EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: KARD Gets Candid On Breaking the Rules, Share Excitement For Upcoming Tour + More

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KARD openly shares about paving their own way in this exclusive interview.

In the K-Pop industry, where entertainment agencies are known for having strict set boundaries and guidelines for artists to follow, KARD breaks the mold. This co-ed group consisting of J.seph, BM, Somin, and Jiwoo, delivers hard-edged pop that effortlessly blends EDM and hip-hop elements into ultra-powerful, hook-filled, and addicting songs.

But what sets this quartet apart isn’t the simple fact that they are a mixed-gender K-Pop group, which is nearly unheard of. It’s their talents on and off stage that has us hooked.

KARD may have officially debuted on July 19, 2017, with the release of their debut EP, Hola Hola, however; the group had been active long before that. KARD first impressed listeners with the single “Oh NaNa,” released on December 13. 2016. Their pre-debut music launched the group into the public eye and onto the Billboard World Digital Song Sales chart, creating excitement for their future music.

While their popularity can be attributed to many factors, including their honest and outspoken nature, close bond with one another, boundary-pushing lyrics, and ability to reinvent themselves with each and every concept, their appeal is deeply rooted in their diverse discography.

There’s something refreshing and possibly alluring about KARD’s continued ability to push the boundaries and pave the way for themselves through an overabundance of authenticity mixed with a devil-may-care attitude that keeps fans, ourselves included, coming back for more.

Ahead of their upcoming tour, Hellokpop caught up with J.seph, BM, Somin, and Jiwoo to discuss life on the road, their most recent EP, ICKY, why they will continue to break all the rules, and a message for fans. Check out the interview below!

Hellokpop: Congratulations on your sixth mini album, ICKY, and upcoming world tour. What excites you most about heading back out on tour?

KARD (J.seph): Just as always, I’m excited about the tremendous energy that tours bring. I’m thrilled at the thought of meeting hidden Kards from all around the world. I want to tell them how much I’ve missed them and how much I’ve longed to see them.

KARD (Somin): Every time I go on a tour, it’s incredibly thrilling, and I’m curious about which hidden Kards I’ll be able to see again. It’s always exciting to know that I’ll witness the passionate support from these hidden Kards once more.

HKP: Can you provide any spoilers of what fans can expect from the tour? Is there a particular song you’re excited to perform live?

KARD (BM): Production itself will be much better than our previous shows. We are also practicing very hard to put on a great show and are trying to be as detailed and mindful of every aspect of the show to make it as entertaining as possible.

KARD (Jiwoo): You will be seeing the performance of the song ‘CAKE,’ which is included in this album, for the first time. Since this is its first public reveal, I’m curious how the fans will react.

HKP: Do you have any pre-show rituals before you step onstage?

KARD (Jiwoo): Spray the perfume that suits the mood, and I go up.

KARD (Somin): As a habit, I sometimes sing a random verse from KARD’s song and loosen up my wrists and ankles to warm up my body. It helps release some tension before a performance, and these actions also unintentionally prevent any injuries while dancing.

HKP: What three things must you bring on tour with you?

KARD (BM): Macbook and recording equipment in case we need to record demos. Foam roller to ensure my back condition is good before shows. Bible – might be a psychological thing, but I just feel protected when it’s on my person.

KARD (J.seph): SIM card, perfume jewel (for laundry), and shorts.

KARD (Somin): Pillow spray, facial massager, and iPad.

KARD (Jiwoo): Perfume, compression stockings, and laptop.

HKP: What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen happen in the crowd of one of your shows?

KARD (BM): Nothing too crazy. A waterfall of balloons dropping from the 3rd floor of the audience was a beautiful sight. I’m hoping to see something crazier this time around. Our fandom can be wild.

KARD (Somin): There was someone who threw underwear during the previous performance. Although I was surprised that it was thrown toward the stage, I was grateful for the expression of excitement. Also, I want to thank all the fans for maintaining good concert etiquette, which allowed us to conclude the show safely and with enjoyment.

HKP: Out of all of KARD’s tracks, which one do you feel the most passionate about or closest to?

KARD (J.seph): I think it might be “Dumb Litty.” It’s a song that can easily hype up the crowd when performed as an encore.

KARD (Jiwoo): “Break down” and “Whip!” When performing these songs, my focus and immersion significantly increase, especially with “Whip!” It’s a song that brings me pure happiness when I sing it. It’s a song where I try to make eye contact with fans as much as possible while performing.

HKP: Speaking of KARD songs. BM and J.seph seem to be magicians at writing song lyrics that easily get stuck in listeners’ heads. Like how we can’t get away from the way Jiwoo sings “ICKY.” (laughs). Can you tell us more about your creative process? Where do you get inspiration from?

KARD (BM): A lot of Inspiration for this album really came from how I wanted people to move to the beat or my lyrics. “CAKE,” for example, was aimed to be a club banger to make anyone who listened to it feel sexy on the dance floor. “Been That Boy” really came from a mix of wanting to have people consistently grooving to the record while feeling confident as the lyrics held meaning of knowing you are and always have been the best version of yourself.

KARD (J.seph): I made an effort to bring out a groovier vibe by keeping the lines from the guide version. I’m happy because many people enjoy the combination of melody and rap.

