2021 has been the year of phenomenal debuts in the K-Pop industry and composing this line-up is the rookie boy group KINGDOM. The septet comprises of adroit members – Dann, Arthur, Mujin, Louis, Ivan, Jahan, and Chiwoo, who together, have painted an alluring, mystical view of the sagas from the imperatorial past through their music. Debuted on February 18, 2021, under GF Entertainment, the group has kicked 0ff their exhilarating journey that’s worth following.
“KINGDOM is a group that reinterprets the cultures from all around the world with K-POP and adds it to our own unique fantasy.”
Back with their second EP, ‘History of Kingdom: Part II. Chiwoo‘ comprising of seven songs, including the title track ‘KARMA’, KINGDOM have brought forth their rendition of the Chinese legend of Emperor Chiyou. The album, released on 1st July 2021, continues the lore of their debut album ‘History of Kingdom: Part I. Arthur‘. Along with the transcendental, elegant imagery of the wuxia-themed music video, ‘KARMA’ comes off vigorous yet mystifying, pairing the Chinese traditional instruments to the undertones, while singing about the intents of destiny.
We at KHIGH, are excited to welcome the eclectic group through this interview where the seven members share their views and aspirations, reminisce a little with KINGMAKERs (KINGDOM’s fandom). Before we get into the interview, here’s a message from KINGDOM to the readers of KHIGH.
Let’s dive into their musicality and get them to know more!
KHIGH: Your debut concept that takes inspiration from different legends and monarchies across the world is really unique. Can you share the idea behind this concept? Also, can each member tell us about the kingdom that they represent?
KINGDOM: All members got cast after this unique worldview and concept were concretely set. However, as we earnestly prepared for the album, we have been trying hard by sharing ideas on details and settings to express our wonderful concept perfectly.
Dann is the king of the kingdom of Change, Arthur is the king of the kingdom of Rain, Mujin is the king of the kingdom of Cherry Blossoms, Louis is the king of the kingdom of Beauty, Ivan is the king of the kingdom of Snow, Jahan is the king of the kingdom of the Sun, and Chiwoo is the king of the kingdom of Cloud. Only the story of Arthur and Chiwoo has been revealed so far, but the story of all other kings will also be presented in the future as an album. Stories of all the kings are based on ‘Growth’, so please stay tuned for further details.
KHIGH: ‘Excalibur‘ was a very theatrical and cinematic song with flourishes of organs and synths, fans call it ‘medieval pop’. How is ‘KARMA‘ different and what is the key point of the song?
KINGDOM: The title track ‘KARMA’ is a harmonious combination of oriental folk instruments that resonate with people’s hearts, along with magnificent bass and drum beats. By using lyrical and heart-rending sounds of the string instruments, we wanted to convey the anguish, pain, and deep responsibility of sacrifice of Chiwoo, The King of the Kingdom of Cloud.
KHIGH: Dann and Mujin have participated as lyricists in the production of both albums. Dann also co-composed the B-track ‘Make Us’. As artists who have just started, how has this experience been for you both?
Dann & Mujin: Both of us were originally interested in writing as well as composing songs. So, when we participated in the 1st album as lyricists, we swore to participate in composing as well for the 2nd album. Thankfully, we had this great opportunity to participate in both the writing and composing of the B-track.
Unlike expressing our emotions only through singing, we learned to put our emotions directly in lyrics, beats, and melodies. It was an opportunity for us to go one step further. We’d like further participation of course, and for now, we wish to participate in the next album as well.
KHIGH: Your concept is very mythical and different from the others. What was your thought process and training pre-debut?
KINGDOM: We watched a lot of movies and dramas for the concept. We all put in lots of thoughts to characterize ourselves according to the concept. To portray the appearance of a dignified king, we did a lot of research.
Basically, the training consisted of personal training of each aspect – vocal, dance, creating choreography, and songwriting individually.
We also had our own special way of physical training for the performance. We danced once with all might then rested for 1 minute. We stretched a bit then danced again, twice. When finished, we again rested for a minute, and then we danced three times. In the end, we danced up to five times in a row. It really felt as a typhoon swept us away!
KHIGH: You’ve covered EDM, pop ballad, and R&B earlier. Tell us what sounds were you aiming for in this album and what genres would you like to cover in the future?
KINGDOM: We’ve mainly focused on the Dance genre like ‘KARMA’ which is an Electro-Pop dance track. However, we always want to include diverse tracks with various colors in our albums. This is the reason why our title track is Dance but the album contains R&B tracks as well. We’d like to try out intense R&B or Hip-Hop next time.
KHIGH: What is your favorite track from this album and why?
Louis: ‘MAKE US’, because it’s a song dedicated to our fans, KINGMAKERs so it’s more meaningful to me and I am attached to it. Our members have participated in songwriting and I think it’s a really good track to listen to as a member of the group.
Mujin: ‘Warning.’ I wrote the lyrics and even during the process, I liked the song and I was very proud of it. I want you to focus on the lyrics while listening and hope you’ll understand why I’m so proud of this song.
Arthur: ‘Magical’. I think it’s a very addictive track. The chorus is particularly impressive, so I think a lot of people will get addicted to the song as I did.
