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“We don’t keep in a single place for greater than two, three months at a time,” Woosung, the de facto frontman of the Rose, tells AP. Such is the lifetime of South Korea’s busiest rock band, who for the higher a part of the yr have been dwelling out of their suitcases and racking up frequent flyer miles.
Two weeks in the past, the act performed Mad Cool in Madrid. They hit the stage at BST Hyde Park in London the week prior. In August, the quartet might be in Chicago, headlining Lollapalooza’s Bacardi stage, earlier than kicking off their U.S. tour later this fall. Between pageant crawls and a packed schedule, their state of equilibrium is transient. On the time of our early night chat in late July, they’re again residence in Seoul placing the ending touches on their second studio album, DUAL.
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It’s been hectic. “We’re a bit of drained,” Dojoon admits over Zoom. They’re deep into the recording course of, clocking in numerous hours on the studio along with doing all of the issues they must do to organize for its launch — wardrobe fittings, promotional shoots, banking TikTok content material, filming music movies, and inventive conferences with their group. Proper now, the Rose are itching to be again onstage. That’s the place they really feel probably the most alive. “Although it may be exhausting, the brand new music, the brand new manufacturing, [and] the brand new venues excite us.”
It’s a ability they honed whereas busking on the streets of Seoul within the mid-2010s. Earlier than they have been the Rose, Dojoon (vocals, keyboard, guitar), Jaehyeong (bass), and Hajoon (drums) have been simply three Seoul transplants who would carry out in Hongdae, a bustling bohemian arts district that’s turn into a hotspot for college kids, vacationers, and buskers. They discovered how one can join with an viewers and maintain their consideration.
“We tried singing loud songs, however that didn’t work,” Dojoon remembers from their earlier days. “So we at all times attempt to keep true to ourselves and the music we make. Individuals can at all times inform whenever you’re attempting to be somebody you’re not.” The three started writing music collectively earlier than Woosung, who moved from Los Angeles to Seoul to pursue music, joined in 2016. The band made their debut in 2017 with “Sorry,” a wistful sluggish burn that launched the world to Woosung’s distinctive vibrato, a raspy warble sung in cursive.
For probably the most half, Woosung and Dojoon — who was born within the port metropolis of Busan however lived in New Zealand for 5 years — carry our dialog in English. They’re each charismatic frontmen with a deep affection for the Beatles, one other foursome from humble beginnings who rose to prominence singing love songs. Woosung thinks of music as a metaphysical entity that brings the universe collectively (“Every little thing is vitality,” he says in earnest), and Dojoon’s relationship to it’s extra tactile. He’s an artist who makes music for himself, firstly. Jaehyeong and Hajoon are naturally extra introverted, preferring to largely pay attention and insert themselves the place needed. Hajoon, initially from Gwangju, follows his instincts, whereas the youngest member Jaehyeong, raised in Samcheok, is extra delicate. (An actual George, if you’ll.) He’s penned among the band’s most soul-baring tracks, together with final yr’s “See-Noticed.”
It’s the Rose’s capability to seamlessly swap between the intimate and the outsize that led to DUAL. “We perceive the folks aren’t only one factor,” Woosung says. Onstage, they evoke an air of rock star cool. However if you wish to get a way of who the Rose are behind the scenes, simply take a look at their TikTok. It’s a chaotic stream of consciousness. “That’s our actuality,” Hajoon jokes.
They started writing DUAL in Tokyo, the epicenter of hyperactivity. The ever-evolving metropolis provided the proper “get together vibes,” Woosung says — vibrant and in fixed movement. Their earlier album, 2022’s HEAL, pointed inward, a comfortable meditation on self and function that was largely written and recorded in Joshua Tree; with DUAL, they need to present a extra polished, trendier facet of the Rose.
