think we achieved that!” 

Your fans have provided a large amount of support through your journey. How does that feel? 

“Without my fans, my music means nothing, so I appreciate them a lot. I’m so lucky for the ones that have stuck with me.” 

When will Jerry finally make his on-screen debut? 

“Gotta get him in a video ASAP!” 

What plans do you have for 2020? 

“I am striving to create one new song every week, and I hope to release a new track every other week. I hope that releasing music more consistently will give my fans something to chew on, reach more people, and help me get to the level I want to be at.” 

“Losing It” was written around the same time as “Mad” and “Anxiety.” What was going through your mind during the writing process? 

“I spent a week in a mental hospital after my accident. The track is about how I was unable to fix the anxiety and pain. It’s really about a moment of chaos.” 

How does it feel to be able to share this vulnerability with your fans? 

“When I write my music, it’s like a journal, so it’s quite easy to be honest. I’m just lucky that they reciprocate and support me.” 

You’ve released a lyric video for “Losing It.” Do you plan on releasing an official music video too? 

“At the moment, I have no plans to do so, but I will be releasing a new track Nov. 22 featuring my friend Jannine Weigel. She’s a singer and actress from Thailand and Germany who is a killer vocalist. It’s also a feel-good track, so I can’t wait to share!” 

What message do you want listeners to take from this track? 

“With “Losing It,” I just wanted to share what I was going through. I know a lot of people have some form of PTSD. If you can relate when you listen, I guess, just know that you aren’t alone.” 

Your music gave us a glimpse into you healing mentally and physically from your accident in 2015. What are hoping for yourself as you continue to move forward? 

“For healing, both mentally and physically, and the ability to be the best version of myself as possible —and to see my fans ASAP! I love you guys and miss you!” 

Be sure to check out “Losing It” and Lee’s new track which releases Nov. 22. Follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to keep up with all his upcoming projects.

What’s your favorite song by James Lee? Share your picks and thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Subin talks gifts from heaven, alter ego, & ‘Katchup’ [interview]

dalsooobin subin dal shabet interview katchup ketchup
Just over two years since we last saw her release music, Subin will be returning soon with her biggest single to date, “Katchup.” In those two years, the former Dal Shabet member has remained ever present; she appeared at KCON LA last year and has a strong social media presence. She even changed her moniker and now goes by DALsooobin. The “Circle’s Dream” singer is thriving particularly on Instagram with K-pop girl group covers, unique promos, and constant new ways of communicating with.

KultScene was lucky enough to catch up with her and talk about her upcoming comeback, her alter-ego, and her favourite Dal Shabet track.

Congratulations on your recent successful Makestar. What was the experience of using that website like? Is it nice knowing that your fans can be one of your major backers?

“I was worried that this goal wouldn’t be achieved in the beginning, but I was surprised to hear that it was reached really quickly. Throughout this project, I realized that a lot of Korean and international Darlings are still supporting us. I often felt lonely throughout my solo career but after seeing the success of this project, I felt really supported. From then on, I promised myself to give my best to Darlings who have waited so long.”

Will your comeback be self-composed? Would you like to continue composing for yourself or work with more producers?

“Yes, I think it’s essential to include your true feelings in a song. I’ve always wanted to compose my own songs so that I could express my honest emotions. If I can meet more producers with similar vibes and feelings as mine, I’d love to work with them in the future.”


You’ve had a wonderful career with Dal Shabet that set you up to go solo and has led all the way here. What do you feel when you look back at your time with the group?

“I’ve always thought back to memories of Dal Shabet, but these days I think of them even more before I go up on stage. Before, when I used to be with my members, I wasn’t really afraid of anything, but nowadays, because I’m doing more things solo, I get a bit scared and lonely.”

From the group’s discography, are there any songs you look back on and think that was the best?

“My personal favorite song is ‘Joker.’ I think it’s a gift from heaven that I was given this opportunity to produce this song. I think I was able to go further in my solo career through that album.”

As a part of Dal Shabet, going through all manner of pop genres, and as a soloist working on ballads and more indie-influenced songs, you have experimented with a wide variety of genres. Do you have a favourite genre that you have encountered so far?

“Out of all the genres I’ve tried out, my favorite has to be indie. I believe having your own identity is the most important thing as an artist, and I think compared to other genres, the indie genre allows for a wider range of expression. Just like ‘Kieuk’ by Kiha & The Faces, I think indie is the most flexible and diverse genre.”

Some songs you have produced for yourself have been very personal and I think your work is much better off because of it. Songs like “Hate” are so full of anguish. Is it liberating to produce songs like this for yourself?

