[INTERVIEW] With ‘Full Metal Jacket,’ EPEX takes stand against school violence | #schoolsaftey

K-pop boy group EPEX / Courtesy of C9 Entertainment

C9 Entertainment stars hits career high with 6th EP

By Dong Sun-hwa

With the release of “Full Metal Jacket,” K-pop boy group EPEX is taking a stand against the pervasive issue of school bullying in Korea with its music.

The octet, consisting of Wish, Keum, Mu, A-Min, Baekseung, Ayden, Yewang and Jeff, unleashed its sixth EP, “Prelude of Anxiety Chapter 2. ‘Can We Surrender?’” on Oct. 4, which is fronted by the lead single, “Full Metal Jacket.”

Laced with intense bass sounds and guitar melodies, the tune lays bare the harsh reality of bullying while attempting to raise people’s awareness for this pressing problem. Last year, Korea witnessed 62,052 cases of school violence nationwide ― a more than 68-percent increase from 2019’s figure of 42,706, according to the Ministry of Education.

“It was inevitable for us to address the issue of school violence, because we have been singing about different themes that our peers can relate to since our debut,” EPEX’s front man Wish, whose real name is Kwak Da-wit, said during a recent interview with The Korea Times at a studio in Gangnam District, southern Seoul.

The group’s commitment to social issues has remained constant since its debut. After arriving on the K-pop scene with the EP, “Bipolar Pt.1: Prelude of Anxiety” in 2021, EPEX has rolled out a string of songs that resonate with young listeners, which are not just about love and relationship. One of them was “Anthem of Teen Spirit” (2022) ― a tune dedicated to Korean students who fiercely compete against each other to get into top universities.

Wish added, “Being K-pop singers, we do not spend much time at school, so we know that we have little first-hand experience in this matter. But we tried to delve deeper into the topic by talking with our classmates and sharing ideas with our creative team. We thought we had to dive into a profound topic like bullying this time, as our new EP marks an end to our ‘Prelude of Anxiety’ series.”

Red-haired member Keum elaborated, “We believe ostracism is also a form of school violence, and hope we can help reduce it and empower victims with our music.”

The teaser for K-pop boy band EPEX’s new mini-album “Prelude of Anxiety Chapter 2. ‘Can We Surrender?’” / Courtesy of C9 Entertainment

The sound of “Full Metal Jacket” is as powerful as its message, according to the members.

“The song came as a pleasant surprise for me,” Baekseung recalled. “I was particularly fond of its explosive sound, which made me think that we would be able to showcase a really cool performance with it.”

[VIDEO] Which EPEX members are teenagers?

The “Prelude of Anxiety Chapter 2. ‘Can We Surrender?’” EP also offers three other tracks: “Surrender,” “Hit the Wall” and “No Roof.” All of them center on the theme of anxiety, zooming in on a whirlwind of emotions that a young boy feels as he grows.

“When we drop an album, we usually feature the songs with contrasting vibes,” Baekseung explained. “But this time, all four songs in our EP have similar sounds.”

Yewang added, “Nevertheless, the lyrics of ‘Surrender’ are in stark contrast to those of our title track, and they are more outspoken and straightforward.”

K-pop act EPEX / Courtesy of C9 Entertainment

EPEX has hit its career high with the “Can We Surrender?” mini-album, selling more than 240,000 copies during the first week of its release, according to local album sales tracker, Hanteo Chart. This is the highest-ever record set by the group since its debut. The “Full Metal Jacket” music video has also exceeded 10 million views on YouTube as of Wednesday.

Asked whether they could realize their growing popularity, EPEX members nodded their heads with a bashful smile.

“It is a bit embarrassing to talk about this, but we feel like we have achieved some growth when we hear our songs at random restaurants or shops,” Keum said ingenuously.

Yewang, an 18-year-old member, added, “I could realize our popularity when some teachers at my school sang our song, ‘Sunshower’ (2023) in front of me. I was quite proud of my team because they seemed to love our music.”

K-pop boy group EPEX poses during a recent interview with The Korea Times at a studio in Gangnam District, southern Seoul. Korea Times photo by Yun Da-been

As the group members approach adulthood, they are excited about the new dimensions this will add to their music.

In 2024, all EPEX members will turn 18 and legally become adults, with the three youngest members ― Yewang, Ayden and Jeff ― graduating from high school. This is why the group believes it will be able to showcase its unexplored sides in the coming days.

“I know our fans are looking forward to seeing the older version of us,” Ayden said with a playful smile. “Maybe we can try out a concept highlighting our maturity. I think it is premature for us to do that right now.”

EPEX is also setting its sights on the international stage. In such an attempt, leader Wish has been learning Chinese.

“We want to reveal our maturity as time goes by,” Keum said after a moment of thought. “And it will be great if our new album can contribute to this.”

Yewang chimed in, saying, “We want to leave a strong impression that EPEX can pull off various music genres and that we are versatile.”

Source link


Click Here For The Original Source.

National Cyber Security