The band’s most up-to-date singles exhibit this eagerness to experiment past their consolation zone. “Again To Me,” which they debuted at a pageant gig in Stockholm, is punchy and anthemic, as Woosung and Dojoon lament the self-inflicted finish of a relationship with emotional immediacy over rhythmic handclaps and heavy guitar. “Alive” combines a darkish bassline with atmospheric synths and an explosive dubstep breakdown. You possibly can hear the direct affect of DJs like Skrillex and Fred once more.. in its jittery manufacturing, impressed by artists who reinvent sounds and meld genres to create maximalist sonic experiences. “We went to Coachella to hang around this yr and to look at completely different phases,” Woosung says. “Plenty of issues DJs are doing, we have been very awestruck by them. We like incorporating issues into our music as a result of now we have our style because the Rose, however we’re at all times excited to usher in new colours.”
Tokyo offered a great playground for the Rose to check out these new concepts. They absorbed the rhythm of town, which harbors a dynamic rock and nü-metal scene that thrives in underground golf equipment and on the charts. Through the early days of writing the album, they’d lunch with Japanese guitarist Miyavi and went to random gigs, even catching one among Jaehyeong’s favourite bands, ONE OK ROCK, on tour. Immersed within the sweat and vigor of dwell music, they felt reborn.
DUAL looks like a leap ahead for the band, whose earlier physique of labor was outlined by internal turmoil. HEAL had made them really feel entire once more after two years of uncertainty. In 2020, the group sued their earlier administration firm to terminate their contract, alleging a scarcity of cost and a violation of contract phrases. (Each events settled out of courtroom, and the Rose parted methods with the corporate.) Amid their authorized battle, Dojoon, Jaehyeong, and Hajoon fulfilled their obligatory 18-month navy sequence.
In the meantime, Woosung launched his debut solo album, Style, a kaleidoscopic exploration of varied sounds, from chill-hop to EDM to synth-wave. He took his imaginative and prescient on the highway, opening for Epik Excessive on the North American leg of the Epik Excessive Is Right here tour. However his endgame was at all times to reunite with the Rose. In 2022, they reassembled and began engaged on HEAL, a heartfelt assortment of private tales and followers’ tales. Forward of its launch, they partnered with Clear Arts, a label established by the Asian-American collective Far East Motion.
Their time aside made their teamwork even stronger. “We perceive one another higher,” Woosung explains. Which is to say they higher perceive their variations. “Not each human is identical. So we’ve discovered to speak with one another.” Beside him, Dojoon quips, “We glance a bit of bit older, too. We’ve got extra understanding and wrinkles.” It’s all these lengthy hours within the studio and sleeping on tour buses. “And in addition smoking,” Woosung impishly provides.
After a tumultuous interval outlined by excessive change and self-reflection, they’re able to have enjoyable and make folks dance. “We normally attempt to write about what we’re going by way of on the time,” Woosung says. They need to conduct a kinetic pressure so sturdy you possibly can really feel it, a tingling in your limbs and a pounding in your chest.
If there’s something to be taught from their struggles, it’s to “observe the place your coronary heart leads,” Dojoon says. He is aware of what he’s saying is a bit twee. “It’s scary to take dangers, however typically whenever you observe your coronary heart, it might result in the place the place you may belong.” (To cite one of many band’s favourite motion pictures, Sing Avenue, “rock ’n’ roll is a threat.”) Woosung, moved by his bandmate’s phrases, provides, “You’re going to be incorrect, even whenever you observe your coronary heart, virtually each time. But when it’s coming from a real place, even for those who don’t make it as an artist, you’ll discover the trail you should be on.”
It’s the very ethos of the Rose, a band whose identify symbolizes each magnificence and ache. By way of their music, they’re encouraging listeners to really feel every thing. “It’s OK to really feel unhappy, comfortable, indignant,” Woosung says. “These feelings are regular.” Life is studying how one can dwell by way of all of it.
As for the Rose, their path has led them to the worldwide stage, performing in a unique metropolis each different week. They’re bodily exhausted, however they’ve by no means been extra in sync about their future. They need to proceed making music, taking part in gigs, touring the world, and consuming late-night snacks collectively. And if it ever will get too overwhelming, they’ve a plan for that, too.
“I’m ready for the Apple Imaginative and prescient Professional goggles,” Dojoon jokes. “We’d like these on tour after we get sick of one another.” Woosung laughs. “We’re going to purchase it as quickly because it’s out there.”