[Opinion] A Much Needed Look at Dean

Dean is a writer, singer, an aficionado of artistic picture-taking for Instagram. Besides that, he might be apart of a trend of non-idol South Korean artists looking outside the country for musical freedom.

Image source – Ginza Magazine Japan

It had been over a year since Dean released his iconic song “Instagram” that topped charts for weeks before giving way to iKON’s “Love Scenario.”

Prescient in its content and evocative in its narrative, it was a song that stood out on Korean music charts that are usually inundated with songs about love. Similar to its monochromatic video, it had a belied simplicity regarding the complex set of qualities that come into play when one uses social media including but not limited to addiction and depression.

It had a subtle depth — just enough to provoke (a comfortable amount of) thought and was general enough to make it relatable. Further, Ginza, a magazine out of Japan, described the song as ” inspired by the millennial generation,” and as a millennial, myself — though I don’t engage in social media that much because of the abovementioned effects — it is easily one of my favorite Korean songs from the past year.

Image source – Places + Faces

However, since the release of the song, Dean seems more absent than present. His occasional updates on social media breathe life and anticipation into his fan base and he did release a song called “Dayfly” on different music sites in November.

Additionally, even with the beautiful melody, smooth vocals, and the meaningful lyrics, it didn’t feel like Dean was back; it was not a comeback. So when is Dean coming back and what has he been up to?

According to a social media post, the singer is working on a new album titled 130: mood: RVNG that he is dedicating more time to write, compose, and produce. Moreover, as he works on this album, Dean is also experiencing a personal transformation where he is ridding himself of the idea that he could only show his “perfect and good side to the world,” afraid of being branded after an unfortunate slip of the tongue. In turn, he is acknowledging his “badness, stupidity, weakness, and the dark shadows” of his past.

Image source – Ginza Magazine Japan

Interestingly, as he grows personally and musically, he seems to do so mostly outside of South Korea and instead is finding solace someplace in London. Perusing his Instagram account, the singer looks to be out of his native country for months at a time. In his posts, he appears to spend much of his time in England, with short forays elsewhere, working on music, collaborating with artists, and generally living his best life.

At the same time, I see an emerging trend where independent non-idol artists are finding freedom and solace outside of the Korean entertainment market. Similar to Jay Park who is working on expanding in the U.S., like Dok2 who moved to Los Angeles late last year, and alternative rock group Hyukoh that released an all English album last year and is currently on tour, it seems like Korean artists are looking to find their voice and music made and heard outside a system tipped heavily in favor of political correctness, cookie-cutter idols, and deep-pocketed companies.

On the other hand, it could be that other industries are now ready for Asian artists.




By O.C


Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates

Hyukoh to Have Year-end Concert in Korea

Hyukoh will have a year-end concert and meet their Korean fans.

From December 22nd to 24th, for three days, Hyukoh will have ‘2018 Hyukoh Year-end Concert’ at the Yonsei University Main Auditorium. Tickets will be available for sale exclusively on Interpark Ticket at 8 PM on October 30th.

This year, Hyukoh has been traveling around the world for their tour in Korea, 17 cities in the United States, and 9 cities in Asia. And now, they are coming back to their Korean fans to end the year.

According to Hyukoh’s agency, the band will give back to their fans with even more perfect teamwork and performance. Since they are performing in the Christmas season, the concert will be a warm holiday concert.

Original article
by Audrey Joung

Lee Hi and Zion. T Mesmerized Fans in Tokyo

Lee Hi and Zion. T ruled the stages at Japan’s biggest music festival, Summer Sonic 2018.

Summer Sonic

On August 19, Lee Hi and Zion. T met fans in Tokyo on the stage of Summer Sonic. The music festival’s new segment, “Billboard JAPAN stage” gave the two Korean artists opportunities to perform at the country’s biggest music festival.

Summer Sonic

Lee Hi opened her stage by singing her hit number, “ROSE,” in Japanese. After greeting fans, the artist continued her performance, singing nine songs including “FXXK WIT US” and “X.” Especially when the artist sang “Breathe” for the first time in the Japanese version, her captivating voice touched the hearts of the audiences.

