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NCT 127, STRAY KIDS AND KNK COVERAGE

THE KPOP CONCERT CON

A JOURNEY INTO WEBTOON WORLD

Boy groups wow London audiences with spectacular concerts

Overpriced tickets, last minute cancellations ... Fans and artists suffer

‘W’ caputured fans hearts. Here’s why you should check it out

AUGUST 2019


NEWS 03 NEWS ROUND UP

MUSIC 04 COVERAGE NCT 127 16 COVERAGE STRAY KIDS 18 COVERAGE KNK 28 ALBUM REVIEW LEO

WELCOME You may notice a small change to UKP Magazine this issue! To bring you more content, featuring our impressive coverage photography we’re unveiling our mini UKP Zine - but don’t worry, the full magazine will return at the end of the year! I’m really excited to share the first UKP Zine issue - it features stunning photos of NCT 127 and KNK by the super talented Chiara and Michael! Enjoy! Lore Walsh Creative Director l.walsh@unitedkpop.com

30 IDOL SPOTLIGHT MONSTA X 32 THE KPOP CONCERT CON

TV & FILM 34 A JOURNEY INTO THE WORLD OF WEBTOONS

CULTURE

CREDITS Writers

Designers

Emma Alford Keeley Burridge Amy Furney Caitlin Holloway Samera Iqbal Helen Rodgers Lore Walsh

Emily Stuart Chelsea Visda Lore Walsh Janine Kaye

36 ALL ABOUT BUSAN

BEAUTY 38 BEAUTY BREAKDOWN MAGNETIC MOON

Special Thanks My Music Taste Magic Sound

Photographers Michael East Chiara Fulgoni


NEWS

By Samera Iqbal & Helen Rodgers

DREAMCATCHER ANNOUNCES EUROPEAN TOUR European InSomnias, your dreams have been answered! Dreamcatcher are returning for their second European tour later this year. The girl group, who debuted in 2017 with their unique rock-pop sound, stunned on their first European tour in early 2018. Since then, their European fanbase have been ardently campaigning for the group to return on MyMusicTaste – and their hard work has paid off! Dreamcatcher will visit the following cities on their tour:

LDN NOISE REVEALS PROJECTS WITH MONSTA X AND SUPERM

SCOTTISH SINGER HAS WRITTEN A TRACK FOR MONSTA X

At Kcon LA’s Behind the Beat panel, the London-based duo shared that they have worked on singles for two kpop groups: MONSTA X and the upcoming supergroup, SuperM. Working with MONSTA X for the first time, the song is said to be released in Korean, English, and Spanish. It was also hinted that a Latin artist would feature on the Spanish version.

Scottish singer and Let It Shine contestant Mark Angels has written a track on MONSTA X’s new Japanese album.

As for SuperM, the song is said to be mostly in English. LDN Noise is behind multiple tracks by SM artists, including WayV’s Take Off, Red Velvet’s Dumb Dumb, and f(x)’s 4 Walls. Although they have worked with all members of SuperM before, this is the first time that they will work with these members as a group.

Although the information was readily available on the album’s tracklist, Angels confirmed the news on the album’s release day (21st August 2019). On Instagram, he shared a photo of the Japanese album, stating that he had written the third track of the album – MY BEAST. The track is part of MONSTA X’s second Japanese album, X-PHENOMENON. The album consists of nine songs and a title track with the same name. Check out the MV for it below. To listen to the album, you can find it on Spotify and iTunes.

24th October ULU Live, London 27th October Magazzini Generali, Milan 30th October Kesselhaus, Berlin 1st November Palladium, Warsaw 3rd November Élysée Montmatre, Paris 5th November Melkweg, Amsterdam 7th November Nosturi, Helsinki Presale TasteMaker tickets will be available for all venues on September 2nd and general sale tickets will be released on September 4th. For more information, check out the MyMusicTaste website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.


LIVE IN LONDON WORDS: HELEN RODGERS PHOTOS: MICHAEL EAST & CHIARA FULGONI


On the 7th of July 2019, Wembley was overrun by fans wearing lime green as they prepared themselves for NCT 127’s Neo City: The Origin London concert. The venue was alive with energy and noise as fans chatted amongst themselves and danced to the group’s songs.


The queueing system for the concert was unsurprisingly disorganised. Some fans were left waiting for hours in a line as there was only one merch stall outside. Others were told by staff to run to the other side of the venue half an hour before the show was set to begin because they weren’t getting people in fast enough. The fans kept their energy high despite the organisational hiccoughs, and the arena was vibrating with anticipation as they readied themselves for the concert.

After these songs, NCT 127 took the time to welcome the audience and introduce themselves. It was a wonderful surprise that every member tried to speak in English throughout the concert. Though it was obvious that some of it was being read from a prompter (which is only to be expected as most of the members don’t speak fluent English), all of the fans really appreciated the effort. Their attempts at speaking English for the majority of the concert made the speaking segments far less tedious than if it were all being translated, and it allowed the concert to flow more smoothly.

NCT 127 debuted with seven members on 7th July 2016. The group have seen a few line-up changes over the year and had nine members for the London concert: Taeyong, Taeil, Johnny, Yuta, Doyoung, Jaehyun, Mark, Jungwoo and Haechan. As the concert was on their third anniversary, NCTzen’s from the UK had produced a banner for fans to hold up during ‘Jet Lag’ to celebrate. NCTzen’s also started singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to the group towards the end of the concert.

