[Exclusive Interview] KARD on 'ICKY', Proudest Moments, Collab with DJ Alok, and More

KARD is a co-ed group known for its powerful performances while delivering hard-edged pop that blends electronic trap, moombahton, and hip-hop textures. Debuting in 2016, the quartet released a series of well-received mini-albums, including their debut Hola Hola (2016), which hit the Top 3 in Korean and US charts, and Ride on the Wind (2018), which also charted in the US. KARD's line-up is comprised of rappers J.Seph and BM, and vocalists Jiwoo and Somin. In 2022, they released their fifth album, Re:


Now KARD are back with their daring and thrilling 6th mini album "ICKY" which was released on May 23, 2023, with the title track of the same name. The song with its bold lyrics and catchy melody has garnered hot attention from fans alike. The music video concept inspired by the "The Backrooms" aesthetic delighted fans, and has obtained over 10 million views so far. 


'ICKY' Music Video 



During KARD's very busy schedule, KpopWise was fortunate enough to ask them about their new album and relay some questions from their fans Hidden Kard. 


Can you tell us about your new album “ICKY”?


BM - it is sexy, sensual, charismatic, and fun. It's a 9-track album with 4 new records ‘CAKE’, ‘Fxxk you’, ‘Been That Boy’, and ‘ICKY.’ We’ve gone back to our old sound while modernizing to fit today's trend.


Somin – We captured our charm by embracing KARD’s uniqueness. “ICKY” has a fresh and distinct point that raises a lot of curiosity among listeners, with many innuendos.


Jiwoo – Instead of a cliché album description, we would like to introduce it as an album where the four of us firmly believe and assertively express our options.


J.seph - We portrayed a sticky and intense love between two individuals through addictive melodies. Is everyone enjoying listening to it?


How long was the shooting of the MV? Are there any funny stories from filming the MV?


BM - There was a lot of CG this time around, so the acting was interesting, as we had to use our imagination a lot of the time. For example, running around the endless hall of pillars was acting I had

to do in an empty studio with only tracking markers on the walls.


Somin – I feel that we achieved good results because many people passionately supported our work. We tried a lot of things during this shoot! For me, one memorable scene was running continuously, searching for the end of the hallway. I remember wearing heels and vigorously running on a treadmill!


Jiwoo – We filmed for about one night and three days. This music video has a lot of behind-the-scenes footage. There is a scene where we go into a pool filled with thick liquid, and due to a malfunctioning device, that was supposed to raise the water temperature, we had to stay in the icy cold water for a long time. However, the shots turned out well and I’m happy with the outcome.


J.seph - There were many attempts at CG acting that we tried for the first time. It wasn’t easy to act like a mad person in front of an empty green screen.


Every album is so unique and has KARD’s style. How do you renew yourselves in each album, song, and concept?


BM – We always stick to the roots and what we're good at while trying to have enough unique factors to outdo the previous releases.


Somin – We have a strong desire to make everything perfect, one by one. We constantly think about incorporating trendy elements and what kind of image we want to present this time. I believe it’s because of this process that people say, “They are charming,” or “It’s definitely KARD.”


Jiwoo – Personally, I strive to bring the most freshness through my style, so I often contemplate about it. That’s why I frequently change my hair color and aim to showcase various nail styles. I’m also willing to try bold makeup to show a new side of myself, even though it may appear a bit excessive.


J.seph – I tend to contemplate the flow when making rap. I’m always thinking about interesting words and lyrics. Visually, I tried to express a new look by adding hair extensions and accessories.



Tell us more about your collab with DJ Alok for the "Without You" Remix? How did this collab come about?


BM - We have a strong fan base in Brazil and felt it would be special to work on a remix release with a DJ that is domestically well-known. We are very happy with how the song came out and can’t wait to witness it play at festivals!


Somin - Since we have had many overseas performances and tours, we thought that our music would go well with festivals. Additionally, considering the love received from fans in Brazil, we had the desire

to collaborate with a DJ from Brazil. We had a strong desire to work with a talented DJ from Brazil, and it came true this time, which turned out well.