Last March, Lee Hi officially debuted in Japan by releasing her first album, “LEE HI JAPAN DEBUT ALBUM.”

Summer Sonic

Zion. T also presented a passionate stage to fans in Tokyo. His last number, “Yanghwa Bridge,” especially captivated the audiences.

As the biggest urban music festival in Japan, Summer Sonic has invited top artists from all over the world. Korean artists who had been invited to the festival include Seo Taeji, Big Bang, CL, Hyukoh, BoA, and BTS.


Original article


[M/V] Band Hyukoh Releases Magnificent New Song ‘Love Ya!’

At one time where the band Hyukoh (vocalist Oh Hyuk, guitarist Im Hyun-jae, bass Im Dong-geon, drummer Lee In-woo) symbolized hipsters’ tastes with there niche sound.


However, their appearance on “Infinite Challenge” sparked a rise in popularity with Oh Hyuk’s unique vocals made their power players on music charts. With their newest album 24: How to find true love and happiness, which shows innovative melodies, emotional lyrics, and adept artistry, will surely see their fame grow.

Notably, their new album is mostly in English. In fact, five out of the six songs are not in Korean asked about this Oh Hyuk answered that there was no particular reason and pointed out that one of their first album 20 was almost all in English as well.

However, while the singer explains that there was no intention behind the language ratio on the album, he mentions later that “since out music does not play much in Korea, I had hope that [others] would like our music in foreign countries.”

Hyukoh dominates the rock category and is in the top 10 real-time – Mnet

Interestingly, it seems that the group is unaware of their own popularity. As of May 31, their album dominates the rock category on Mnet’s music chart, is top 10 in real time, and is rising on Naver’s music chart too, highlighting their popularity in Korea as well.

Check out Hyukoh’s new song above!


Original article

Translated by O.C


IU Joins Impressive Line-Up for ‘You Hee-Yeol’s Sketchbook’ Special

IU is set to meet fans, not as actress Lee Ji-eun, but as a singer in an upcoming appearance.

IU Hee-yeol's Sketchbook
Image source – OSEN News

IU has confirmed her appearance on the 400th special recording of the KBS 2 program “You Hee-yeol’s Sketchbook,” which airs on Sundays. The singer and actress, who got rave reviews for her roles in the drama “My Uncle,” will appear as a singer and performer on the show.

Reportedly, while on the show she will sing her hit songs for the audience. Notably, this will be IU‘s return to show since her last appearance ten months ago. As such, it is expected that her performance and stage will be even more beautiful.

Additionally, since the singer has been working as an actress for “My Uncle” since last year, many fans are looking forward to seeing her on stage again. Besides IU, Lee Juck, 10cm Kwon Jung-yeol, band Hyukoh, and the Dynamic Duo are set to perform on the show. The milestone episode will air on June 2.

Meanwhile, “You Hee-yeol’s Sketchbook” has grown in renown since its first broadcast in April 2009. Since then, with You Hee-yeol as the MC, the show is known as a representative program that highlights good music.



Original article

Translated by O.C


Is YG Entertainment’s Indie Label HIGHGRND Closing?

YG’s groundbreaking label, HIGHGRND seems to be in trouble.

Image source – HIGHGRND

In 2015, YG Entertainment opened HIGHGRND an ambition subsidiary music label headed by Epik High’s Tablo. YG established the label with the aim to provide an opportunity for talented and visionary underground artists, giving them a higher platform from which they could share their music — hence the name HIGHGRND (high ground).

Indeed, the label houses some great artists including offonoff, Hyukoh, Punchnello, The Black Shirts, Idiotape and more. Their individual sounds are creative and ear-catching in a manner that deviates and redefines most people’s understanding of Korean music. As Alexander Lendrum wrote in the online publisher Unrated, HIGHGRND is: “responsible for housing some of the country’s most contemporary, forward-thinking and simply f****** awesome sounding music acts today…redefining the genres synonymous with the country they came from.”

