[TRANS] Pony Music Interview With XXX at the Trans Musicales Festival

Although not entirely popular intheir homeland, Beasts And Natives Alike have found their artists in a more international light of fame. Namely, producer-MC unit, XXX. In 2017, the duo, became part of the Trans Musicales Festival in France. A few months have gone by but we found an interview with them on French Radio show, Pony Express shared back in February.

The interview is in French and needed to be translated into English. We had help from Carole M. for the translations, a fan who also enjoys listening to Korean music namely Glen Check, Hyukoh, Cifika, Bye Bye Badman and more!


Pony Express, 12.02.2018, 09h30 – Radio Couleur 3 (Switzerland)

“Pony Music- Geos met XXX, Koreans who chose Rap music instead of K-Pop”

Claire (radio DJ): “Hello GEOS, you’re here today to talk about a Korean band called XXX. You met them at the Festival the Trans Musicales of Rennes. We can say that the interview was more or less complicated.”

Geos (radio DJ): “Yes, the concert took place at The UBU, a place managed by the Trans Musicales Association. I met them a few hours before the show so I don’t know if because they were nervous or if they are very shy, moreover they are no fluent in English, me neither.”

Claire: “and you don’t speak Korean.”

Geos : “Indeed, not a Korean word, so, with one of them, Kim Ximya, they are two members : FRNK who is a DJ and Producer, and Kim Ximya, who is a rapper, Kim Ximya knows better English. Nevertheless we managed to communicate and have a conversation.”

Claire: “I wanted to precise, their name is XXX and there is an American rapper also called XXX.”

Geos: “Yes, he is from Miami and his name is XXXTentacion. He is trendy in the Trap movement, etc., and he has colored dreadlocks. But them (XXX), their first project was called XX and when they had to choose a real band name, they put a third X to transform it into XXX. It is finally a simple story.”

Claire: “They are from Korea and usually when we hear about Korea we first think about KPOP. Can you tell me why they didn’t choose to become Kpop artists? “

XXX Kim Ximya: “Because like, mostly, if you want to do Kpop, you have to be beautiful (laugh). That explains a lot. If I was a pretty boy, in the standards of Korean beauty, because there is a specific beauty in Korea, I believe that I would be a Kpop Artist. (Laugh)
Kpop is most popular than hiphop. Of course, if you want to earn a lot of money you have to do Kpop. “

Claire: “Does it mean that for these 2 musicians that producing rap music do not provide a living?”

GEOS: “Absolutely, their popularity in Korea grows and they make some concerts but this is not enough to gain money and to make a living thanks to their musical wages. Their label called Beast and Natives Alike trusts and supports them a lot.

They are always surprised when they are invited to perform in Europe, and for example, it was hard for them to realize that they were invited at the Trans Musicales of Rennes and were shown interest in a foreign country when it’s hard to find propositions in their own country.”

Claire: “And hiphop is not the most famous style in Korea but it began in a particular way”

XXX Kim Ximya:” It’s started like 20 years or 25 years ago, and there is a TV show called ‘Show me the money’ which introduced hiphop in Korea, but we don’t really like the show. But FRNK likes it only because it’s funny (laugh). Yes, so it is like an audition program, but it deals with hiphop and the candidates audition in order to become hiphop artists. In my opinion, this is nonsense.”

Claire: “Geos, can you explain why there is finally no sense to pass auditions? We can imagine this show with the same concept as The Voice or something like that.”

Geos: “Yes, Indeed, I verified after the interview, this show is “Show me Money” and I think that firstly this title is not interesting. The show is rather a caricature. There is the same sets as in Japanese game shows. It reminded me when I was a teenager and I watched Japanese Games TV Shows, as survivals games, with tests for guys disguised in Sumo, I don’t know I you can figure out. “Show me the money” is a kind of show about rap, an auditions show with some strange sets and it seems fake. It is a caricature and I think that XXX don’t like this stereotypes and don’t have much in common with people who appropriate this kind of music only because it becomes fashionable or because the media begin to talk about it.”

Claire: “We don’t really know Korean Hiphop here, but we can mention a rapper who become famous abroad: Keith Ape. Can you explain us who is he?”

Geos: “Yes. He is a 24 years rapper from Seoul. In January 2015, he released the track “It G Ma”. We’re going to listen an extract. It was a cover from an Atlanta rapper, OG Maco, who produced the hit: “U guessed it”. Keith Ape was inspired by its rhythm and flow and almost copied it. “It G Ma” became a very big hit, and I remember also that it was one of the first time, in 2015, that I thought that Rap and its sub-gender Trap, were really became universal”

Claire: “We’re going to listen this track and we can say that it is Americanized version because of the featuring of A$AP Ferg and Waka Flocka Flame, etc. “

Claire: “We asked XXX what they thought about Keith Ape:”

XXX Kim Ximya: “At the beginning people said that Keith Ape copied OG Maco and everything but now they like mumble rap. This kind of music is similar. But me, I like Keith Ape. I don’t really know him. Generally, we don’t really meet other Hiphop artists. Since, he really doesn’t like hip hop anymore, he wants to experience new musical genders and doesn’t want to be categorized only as a hiphop artist.”