HKP: If you had to pick your favorite lyric from the song “ICKY,” what would it be and why?

KARD (BM): “Said she wants more than a tip. I ain’t talking about guidance.” This was the line I wanted every fan to stop and go back and listen to again to see if I really said what I said—and seeing all the YouTube reaction videos. I think it did exactly what it intended.

KARD (J.seph): “It still seems veiled, mystic.” I wanted to express the sense of mystery that the word ‘mystic’ carries.

KARD (Somin): “It’s ‘my innuendo,” and I think these lyrics represent the song “ICKY.” Since this song contains a lot of new words with hidden meanings, I believe ‘My Innuendo’ is suitable.

KARD (Jiwoo): “My innuendo, sticky icky icky.” Have you found the innuendo in “ICKY?”

HKP: Every time you come back with a new song, the concept is always so unique. From “Oh NaNa” to “ICKY,” each song is very different. Is there a concept that you related to the most?

KARD (Somin): I think the song “GUNSHOT” lyrics contained a message that many people could relate to. The line “Your sharp words hit me like a gunshot, leaving wounds” portrays the experience of hearing and experiencing words that are sharp and difficult to hear. It’s a subject matter that most people have encountered or heard about.

KARD (Jiwoo): Since our concept is quite unique, it doesn’t necessarily lend itself to relatability in real life. However, there are many relatable aspects in the lyrics of “Break Down.”

HKP: The word ‘real’ is often associated with KARD. When do you feel most real or authentic?

KARD (BM): When I stand up for what I believe in despite the fact that it could be something others can disagree with, I think there is always good that comes out of obligation, but I also feel like you have to stand your ground on your beliefs and morals.

KARD (Jiwoo): When I feel my shortcomings after performing on stage.

HKP: What do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions people have about KARD as a co-ed group?

KARD (J.seph): You think there would be many disadvantages, but these are the common struggles every group experiences. Since we naturally formed a mixed-gender group, we accept it as part of the natural process.

KARD (Somin): The most heartbreaking and painful thing was hearing that it would be difficult to stay together for a long time. We have been together for seven years and even renewed our contract. We have so much we can do and so many things we want to accomplish, so we would be grateful if you continue to support us in the future.

HKP: As idols, there are certain rules that you have to follow. How do you work within those restrictions while also pushing boundaries?

KARD (BM): For some reason, I don’t see those rules being applied to us as harshly as they are on other idols. I think it’s because we break so many stigmas and carry ourselves a little bit more free-spirited. Either that or our label can’t control us being wild everywhere we go.

HKP: How would you describe the evolution of KARD since its debut?

KARD (J.seph): When I look back on the six years, I’ve accumulated many experiences. They are valuable and precious memories that I wouldn’t trade for anything. There is still a long way to go, but the achievements that Kard has accomplished are truly unbelievable.

HKP: What new thing would you like to bring to the K-Pop music scene that is not already there?

KARD (Jiwoo): In the K-pop scene, many artists are exploring various endeavors, making it challenging to find something that hasn’t been done yet. There is a desire to try everything already being done, and it would be unique and cool to see artists who are currently active become directors for other artists.

HKP: What’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?

KARD (Somin): I want to say, ‘Cherish yourself.’ I believe that someone who knows how to love themselves can also give love to others. Since I was very young, I was a trainee, and I thought that was the only world that existed. I always lived in tension and didn’t have many opportunities to reflect on myself. I hope that we can all experience everything we can and love ourselves deeply. Let’s never forget that we all deserve love and are precious to those around us.

KARD (J.seph): You should play a lot of basketball, drink plenty of milk, and take good care of your nutrition to grow taller, J.seph!

HKP: When not making music or touring, what do you find yourself doing for fun or to relax?

KARD (BM): As much as it is my blessing, it is a curse for me. I cannot go a day without working on music or doing something to upgrade myself as an artist. I just can’t. I’m obsessed with my work, and even if I’m not doing anything, I need to be in the presence of art. Music, fashion, performing, or any type for that matter. I only feel relaxed when I have a sense of fulfillment. As for fun, I love going shopping, bowling, skateboarding, and of course, making beats and new music.

KARD (Jiwoo): I enjoy just relaxing and meeting friends.

HKP: Lastly, please leave a message for fans around the world.

KARD (BM): Hidden KARD all over the world. I absolutely love and adore every single one of you. Thank you so much for such a positive response to our new album, and I can’t wait to perform every single song for you guys. Let’s continue to be together as long as we can and give each other love and support.

KARD (J.seph): I’ll see you soon, so let’s meet quickly. I miss you a lot, and I want to see you. Thank you for loving Kard, and I want to express that I love you even more.

KARD (Somin): Our Hidden KARDs, you are loved beyond words and truly precious. I hope you never feel discouraged and live confidently wherever you go. Thank you for always sending us your immense love, and I will work hard and give back the love we receive. I love you!

KARD (Jiwoo): To all the Hidden KARDs around the world! Thank you for always supporting and showering us with love. We will do our best until the end to repay your love. We love you!

Connect with KARD on Instagram, BM’s Instagram, J.Seph’s Instagram, Jiwoo’s Instagram, and Somin’s Instagram.

Special thanks to KARD and TrendPR for this exclusive interview.

Image and Video Credits: DSP Media