Ivan: ‘MAKE US’, because it’s the only song dedicated to our fans out of all the songs on the album. Since our members have written the lyrics, I consider it’s the best track through which we can share our inner feelings and emotions toward our fans with certainty.
Chiwoo: ‘KARMA’. As the main character of this album, I love this title track the most. The track shows who ‘Chiwoo’ is and what story he has, in a good way.
Dann: ‘MAKE US’. It is the first track that I participated in as a songwriter. On behalf of KINGDOM, I’ve included members’ genuine stories. I think people can feel our sincerity through this track better than the other songs of the album since we wrote it while thinking of our fans, KINGMAKERs to give them comfort.
Jahan: ‘Eternity’. It’s a soft ballad track with very emotional lyrics. I consider it as a song that can express my feelings most honestly. Although I’ve prepared all tracks with equal effort, for me, it was the most meaningful one.
KHIGH: By the end of the ‘KARMA’ M/V, we see a little clip of Ivan walking through the snow, the vast white lands of Russia. Is this a hint for the next album that can be inspired by Slavic music? Will we see you as Tsars in the next comeback?
KINGDOM: That is correct. The clip at the end of ‘KARMA’ M/V is a spoiler for the next album. We are very careful to not share the details about the next album but please look forward to it. Make sure to check it out when it releases!
KHIGH: Seeing how your musical journey takes us through different lands, do you wish to explore the Indian royal history, for example, the history revolving around the Taj Mahal?
KINGDOM: As we want to reinterpret the cultures around the world with K-POP, to show our own unique fantasy, we are interested in many cultures. In the past, we were only interested in the beauty of famous monuments, such as the Taj Mahal, but now we want to explore the history behind it in detail. We’ll try to study harder to share this journey with KINGMAKERs in India.
KHIGH: Who are the artists that musically inspire you? Would you like to collaborate with any?
KINGDOM: While growing up, we’ve been inspired by many senior artists. Seeing them, we have encouraged our dreams. So it’s hard to pick one. We’d like to collaborate with as many artists from all over the world as possible as it will truly be an honor for us.
KHIGH: Coming to the fun bits, would you like to share some memorable or fun anecdotes from your trainee days, something that your fans don’t know yet?
Dann: Jahan sometimes falls asleep sitting up in a chair, Louis is good at talking clearly while sleeping. I have been surprised multiple times because of them. Also, back when we were trainees, I remember a day, few days before the monthly evaluation we returned to the dormitory at dawn after the practice, but we went back to the practice room again to make our live performance perfect. At that time, somehow, I really enjoyed it.
Jahan: I remember when Arthur danced to the song ‘Hot’ and Chiwoo was so into it that he started dancing to it in his own style. It was hilarious.
Mujin: It was a snowy day in winter. On the way to eat lunch, we started playing with snow and I accidentally lost my ring, which I got as a present. Without eating, I kept searching for it for about an hour and I found it on the road, it was already bent by cars but even so, I still keep it in my dorm.
KHIGH: To Dann, I heard you were a translator for KCON held in Dubai and you know four languages, including Arabic and French. What led you to learn these two languages and how has that helped you as an artist?
Dann: I went to an international school in Dubai, and I naturally learned English and French. In fact, since I’ve lived there for quite a long period, I know the country and culture well but I’m not good at Arabic since I mainly used English. I am very intrigued by languages, so when I came to Korea, I also studied Chinese. The biggest help and advantage of learning more languages as an artist was being able to interact relatively freely with fans from all around the world.
KHIGH: What countries do you wish to visit for concerts, fan meets, and other events? Can we see you in India soon?
KINGDOM: KINGDOM is a group that reinterprets cultures all around the world with K-POP and adds it to our own unique fantasy. As we see all these diverse cultures, we’d like to visit every single country in the world, if possible. We’d really like to visit India as well. We sincerely hope you’ll welcome us when we do!
KHIGH: What are your ambitions and goals for the group in the coming years?
KINGDOM: Our goal for this album is to get nominated for the top spot. We hope more people get to know about our group, KINGDOM and that they’ll enjoy our performances.
KHIGH: You’ve just debuted on 18th February this year during the pandemic when you couldn’t meet your fans, yet your debut received much praise and love. What do you want to say to your fans who have been supporting you in these times?
KINGDOM: First of all, we had no chance to meet fans in person at the venues and we are all so grateful for your support in this circumstance and we’d like to say we love you all. We genuinely want to speak this out face-to-face, not with these written words. We miss you, KINGMAKERs every single day. It’s still awkward that even during the album promotions when we were supposed to meet, we can’t see you and we really miss you. We hope this pandemic settles down quickly.
With yet another set of appealing tunes encompassing an album, ‘History of Kingdom: Part II. Chiwoo’ grabbed spots on many charts with fans rejoicing upon the news. Rightfully named as ‘fantasy idols‘, the seven charming members of KINGDOM and their dynamics together continually bring new facets for fans to see. Team KHIGH wishes them success for their current promotions and for all the future endeavors of the group!
Did you listen to KINGDOM’s latest album? What is your favorite part of the interview? List your thoughts in the comments.
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