NCT 127 then moved onto some of their slower songs. Their performance of ‘Fly Away With Me’ was mesmerising. The song showed a completely different side to the group. It showcased their breath taking, crystal clear vocals. The delicate and expressive choreography allowed each member to shine. For a group that is known for their hard-hitting, fiery comebacks, it was refreshing to see them perform in such a fluid and majestic way.

NCT 127 started the concert with the English version of their explosive title song ‘Cherry Bomb’. The sharp dance and deep music shook the arena as fans joined in with the infectious lyrics. It was a treat for the fans to witness their iconic leg-spreading dance at the end of the song.

There was a small interval as NCT 127 got changed and staff set up stools and standing microphones on the stage for the next segment. The pared back staging during these songs made the concert feel very intimate, even though the arena was filled with thousands and thousands of NCTzen’s swinging their lightsticks from side to side.

The group maintained the energy with by performing some more of their upbeat-but-gritty songs like ‘Limitless’ and ‘Chain’. It was a shame that only some of the members were on stage for the beginning of ‘Limitless’, rather than the whole group performing the songs exceptional dance. However, the stage had a raised podium towards the back where some of the members performed for the other songs. This was excellent staging as it allowed all of the audience to see clearly. It also meant they were able to appreciate each member’s impeccable dancing.

The whole group returned to the stage in suave, crimson suits to perform their hit ‘Regular’. The songs Latin vibe made the audience dance along and raised the pace of the concert. As the group performed the English version of the song, the crowd were able to sing along. The venue was once again filled with thrilling energy from both the crowd and the performers.


As NCT 127 prepared to perform some of their older album tracks, the landscape of the stage changed as an intricate metal climbing frame appeared from the sides. The group used the frame as a prop for their next few songs. They climbed up to perform on platforms at the top and they draped themselves over the rails. NCT 127 showed off their acting skills in an amusing VR that appeared on the screens while they went to change again. The VR showed four members who have miraculously travelled back in time and have to compete in a dance-off in order to get back to the present day. The members were decked out in classic 90s fashion which was very reminiscent of their sunbaes H.O.T. Though the VR was quite long, the narrative and comedy kept the audience entertained as they cheered for their favourite member. The crazy clothing continued as the group stepped back onto the stage in a clash of patterned clothing and bright colours. The costumes signalled the fun and cute section of the set list and brought back memories of Kpop in 2010/2011. The members performed ‘Touch’ and ‘Good Thing’ with copious amounts of aegyo which made it impossible not to grin. The atmosphere in the room was lifted again and provided another contrast to NCT 127’s darker music.

NCT 127 ended the main concert with their debut song ‘Fire Truck’. Though the song was originally released with only seven members, the choreography and line distribution had been reworked so all nine could perform it. The song was a spectacle as NCTzen’s Bluetooth-controlled lightsticks flashed a bright orange, and fire machines lit up at the front of the sage during the songs pivotal moments. The group returned for an encore in dazzling white and silver suits that caught the light perfectly. They performed their most recent comeback ‘Superhuman’ with flawless energy and dancing. They finished the concert with ‘Summer 127’ and ‘0 Mile’. Johnny had said during the concert that seeing how free NCTzen’s were had made him feel the same way. It was inspirational to see how free the members were during these last two songs; with less choreographed dancing they were able to interact with fans and thoroughly enjoy their last few moments on stage in London.


STRAY KIDS

“They say people are born different, but why does it feel like we’re all the same,” the words poured out of the speakers along with the distorted siren and drum-filled instrumental. “Us, brainwashed into the same system. They expect perfection so how can we be different, huh? It wasn’t until I saw my reflection, that’s when I woke up and realised that the truth had been hidden away from us.”

LIVE IN LONDON WORDS: HELEN RODGERS On Sunday 28th July, Kpop rookies Stray Kids played a sold-out concert at the O2 Academy Brixton.

MIXTAPE The group started their energetic set with their pre-debut single ‘Hellevator’. The aesthetics matched the groups fiery performance as the group were bathed in red light, the screen behind them was filled with flickering flames and the front of the stage ignited with spark machines. The explosive opener was matched by the hoards of fans as they sang along and waved their lightsticks fervently. Stray Kids and their team had masterfully designed the show to showcase each of the albums they’ve released thus far. The show was segmented into sections for each album, the first being their predebut album ‘Mixtape’. The group performed their song ‘Beware’ to conclude the mixtape section of the show.

I AM NOT The screens surrounding the stage came to life with a gritty video accompanied by ‘NOT!’ to introduce the groups debut album. The words spoken in the short intro song are reflective of Stray Kids overall message. Stray Kids have three members who write and produce most of the group’s music. These members go by the name of 3racha and their music is often centred around the struggles that young people face in today’s society.

The influence the words have on fans were plain to see as the crowd called out the final English words that were spoken: “A sign. An omen. A glitch.” Stray Kids then reappeared on the stage to perform the intense and powerful rock song ‘Awaken’ which perpetuates their narrative of finding yourself. Bass ricocheted through the floor as the group’s grungy debut song ‘District 9’. The screens were filled with prison imagery that was reminiscent of the song’s music video. The addictive lines “Stray Kids everywhere, all around the world” were chorused by the fans like a mantra. After this section it was finally time for Stray Kids to introduce

themselves and address their fans. The group’s tough persona dissolved immediately as they stopped performing and their playful side came out. The leader Bang Chan was quick to comment on how many people were at the concert. His eyes scanned the crowd that were clustered tightly together in front of him. He also spoke about the unusual British weather that they had experienced. He mused that, though the heat outside was incredible, “the heat from [the crowd]is amazing”. It was clear that the heat and the thick crowd were affecting fans however as sweat dripped from their foreheads and they used fan-made banners to cool themselves down.