If you could choose a member to be your stylist for the day, who would it be?


BM – Nobody LOL! I feel like the girls would play around and put me in a ridiculous character suit.


Jiwoo – Oh, instead of hiring someone, I want to try being J.seph’s stylist myself! J.seph prefers oversized styles, but from what I’ve seen, he has a slim physique. With long legs, I want to dress him in styles similar to Saint Laurent.


J.seph – Hmm~ I think I wouldn’t have much difficulty even if I go alone? (lol)


Has your group changed after J.seph returned from the military? If so, how?


Jiwoo – It feels like we have become closer and there are no more barriers between us!


J.seph - From being a 4th-year idol, we suddenly became a 6th-year group, discussing contract renewals. Many company employees have also changed. Although we didn’t face significant difficulties in adapting, things were different.


What were you guys like when you were teens? In what ways do you think you’ve changed or stayed the same?


BM - I was always happy out of bliss. In some ways, I’m the same because I hold onto that bliss by giving the benefit of the doubt in worrying about some situations. But throughout life, you always

experience people and situations that teach you to keep your guard up. But life has shown me still (since a teen) that staying positive and wholehearted has a bigger reward than anything.


Somin – I used to be a very quiet student. As someone who didn’t engage in attention-seeking behaviors, my mom sent me to a dance academy when I was in 9th grade, hoping that I would become more outgoing. Since then, I gradually became more active and noticed a change in myself.


Jiwoo - During my teenage years, I had low-self confidence and self-esteem. I had a timid personality with insecurities. Now, I have become an artist who believes in myself and can express myself

confidently!


J.seph - I attended a prestigious high school in my area, where I studied quite diligently. Although my grades were at the bottom level… I did manage to win an award in dance at a regional sports competition I participated in at that time. I gained quite a bit of popularity back then. It’s nostalgic to reminisce about those memories.



What is a moment you have felt the proudest?


BM - Any time I'm on stage, its a moment where I feel like I'm given so much life, especially if its in front of fans.


Somin – It was during our first tour under the name KARD. At that time, there were hardly any artist from Korea touring in South America, and since it was right after our debut, we only had three songs. However, despite that, many people showed interest and love, making it possible. It made me realize that I need to work even harder in what I'm doing, what I love, and what I’m passionate about. It was a proud and memorable moment for me.


Jiwoo – I appeared on Good Girl. It was my first solo program. It was a music competition show, unlike a radio-like schedule, so I was afraid of performing on stage without the other members. However, I felt proud of myself for giving my best and doing well.


J.seph - Every moment is something to be proud of. When my self-esteem falters, I imagine the faces of my fans in the air. I never forget that I am someone special to them, and I strive to act in a way that would be disrespectful to them if I were to break down.


What song reminds you of Hidden Kard?


Jiwoo – "Whip!" I was so happy while singing, looking into the eyes of the fans during the performances.


J.seph – The song “Living Good” is not only a song for grateful people but also a fan song that contains sincere feelings towards the fans.


What can we expect from KARD next?


BM - We want to be consistent with continually putting out good music for our fans. In the near future, we have tours that we are incredibly excited for!


Somin – You will continue to witness KARD’s growth as we pursue healthy ambitions and strive for improvement! We will continue to tirelessly contemplate and deliver great music. Please continue to

stay with us in the future!


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Currently, KARD is promoting their latest album on music, radio, and other various shows. KARD will embark on their 2023 World Tour "Playground" with upcoming cities and dates announced in North America, South America, and Europe. Ticket information will be available soon. Check the dates to see if KARD is coming to a city near you!




Listen to "ICKY" on Spotify



Follow KARD



A special thank you to KARD and DSP Media for the interview. 

Ciera Reeves

Ciera is the founder of KpopWise. She has been a fan of Korean pop culture since 2005 and writing about it since 2009. Her bias groups are VIXX and OnlyOneOf. She is a 2nd-3rd generation K-pop fan, but she is actively keeping up with the current artists. twitter instagram

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