Exclusive: K-Pop group SUPERKIND on new album, working with AI, and their love for 3 Idiots
SUPERKIND's latest mini-album is called Profiles of the Future (Λ): 70%, which also marks their first comeback as a full set of seven members.
K-Pop boy band SUPERKIND are breaking new ground in the music industry. They have fused human and virtual talent together, which makes them pioneers of this unique collaboration. Yes, they are the first music group where humans and virtual beings share the stage in K-pop. Yes, the septet includes two virtual members in their lineup, which makes them the first generation of virtual AI idols. (Also Read: Jungkook gives glimpse of shaved head, talks about sasaengs in front of his house, and drops 'big spoiler' for BTS ARMY)
SUPERKIND's latest mini-album is aptly called Profiles of the Future (Λ): 70%, which also marks their first comeback as a full set of seven members, including both AI members SAEJIN and SEUNG. The album follows their slogan "2Dx3D, Dimensions Assemble!" by strategically combining elements of both 2D and 3D. The album narrates a sci-fi cyber-chase in which NUKE (AI members) are chasing PRID (human members) as wanted criminals. Excerpts from an exclusive interview below:
We are most intrigued by the name of your album, Profiles of the Future (Λ): 70%. Can you explain the idea and concept behind it?
DAEMON: SUPERKIND has made a comeback with our first mini-album, Profiles of the Future (Λ): 70%. This release is the start of our sci-fi trilogy, which we are excited to share with the world. The song Beam Me Up from this album is the first among the trilogy where we introduce ourselves to the Players, our fans, and the general public. The title track of the album, Beam Me Up (2Dx3D), is a mesh-up between Speed (2D) and Beam Me Up (3D).
EUGENE: The triangular symbol in the album title represents the cosmological constant known as lambda, with the 70% signifying the proportion of dark energy. The album's overarching theme revolves around the pursuit, depicting the intergalactic chase between the 2D members, who play the role of space police and their counterparts, the 3D members who have evolved into wanted space criminals.
The world certainly needs kindness and superkind people. How did you decide on calling yourself SUPERKIND?
JDV: It's interesting and somewhat gratifying that many see us as a "kind" group. However, our name, SUPERKIND, signifies a new generation. We aim to share our group's universe with the world through the promotion of "Beam Me Up."
DAEMON: To add to his answer, SUPERKIND refers to a new generation of individuals and we are here to take on new challenges. We strive to explore the digital and the analogue territories and become the new type of people in this space. This is how we came to name our group, SUPERKIND.
As the world's first-gen A-idol, what is it like for human and AI members to perform together?
EUGENE: The promotion of Beam Me Up holds significance for both SUPERKIND members and our Players. Fans eagerly awaited the participation of all seven members in promotional activities, and I was thrilled to showcase the entire team on stage while also feeling a bit uncertain about how the performance would be received. Fortunately, it seems that many people appreciate it, fueling my enthusiasm to present various types of work in the future.
JDV: As the world's first A-Idol, I do feel responsible for setting a good example as a pioneer. However, our unique identity and competitive edge stem from the coexistence of AI and actual humans in our group. Therefore, we are constantly pushing ourselves to take on new challenges.
So what is the one thing that humans can do that AI members cannot and vice-versa?
SiO: If human members can engage with Players and communicate with them through in-person performances or fan meet-ups, on the contrary, AI members can excel in areas beyond human capabilities. They deliver extraordinary performances, featuring movements that would be challenging for us to execute, such as the zero-gravity microphone performance at or performing while descending from the ceiling, as shown in the YouTube video.
Do you feel this is the way forward?
DAEMON: I believe that innovation is crucial in the realm of creation. I hope that our unconventional approaches make way for a new trajectory in the music industry.
SiO: With numerous artists exploring diverse genres in the music industry, defining the future in one single way seems impossible. We simply see ourselves progressing toward the future through the music we create.
What is it about K-Pop you feel makes it so popular all over the world?
JDV: I believe the reason why people love K-pop lies in its dynamic performances and stages. To continually deliver better and more energetic shows, we invest significant time in practice. Thankfully, our dedicated staff members work tirelessly to prepare for our performances. When we finally step onto the stage after the preparation process, the voices of cheering fans complete the performance. Likewise, the charm of K-pop, in my opinion, lies in the collaborative effort and love of many individuals coming together to complete a memorable stage.
SiO: The K-pop fan community is very engaging. The artists as well as the company are always open to the opinions of the fans. The openness to listen and engage with fan opinions creates a sense of independence for K-pop enthusiasts. This, I believe, is the secret behind K-pop's widespread popularity.
What advice would you give people who want to make it into K-Pop, and how does one keep ahead in this very competitive space?
EUGENE: I hope you live your life without regrets. As someone who once dreamed of becoming a singer, I believe that maintaining an earnest heart and striving to become an artist who appreciates each day more than the last will lead to a successful debut soon. The key is to believe in and love yourself
SiO: The K-pop industry is highly competitive, so it is important to focus on personal growth rather than getting too caught up comparing yourself to others. By concentrating on oneself, I believe you can evolve into a great artist.
Who have been your musical influences?
DAEMON: Being the first generation of A-idols, I believe the evolution of K-pop in this field depends on collaboration with virtual artists. If given the opportunity, I would love to create content with PLAVE, hoping these endeavours contribute meaningfully to the development of K-pop. I also dream of a future where we all come together at an end-of-year awards ceremony.
From trainees to idols, what has the journey been like and what was the biggest challenge and biggest learning?
DAEMON: The most challenging aspect for me was harmonizing with the other members. As I was used to practising alone, doing it with others was awkward initially. However, as I spent more time with the members and bonded with them more, I came to appreciate the significance of harmony. Now, I'm actively exploring ways to achieve that chemistry!
EUGENE: I started as a trainee at the company of BTS, my role model, and eventually made my debut here after going through several companies. During this time, my biggest concern was whether I would eventually debut. However, I've come to realise that maintaining an earnest heart, persisting without giving up, and putting in hard work will undoubtedly lead to success. I've learned that hard work does not let you down.
JDV: I found the charm of being an idol and started to dream about becoming one through dancing. I dedicated a lot of time to practising dancing before becoming an idol, and the enjoyment and passion I found in dancing kept me motivated for a long time. I continue to practice diligently and I find joy in the process.
SiO: The most challenging aspect was navigating the uncertainty of my future throughout my school days. During moments of anxiety or difficulty, I consciously avoided dwelling on thoughts of my debut or success. Instead, I redirected my focus toward the pure joy of dancing and singing. Identifying moments of enjoyment has been my resilience, allowing me to endure the uncertainties over time.
India loves K-pop. Are you familiar with Indian food, music, and movies? Would you love to perform here?
DAEMON: I listened to The Beatles a lot, and I came across George Harrison, who was deeply fascinated by Indian culture and music, playing an instrument called a sitar. He even wrote a song, Blue Jay Way, which was highly influenced by sitar-playing techniques. The alluring and dreamy sound of the sitar is quite fascinating so I would love to learn how to play the instrument. I also would love to perform in India someday.
SiO: I remember enjoying watching the movie 3 Idiots on a DVD player when I was younger. As someone who appreciates musical films, the unique vibe and warmth of the movie have left a lasting impression on me. If I get a chance, I would love to perform in India too!
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