I AM WHO The group performed the song ‘Mirror’ from their debut album before moving onto their ‘I Am Who’ album. The transition was flawless as they performed a mirror dance for their introduction to the second album. The dance showcased their skilful dancing abilities. The nature of the movements and concept ensured that the crowd’s attention would be on their precise moves and synchronisation. Stray Kids pulled it off excellently and entranced the audience with their passionate and emotional dancing. Stray Kids stuck with the darker


theme for their concert by performing the darker songs off this album: ‘Insomnia’ and ‘Voices’. The choice of set list maintained the energy for the entire concert and let the music and performances flow seamlessly into each other. A blanket of calm settled over the audience as the members gathered at the front of the stage. The group began an inspiring speech to introduce their next song. The members spoke about achieving their dreams and how grateful they are for the fans. “Never give up, just keep your pace and keeping going,” they said just before the guitar riff of their title song ‘My Pace’ started.

I AM YOU Before Stray Kids launched headfirst into performances from the final album in their ‘I am…’ series, they gave their fans, known as Stay, some ‘gifts’. They travelled down the line and each performed a little skit to excite the fans. Many of the members opted for the typical aegyo. However, Han and Changbin decided to oppose their fellow members and show off their muscles which caused a raucous cheer. Vocalist Seungmin was met with squeals of praise as he chose to perform a short snippet of a song by British band Coldplay. While Bang Chan amused fans by breaking away from his usual

Australian accent with an attempt at a Harry Potter impression.

CL 1: MIROH CL 2: Yellow Wood

The cheerful spirit of this short break was a wonderful break from the dark vibe of the concert and lightened the atmosphere a little before the group performed two of their more subdued songs ‘I Am You’ and ‘By My Side’.

With the sombre end to the performances from their first sequence of albums, Stray Kids made a zealous move into their more recent albums with ‘Victory Song’. The catchy, electronic anthem rippled through the crowd and got everyone jumping. The group were shocked at how enthusiastically the English speaking crowd chanted the Korean lyrics and got them to sing along even after the song had finished.

The stand-out moment from this slice of the concert was a moving video recording they played at the end. Stray Kids started their career as contestants on a TV survival program by the same name. The group, who were trainees under JYP Entertainment, competed against other trainees to win the prize of debuting in JYP’s next boy group. Trainee life is often difficult and tiring, and a televised survival competition only adds more stress to the trainees. It is understandable that fans feel a special connection to the members of the group after watching them go through so much on TV. It is this connection and the nostalgic clips shown throughout the video that made it such a poignant moment. The saddening clips from the show and the groups auditions were partnered with the soft guitar of ‘Mixtape #2’. The newly released song was written by all 9 members and talks about their hopes for the future and their determination.

The energy remained high as Stray Kids performed their most recent title songs ‘Miroh’ and ‘Side Effects’. The group asked fans to join in with the erratic hand movements from the ‘Side Effects’ choreography, but also asked that fans be careful not to hit each other. The bright white lightsticks were jerked around as Stays danced along. In the final moments of the show, the brooding performances were dropped as the group performed a medley of their happier, more lively songs ‘Awkward Silence’ and ‘Get Cool’. But they returned to their roots and decided to end at the beginning by performing ‘YAYAYA’ from their pre-debut album as their finale. The song invigorated the crowd one last time and they bid goodbye to their idols with a cheer of ‘Stray Kids everywhere, all around the world’.


LIVE IN LONDON WORDS: KEELEY BURRIDGE PHOTOS: CHIARA FULGONI

It’s been two years since KNK made their way to London. Appearing on stage at the Feel Korea Concert in 2017, they swiftly made their mark as a group, oozing their own unique style and charm. Organised by MyMusicTaste, the 18th August finally saw them ‘Back Again’, playing to a crowd of dedicated Tinkerbells at the O2 Academy Islington.


Debuting in 2016, it’s been quite a journey for KNK of the last three years. After parting ways with their formative company YNB Entertainment in what was a rather amicable split, and member Youjin choosing to move on from the group for personal reasons, they took an extended hiatus during 2018. This proved to be the break that they needed in order to come together again. Joined by new member Dongwon, the group had their first comeback in over a year with ‘Lonely Night.’ Their most recent release, the catwalk-inspired ‘Sunset’, comes from the S/S Collection album. Both releases have proven to be a hit with fans, many of whom have supported the group throughout the most recent changes. Whilst some groups might have found the small venue and even smaller crowd disheartening, KNK fully took their surroundings in their stride, making for an intimate yet high energy performance. London Tinkerbells were certainly under no impression that their numbers would hinder their volume. With the lights dimmed and each successive KNK track played, the practised fanchants only seemed to grow louder. By the time the boys made their entrance, the cheers had increased to a dull roar. Each member looked sexy and stylish in simple black trousers and shirts, accented with gold. It’s no wonder that this is a group known for their height; the outfits truly took advantage of this and accentuated their long legs and arms, heightening the choreography. Not only this but from the very first song, it was clear that KNK was not planning to hold back. They gave their all with every move. Sharp, clean and passionate, it showed the stage presence that shone the last time they performed in London. As if to prove their dancing prowess, they began by showcasing the as yet unseen choreography for ‘We Are the One’, a track from their newly released S/S Collection. The powerful moves proved to be the perfect opener, setting the stage for what felt like a more chilled performance. ‘Sunset’ is by no means a slow-paced song, and the strength that all five members poured into the choreography showed this. From the distinctive cradle-like starting position


