Text/ Wesley Sin  

Photo/ Ronald Ji, DSP Media, J& Star Entertainment 

Korean Pop music (K-Pop) has become a global phenomenon from Asia to the world. In the States, the large-scale Korean pop culture festival, KCON, has attracted more than 50,000 attendants every year in both New York and Los Angeles. BTS’s latest single also became the first K-Pop act to hit No.1 on Billboard Artist 100 Chart this May. Not only BTS, there are also other talented K-Pop bands you should know about! Let’s meet “K.A.R.D.” and “The Rose” in this issue of Asian Fusion. Both of them are relatively new but have garnered a lot of attention and gained popularity during a short period of time.

About K.A.R.D.:

K.A.R.D is a co-ed group formed in 2017. Consisting of two male members (J.Seph and B.M.) and two female members (Jiwoo and Somin), KARD stands for King, Ace, jokeR, and the hiDden card. The group released their first single titled “Oh NaNa” featuring labelmate Heo Young-ji as a hidden member. Their later singles “Don’t Recall” and “Rumor” both hit #1 on the U.S. K-pop iTunes chart. On Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales Chart, “Don’t Recall” and “Oh NaNa” hit #5 and “Rumor” hit #3. With over 1.6 million subscribers on Youtube and over 133 million views, K.A.R.D. has drew the attention of fans from all over the world with their dancehall inspired tracks.

Q&A with K.A.R.D

AF: Welcome K.A.R.D. to New York! We know you debuted a year ago and rapidly got a lot of fans and followers in social media. What’s the biggest change in your life before and after debut?

B.M.:The biggest change could be upgrading from trainees to real artists. The wait is over and we can finally perform in front of all the fans. This is actually our 2nd time having a tour in USA. The first tour was even before our official debut, this time we have our own songs and own dance to show our fans so we are excited about that.

AF: Not only your music, K.A.R.D.’s style is also different from other K-Pop groups. Are the styles in your album close to your daily fashion?

B.M.: Our image is like the mixture of Korean streetwear and American West Coast style. I actually grew up in California, so I will say it is my style. I like those over-sized t-shirts, earring, and nice kicks!

J. Seph: I like black, white and grey. I don’t really wear colorful stuff, but I try to make myself stand out from simplicity, maybe with unique designs or accessories. I think some of the cool styles in K.A.R.D.’s album is close to my daily look.

Jiwoo & Somin: We both like comfortable clothes when we do dance practicing, but when we go out, especially like girls-night-out, we always dress up a little fancy and shiny.

AF: What is your impression about New York City? Tell us what would you like to do in your short stay here!

B.M.: We passed by SOHO yesterday and I think everyone is so stylish! I was thinking I can get some fashion tips from everyone who walked by me. There are a lot of people who have swag on the East coast.

Jiwoo: There are so many landmarks in NYC, like Times Square, Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. We would like to visit them all if we have time.

Somin: I heard there are a lot of great foods in New York! We hope we have time to taste a lot of them!

J. Seph: I have to try the Halal Guys! They are so popular in Korea now, even opened a store in Seoul. I wanna try the original taste from the Big Apple!

About the Rose:

Named as one of Billboard’s “Top 5 New K-Pop Artists to Watch in 2018”, South Korean boy band The Rose has quickly gained global recognition after garnering over 6.8 million views on YouTube for their debut song, “Sorry”. Following their debut, these group of boys immediately grasped the public’s attention with songs that feature a British genre pop that is unique to their own color. Their debut single “Sorry” topped the US iTunes K-Pop Chart soon after its releases. Other than that, their songs made it onto the top 10 list of iTunes charts in nine foreign countries including Canada, France, Germany, and Belgium. With their proven talents in songwriting combined with their appealing appearances, The Rose is gradually making their way to stardom by growing their fan base around the world. The Rose consists of four members: Woosung, Hajoon, Dojoon, and Jaehyeong.

Q&A with The ROSE

AF: We are here with Woosung and Dojoon from The Rose in New York City! You two are actually from California and New Zealand. And your other two members are from South Korea originally. How did you form the group “The Rose”?

Dojoon: The Rose is different from other K-Pop groups formed by the agency. We knew each other as band members and friends for a long time. Hajoon, Jaehyeong and I had a band called “Windfall”. Woosung came to Korea to attend the reality show “K-pop Star” and B.M. from K.A.R.D. linked us together!

Woosung: Yeah, it’s all about connection, so I joined them and here is the 4-piece band The Rose now!

AF: All of the songs in your album are composed and arranged by yourselves, how do all the members usually get together and make music?

Woosung: It’s always different for each song, but usually when someone comes up with an idea, we will meet up together and share our feedback, which is part good and part bad.

Dojoon: Sometimes people will think we are having an argument, well, sometimes it’s like fighting but in a good way. We just take things seriously when it comes to music, but at same time we are having fun together.

AF: You guys not only work together, you also travel together from Europe tour to the USA tour. How do you feel about working and traveling with good friends? Who plays the parent in the group?

Dojoon: Well, I think we are like four kids, so our manager has to take care of us. But true, it’s always fun to work and travel with close friends. We’ve had a lot of great memories from each of the new cities we visit, and love to shared those memories on social media for all our fans to enjoy.

Woosung: I think maybe Hajoon can be our parent especially on the internet! I don’t know how, but Hajoon knows everything about The Rose online, if anyone writes something about The Rose, Hajoon knows, if there is any criticism about The Rose, Hajoon knows!

Dojoon: This is our first time in NYC for all of us, even Woosung, so we will try to visit a lot of places and try the Shake Shack burger and maybe buy a I love New York t-shirt!

Woosung: We would like to visit different cities in the future to meet all of our fans, please invite us and we will see you there!

About the Writer:

Wesley Sin is a writer and TV host from Taiwan. His personal publications include What’s New in Tokyo, Tokyo Fashion Guide, Travel in New York by Subway and more. He is currently working in New York City while contributing and reporting from the Big Apple.

Follow him on Facebook @  & Instagram @wesley_sin