Lable Loses Ground

Image source – HIGHGRND

However, according to industry insiders, the label is on its last legs. In July of 2017, Tablo stepped down as the CEO of the company. Since then, the position has remained vacant. More, the company has little staff members left. Apparently, YG has dispatched workers to the agency to keep it running. Reportedly, the only permanent staff at HIGHGRND are the artists and their managers.

Furthermore, the company branch in Hongdae has also been shut down, adding speculation that the agency will soon close its doors. Additionally, no new projects have been carried out. No collaborations with other brands or label have happened for months, a fact that stands out since HIGHGRND artists have actively done so since its launch.

Given these facets and the lack of action from YG to revive the company, it shouldn’t be a surprise that many industry insiders believe that the company is about to be shut down or liquidated.

When Tablo resigned as chairman last year, internal cracks in the company became apparent. At that time, YG stated that “HIGHGRND and its artist will remain. YG’s professional stall will actively provide more support.” However, since then the sub-labels operating power has diminished.

According to YG Entertainment’s 2017 business report released on April 2, shows that it holds a 100 percent stake in HIGHGRND, which is unlisted. Further, the current assets of HIGHGRND are reportedly recorded at 1.73 billion won, approximately 1.6 million USD. More, its net loss from last year was recorded as a 336 million won, which is about 316,000 USD.

In the meantime, the future actions of the artists under HIGHGRND will be watched by industry insiders.



Original article

Translated by O.C


Winners of 15th Korean Music Awards Announced

The winners of the 15th Korean Music Awards have been announced. BTS took the honor of “Musician of the Year,” as the first idol group to win the award.

On February 28, Korean Music Awards announces winners of each category, as well as of four compound categories – Rookie of the Year, Musician of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year.

“Selecting BTS for ‘Musician of the Year,’ we reconsider the definition of the award,” said committee member Kim Yoon-ha. “Placing its name on famed foreign music charts or performing on global stages, or even millions of record sales are rather secondary reasons.”

“Born in the Korean pop music scene, the group has captivated young people of the concurrent generation with their music and the world built upon their own characteristics. Their album was fine and its movement will make various forms of waves on the country’s music scene for few years ahead. We can’t speak of the year 2017 and BTS apart.

Red Velvet and IU, who respectively received Best Pop Song (Red Flavor) and Best Pop Album (Palette) were other K-pop names honored by the awards. Hyukoh was named several times, winning Best Modern Rock Song, Best Modern Rock Album, and Song of the Year.


Below is the full list of the 15th Korean Music Awards winners.

Best Rap/Hip-hop Song
Woo Won-jae – Jetlag (We Are)

Best Rap/Hip-hop Album
Viann X Khundi Panda – Reconstruction

Best Jazz Album
Lee Ji-yeun Contemporary Jazz Ensemble – Feather, Dream Drop

Best Crossover Album
Han Seung Seok & Jung Jaeil – And There, The Sea At Last

Best Jazz/Crossover Performance
Hogyu “Stiger” Hwang Quartet – Straight, No Chaser

Best Modern Rock Song
Hyukoh – TOMBOY

Best Modern Rock Album
Hyukoh – 23

Best Dance/Electronic Song

Best Dance/Electronic Album
Idiotape – Dystopian

Best Metal/Hardcore Album
Abyss – Recrowned

Achievement Award
Lee Jang-hee

Best Folk Song
Kang Tae-gu – bleu

Best Folk Album
Kang Tae-gu – bleu

Best Pop Song
Red Velvet – Red Flavor

Best Pop Album
IU – Palette

Best Rock Song
Se So Neon – The Wave

Best Rock Album
Lowdown 30 – B

Best R&B/Soul Song
Rico – Paradise

Best R&B/Soul Album
Hippy Was Gipsy – Tree

Rookie of the Year
Se So Neon

Musician of the Year

Song of the Year
Hyukoh – TOMBOY

Album of the Year
Kang Tae-gu – bleu


By Heewon Kim

BTS, IU, and Hyukoh Nominated for Korean Music Awards

BTS, IU, and Hyukoh are to once again compete for Korean Music Awards’ Musician of the Year.