which sees Heejun hanging from the other members’ outstretched arms, it was obvious which song was coming. KNK has some beautiful distinctive dances and throughout the concert, they weren’t afraid to show these off. The crowd, instantly thrilled to hear the latest comeback single live, matched the enthusiasm of the members with impressive fanchants. “Park Seoham! Lee Dongwon! Jeong Inseong! Kim Jihun! Oh Heejun! Keunakeun! Sunset! 4 y’all!” The introductions that followed were hardly needed if those chants were anything to go by. Nevertheless, each member introduced themselves purely in English, greeting the fans whom they acknowledged they hadn’t seen in two years. It’s a nice touch when performers take note of the city they are in and tailor their interactions with the crowd accordingly. KNK did so frequently, and that they also did so in English was another step they made to connect with the fans. This and the intimacy of the venue that allowed the boys to see nearly every face in the crowd meant that the interactions felt incredibly genuine. After Dongwon’s extended greeting in English, a shout of “Good job!” said in Korean came from the crowd and the boys responded warmly, repeating the phrase to Dongwon to make certain he heard the praise. After this, the group transitioned into the next set of songs. ‘Day by Day’ was followed up by Rain, which despite the lack of umbrellas looked equally a suave and impressive as any live stage had during their promotions of the song. ‘Lonely Night’ came shortly after, the opening notes strikingly similar to that of Rain’s opening. However, once the beat dropped and the members got into the rhythm of the song, it was entirely distinct. This is the great thing about KNK’s discography thus far. Never have they sacrificed their own style for the sake of a generic song. Each performance, therefore, was unique and completely owned by all the members. Even Dongwon, who hadn’t been with the group during the release of ‘Rain’, matched seamlessly with it’ style. KNK do not simply perform songs – they make them their own.


Once again breaking to talk with Tinkerbells, the topic turned to KNK’s favourite things about London. This is a familiar subject for idols experiencing new countries, and it’s a wonderful bonding point for them and their international fans. The members waved back to fans as others spoke spending as much time interacting with those in the balcony as those close to the stage. They continued with another set of four songs, all album tracks that slowed the pace down a little. From ‘Think About You’ and ‘What Do You Think’, to ‘Sunrise’ and ‘I Remember’, each song was met with cheers from the crowd, who all seemed to know the songs well. Whilst there were no solo stages this time, having kept to the group’s main discography, it was nice to hear some of the group’s favourite songs aside from their own during their next talking segment. Prompted by the others on stage, Inseong began by giving a small taste of his recent performance as Astronaut on King of Masked Singer. His powerhouse vocals sent shivers

throughout the room. Dongwon mentioned KARD, much to the delight of Seoham, who often likes to prove he is their biggest fan. Heejun then volunteered to sing harmonies for Seoham, who was in full fanboy mode. He then claimed that for his actual performance, Seoham would sing a song that was very important to the UK. He then proceeded to hum almost the entirety of Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter! As a well known Harry Potter fan, it would have been a shock had Seoham not mentioned the series once during their visit. Yet to sing the iconic theme song was a hilarious choice, one that the crowd absolutely loved. The next songs, ‘Tonight’, ‘Feel So Good’ and ‘Beauty’ brought up the mood again before the boys all chose a number from the audience, each of whom would win a signed Polaroid. This was made all the more playful by their instructions for the successful fans to shout


and dance if they heard their number called. Heejun provided some beatbox back up for the rest of KNK and the fan to dance to each time a number was chosen. Small moments like this really made the concert feel that much more personal. This was KNK meeting and interacting with their fans rather than solely putting on a show for them to watch. It was a heart-warming sight that brought a lot of smiles to the faces in the room. With the promise of their “sexiest song” coming next, the atmosphere settled in anticipation. ‘Fade’ was indeed sexy. Much of the choreography involved the members lowering to the floor, the lighting on stage low and blue. It’s safe to say they delivered on their promise. This, followed straight by the soulful ‘Sun Moon Star’ changed the mood of the concert entirely. Before moving to the next songs, the members reminisced once more on their time in London two years ago and how glad they were to be back. Thus, the next songs were fan songs. A dedication to the fans they returned with such warmth to see. After hearing moving ballad ‘Propose’, Tinkerbells returned that warmth during ‘Angel Heart’ with a lovely banner project organised by @asitblossoms on Twitter. Pink banners filled the room as the chorus swelled. Each member leaned forward to read the messages on them, Seoham even taking one to make sure they could all see. It was a touching moment, one acknowledged not through words, but simply the feeling in the room. Perhaps it was bittersweet because there was an unspoken knowledge that the show was slowly coming to an end. The KNK boys addressed the audience once again to thank them for calling them back to London and for coming that night. Heejun pointed out a couple in the audience, remarking that it was unusual to see couples at their concerts. He asked which of them was their fan, to which the guy gestured to both of them, offering finger hearts to show his own appreciation. This moment, and the many, many other small moments of interaction that KNK constantly offered their fans, is one that made this concert so memorable. International fans rarely have such chances to be close to their idols. That KNK seemed to understand this and interact with as many people in the crowd as possible is a testament to how welcoming they are as a group. Full of energy until the very end, they smashed they’re way through older, fan favourite singles ‘Back Again’ and ‘U.’ Despite having performed at least sixteen songs by this point in the night, not a single move was missed, nor half-hearted. They truly gave their all until leaving the stage, and even more so when returning for the encore. With a flag from the audience and a few more of the banners from the fan event earlier, the boys

played around on stage, throwing hearts to fans above and below, dancing and having fun with their audience. After a photo with the crowd, it was sad to see them go. The room felt empty as soon as their presence was gone, and that can only be a testament to just how much their personalities lit up the room. KNK may be a small group. They may have endured hardships and more false starts than many. But Sunday night proved that they can hold their own just as well, if not better, than some of the most popular male groups today. With that and their boundless enthusiasm and drive to continue forward, it won’t be long, I think, before we see them once again in London. Tinkerbells here will undoubtedly welcome them back with open arms. A huge thanks to MyMusicTaste for making the concert a reality, and allowing KNK to meet their fans all across Europe on the Sunrise Tour!