“That’s exactly how I felt! I’m so glad that you were able to empathize with my track ‘Hate.’ It seems like I succeeded with that one (lol). I wrote that song to express the suffering I felt from not being able to share with a past partner the pain he had given me. I’m personally the type that has a hard time expressing how I feel, but through writing this song, it was a freeing and healing experience.”


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D-5 #katchup #dalsooobin #comingsoon #달수빈 #케첩

A post shared by DALsooobin (@dalsooobin) on

“Circle’s Dream” is probably my favourite of your songs. What was it like producing that? As a solo artist, do you hope to challenge your voice as much as you can as well as your composing abilities?

“I’m so happy that you like ‘Circle’s Dream’ the most, and again, this makes me feel like this track has succeeded (lol)! This song has the strongest personality/identity. I tried my best to make this song something that no one’s heard before, and to work in my own unique voice and feelings. This is the song where I challenged myself the most as a solo artist.”

Where did the ideas come from, especially for the lyrics which are great but strange? In reference to those lyrics, what does it mean to be round or angular?

“In Korea, there’s a phrase that adults commonly say, which is, ‘Live roundly.’ It means to ‘live kindly,’ but today’s world is too aggressive and offensive for us to just ‘live kindly.’ That’s why I wrote about being angular, which is the opposite of living ’roundly’ and means, ‘I don’t just want to live a life where I’m only kind to others.’”

[Translator’s Note: The Korean expression to “live roundly” essentially means to just go with the flow. Subin explains in her answer that today’s society can be so negative and hurtful, and we can be wronged at times. It’s not always best to just go with the flow and be stepped on all over, but it’s good to discern when we need to become “angular”, or to toughen up and stand up for ourselves, instead of just being meek all the time.]


Do you feel that you are still “round” today?

“I do think that I’m still ’round’ today, but I guess some might disagree, since the way you perceive others can be very subjective. Instead of thinking, ‘I hate that I’m so ‘round’, or too much of a ‘nice guy’,’ I try to remember that even I can hurt others without knowing it, so I try to stay humble and careful about the way I act and the things I say.”

You were at KCON LA last summer, would you like to come back to America or any other countries outside of Asia on tour anytime soon?

“As far as potential plans for America or any other countries outside of Asia, we’re still in the planning phase, so I can’t really say anything until we have a more solidified idea. As of right now, I am hoping to do something in the States and in other countries in the second half of the year!”

Can you talk a bit about who Nikita is to you? Is she a friend, an alter ego, or something else?

“Nikita is my best friend. We may look alike, but the ways we live our lives are very different. Since my career thrives when the public pays attention to me, I have to pay attention to the public’s opinion. However, that’s not the case for Nikita. She focuses and pays more attention to herself. I hope people like me or anyone who’s going through a rough time would learn how to love themselves through her.”

Finally, what is so special about ketchup?

“Out of all of my babies, Ketchup is the oldest one (lol). From all of the songs I’ve released as a soloist, this track took the longest to produce, and I put the most preparation into it. And because I put so much into this song, I can’t help but feel that it’s the most special to me.”

DALsoobin’s “Katchup” drops Mar. 5. In the meantime, check out the teaser.

Special thank you to SubKulture Entertainment for facilitating and translating the interview ?

What are some of your favorite Subin songs? Let us know in the comments below! Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Dreamcatcher talk career aspirations at Los Angeles fanmeet [interview]

dreamcatcher fanmeet fanmeeting usa la los angeles

by Christian C.

Freshly debuted, the K-pop-rock girl group Dreamcatcher was a bold choice to play this year’s KCON in Los Angeles. Formed by Happyface Entertainment, Dreamcatcher had never performed in the States prior to the event, but were welcomed with open arms by fans as soon as they stepped foot in LAX. Most of the featured female artists (except fromis_9) have years of experience under their belt, having debuted long before the group. Not to mention, Dreamcatcher’s distinct sound is different from the usually expected guests of KCON. Fortunately, the group, composed of members Gahyeon, SuA, Siyeon, JiU, Dami, Yoohyeon, and Handong, are already loved internationally. The members completed a European tour early in the year, as well as a South American one in late July, so it was no surprise when a fanmeet emerged right before KCON.

dreamcatcher fanmeet fanmeeting usa la los angeles

by Christian C.

Almost immediately after they arrived in the city of angels, the group held their very first U.S. fanmeet on Aug. 10th, organized by their stateside based fansite 7 DREAMERS. As it was planned by the group’s fans and not a tried-and-true production company, many fans were skeptical as to how it would turn out. However, the event proved to be a good choice for Dreamcatcher, as tickets for all spots sold out within two minutes.

dreamcatcher fanmeet fanmeeting usa la los angeles

by Christian C.

