After leaving Amoeba Culture, Esens found his new home with Beasts And Natives Alike founded in 2013. Through the years, the label has found much success despite a small roster and following.
Most popularly called as “BANA” by fans, the label houses rapper Esens, hiphop unit XXX, indie band Glen Check, DJ 250, producer D.Sanders, musician and producer Jowoong (also of indie band Goonam) and visual artist Erick Oh.
Esens was an underground rapper who later debuted as part of the unit Supreme Team with Simon D under Amoeba Culture. In 2013, they disbanded and left the label. Shortly after joining BANA, Esens was imprisoned for marijuana use. The label released his album “The Anecdote” in 2015 and received much attention and praise not only for being the first album released while the artist is in jail, but for its music, lyricism and sincerity. It later on became album of the year in the Korean Music Awards and recently was announced as one of the most influential albums of the 2010’s by the Korean Music Council.
Esens was released from jail in October 2016 and has been able to perform and go on tour in 2017 for “The Anecdote Tour” which went to four major cities in South Korea (Daegu, Gwangju, Busan and Seoul), and was received well not just by fans, but also of fellow musicians.
Made up of rapper Kim Ximya and DJ/producer FRNK, XXX debuted back in 2015. However, the two started out as a three-member act called Dopemansion with vocal singer Ku Onechan (formerly known as Vankudi). In 2014, Kim Ximya and FRNK (then known as FRNK$eoul), released their first mixtape as a duo called “the xx” and was received fairly well by the underground scene. The mixtape introduced FRNK’s heavy bass and experimental music matched with Kim Ximya’s brutal but catchy lyricism.
In an interview, Kim Ximya revealed that he auditioned for BANA alone and was eventually accepted. He brought FRNK with him and they both got in afterwards. Kim Ximya was later introduced publicly as a part of the label through Esens’ song “Tick Tock” featuring him. He was also the label’s representative accepting Esens’ award at the Korean Music Awards. Meanwhile, FRNK participated in f(x)’s remix album for the track “Four Walls”.
In 2016, XXX was able to release their debut EP called “Kyomi”. It’s reception in South Korea was limited but the international music scene was quick to pick up on their material. The lead track “Liquor” and “Flight Stewardess” music videos were even nominated for international awards. The two have been invited over to international music festivals as well, including SXSW in America and the Le Trans Music Festival in France.
Glen Check is one of the most popular Korean indie bands, with their music being staples and long-time favorites in the country. Made up of Kim Juneone (vocals, guitar) and Kang Hyukjun (aka Hyuky) (synths, bass), the two debuted in 2010 wtih dance, disco, electro and funk music. In 2012, they released their first album “Haute Couture” under Soundholic and earned them awards from the Korean Music Awards. After a year, they released their second album “YOUTH” which contains 2 CDs, one with organically created tracks, and one with those produced electronically. This started their journey through electronic music and became staples at festivals. They were even able to perform at SXSW and in France.
They left Soundholic and was left to independently promote themselves. Kim Juneone later became active as a DJ and joined the crew Alter Ego. Hyuky also became a DJ and started the crew Mosaik with NOV, Mignon, Sojeso, Hyunsoo and CY. In 2016, BANA announced that the band has joined the label, with Kim Juneone releasing a track on his Soundcloud called “Fakin'” featuring Kim Ximya. In 2017, Kim Juneone collaborated with f(Krystal) for the single “I Don’t Wanna Love You”.
The same year, Glen Check came back after a 4-year hiatus with the EP “The Glen Check Experience” showcasing a very different style compared to their first years, using RnB, hiphop and jazz influences. The band are still actively being invited to perform at some of the biggest indie festivals including the Pentaport, Greenplugged, Jisan Valley and Let’s Rock Festival. But they are also slowly being exposed to hiphop fans through their performances at the Rapbeat Festival.
250 is a DJ and producer that has also participated in f(x) remix project. Although now concentrated more in producing music, 250 started his career as a DJ in Hongdae, later on being able to do a set at the Spectrum Music Festival in 2016. He is the producer of one of Esens’ most popular songs “비행”. Through BANA TV, he released a two-part documentary video series about his life and musical work.
D.Sanders is a Korean-American raised in the USA and has been actively known as a music producer that has worked with numerous hiphop artists including Isaiah Rashad. In 2017, it was announced that he was added into the label and that he was working to release an album.
In November the same year, his EP with Kim Ximya called “Moonshine” was released and was able to promote with him before heading back to America.
A member of the Korean indie band Goonam, Jowoong was announced as one of the producers in the label, who also participated in the f(x) remix album. In 2017, he released a demo version of his song “기분”.
Being part of Disney’s Pixar for years, graphic artist Erick Oh left and decided to work on his own. He is one of the lead artists for the independent design company, Tonko House. In 2018, his works wtih Tonko House were exhibited in various film festivals around the world.