ALBUM REVIEW BY KEELEY BURRIDGE It seems it was only yesterday that Leo of VIXX made his solo debut. CANVAS turned out to be an album of experimentation, a chance to prove his singing prowess and diverse song-writing skills. If nothing else, MUSE picks up on this thread and runs with it, giving Leo yet more space to find his own voice. The title works well in that regard. Whether it is interpreted as music being his muse, or giving the listeners a muse through his music, this is an album that has had a great deal of love an attention poured into it, from the first track to the last.


That first being ‘Romanticism’, the title track. With an ethereal and almost chill first verse, layered with synths and trap percussion, it lures the listening into a false sense of security. Not that this is a bad thing. In doing this, the chorus takes on a heavier beat despite not having anything close to a beat drop. The faster pace of the lyrics picks up the rhythm, with a post chorus that has a memorable little riff to hum along to. The structure is somewhat more straightforward than previous single ‘Touch and Sketch.’ Yet the low key sensuality from that track remains, albeit in a slightly more reformed format. This is certainly a song that’s easier to dance to and knows how to use it’s pace and rhythms well, alternating between them to give the verses, chorus and bridge distinct feels without resulting in any jarring transitions. It does play it a little safe in that regard. ‘Romanticism’ furthers the style that Leo is chasing as a soloist, but perhaps sticks to it too faithfully at times. ‘This About to Happen’ follows in the same vein. However, it’s a solid showcase for the vocals that Leo is so good with. A powerful, almost soaring chorus is heightened by the soft yet strong tone of his voice, and directly contrasts the low, quiet follow up of a rap by Dynamic Duo’s Choiza. The airy feeling of the chorus also allows for the verses to feel closer, more intimate. There’s a longing feeling to the lyrics, the tempo never picking up, remaining steady throughout but never dragging. Choiza’s feature fits far better than expected, and it may have been nice to see it extended a little. Some harmonies between the two would have been great, adding more depth to the light chorus. This is the kind of song to dissolve into; calm yet engaging enough that there’s no fear of being distracted. It doesn’t feel as though it drags on. Rather, it stops just as the chorus becomes repetitive, allowing for it

to be memorable yet avoiding a trap that a lot of RnB slow tracks can fall into. ‘Nostalgia’, on the other hand, is unapologetically a ballad. And it can’t be denied that Leo’s voice matches beautifully with a good ballad. This one begins with soft piano, guided simply by this and Leo’s breathy vocals. The violins than enter after the first chorus. These lift the song, giving it a greater feeling of scope, which is once again amplified by Leo. His high notes a strong and confident. Never do they sound strained, but stand in beautiful contrast to the softness his voice achieves in the verses. It gives the entire track a lovely range and keeps it interesting, as well as emotionally powerful. A simple yet effective track. When ‘Tight’ comes in following this, it might just take the listener by surprise. All funky low bass until the pre-chorus, which acts as a great build up, the chorus evolves the sound of the verses. Dropping back to the low bass influence for the chorus is a great misdirect yet doesn’t feel unsatisfying due to the nature of the rhythm and heavier beat. In fact, this is arguably the highlight throughout the whole track. Little percussive additions such as a quiet click in the second verse add to the effect. The second chorus even delays the return of the beat for a bar and a piano enters during the bridge. All this small surprises add up to a laid back yet addicting track. Coming to the song the album takes its name from, ‘MUSE’ slows it back down for another piano ballad. Layers build over this, with gentle guitar at first, then drums. Nothing is over done here. It sounds far more indie influenced than any of Leo’s previous work, yet once again, his voice is well suited. Versatile despite its unique sound, Leo plays into the

floaty, high tones of his vocals here, making for a very sweet overall sound. The song builds in intensity suitably throughout, never pushing for something more than it is. It’s not the most original song, but it’s emotive and pleasant to listen to. Leo once again proves that genres aren’t limiting to him. The final track comes in the form of an unexpected collaboration. When Leo posted on Instagram about his love for the music of German artist Maximilian Hacker, not many would have guessed it would lead to a song like this. But indeed it did, and what a good thing that was. ‘The Flower’ is undeniably in Hecker’s style, which makes perfect sense considering he wrote it before offering to work on it with Leo. Piano leads, with Leo vocals restrained and almost lazy in delivery, the softness contrasting nicely with the clarity of the piano. When a beat does come in, it’s a slow, low echo of a thing that introduces the chorus. The verse Maximilian takes following this fits in so well despite the shift in language. It ends on an unfinished note, as hauntingly pretty as the rest of the song. For a pairing of artists that seemed so unlikely, the styles match almost perfectly. Hopefully this is not the last we’ll see of the duo working together. So does MUSE live up to the high standards that CANVAS set? Perhaps. In many ways it exceeds them. In others, it takes a step inwards, but not backwards. MUSE is far more subtle in places, allowing for Leo to further figure out his personal style and give fans something new at the same time. And for an artist coming into his own, that’s all that you can really hope for.