KultScene had the opportunity to attend Dreamcatcher’s fanmeet at A-List Music in Downtown Los Angeles, where we got to talk to the seven women about their first trip to the U.S., hopes for the future, and career so far.

Dreamcatcher are fulfilling a niche that hasn’t been explored by other female K-pop groups before with your rock-oriented, guitar heavy music. Who inspires you all musically, whether within K-pop or otherwise?

Siyeon: “Hyolyn.”
Yoohyeon: “Babymetal.”

dreamcatcher fanmeet fanmeeting usa la los angeles

by Christian C.


You all have achieved a lot of chart success here in the U.S., including ranking number five on the Billboard World Albums chart and the top spot on the iTunes KPop Albums chart with your mini album Prequel. You clearly have a large fan base here. Is it shocking to see that?

Gahyeon: “We are so happy to be able to have fans from all over the world and in the US as well. While we’ve been in LA, we were approached by fans while taking photos—”

SuA: “As well as at In-N-Out.”

Gahyeon: “—and we were so surprised that these fans knew who we were. We asked them if they knew us as Dreamcatcher and it was shocking when they said that they were fans.”

dreamcatcher fanmeet fanmeeting usa la los angeles

by Christian C.

Your album sales have doubled in Korea, with Escape the Era selling over 20,000 copies, which is very impressive for a rookie group. It seems like your fanbase is growing very quickly. Did you all ever think that would happen?

JiU: “We’re so thankful for our success so far. We don’t feel as if our fanbase in particular is growing, but we can tell that people enjoy our concept because of our album sales growth, and we’re really proud of that.”

dreamcatcher fanmeet fanmeeting usa la los angeles

by Christian C.

Dreamcatcher have been known to cover a lot of different songs by different groups, and you’ve become very popular with fans of the original artist. How do you all choose what to cover?

Siyeon: “The reason why we cover groups whose concepts are really different is because we want to show all of the concepts that Dreamcatcher is capable of performing, and to show a different side of Dreamcatcher than the concept that we are comfortable in right now.”

Dami, your magic trick in “You & I” went viral on a lot of websites internationally, including on Twitter and Reddit. It introduced many people to Dreamcatcher. Do you have anything to say to new fans that discovered Dreamcatcher because of that video?

Dami: “First of all, thank you for all the love and support of my trick in ‘You & I.’ I’ve seen people try to imitate it. Please use plastic instead of steel while practicing the trick!”

dreamcatcher fanmeet fanmeeting usa la los angelesby Christian C.


If you all could switch positions within Dreamcatcher, what would you choose?

(All say ‘Ahhhh’ in a thinking tone)

JiU: “I would like to be the maknae.”

Siyeon: “I really like rapper’s parts, so that would be interesting to try.”

SuA: “I would like to switch with Handong because she speaks Chinese and it’s really hard.”

dreamcatcher fanmeet fanmeeting usa la los angeles

by Christian C.

Circling back to growing, it has been a year and seven months since your debut as Dreamcatcher. What have been the most memorable moments of your career so far? Are there any things you all have yet to achieve that you’d like to?

Gahyeon: “Our debut [‘Chase Me’].”

Handong: “Our nomination for first place at a music show.” [All members nod in agreement]

Siyeon: “We really could physically witness the love from InSomnia when we were nominated.”

Yoohyeon: “Because there are many international fans, we noticed that the votes grow a lot at night, which is interesting.”

SuA: “One day we hope to achieve number 1 on all charts in Korea (All-Kill).”

dreamcatcher fanmeet fanmeeting usa la los angeles

* Interview was facilitated by a translator.

Check out the rest of the pictures here:

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What’s your favorite Dreamcatcher song? Let us know your picks and thoughts in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

K-rapper ARTLOVER talks blending music & fashion, British & Korean influences [interview]

Resultado de imagem para ARTLOVER K-POP

The current, up and coming generation of female Korean rappers is made of versatile and open-minded women with the ability to think outside the box. And while the scenario isn’t exactly ideal for them yet, as standards for female and male rappers are not the same, it hasn’t deterred new names from joining the scene. Amongst those names, ARTLOVER is definitely one we should keep our eyes on.

The 25-year-old, whose real name she would rather not reveal, is the typical multifaceted millennial who gathers inspiration from multiple experiences to create something unique. Formerly a makeup artist who has worked with severe fashion magazines, she is now ready to show her own colours through music.

ARTLOVER’s first single “Want U Back,” released on March 2nd, is a melodic tune with a retro sound that showcases her rapping and singing skills. She worked on the lyrics, composition, and art cover design for the single, which just got a music video as well.