Claire: “Do they think that Keith Ape is a good ambassador for Korean Hip-hop?”

XXX Kim Ximya: “I think that Keith Ape is an artist who produces music which could be liked everywhere. We can say that he helped the Korean hiphop community but, he is helping himself right now.”

Claire: “We listened XXX “Flight Attendant”, a track sung in English. Nevertheless, Geos, you saw their concert at The Trans Musicales of Rennes and you can confirm that they rap in Korean.”

Geos: “Yes, of course, for the most part. They also use English in their songs but if you compare to other Korean rappers, as for example CL or GDragon, both are really famous, you notice that them, they rap mostly in English. And if you consider the Asian scene on a general level, for example, Rich Brian, former called Rich Chigga, who is Indonesian, even him raps mainly in English, so if you compare XXX with others, they use their native language more than other Korean rappers.”

Claire: “Especially that they claim it, explaining that it is important:”

XXX Kim Ximya: “I always thought that if you are Korean or if you are Chinese or other, you have to debut first in your country, and after worldwide. If you do the inverse, you first succeed abroad then comeback in your country, it’s a little bit too easy.

Of course, being famous abroad is very difficult but the Korean Hip-hop legacy must continue and for that you absolutely have to use Korean.”

Claire: “So, XXX is a band who raps in Korean. Is it something popular? Do these artists succeed in Korea?”

Geos: “Keith Ape is a good example, he sings in Korean and have an international audience. But, too, we have to consider the entourage of the artists. The team which can help their success. For example, behind Keith Ape or Rich Chigga, CL or etc., there is a Label which works hard and produces contents to present these artists and their music, it is 88 Rising. They create music videos or others contents like food videos or American artists singing in karaoke In Korea or Japan. They try to mix various things and offer a side of Asian culture. You can watch their YouTube channel. This contributed to help their artists to become more famous.
XXX are not on this label and we can wonder whether they would worked with 88 rising, would they be more famous. Maybe?”

Claire: “Today XXX haven’t reached this level and have a nice way to define their success in Korea. They say:”

XXX Kim Ximya: “Not that big? (Laugh) We are always surprised when Europeans want us to play our music because we aren’t not very famous. But we can’t say that we are unknown, so we’re just in the middle (laugh).”

Claire: “It sounds like an answer from one Swiss citizen (laugh) …
The last XXX album is dated from 2016, we maybe have some details about the next release:”

XXX Kim Ximya: “The album is called “Language”. We went very far in the experimental music. It might be a little difficult to understand. It is a good album. So I hope we will be able to release it as soon as possible. The Label is called Beast and Natives Alike. People say BANA. It’s a Korean label. Our album is done but we are still working on video clips and all the promotion. We are going to make something different. It should be more shocking. (Laugh)”

Claire: “XXX are good vendors (laugh), Geos, do you know more details about this next album?”

Geos: “Unfortunately, not so much, but they just released a new Track “What you want”, last February 7th. You can listen it on legal streaming platforms.

There is no video for the moment but I talked with them about their old videos. They used animations which look like old Gameboy and they produced animated movies with some trash scenes, for example, there is a woman with a snake coming out from her belly. And if they promised it, we can really expect something more shocking.”

Claire: “Can you talk about the concert?”

Geos: “Yes, it was really great. The UBU is a little venue. The audience were about 200-300 people and the place was full. The DJ, FRNK, were stuck behind his machines, the rapper, Kim Ximya was in front of him with a microphone stand.

Videos were projected behind them with the same style that the clip of “Flight attendant”, in that kind of old game atmosphere and with a beautiful aesthetic.

And it was interesting to observe Kim Ximya’s reactions, as during this interview: he was shy and not very confident. We could consider that he is not a great stage performer. When he finished his song he stayed turned in direction of his DJ. But finally, the result was that we could more focus on the composer of music or the video projected behind than the singer. It’s interesting to see a band where the MC doesn’t occupy the first place”.

Claire: “So it was XXX, the band you met not so long ago at the Trans Musicales Festival. The Korean hiphop scene is more alive than what we can believe.

And now we listen CL and the Crew Diplo, RiFF RAFF and OG Maco”


Here is a video of XXX from the Trans Musicales Festival in France by Culturebox!

Thank you for reading! And please take our translations with proper credit.

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