MONSTA X

IDOL SPOTLIGHT BY SAMERA IQBAL


When MONSTA X debuted in 2015, they were already group with promise. From being handpicked through the survival show, No Mercy, to winning rising star awards, the group were on the road to becoming one of this generation’s successful Kpop groups. Today, the group’s popularity has grown overseas; they recently released their first Western release, Who Do You Love, featuring French Montana, and have embarked on three world tours in five continents. From the start, MONSTA X defined their style. Their aggressive, hard-hitting beats and technical choreographies avoided to follow the traditional Kpop scene. Their debut song, Trespass, gave them an intimidating, “monster” image, which had originally left the Korean audience questioning as to whether or not this group would fit their brighter, ‘easyon-the-ears’ style of Kpop. One might ask whether this might have been their intention, what with a name like MONSTA X. Although the group have managed to blend their hard-hitting beats with music style that’s easy on the ears – take a look at Beautiful, Shine Forever, Shoot Out, and Alligator as prime examples – and release B-side tracks that are lighter and more ‘likeable’ for a Korean audience – From Zero, 널하다 (I Do Love You), No Reason – it is not so difficult to see why they had struggled to gain a vast amount of popularity in their home country. And in an industry that births new groups left, right, and centre, a forced break due to injuries certainly would not aid their journey. Finally returning to the Kpop scene in 2016 with the Clan series, it wasn’t until after they released their first full album – their most aesthetic album to date – that people recognised the group’s colour. This led them to gain their first, long-awaited music show win with Dramarama later that same year. The one word that describes MONSTA X is duality. On-stage, they are powerful and charismatic but off-stage they are goofballs, and this is reflected in their music. Take their recent album, for example. Their title track, Alligator, was dark and monstrous, containing the hard-hitting beats and repetitive melodies that have gained attention over the years, but

then you have Play It Cool – a lighter, playful track that was promoted alongside Alligator and composed by Steve Aoki. Promoting the two together, in a sense, was a stroke of genius as it portrayed their undeniable concept of duality. However, with fame comes great responsibility. Kpop groups are often taken as role models, with some fans taking everything a member says literally, and at times, turning it into a trend. When this is the case, it is important for a group to exhibit the type of behaviour that they want to see in others, and MONSTA X have gained attention for doing just that. In 2016, the group went live to explain that their original Sorry Sorry dance break choreography had been stolen by a Korean broadcasting network without their knowledge, after their own performance had been cut from an earlier show. To this day, no apology has been made. As well as this, the members openly break gender barriers with their stage outfits – harnesses, leather outfits, and chains - and they are no stranger to discussing issues surrounding LGBTQ+ rights and mental health. They have even explored their own mental health in their previous reality shows. Furthermore, the group have also started to become known for the trust and respect that they have for their fandom. Multiple videos have circulated on social media where members hand umbrellas to fans waiting outside in the rain, asking staff to bring chairs for fans, and – most daringly – walking into and lying in crowds at concerts. Although this is not a new concept, it is one not traditionally seen in the Kpop industry, and it goes to show that MONSTA X are no traditional group. Despite only having 10 music show wins to their name, they have garnered an immense amount of fame and popularity for both their music and their personalities, and it does not seem to be stopping any time soon. In an industry that is ever-changing, it is difficult to stay to true to yourself, but MONSTA X do just that, and unsurprisingly, it is exactly what will keep them growing.


THE KPOP CON BY HELEN RODGERS It’s no secret that Kpop is a huge money-making industry. From selling multiple versions of one album to overworking their idols in order to maximise their sales, the industry is overflowing with greedy people. So, it’s no surprise that companies have realised the potential in Europe to make money off Kpop concerts with its growing fan base. However, the more Kpop concerts we have in the UK, the more companies seem to mess it up. The organisation of Kpop concerts in Europe – or more specifically the UK – has been dire this year and needs to be addressed. From its conception until 2017, Kpop’s UK fan base has been growing slowly but surely. The majority of Kpop fans in the UK are multi-fandom, meaning they ardently support many groups at once, whereas Korean fans tend to support one group only. These two factors combined means that up until now companies were able to bring smaller Kpop groups over for a European Tour before they’d even had a breakthrough in their home country. This is no longer the case. Since 2018, Kpop has grown incredibly which means that there has been an influx in the amount of European Kpop tours. So much so that fans have been begging companies to stop sending artists over here because they can’t afford to support them all. Kpop’s target market is young girls, the majority of which are still at school or university and, therefore, can’t work jobs that give them the money to attend many concerts. Yet companies still capitalise on the artists fans by selling overpriced tickets even for