But music, fashion, and design are not the only amount of diversity ARTLOVER has her heart on. Being Korean and based in London, she also divides her time between the two countries.  

KultScene talked with her about her first single, her inspirations, and views on being a multi talented artist exposed to two different cultures.

KS: Congratulations on your first release! Please tell us what inspired the lyrics and composition of “Want U Back.”

ARTLOVER: Thank You! “Want U Back” is about young love and the pain of losing it. I started out with a few chords on the piano and the rest just followed so I didn’t really plan it out beforehand. It just happened in the spur of the moment.

Also on KultScene: The 12 LOONA solo singles ranked

KS: How was working with Tae-Seop Lee (producer/mixer engineering; has worked with GOT7, Twice, DAY6, etc.)? How much do you usually get involved in the production?

A: I started out with Swedish writer/producer Max Billion who has worked with a lot of dance artists such as Mike Perry, Paris Blohm, and Cazzette. When we had a solid foundation we took it to Tae-Seop who then put his touch on it. I trust producers that I work with and I always give my opinion.

KS: Your stage name is quite unique. We’ve read that you designed the art cover for “Want U Back” and that you’ve worked as a makeup artist before. How do you think all these passions and talents come together when it comes to your music?

A: I would say that the practical aspect of working as a makeup artist has helped me a lot, especially when it comes to being professional and get things done. The visual aspect has always been very important to me, so it would come as no surprise that I think about this a lot when it comes to my music as well. I creative direct a lot of my videos, etc. I think that music and fashion goes hand in hand and it’s very difficult to separate the visuals and the music.

KS: Being Korean but living in London, how do you see the differences between the mainstream music scene of both countries?

A: Korean music is wilder for sure, more effects, bigger songs, and more parts. In many ways, it resembles western pop music and follow more or less the same pattern of trends, but with more ‘90s soul and more creative arrangements. People take pop music very seriously in Korea. Just as they approach other aspects of Korean society, K-pop has always been about perfection.

KS: It is natural to expect that you will at some point be labelled as a K-pop artist by some people. How do you feel about that? And how do you describe your music and style?

A: I don’t really have an issue with being labeled K-pop, as I think it helps me find an audience, especially outside of Korea. I still think that my music really stands out and doesn’t sound like anything else in K-pop at the moment. If my music was purely European or American, it’s far from certain that it would get as much attention.

Also on KultScene: Ego tripping, & not, in Korean female rap

KS: “Want U Back” sounds heavily inspired by ‘80s synthpop music. What are your biggest influences in music and your favorite artists?

A: It makes me very happy you say that, because we used mainly old synths during the recording. Max Billion brought his collection of vintage gear from the ‘70s and ‘80s so we stuck with those. I love Madonna and Cher, but my favorite artist of all time is Michael Jackson.

KS: What are your plans for 2018? Can we expect more music from you?

A: We are currently working on my debut EP that is due out in June, so that’s very exciting for sure. I’m also looking forward to playing shows.

Check out ARTLOVER’s “Want U Back” music video:

What do you think of ARTLOVER’s debut? 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.

Creator of ReacttotheK talks ‘Classical Musicians React’ & K-pop trends [Interview]

With almost 250,000 subscribers on YouTube, ReacttotheK is a K-pop reaction channel that has been gaining a lot of popularity online ever since its creation in May 2016, especially with its Classical Musicians React series. Some of the reactors, along with the creator and main producer of this channel, Umu, recently held their first panel at KCON LA. We spoke to Umu about her channel, her experiences at KCON, and her thoughts regarding the latest trends of K-pop music.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to Kultscene. To begin with, could you introduce yourself?
Hello Kultscene readers! I’m the creator of the Classical Musicians React series on my YouTube channel ReacttotheK and a Sophomore French horn performance major at the Eastman School of Music. For those who are not familiar with the CMR series, it’s basically a bunch of classical music majors who happily freak out over or criticize the musical composition of K-pop songs. We hope to open the eyes of the K-pop fandom to what makes music so cool sometimes.

What made you first decide to create your YouTube channel?
I originally created the channel for fun when I was about to graduate from high school. I was afraid that no one in a music conservatory was going to be into K-pop. I then began to film reactions with my friends as a way to stay in touch with them, and have them to fangirl with, while I was away for school.

[The] Classical Musicians React series began when I got up the courage ask some [of] my entertaining musician friends react. Hearing the music related comments they had towards the music was a blast to both my channel’s small fan base and myself. Seeing how the first few videos quickly gained a lot of attention, I decided to make it a complete series. As time went on, I began encouraging more musical comments rather than typical comments on the MV, so that my content could be centered around an aspect of K-pop not many other channels focus on.

