From a sci-fi world with virtual counterparts to multiple magical alternate universes, K-pop groups are known for their elaborate and intricately created concepts — but no one does it quite like KINGDOM.
Comprising Dann, Arthur, Mujin, Louis, Ivan, Jahan, and Chiwoo, the group's story takes place across seven kingdoms with each member representing a different king from history. Eventually set to culminate into a giant and expansive universe, we're currently on a journey through each member's backstory with every mini-album release.
"In KINGDOM’s fictional universe, there are seven kings and seven kingdoms. In season 1—where we currently are at—the seven kings who are lost and wandering manage to find their authentic selves and mature. When the seven kings all ascend the throne, the story will become even grander and more epic," the group tells Bandwagon.
So far, the 'KARMA' act have released three mini-albums that dive into the stories of Arthur, Chiwoo, and Ivan. With four more records slated for release, KINGDOM are gradually unravelling their grand story that's unlike anyone else's.
"Our concepts are always incomparable - the story of kings, grand music, fantasy-like music video, and magnificent stage performance! These factors attract the public, which makes us stand out," the group says.
Following the release of their latest mini-album, History of Kingdom: Part III. Ivan, Bandwagon caught up with the impressive rookie group to take about their royal concept, their music, and what lies ahead in the world of Kindgom.
Hi KINGDOM, what have you been up to lately?
We have been busy with preparing this album. After the release, we will be striving to satisfy our fans with our activities.
Tell us about your individual musical beginnings. How did each of you first get into music and how did you know you wanted to be a K-pop idol?
Dann: At first I was amused by the fancy images of K-pop idols but after perceiving the power of music, I got seriously into it. Music is capable of giving us laughter and consolation. We live different lives but could empathize with others’ emotions — I wanted to communicate this message to those having hard times. That became the first step of my music career.
Arthur: I attended a live music stage held by KBS in 2015, and saw Jimin of BTS performing alone. He inspired me to dream of becoming a singer. In the beginning, my main interest was dancing but I eventually enjoyed performing on the stage. Receiving lots of love and interest was also an attractive merit of being a K-pop idol.
Mujin: My mother is engaged in music. This affected my life to be intimate with music- I joined the choir in school and church and even bands. During my school days, I got attracted by K-pop idols and their cool music, and my journey to become one of them commenced.
Louis: I was a member of the dance club in school and I loved the sound of applause from the audience. It was unforgettable, and it made me get into music seriously and settled my dream as a K-pop idol.
Ivan: As I’ve always been interested in singing and dancing, I dreamed of becoming a K-pop idol since I was 17. But I haven’t had the chance, so I turned my career to acting when I was 19. Nevertheless, Louis casted me on the streets, and I auditioned to become a member of KINGDOM. It was my last chance, and I made it!
Jahan: When I first got into middle school, I got into music for the first time. I started to watch the dance practice videos of idol groups and became interested in the profession of K-pop idols. That was my first step of preparation.
Chiwoo: I was originally planning to become a soccer player, but BTS inspired me to dream of becoming a K-pop idol. Singing and dancing began to seem much cooler than playing soccer to me. That was my first step.
Introduce to us what king you represent.
Dann rules the 'Kingdom of Change'. Arthur rules the 'Kingdom of Rain'. Mujin rules the 'Kingdom of Cherry Blossoms'. Louis rules the 'Kingdom of Beauty'. Ivan rules the 'Kingdom of Snow'. Jahan rules the 'Kingdom of Sun'. Finally, Chiwoo rules the 'Kingdom of Cloud'.
What were your first impressions of one another? How would you describe the group dynamic now?
When we first met, we found each other quite normal – none of us had a strong or negative impression. We sometimes quarrel but always try to get along as a family.
[👑]— KINGDOM (@KINGDOM_GFent) October 31, 2021
❤️팬 사인회 순서❤️
무진- 자한-루이-아이반-치우-아서-단#KINGDOM #킹덤 pic.twitter.com/nJtblUqJFt
You just released your third mini-album History of Kingdom: Part lll. Ivan, what story does it tell?
History Of Kingdom: Part III. IVAN is about the 'Kingdom of Snow' ruled by Ivan. It focuses on Ivan’s internal conflict between good and evil, and his confrontation with the Black Crown – the absolute power of evil.
Sonically, how does the mini-album stand out?
Dann and Mujin once again participated in songwriting and composing. You can expect their upgraded musical capacity! Also, you can expect various wonderful b-side tracks, which we are always good with :)
The title track of the mini-album ‘Black Crown’, tell us more about the song and the message you want to tell fans through it.
‘Black Crown’ is a story of the Kingdom of Snow and King Ivan. Between good and evil, Ivan chooses the power of absolute evil in order to guard his kingdom. He decides to wear the ‘Black Crown’.
We tried to deliver this story through this song – we wanted the fans to understand Ivan’s internal conflicts.
Who are some artists, both locally and internationally that you look up to and why?
It is too hard to pick some since there are so many artists we look up to! We respect all the artists – both Korean and international!
Outside of music and performing together, what else do you enjoy doing as a group?
We are restricted from trying many things outside, due to the pandemic. We go to cafes together and take out beverages, or play games together in our dorm.
What is the best part of being in KINGDOM?
When we feel the love sent from dear Kingmakers [KINGDOM fans]! That is the happiest moment.
[👑]— KINGDOM (@KINGDOM_GFent) November 4, 2021
안 어울리는 색깔이 없는〰💜
매일매일 리즈 갱신하는 킹덤이들과
4분의 영화 같은 블랙 크라운 무대🌟
남은 활동 끝까지 함께 하기로 약속❤️🔥#KINGDOM #킹덤 #BlackCrown #블랙크라운 #엠카운트다운 pic.twitter.com/YD03eiA0F3
Where do you see KINGDOM in the next few years?
After a few years, we will still be active with our albums since the fictional universe of KINGDOM is a large-scale project. By then, we may be holding concerts and meeting up with Kingmakers!
Listen to KINGDOM's History of Kingdom: Part III. Ivan here.
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