K-pop has become such a huge phenomenon that even the Billboard chart can’t deny the greatness of the genre. It evolved throughout the years, not only in how idols execute their choreography, which is a true spectacle nowadays, but also in their use of other languages, such as English and Japanese. The most popular is, of course, Korean. Although few people use this language on a daily basis, a catchy chorus and, at times, easy-to-remember song lyrics mean that language differences are not significant.
XEED on Their Debut
While the 4th generation of idols has become younger and younger, some are as young as 15, a lot of people are truly longing for more mature artists to appear on the stage. And when XEED’s debut was announced in December of last year, many K-pop fans were delighted that Nature Space picked DOHA, BAO, Jaemin and Roni (due to personal circumstances, Roni has now left the group) to form the new group. Between 26-30 years of age, XEED is pushing hard towards success.
“We have all been a bit active in [entertainment] and [recently] we were given a chance to debut again. We are very grateful to those who have supported us”, DOHA says when asked about the group’s origin.
I was mesmerised by TVXQ and their music. I became a huge fan [of theirs] and that helped me to [make up my mind] of wanting to become an idol. – DOHA
Growing up, we all had dreams, whether realistic or unrealistic, and when something that you’ve desired for a while comes true, you can never take it for granted. For XEED, their dream was to sing and to perform.
XEED on Their Dreams
“I have had this dream [of becoming an idol] ever since I was in high school. My younger sibling would watch various performers, singers, and artists, and I watched along. [At some point] I got interested in it, and it became my dream”, BAO explains why he decided to become a part of the music industry.
“I started in kindergarten”, DOHA admits with a smile on his face, then continues: “While the kids were singing nursery rhymes, I was much more interested in songs sung by idols [at that time]. And when I went to an elementary school, I was mesmerised by TVXQ and their music. I became a huge fan [of theirs] and that helped me to [make up my mind] of wanting to become an idol. I’d also apply for auditions every year and I worked as a trainee – this later helped me to develop my dream of [becoming a singer] too.”
I have huge respect for I.M, one of Monsta X’s rappers. And if I were given a chance, I would love to perform on stage with him. – BAO
“Now, it’s my turn. I’m Jaemin”, he exclaims with a chuckle, then carries on: “I first started dreaming of becoming an idol in elementary school when I was listening to songs by SHINee, and I got my dreams from there. I wanted to be able to stay with someone and be remembered by people. I [always] wanted to do something big and important and wanted to convey happiness and hope to others and that, somehow, developed into my dream of [becoming an idol]”.
While comfortably sitting on a couch, the room was filled with the group’s adorable and warm presence, and our conversation moved on to their debut EP, Dream Land. XEED’s debut mini-album gained the group a hefty number of fans, not only in South Korea, but also in Japan, Spain, Brazil, and the UK.
XEED on Their Mini-Album Dream Land
“So, out of [the five] songs on the mini-album, there are three which we started working on from the end of 2021: Just Like Now (지금처럼), Stargazing, and A Boy From the Future (미래에서 온 소년). We actually released those songs for our Japanese fans first, in the summer of last year. [In terms of] Mirage and Dream Land; well, Dream Land was the track we had to make a few last-minute changes to – we didn’t get to spend as much time as we would like on it, but we all love that song, so we were confident about it”, DOHA explains the process behind their debut release.
As for lines and different parts that the group did for the mini-album, DOHA says that “we were very proactive in that and discussed things between us and worked it out by ourselves.
Your dancing skills increase in proportion to the amount of muscle you have, therefore I work out religiously and very hard. I also spend a lot of time working out the choreography and practising it. – Jaemin
In recent years, debates on how old idols should be when they debut have been a central topic amongst old and new K-pop fans. And while many want to see young people on the stage, but not any younger than 18, there is a vast number of those who have pointed out that older artists are usually more experienced, are often more emotionally and mentally resilient, and have a different kind of appeal. But one always wonders, how long can a group remain in the K-pop industry when its members are 10-15 years older than most of the other rookie idols? It is simple: they can remain in the market as long as they have talent, determination, and good company behind them, and XEED are, without a doubt, strong-willed individuals.
XEED on Determination, Dancing and Rapping
“I started this [musical journey] at a very early age, but when I joined my first company, I was around 20 years of age [Korean age], and that was pretty old for a trainee; my family was very supportive at that time. My desires, my ambitions, and my dreams were very strong, so I was able to take on challenges and also challenge myself. When I was 25, I wasn’t doing that much, I wasn’t that active [as a singer], but then I became a trainee again. I had to start over again, but I gained fans, and since that moment, I realised that those fans are my driving force”, DOHA confesses when asked about his determination.
Prior to joining XEED, BAO was a member of another group. However, after becoming a part of XEED, he reinvented himself as a rapper again. And while he favours V of BTS the most, he also reveals that, “I have huge respect for I.M, one of Monsta X’s rappers. And if I were given a chance, I would love to perform on stage with him. Also, I would love to practise and have an in-depth conversation with him”.
Meanwhile, Jaemin is truly passionate about dancing. And while being a dancer demands very good stamina, the singer admits that he doesn’t have any secret recipe for maintaining fitness and strength, however, this is what he reveals about his condition: “I do go to the gym and I work out a lot and do weight training. Because through my experience as a dancer, I have come to think that – it’s kind of like my philosophy towards dancing – your dancing skills increase in proportion to the amount of muscle you have, therefore I work out religiously and very hard. I also spend a lot of time working out the choreography and practising it”.
In fact, Jaemin was trusted by his company to choreograph the dances for the group’s aforementioned mini-album. This included creating the choreography for Mirage, Stargazing, and A Boy From the Future.
Even though DOHA, BAO, and Jaemin had their doubts prior to debuting, they all came to the conclusion that it was worth it. After countless trials and tribulations, XEED is finally out there, ready to rock the world. And now that we have entered 2023, the group is diligently working on their second release – they are all excited to meet their fans and share new music with us soon.
Written and interviewed by Maggie Gogler
Interpreter: Roc Lee
View of the Arts is a British online publication that chiefly deals with films, music, and art, with an emphasis on the Asian entertainment industry. We are hoping our audience will grow with us as we begin to explore new platforms such as K-pop / K-music, and Asian music in general, and continue to dive into the talented and ever-growing scene of film, music, and arts, worldwide.