On February 6, committee members had a press conference at Korea Press Center for the 15th Korean Music Awards.

This year, the awards will recognize 3 genres and 24 categories. A total of 73 artists and groups, 63 albums, and 38 songs are nominated. According to the committee, nominees are selected regardless of their awareness.

For Album of the Year, Kang Taegu’s “Bleu,” Black Skirt’s “Team Baby,” Kim Mok-in’s “A Day in the Life of Mr. X,” IU’s “Palette,” and Hyukoh’s “23” are nominated. Red Velvet’s “Red Flavor,” BTS’ “DNA,” IU’s “Night Letter,” Woo Won-jae’s “We Are,” and Hyukoh’s “Tomboy” made it on the Song of the Year nominees list.

Kim Mok-in, BTS, IU, and Hyukoh are competing for the Musician of the Year trophy, while Rad Museum, Light and Noise, Se So Neon, Shin Hae-gyeong, Ye-seo, and Woo Won-jae are nominated for Rookie of the Year.

This year, IU and Hyukoh became the most frequently nominated artists by being listed for Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Musician of the Year, as well as two additional genre categories. BTS was nominated for four awards, namely Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Song, and Best Pop Album.

The 15th Korean Music Awards will be held on February 28 at 7 p.m. KST. The awards will be broadcasted in March.


Original article

Yoo Ah-in Gives a Shout-Out to Indie Band Hyukoh on SNS

Actor Yoo Ah-in recently complimented indie band Hyukoh on their song, “Paul”.

On Dec. 4, actor Yoo Ah-in posted a screenshot of indie band Hyukoh’s song “Paul” on his Instagram. He posted a caption that read, “Seoul’s hope” next to the picture. Fans have been searching the song on YouTube after reading the actor’s post.

Hyukoh is an indie band consisting of singer and guitarist Oh Hyuk, lead guitarist Lim Hyun-jae, bassist Im Dong-geun, and drummer Lee In-woo. They are currently signed with DRDRamc and Tablo’s music label HIGHGRND.

The band recently released their first studio album “23” on April of this year. The song “Paul” is the eleventh track on their album. More details on their album can be found here.


By Janet Kang

Oh Hyuk Explores the Streets of Korea for ‘DAZED’

‘Youth Culture Icon’ Hyukoh’s front-man, Oh Hyuk, posed for a pictorial with British fashion and culture magazine, ‘DAZED’.

On the 21st, Oh Hyuk’s agency, DRDRAMC, announced that the singer would appear in ‘DAZED”s special edition: ‘DISORIENTED; Lost Sense of Direction’.

Oh Hyuk embarked on a three night, four day camping car trip around the streets of Korea for a pictorial with ‘DAZED’ and ‘Converse’. The theme of of pictorial was ‘All Cultures Start on the Streets’.

The singer, sporting his converse, went exploring the streets of Dongducheon, Dongincheon, Paju, Imjingak, Wolmi-dong and Yeonhui-dong with New Zealand photographer, Sam Nixon. The photos exude a vintage feel and have a unique appeal.

The front cover of ‘DAZED’ features a barely visible Oh Hyuk in flower-printed pants. The picture gives a different aura, but is quick to attract the viewer’s eye.

Oh Hyuk is currently the model of ‘Converse”s popular line, ‘One Star’, but also models for domestic and foreign magazines. He is dubbed the ‘Youth Culture Icon’ because of his unique fashion taste and music.

‘DAZED”s special edition: ‘DISORIENTED; Lost Sense of Direction’ will be released in domestic bookstores on August 21.

Oh Hyuk released his first full-length album, ’23’, in the first half of the year and held a concert in Seoul in June. He is currently in the middle of preparing for his world tour for the latter half of the year.


Original article
by Park Pan-suk

Translated by Janet Kang