What is the most memorable reaction video you have ever filmed?
There are many different videos that I recorded that were memorable in different ways. Often the most extreme reactions are to MVs with a interesting plot or to a song with unexpected content. K Will’s “Please Don’t,” VIXX’s “VooDoo Doll,” LYn & Leo’s duet “Blossom Tears,” and BAP’s “One Shot” had the most memorable reactions to the MV. For memorable reactions where the music surprised them, my favorite reactions are to 4Minute’s “Hate,” f(x)’s “Red Light,” EXO-CBX’s “The One,” 2NE1’s “Come Back Home,” and MAMAMOO’s “Don’t Be Happy.”

What difficulties have you faced along the way while creating new content and managing the channel?
The main thing I’ve struggled with running this channel is deciding whether to prioritize the channel or my school work/personal life. I have extreme dedication to projects I start, so I often put the channel in priority over my own health and work. This has made my life very stressful at times, so I am currently learning to balance both my time directed towards the channel and school.

Another difficult thing I’ve come across is fan’s disappointment in me when I make certain decisions with my channel. I have a vision and goal for my channel: I want fans to be super happy and proud of their favorite K-pop group when we react to a song by them. But in order to put out content where the reactors are amazed by the music, I have to be picky with what songs we react to. This has created a ton of hate towards me, and makes me look like a stuck up classical musician. I understand this is not a step I should take if I want to become a more popular channel, but it is what I have to do to put out the content channel viewers enjoy seeing (aka the musicians actually saying music theory related comments vs just talking about the MV because they have nothing to say about the music).

Also on Kultscene: Taemin’s ‘MOVE’ Song & Music Review

From what you have seen of K-pop so far, how do you think it will continue to develop musically?
Good question! I’m not the best with naming genres, but I’ll try my best to point out certain trends that i’ve been seeing a lot lately.

Boy groups groups have been delving in the EDM & hip hop genres a lot lately. I have a feeling groups will be doing a lot of those style of songs since they seem to be the most popular genres at the moment and are also the best genres to choreograph hot dances to.

I’ve heard a lot of “tropical pop” lately (WINNER’s “Island,” CHUNG HA’s “Why Don’t You Know,” KARD, etc) where groups use the same style of synth samples and stick to diatonic, catchy melodies and a constant dance-oriented beat.

Some thing that I’ve seen become more popular with girl groups ever since Red Velvet’s “Rookie,” is “speak” singing trend. Cosmic Girls, Pristin, Lovely, ELRIS, and a few other groups have continued this trend and are starting to get creative with it, which is fun to see!

Another genre of music i’ve seen a lot of with girl groups is orchestral funk. GFRIEND, LOVELYZ, WJSN, APRIL, Oh My Girl all have the pop-y string/synth/electric funky guitar instrumentation along with treble heavy mixing.

What I love about K-pop is that most songs are a mix of multiple genres. Blackpink’s “As if it’s Your Last,” Dreamcatcher’s “Fly High,” Weki Meki’s “I Don’t Like Your Girlfriend,” EXO’s “Ko Ko Bop,” MAMAMOO’s “Don’t Be Happy,” 2NE1’s “Come Back Home,” LOONA’s “Cherry Motion” and many more all have multiple genres smushed into one song. I see this trend as a gateway to many new unique songs and hope to see more of this in future K-pop releases.

Current reactors for Classical Musicians React (via Umu)

You and your reactors recently held your first panel at KCON LA, how was the experience?
It was amazing! Our following has always been numbers on a screen to me, and it didn’t occur to me how /real/ everything was until we arrived at KCON and were approached by fans every few minutes. Getting to meet our fans was a great experience, and definitely left an impact on both the reactors and me. When reflecting back on KCON, the reactors told me their going to take reacting a lot more seriously now! We are hoping to get invited many more times, and each time make our panel more fun and interesting!

Also on Kultscene: K-Pop Unmuted: Talking Girls’ Generation

Some of your initial reactors have moved on from the channel since they have graduated from the university, so what are your plans for the channel when you yourself have graduated?

All I can say now, is that I’m definitely not throwing the channel away. I don’t have exact plans for the channel after I graduate yet, but I’m slowly starting to brainstorm ideas. A few reactors have volunteered to keep reacting on their own when we’ve all parted ways, so I can say that even though we won’t all be together, you won’t be seeing the last of us!

