Posted : 2014-07-30 16:48
Updated : 2014-07-30 23:44

VIXX has so much more to show

Six members of the rising K-pop boy group VIXX, which stands for Voice, Visual, Value in Excelsis, perform in this file photo following the release of its fourth single "Eternity" in May. The song helped the group top the music charts immediately after the release. The six members will soon perform in Osaka and Tokyo in August. / Courtesy of Jellyfish

K-pop boy group to embark on first concert in Japan in August

By Kim Ji-soo

The six members of the boy band were equally tall, lithe and youthfully good-looking, a combination that every K-pop group would die for.

The ambitious members Hyuk, 19; Hongbin, 20; Ken, 22; N, 24; Ravi, 21; and Leo, 23, of VIXX are hoping that their individualities will shine out to amplify the group's identity.

As hallyu or the popularity of Korean wave grows, more K-pop groups are emerging. Amid the outpouring, the young group that debutedin 2012, recently completed three concerts at the Olympic Park in southern Seoul. The concerts gathered 11,000 fans, a feat that the group graciously welcomed.

"Our strength is the use of concepts such as vampires, Jekyll and Hyde and voodoo dolls (in our songs). I think the fans like our uniqueness," said N, the leader, referring to the songs from the group's first studio album titled "Voodoo."

From left, Hyuk, the youngest of the VIXX members, N, leader and Ravi pose in the photo for fourth single "Eternity."

"We worked hard as there wasn't enough time, the staff and everyone involved worked so hard, so we're grateful," said Hongbin.

"It was three days of honor and fun," said Ken of the recent Seoul concerts.

The Korea Times spoke to the members at a cafe in Itaewon, Seoul, where foreign media outlets were busy interviewing the six. The schedule seemed hectic but the six members stood up well under the limelight.

And "Amplifying" and "maximizing" were the words most often used by the six young men during the interview. In the competitive K-pop scene, the group has put forth itself as a "fantasy idol" where members align the choreography, fashion style to the mainly trendy synthesized pop. Their music videos as with the recent hit single "Eternity" is like a speedy version of a musical. In fact, member Leo performed in the Korean musical "Full House."

"It's to the extent that we want to make our music, choreography, the clothes and even the lens that we wear popular and known as VIXX's," said N.

"I think the members also express it well," said Ravi, who also writes songs for the group.

From left, Hongbin, Ken and Leo of VIXX pose on the cover photo for their fourth single "Eternity."

"I think we have a lot to show," said Leo.

Just two years after their debut, the six affiliated with Jellyfish Entertainment were relishing their hectic schedule that new-found popularity has catapulted them into. The group debuted with the single "Super Hero," following it up notably with the first full-length album "Voodoo" with 15 songs. The recent fourth single album "Eternity" topped the local charts immediately after its release in May.

VIXX has two main vocalists in Ken and Leo that complement each other in their performances.

"We have two different vocal sounds, so we complement each other," said Leo. "Our songs have a lot of high notes, so I am glad to have Ken around and learn from him," Leo said. The other members all sing as well but have different strong points — N and Hyuk focus on dance, Hongbin on rap and Ravi on rap and music writing.

Other than group commitments, the six engage in separate activities such as entertainment, musicals, acting and recording on drama original soundtracks that are helping them as a group.

Hongbin is currently starring in a weekend drama, the "Good Day" on SBS, while N recently wrapped up a role in another weekend drama the "Hotel King" on MBC.

"I am very much a novice at acting but it surely helps," he said.

As they carry out these individual activities, the six are careful to do their part in contributing to the group. "Initially, Hongbin and I skipped several practices because we were filming for dramas so we would cut down on sleeping hours so as to make up for the lost practices for the Seoul concerts," said N.

The six are passionate to become like their role model the K-pop stars Big Bang, who recently became the first Korean pop stars to perform at five domes in Japan for the second consecutive year.

All have gone through varying stages of traineeship.

Training was shortest for Hyuk — two months — and the longest for the leader N — four and a half years.

Asked why Hyuk had the shortest training time, Ravi stepped in like a big brother explaining that while the copmany had been considering Hyuk for some time, the youngest member had been carefully considering whether to pursue a career in music, "because he was doing pretty good in school in his hometown of Daejeon."

All the members prefer whats happening nowadays despite the hectic schedule. "I really like it now," said Ken, in an earnest tone that had some of the members throw their heads back in laughter.

On teamwork, the six said that they were more like "brothers" rather than team members. When asked if he was the silent member, Leo said that he's talkative with the members but then he has a lot of things to think about.

"I love where we are now, because it's different when you're working toward a dream, and when you have achieved your dream and are now working toward a new goal," said N. "And there is always that anxiety when you're a trainee about your future."

They have a big concerts coming up in Japan in August. The group released its debut album titled "Darkest Angels" in Japan in early July. Hongbin, Ken and N are working on their Japanese while Ken is also working on Chinese. They know how to enjoy the varying response of the overseas fans, too.

"The Japanese fans enjoy our performance in a quiet way, the Italians fans were ardent, so they are all fun," said Ken.

The youngest, Hyuk, said the group's charm was in the incongruent image on and off stage. The group's leader expanded on that: "We are very focused on goals, but otherwise, we're just your average 20-somethings," said N.

The group's concert is titled "VIXX LIVE FANTASIA [HEX SIGN]." On Aug. 21, VIXX will hold two concerts in the Orix Theater in Osaka and then move onto Tokyo on Aug. 23 to perform at Tokyo International Forum's A Hall.

What is their definition of fantasy?

"It's what everyone dreams of, and we hope to provide a sliver of it," said Ravi.

"A bigger musical stage as singers," said Hongbin. Ken added that he would like to perform at Dome-size venues, such as the one in Tokyo that can house up at most up to 50,000 or more fans.

The Korea Times intern ChoiHyun-soo contributed to the article.

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