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smaller artists who can only fill small venues. Unfortunately, Seven O’Clock were one of the artists that fell victim to the over-saturation of Kpop concerts in the UK this year. Seven O’Clock debuted in 2017 and have yet to make a significant dent in the Korean market. So, an events company called BeyondEnt, who had organised a few European Kpop concerts in the past, decided to bring them to the UK. If this had happened years ago, it is likely that the concert would have been far more of a success than it was. The Seven O’Clock concert was announced in February – the same month that Kpop power-houses such as BTS

and Monsta X also announced their European tours. As fans saved every last penny of their pocket money to attend those bigger concerts, it’s no surprise that they then didn’t have the money to see Seven O’Clock whose prices ranged from £30£105. Fans were also put off by the company’s ticket selling sites which seemed untrustworthy to fans. Subsequently, the concert was almost cancelled due to low ticket sales. Luckily, the concert went ahead as more fans bought tickets out of respect and sympathy for the group. BeyondEnt then had their second hiccough (and by ‘hiccough’ I mean utter disaster) of the year with their MASC concert in London. Once


again, BeyondEnt decided to bring a little-known Kpop group to the UK. Despite the amount of Kpop concerts that were going on around the same time, enough tickets were sold and the MASC concert was going ahead. Imagine the fans confusion when it was discovered just hours before the concert that there was no venue. The concert had been announced as taking place at The Garage (the same venue as Seven O’Clock), but that was changed to The Egg before settling at Trapeze Bar. Trapeze had no knowledge of the concert and were shocked when fans, who’d been on a wild goose chase to venues around London, arrived on their doorstep. Trapeze tried to arrange for the concert to be held there despite not having the capacity for the crowd or the equipment needed to host. The venue even set up a meeting with BeyondEnt to discuss the possibility of them hosting, however, BeyondEnt failed to show up. The event ended up taking place at Newmarket Ale House Hotel and

Restaurant. It was not a concert, but instead a fan-meeting of sorts – which is not what fans paid for. Fans were left regretting their decision to buy tickets and wanted refunds. Unfortunately, the Paris concert a few days later had the exact same problems. Fast forward a few weeks and BeyondEnt finally announced that they would be refunding some tickets. However, the company stated that “the PARTICIPANTS of the London and Paris events CAN’T GET REFUND […] because there was a venue change problem but you came and enjoyed even though you knew that there was the venue change situation”. Some of these fans had travelled from around the UK – and in some cases from other countries in Europe – in order to attend this concert. In reality, those fans either had to go home after the venue debacle and miss the whole event or attend the mediocre substitute and still see their idols. The fact is that they did not get what they paid for and should be compensated.

The catastrophe that was the MASC concert came just days after fans were told that Eventim and AXS would be revoking some of the Ultimate VIP and Hi-Touch VIP tickets for the Monsta X concert. Monsta X Tickets went on sale on 10th May (about 2 months before the concert) and it wasn’t until 2 weeks before the concert that fans were alerted by email that only the first 200 Ultimate VIP and 500 Hi-Touch VIP tickets that were bought would be able to keep the VIP perks. The rest would be downgraded to a standing ticket, they would be partially refunded and given an unsigned tour poster as compensation. To fans – some of whom paid up to £190 for early entry, a hi-touch event with the group, a signed CD or poster, a VIP lanyard and the chance to see Monsta X off – the blow was devastating. The situation was not helped by radio silence from both companies as fans sat waiting to find out if they were amongst the lucky few. Though the fans who were downgraded received refunds, it is still preposterous that established and trusted companies such as Eventim and AXS could allow something like this to happen. The companies stated that the mistake was “due to a programming error”, yet it took them two weeks to become aware of the problem. All we can do is hope that these companies have learnt their lessons. That out of respect for the artists and fans, they will make steps to improve for any events they hold in the future.

Always make sure you know your rights as a ticket purchaser. Always read the small print and T&Cs.


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W

hen I first read the synopsis of ‘W’, I’ll admit that I thought it sounded a bit childish. A part- action, part-romance plot based entirely around a webtoon just sounded a bit immature.

‘W’: A Journey into the World of Webtoons By Caitlin Holloway

Song Jae Jung, the writer of ‘W’, carefully observes the rules and limits of the webtoon as a genre and turns them into plot points for the drama. Rather than leaning on the webtoon world as a crutch, I could tell that she had fully explored the advantages of its form in the story. For example, the way that time passes for any other character in the webtoon based on the way that they affect the protagonist, Kang Chul. Because of this, our heroine Oh YeonJoo is often subjected to huge time shifts before she becomes a person of importance to Chul. I found this to be a really interesting aspect of the drama and made me excited to watch more. Rather than the typical linear storyline that many dramas have, it was really refreshing to find that ‘W’ went a bit more off the beaten track. The leading duo presented a real chemistry that pulls you in and really

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Though I soon realised that, rather than the corny plot I thought it would be, it turned out to be a genuinely inventive way to present a story. With the two worlds, one outside and one inside the webtoon, it allowed for a complex plot and unique approach to the narrative.

gets you invested into their relationship and the struggles that they face. The show takes on a whole life of its own with the cheeky and playful nature of the lead actor, Lee Jong-Suk, alongside the charm and humour of the lead actress, Han Hyo-Joo. Even from the first episode, I could really appreciate the amount of raw talent that the two had. Their characters offered a genuine charisma and wit that demanded my attention and made me really care for them. Though I will say that the romance plot surrounding these two characters could sometimes be a bit erratic and underdeveloped, their relationship definitely

piqued my interest and really aided in the progress of the story. Another thing that I found really intriguing was the topic of authorship in ‘W’. With the emergence of Kang Chul from the webtoon world, this meant that he quite literally met his maker. Oh Yeon-Joo’s father and the author of ‘W’, Oh Sung-Moo (Kim Eui-Sung) constantly grapples for authority with Kang Chul. He desperately tries to rid himself of his position as author by trying to kill Chul in the story so that he can end the webtoon. The relationship between the two characters was what really made ‘W’ stand out to me as a drama, having

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never seen anything quite like it. Kim Eui-Sung really shone as an actor in this, being able to play a character who was often embroiled in conflict, either with himself or with a character of his own creation.