Is there anything else you would like to say to KultScene readers and to your fans?
Thank you so much for taking your time to read (and hopefully enjoy) my answers. I am extremely honored that there are so many wonderful humans out there interested in and enjoying my channel! I hope you all get something out of it, whether it be laughter, entertainment, or learning something new (I expect y’all to know what modulations are by now if you’ve seen the majority of our videos ;)). Thank you so much for your love and support and I will continue to work hard to put out good content!

Check out ReacttotheK here!

Have you watched any of the “Classical Musicians React” videos? How do you think K-pop will continue to evolve from here? 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.

Aeon Dream Studios talks ‘To The Edge of the Sky,’ BTS, & dreams [interview]

It’s only been about a month since their visual novel demo To The Edge of the Sky was released, but Aeon Dream Studios has already achieved great success with a 4.9/5 user rating on Google Play and over a hundred thousand installs. With beautiful graphics and an intriguing storyline set in 2077 featuring BTS members as characters in an enigmatic government organisation, the demo has definitely whetted the appetites of fans who cannot wait for more. We spoke to the game’s creators at Aeon Dream Studios about their new game as well as their future plans and dreams.

Kultscene: Thank you for taking the time to talk to Kultscene. To begin with, could you all introduce yourselves and your roles in the company?
Ajané Celestin: Hello! I’m Ajané Celestin. I’m the CEO, Creative Director, and I also write and act as the Editor.
Chieu Nguyen: I’m Chieu Nguyen. I’m the Art Director and Lead Artist responsible for most of the visuals in our games, mainly character art and user interface.
Eglė Dilytė: I’m Eglė Dilytė. I’m the Lead Creative Writer, main scriptwriter, and I also work as our Social Media Coordinator.

How and why did you decide to found this company?
AC: Chieu, Egle and I met up on Tumblr as fans of visual novel games. We became friendly with each other and since Egle and I were writers and Chieu was an artist, I asked them if they wanted to make a game. We decided to see what would happen and go as far as we could go. We didn’t imagine things would get this far, but we’re very happy it has.

Also on Kultscene: The Sonic Identity of K-pop girl groups: Implied Meanings and What The Future Holds 

What first inspired you to create To the Edge of the Sky, and more specifically, to model your main characters after the BTS members?
AC: We’re fans of BTS’ music and their concepts and aesthetics constantly inspired us last year. As creators, we began to see more ways we could flesh out some of their story concepts in a visual novel game format and also thought that ARMYs would probably be interested in such a game.

Characters of the game modeled after BTS members (image via To the Edge of the Sky)

What were the challenges you faced in your creation of To the Edge of the Sky?
CN: Definitely time pressure. We had about two weeks for this demo while still planning on our previous game, so it was rough trying to get the assets done while still maintaining our usual quality. Fortunately, the first part of the demo was finished like how we envisioned it.
AC: As Chieu said, it was mainly time. Chieu had already done promotional artwork because we were gearing up to create the demo, but I suddenly came up with the idea to do it before I headed to their Newark concerts in March so we could hand out the promotional artwork. We challenged ourselves to create a concept from scratch as well as artwork within roughly a 10 day period. However we were able to achieve it and are grateful to receive the positive responses.

You’ve posted online about your plans to present the idea for To the Edge of the Sky to BTS’ label, BigHit Entertainment, how do you intend to achieve that?
AC: As anyone who has been paying attention to BTS knows, they are reaching their peak right about now, so it is very difficult to contact them. Right now we are in contact with someone local to Seoul who may be able to assist us with that further.

To the Edge of the Sky has become very popular on the Internet, especially among ARMYs (BTS’ fandom). What would you like to say to the new fans of your game?
ED: Well, first of all, hello and welcome! Thank you for playing our demo and thank you so much for your kind words and support. This might sound a little cheesy, but we feel energized by all the love and we’ll continue to work hard for everyone.
AC: I’d like to say that we’re really, truly grateful for all the kind and positive comments we’ve received. We had no idea To the Edge of the Sky would be so well received. We put everything we had into it during the short time we had and are so grateful for the ARMYs that gave us positive responses at the Newark concerts and through social media and emails. We can hardly believe it but To the Edge of the Sky is nearing 400,000 downloads within two months of its release and we’re really grateful for the thousands of positive reviews so far. Thank you for also becoming fans of the game and we promise we will do our best to develop this game for you.
CN: Thank you so much for your generous support thus far, it means a lot to us. We will continue to work hard and hope that you could see this game come to fruition with us.

Also on Kultscene: Introducing KultScene’s K-Pop Unmuted: Produce 101 

So far only a demo for To the Edge of the Sky has been released, what will come next following this release?
AC: After we finish our current project, we are planning to work on developing the next part of To the Edge of the Sky. We want to give ARMYs more while we continue to work on making this a full game.

