The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] iKON’s street boys return with ‘New Kids: Begin’

By Hong Dam-young

Published : May 22, 2017 - 17:56

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Without the gloss and glitter, seven street boys are back in the K-pop music scene amid growing anticipation toward their reunion with fans in Korea.

Likening themselves to the “boys from backstreet,” rising K-pop group iKON dropped its long-awaited second single “New Kids: Begin” on Monday.

The release came after the group held its first Japanese dome concert in Osaka on Saturday, which was a huge success. 

iKon (YG Entertainment) iKon (YG Entertainment)
“Since we had such a long hiatus, it feels like we became newbies again,” said B.I, a rapper and group leader, in an interview Monday. “We came back with a new mindset and concept, with a bit of burden as well. Our new album also flaunts a new level of completion compared to our previous one.”

As its title suggests, the new album embodies how the group feels about reconnecting with fans in Korea after almost one year. Following its debut in September 2015, the group carried out activities mainly in Japan, making its debut there in January last year.

With the new album, which is the group’s first release since the digital single “What You Doing” in May last year, iKON said it would try to make up for lost time with Korean fans.

Band member Jinhwan also said the group was looking forward to appearing in Korean variety TV shows and radio programs, which the members have been missing out on during their activities in Japan.

As for the new album, the members said they focused mainly on synchronized choreography for the new lead track “Bling Bling,” a hip-hop song with bass-heavy sound. The group’s members also said “Bling Bling” was their most successful body of work since their debut, as the hip-hop oriented artists felt most natural with the song while recording it. Yang Hyun-suk, the founder and head producer of the group’s agency YG Entertainment had also described the song as iKON’s all-time best result before its release. 

iKon (YG Entertainment) iKon (YG Entertainment)
Compared with the lead track, the track “B-Day” is a much more light-hearted song that aims to perk up the excitement of listeners. Both the tracks were written by B.I and Bobby, who were also featured in Psy’s latest album “4X2=8” as a composer and writer.

The members said B.I, the producer of the group’s new album, played a big role as the group’s mentor.

“B.I sometimes acted like a perfectionist, but he knew so well how to blend our own musical color into the songs,” Yunhyeong said. “He even sent a long message to Chanwoo to give him advice on his dance moves.”

The group also talked about how it was different from fellow boy groups from its agency, comparing itself to teenage-spirited street boys -- a contrast with other big name K-pop boy bands usually adorned with more colorful titles and images.

“If Big Bang gives off the vibe of a party at a penthouse and Winner at a luxurious ocean side, we are more like young boys riding bikes and skate boarding in a parking lot,” B.I said.

"We will be competing with artists such as Psy and Winner, but we are glad and honored to stand in the same line with them.”

Following its debut with the single “My Type” in 2015, iKON gained popularity with hits such as “Dumb & Dumber” and “Rhythm Ta.”

The group extended its reach to Japan where it won the best new artist award at the 58th Japan Record Awards last December. It concluded its eight-month Japan tour in March this year, after visiting major cities including Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama. Following its first concert at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka on Saturday, iKON will continue its dome tour in Saitama on June 17.

By Hong Dam-young (