This isn’t about KHOP, or KPOP in general. It’s about a certain Korean rock band, The KOXX. And yes, I listen to Korean rock and indie. It all started with me liking Guckkasten and NELL. After being hooked with them, I just had to discover more Korean indie bands.
However, I was only made aware of the KOXX last year because of IRON’s sister. She was at one of their shows early in 2015 and I was intrigued because the concert hall looked jam-packed. Like… Who are they and why does a lot of people like them?
And I was then led to a gem.
The KOXX has been doing music since 2009. They were even one of the top bands in Korea from 2010 until 2012. Yes. that was the same year CNBlue and FT Island were also becoming popular but the KOXX has something that defined them separately and uniquely from the two pop bands.
They do electro, vibrato, rock, garage and synth music. They actually do almost everything with their music. And I do mean everything. They’re song “Troublemaker” is a feast of energy while “The Words” play on a smoother vibe that heads on to heavier beats by the end. If you don’t like rock music, the ones that really almost bust your eardrums out, then the KOXX is a good recommendation for you. Reminiscent to British rock and EDM, they do music you would not imagine a Korean band can do. Their music just makes you wanna stand up and jump or sing along. They don’t use much lyrics in their songs but you can still get so addicted. Not much depth in lyrics as well, especially in their English ones since, well, they usually just don’t add up. But what can we do? Musicians have their artistic license. But if you listen along with the music, you’ll just get it. All of the members are music majors so I guess we don’t have any right to question their skills.
One more thing the KOXX is loved for is because of this line their member Sooryun said:
“It’s surprising that we’re recognized more by our music peers than the public.”
The Korean rock and indie scene in Korea has a very small following. But with the KOXX, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Why? Because more than creating a steady “fanbase”, the KOXX has instead created a very strong tie with various artists because of their talents in music production. Where else can you find a groups who’s members all went to the same music school and specializes in not just on instrument? As I have always bragged about, Shaun is a DJ and producer and has done songs for EXO, Younha, BoA, Innovator , Epik High and more. (And I guess this is where the KHOP scene enters). Sooryun is also a producer and song-writer. He’s also worked with BoA, Ryan Jhun and Green Day. Hyunsong, the leader and guitarist has also worked with the Kim Ok Bin OK PUNK rock band project. Sunbin, the bassist is both playing for the KOXX and Life&Time, a more laid-back band from the same label, Happy Robot Records. Their drummer, Shin Saron (who is currently finishing military service) was recognized for his mad skills. The new drummer, Jungyeol, is yet to be recognized but you certainly cannot be amazed as he follows Saron’s steps. Epik High has been vocal about their respect for the group multiple times and even led to all of them spending time together either making music or just lazing around. The group has also produced songs for other artists including creating 4minute’s “Dream Racer” and even featuring in Miryo’s “Party Rock” with Leessang’s Gary. I have always believed that artists who produce their own songs will live forever, and the KOXX is doing just that.
You can’t just put this group aside. Some may say they’re no ones, people just starting all over again. Well, let me tell you this. The KOXX has been making music since 2009. And by 2010, their fame skyrocketed until 2012, when they released their album “bon voyage”. This album was meant to be a “farewell” tribute from the band. Did you know that after their promotions for the said album, they announced a 3-year hiatus to give way to members entering their mandatory military enlistment. Imagine this. You were at the peak of your career, and you, yourself, announce that you’re halting your activities just when the going was already smooth. For KPOP idol groups, normally, this move is lethal. You could only wish that after 2 years of service, your fanbase would still be the same or else, your career is dead.
They just came back last year, 2015, three years after their last music release, and they still managed to fill a concert hall for their first performance. That’s how popular they are. Their fans did not waver in support. They even doubled! (And I’m proud to say I’m one of the new fans they have). And what other Korean band, after being in a 3-year hiatus, was able to perform at MAMA and be the opening act for the night? Yup. You read it right. They opened the MNET Asian Music Awards 2015 in Hong Kong. Missed it? Better watch the video again!
That’s how popular they are in Korea, and probably internationally, too. If you would read fan accounts/articles about the KOXX, you will never, NEVER, read a negative comment about them. I searched the web for various write ups about them and I can only be fed with their commendations about the band. I even read a comment in an AsianJunkie article about them.
“Listen to their songs before the kings bless you with more of their glory!”
If these comments would not make yo wonder about them, I don’t know what else could. I certainly became more hooked with them after seeing that people only could praise them. And now that they have come back after their 3 year hiatus, I’m sure they will be giving us more music and pouring us with their awesomeness. I am also expecting more collaborations from them with other artists.
Yeah. I liked the KOXX initially because of Shaun. I have a thing for DJ’s. I find them attractive, like, really. No joke. And Shaun. Yes, he’s a hottie. So he was my favorite from the band. But as I got to know more of them and their music, I realized that all of themare worth every bit of my attention , support and love. But I guess, now, I can say that the main reason I’m fully hooked with this group is because of what the members said in their Onstage K interviews.
“No other music activity like DJ-ing or music production is as fun as jamming with these people (the KOXX)” – Shaun
“I can’t imagine living without this band.” – Hyunsong
Music has become their lives and they all became brothers because of it. There were some comments that the songs in their mini-album “bon voyage” was disappointing, at the fact that they expected something more and different from them. Personally, I like all the tracks. Yes, there were parts of some songs that might sound “boring”, but as a whole, I consider them gems. And I guess that’s what the KOXX has to offer to everyone. It’s their music, the thing they live for all together. They’re not just playing around, doing music for money’s sake. Whatever we hear from them is already their best and songs that they all worked hard for because it’s what keeps them going. It is worth every drop of your respect if you know that an artist gives all of his heart towards his music.