Where do you see your company in the next five years?
ED: With a much larger games library and still creating more, it’s been my wish and I think all of ours really to be able to work together and create together until we die of old age. And I hope we’ll be able to produce more content than just visual novels.
CN: We would have more games out with higher quality, and it would also be nice to have a larger fanbase. We are never satisfied with the status quo and are always seeking to improve the quality of our work. Therefore, it is my hope that in 5 years time, we will create even better games and be able to reach out to a wider range of audience.
AC: In five years…It’d be really nice if we had a few different series. It’d be really nice if we could produce more games like To the Edge of the Sky, where genres are crossed over, as well as our own, completely original work. I want us to continue to become better developers, writers and artists and make a variety of different games for all kinds of people. It would be interesting to do work outside of games as well, under our brand name.

Check out Aeon Dream Studios and their current works here!

Have you tried out To The Edge of the Sky? Are you a fan? Tell us what you think 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.

Kevin Kim talks ZE:A disbandment & new beginnings with radio show ‘SBS PopAsia Live’ [interview]

Kevin Kim, SBS PopAsia, SBS PopAsia with Kevin Kim, ZE:A

Courtesy of SBS PopAsia

As K-pop fans who know the bare minimum of the Korean language, it’s always a struggle to try to tune into a radio show whenever our faves are on. Unlike K-dramas or other TV shows, live radio shows don’t have subtitles — unless a merciful fan translates and uploads a bootleg version (#Blessed). But like the dramas and TV shows, these subtitled versions always come days or even weeks later. Moreover, what’s usually even more difficult as a foreign fan is living in a country that doesn’t necessarily accommodate your daily K-pop fix. However, that’s about to change — or at least for Australia, and therefore English speaking fans all over the world — thanks to ZE:A’s former member Kevin Kim. With his new radio show, SBS PopAsia Live with Kevin Kim, the K-pop star will answer all your Hallyu questions and fulfill your all your fangirl and fanboy needs.

Kevin has been in the entertainment industry for well over a decade in both Korea and Australia, where he spent most of his adolescent and teenage years. He’s always carried an enamoured passion for music, since his early days in Australia when he took part in an array of musicals and a choir that went onto doing international tours. He carried his love for everything entertainment with him back to Korea, where he joined idol group ZE:A as the lead singer. Fans were gifted with Kevin’s talent time and time again, even if the Korean music industry failed to recognize his skill during his time there.

It’s unfortunate that things didn’t pan out the way they perhaps should have, but everything happens for a reason, right? They say opportunity doesn’t come knocking on your door twice, but in Kevin’s case, it did. We recently caught up the K-pop star over the phone from Australia as he makes his big move from Korea. He talked about his most missed Australian foods, life after ZE:A, new solo music, and what we can expect from the radio show.

Hi Kevin! Thank you for setting aside time to do this interview KultScene Congratulations on hosting SBS PopAsia! How do you feel about becoming a daily host?

Kevin Kim: Hello! Well, I’m very honored to be with SBS and doing PopAsia Live starting on the 29th. I’m very excited about it and I’m looking forward to it!

Can you tell us a little bit about SBS PopAsia Live with Kevin Kim?

KK: I’m going to play a lot of K-pop songs and also V-pop, C-pop [on the show]. I’ll also be sharing all my thoughts with the fans and try to give [them] more information about K-pop. [The show will] mainly [be about] Asian pop, fans, and stars.

You were the host of Hotbeat on Arirang for over four years. How and do you think your previous experience hosting has helped you prepare for this new MC gig?

KK: As you said, I’ve been doing radio for four years now with Arirang radio station. [Going into this,] I’m very confident because I’ve been sharing a lot of thoughts and messages with our fans, [receiving their feedback], and I think it will be great to see what the outcome will be like. I just want to feel the vibe here in Australia. You know, the K-pop fans here, they’re also very excited about Korea, the stars, all things Hallyu as well, so I would love to share [my knowledge with them] and see how everything will turn out.

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What prompted your decision to leave Korea and to go back to Australia and start MC-ing?

KK: The main thing was I wanted to just, you know, after [ZE:A’s] disbandment, I wanted to come back to take a rest because I’ve been away [in Korea] for about 10 years. I wanted to restart myself with something special, which is SBS and the radio show that I’m hosting. I’m going to be doing more of my music and I’m working on my solo album as well, so hopefully I can turn that out sometime this year.

How’s it like being back in Australia as an adult after pursuing your career in Korea?

