Edited by Yoon
Translated by Kim Hoyeun
With the sensational popularity of Semantic Error, interest in the lead actors – Park Seo Ham and Jaechan – is also through the roof. And of course, this interest is also extending into their singing careers as well. Jaechan is a member of the 6-member group DKZ (changed its name from DONGKIZ to DKZ on March 28th), and Park Seo Ham was a former member of KNK (left in September last year). Until their recent fame with Semantic Error, neither of them received attention as singers, hence leading to greater interest in their past activities. So let’s take a look at Park Seo Ham and Jaechan’s careers as singers through KNK and DKZ.
KNK is a five-member boy group that debuted in 2016 (currently a three-member group). At the time of their debut, the members’ average height of 180cm (about 5.9ft) became a hot topic. Park Seo Ham was the main rapper and the tallest member of the group. Along with his teammates Inseong and Heejun, he also appeared in the survival show Mix Nine.
KNK promoted their debut single KNOCK for two months. KNOCK is the “cliche album” of boy groups. Instead of choosing trendy genres like R&B or hip-hop, it emphasizes the boys’ vocals and the overall black-toned styling. The act continued this concept throughout “BACK AGAIN” from AWAKE, “U” from REMAIN, “Rain” from GRAVITY, Completed, and the single LONELY NIGHT. And perhaps it’s because of this concept that they remind us of BEAST.
Even when they were on the verge of disbanding after their contract with the label ended, KNK showed an effort to continue their promotions. In 2019, they released KNK S/S COLLECTION, which conceptualized their nicknames such as “tall idols” or “model idols.” This was when KNK reached its big turning point, and this led to a challenge in the next album – changing the genre. “RIDE” from KNK AIRLINE, released in 2020, followed the recent trend by using refreshing synth sounds and showed overall simple vocals and arrangement. The song certainly deserves to be added to the well-made summer song playlist.
One big difference about KNK’s music is that the use of instruments, especially guitars and kicks, is very aggressive. It does leave regret about how they might have turned out if they further stressed this strength and developed it into a case like Dreamcatcher. What is interesting is that all KNK’s songs go well with their tall and handsome looks. As you all know, the harmony of the looks, video, and audio is very crucial in K-pop.
DKZ is a boy group that debuted in 2019. Jaechan is the rapper and was often put in the center of the group. The group was often mentioned among K-pop fans at the time of their debut for the members’ young age.
Since their debut, DKZ has emphasized the image of “young” and “cute and lively” without major changes. Unlike other boy groups that make their debut with powerful choreography, DKZ chose to differentiate themselves and showed a conceptual attempt enough to make them seem like the post-Orange Caramel. From their debut single NOM to “Dreaming You” composed by Avenger Seung and “Fever” where the boys turned into cute troublemakers, the act has consistently maintained their music and concept.
In particular, “CRAZY NIGHT,” released in July of last year, is the most-talked-about song along with “LUPIN” since the release of Semantic Error. The “comment collection” videos on YouTube are going viral, and with the new popularity, the song has climbed back onto the music charts. The song may seem light and childish from its title, but that is not the case. In the chorus, the bass line that comes right after the chant “Like a bad calf with a horn on its butt” is ear-catching, and the members’ innocent expressions harmonize well with the lively choreography, creating a delightful atmosphere of a fairytale-like story.
Recently, DKZ went through reorganization into a 6-member group and is now preparing for their comeback on the 12th. Since it’s the act’s comeback after the success of Semantic Error, K-pop fans’ expectations are through the roof. This upcoming sixth single album CHASE EPISODE 2. MAUM has already surpassed 20,000 pre-orders, proving their significantly increased popularity. This is probably the most important moment for DKZ. I look forward to seeing how DKZ will open the second act of their career.
Editor Yoon: I love music, especially K-POP, and I dream of becoming an A&R person, lyricist, artist, etc. I will cover various articles, including song reviews, artist reviews, and K-pop market analysis.
Translator Kim Hoyeun: If you are a fan of K-drama, K-movie, and K-pop, I am your guy. I will continue to provide you with up-to-date K-entertainment news.