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’ve never seen a drama with such a bold and unconventional approach. Because of this, it was so easy to watch. Every episode made me crave the next. As a show that defies the typical nature of both Kdramas and webtoons and really goes against the grain, I would definitely recommend ‘W’.


A holiday in South Korea. The ultimate dream. You could take Epik High quite literally and be “Sleepless in Seoul”, running around seeing and doing everything the city has to offer. But if you spent all your time in the capital city, you’d miss out on arguably the better metropolis; the southern city of Busan. Seoul has such a hectic atmosphere attached to it; the trains are always busy, and the bus doors open for what feels like a millisecond in order for passengers to disembark. Everyone has something to do and somewhere to be. This isn’t the case in Busan. Despite being the second largest city, the subway is less crowded, and people are more chilled out as a whole. Despite being half the size of Seoul, there’s just as much to do. In fact, the world’s largest shopping complex, Centum City is located there! The food court has a variety of foods on offer, including Busan delicacy Dwaeji gukbap, a pork and rice soup. Alternatively, go for drinks at Haeundae Beach instead if the weather is nice!

One of the places in Busan that cannot be recommended enough is Haedong Yonggungsa. It is one of the only sea-fronted temples in Korea, and the stunning scenery is enough to make it worth the trip. The temple has over 600 years worth of history and is one of only three temples devoted to the Goddess of Mercury. The area offers a serene and calm atmosphere; the rhythmic ocean waves, the sea breeze and the sounds of religious chanting in the distance really allow for visitors to become immersed in their visit; it is only of the few areas where people are too engrossed in the landscape to be constantly checking their phones. Busan is such a great city to explore, and with its own airport and direct bus and train links to Seoul, it makes for the perfect adventure. It is a completely different experience to any other part of the country, and really shows how things differ from place to place. The historical landmarks, seaside, delicious food and shopping is enough to make anyone want to book a one-way ticket.


CULTURE: ALL ABOUT BUSAN BY AMY FURNEY


Beauty Breakdown:

Magnetic Moon S

By Emma Alford

tepping out as a solo artist, Tiffany Young is back with “Magnetic Moon”; her first track since her US debut, “Lips On Lips”. The ex-Girls Generation member has proved herself as an artist in her own right as she overseen the production, writing and the overall concept of this new single. With ice blonde hair, Tiffany has transformed into a true diva who can suit multiple styles for any season. As the cooler Autumn nights approach, it’s time to embrace your inner Moon Princess with Tiffany’s best music video looks.

Moonlight Shimmer The concept for Tiffany’s new track centres around moonlit beauty; with her make-up taking centre stage. In both promotional images and the music video, all of her looks are matched together to create an ethereal look. Despite the festival season slowly drawing to a close, pearlescent products are still popular and can be used in a multitude of ways. Upcycling pearl or coloured highlighters as eye shadow will give your eyes a shimmering pop of colour. Tiffany’s make-up artist plays with lavender shades for a galactic look but if you are looking for a more moonlit shine to your eyes, lay down a cream-based highlighter or liquid eye shadow in the same shade before packing the pigment on your lids. Pair it up with a sheer rose lip colour and channel your inner Sailor Scout with this glamorous night-time look. Products: Beauty Bay Gelée Glow Multi Use Highlighter in Out of This World Makeup Revolution Strobe Highlighter in Lunar Artdeco Crystal Mascara & Liner in Onyx Glitter Jouer Cosmetics Sheer Pigment Lip Gloss in Worth Ave NYX Bare With Me Multitasking Spray


Stars In Our Eyes Glitter can be the bane of any make-up artist but a little hint of sparkle can upgrade your look with minimal effort. In many close-up shots, Tiffany brings more attention to her eyes with a dramatic smoky eye while keeping the rest of the face natural and subtle. Opting for neutral toned eye shadow is the perfect way to learn this look as you can control the depth and overall look - without accidentally turning yourself into a raccoon. Traditionally mattes are used for this kind of eye look, but adding shimmer shadows of the same colour on top will bring more light to the eye and keep the overall look consistent. A true gold glitter gel on the inner corner adds an extra sparkle but if you want to really rock the look like Tiffany, add grey toned contacts to make them pop. Products: Violet Voss Fun Sized Eye Shadow Palette in Créme Brulee,Colourpop Glitterally Obsessed Gel in Outside The Lines, Revolution Pro The Illustrator in Disruptor, Doll Beauty Lashes in Hanna, Beauty Bakerie Lip Whip Matte in Syruptitous

Retro - Glamour

“Magnetic Moon” gives Tiffany the perfect opportunity to showcase her own glamorous creation as she helped create the song itself and the high-fashion visuals shown in the music video. With every scene, she shows the captivating look that she is well known for. However, the classic glamour Tiffany exudes can be downsized to a handful of products that can be used everyday. During a collaboration with Vogue, Tiffany unveiled a step-by-step guide to her routine which included Korean beauty staples and Western brands that you can pick up in a High Street department store. With an Idol recommended make-up bag at your disposal, you will be ready for both daytime and big event looks that are sure to turn heads. Products: Buxom PowerPlump Lip Balm in The Big “O” Etude House Lovely Cookie Blusher in Grapefruit Jelly Too Faced Love Light Highlighter in You Light Up My Life Benefit Roller Lash Mascara eSpoir Color Coniq Velvet Tint Lacquer in Shade 501 (#Butterfly)


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UKP Zine - September 2019  

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