KK: Oh, good question! You know, a lot of things have changed. I was surprised by all these shops and restaurants. There’s been a lot of changes [from 10 years ago]. It’s been a month now since my arrival [back in Australia] and I’m still adjusting [laughs], but also having fun.

What’s your favorite or least favorite thing(s) about being back?

KK: Well first of all, I missed the food; Meat pies, sausage rolls! You just cannot find — well, they did have Australian food there in Korea as well, but not as good as here in Australia, so food was my thing! And also, my friends. I haven’t seen them for years. I never had the chance to come to Australia to perform as ZE:A, so [now that I’m back], I want to see what it’ll be like.

What will you miss most about living in Korea? The fast internet connection? Just kidding, but really…

KK: Well, obviously that [fast internet] [laughs]. I miss basically everything, [like the] members. It’s only been a month but still… I don’t know, it kind of feels weird, I guess. Just leaving everything there and being here by myself. I’m used to sharing everything with the members and all, but now that I’m here by myself, it’s a bit lonely. But I’m A-okay! You get used to it [laughs].

You’ve been apart of ZE:A for seven years, so how is it like to transition back to daily life in Australia?

KK: It’s not hard, actually, because I was born in Korea but I was raised here [in Australia], so I’m basically used to the culture and the people here. Except for all the changes, you know? So I’m trying to [figure out the changes and] all that. Aside from that, everything is like a daily thing to me.

How did the members react/feel when you told them you were moving back home? Do you have any plans to go back and visit any time soon?

KK: Well, they are doing their own thing now, so, I guess — We still keep in contact through a messenger app, so every time we come up with the motion [idea/concept] for movies, albums, we just share it all in our chat. We don’t really feel sad about being solo and doing [our own] promos; we’re always happy for each other [and seeing each member] do their own thing. That’s how we feel right now; we’ll always support each other.

It’s not a definite goodbye to Korea, I mean, [moving back to Australia] is just another challenge for me. I’m also trying to expand. I had a great opportunity that came through to me, which was SBS. Also, my old agent, Martin Bedford, I knew him from when I was in high school, he contacted me about a year ago when I was in Korea and I was surprised that he still remembered me, so maybe it’s all destiny [for me] to be here again. To tell you a little detail about Martin Bedford, [he runs] the agency that Russell Crowe was in and Olivia Newton John [is currently under], and now I’m here with Martin and SBS PopAsia. Like I said, I’m going to expand my career as Kevin from now on.

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How does it feel seeing all the outpouring amount of support from your fans on your new endeavor?

KK: I’m so excited to see [what’s to come] and like I told you, I haven’t been here as a solo artist or as ZE:A, so I think the radio show that I’ll be doing will be a great gateway [for me] to be connected with the K-pop fans here in Australia. I think I’m going to show more of me and share everything that I’ve been doing and [have] experienced in Korea as well. It’s very exciting!

It’s been over a year since you released Collection.” Can we expect any future music projects?

KK: Well first of all, I’m so looking forward to making a single or maybe a full album here in Australia. I’ve worked on a lot of songs throughout my career as [a member] of ZE:A when I was in Korea, so I have a lot of things to share and a lot of things to show. There’s a lot of exciting things that I am getting ready for ,so I hope I can show our fans my style of music. With the Collection album, I really wanted to show [listeners] what I was capable of. That song was inspired from a fashion show that I went to; I just had the idea of this word,“collection,” and that’s how it lead me to creating the song.

Just for fun, what’s your most played song right now and who are some of your current favorite artists?

KK: My number one is Michael Jackson. He’s always been my favorite artist and biggest inspiration. There are tons and tons of artists I’d like to recommend, but right now my favorite artist is Chris Brown. I’ve been listening to his latest song “Privacy” [a lot]. I also like Justin Bieber too.

Any final words for KultScene’s readers?

KK: Thank you for having me! I hope you guys are ready to hear my show on SBS PopAsia Live, which starts on the 29th, Monday through Friday, every day at 6 p.m. AEST. I am also working on my songs and I’ll be releasing my singles and album here in Australia and also in Korea in the near future. Hope you guys will be ready for that!

* Interview was edited for clarity.

SBS PopAsia Live with Kevin Kim will be a one-stop show to stay tuned for all things Asian pop, featuring the latest music, news and interviews from Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Thailand. It will air Monday to Friday at 6 p.m. AEST on SBS PopAsia starting May 29. Listeners can also tune into SBS PopAsia Digital Radio by downloading the SBS PopAsia mobile app or by streaming live on their website.

Kevin Kim, SBS PopAsia, SBS PopAsia with Kevin Kim, ZE:A

Courtesy of SBS PopAsia

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