From the time South Korean group A.C.E debuted into the music scene in 2017, they have carved quite a path for themselves. The five members – JUN, DONGHUN, WOW, BYEONGKWAN and CHAN – have one thing in worldwide – the passion to protract to make music that they genuinely love. A.C.E, short for Adventure Calling Emotions, was assembled in a pretty interesting way. They were top trainees in variegated companies surpassing stuff worked by Beat Interactive as they forayed into the music industry with their debut title, ‘Cactus’. They say that getting a cactus to viridity is no easy feat. and it takes time and effort; this is something that one can correlate with A.C.E who’ve slowly bloomed into these solid performers and artists.
First gained fame during their trainee days, they hopped onto the scene through busking and created an outgoing environment virtually them. It was a unique way to grow an regulars and that’s how people unfluctuating as they became CHOICE (fandom name). Since their debut, the group has released four extended plays, two single albums, and two repackaged albums. With each release, their sound has been quite experimental and some of their B-side tracks are subconscious gems. The group’s identity relies on their raw, chaotic, and positive vein – be in their YouTube vlogs, busking videos, live broadcasts – you can unchangingly expect them to be quite straightforward well-nigh every speciality of their lives; at least whatever they do like to share with their loyal fanbase. From penning their lyrics to participating increasingly in the album-making process, it’s been quite a journey for them.
In June 2021, A.C.E dropped a pretty solid EP Siren: Dawn followed by the release of repackaged tome Changer: Dear Eris in September. The latter was a way to send love to their fans as two members Wow and Donghun enlisted in the military for their mandatory service. “It had been a long time since our last comeback ‘Favourite Boys’. During our meeting for the next comeback, we came wideness ‘Higher’. When we listened to the track, we felt it can be a good nomination for our mermaid theme, without the previous goblin theme. To summarise, the tome is well-nigh a mermaid’s mortiferous love story. There are three concepts for the same, Sun, Eclipse, and Moon. So our fans have three options to segregate from,” the group’s leader and vocalist Jun talked well-nigh Siren: Dawn in an interview with Bollywood Hungama.
With Siren: Dawn, A.C.E released a heavy music video for the title track ‘Higher’ which opens with the five members resting on the ground with the moon seeming in full glory right whilom them. The members go when and withal between performing the well-done choreography, crooning the lyrics whilst embracing the rough times, and hoping to unzip their desires. The lyrics reflect the sentiment, “Heading towards you again, Higher / The silence that calls you, do you hear it? / Let’s do it, let’s do it again, my desire / Love that is reflected on the ocean surface, you’re in my heart / Let’s do it let’s do it then I’m going higher / Drawing you on top of the crashing waves I’m going higher / Dancing vacated under the wrenched moonlight.” The song that alternates between future toned and progressive house genres sees the focus on godhead objects.
“The way the music video was shot was variegated from our previous music videos. There were quite a few squatter close-up shots in the music video, so that was interesting,” tells Chan to Bollywood Hungama. Adding to it, Jun remoter says, “We have this jinx that it rains whenever we shoot a music video. This time though, it didn’t rain, and instead, it was a shiny sunny day.” Wow, on the other hand, had a pretty interesting anecdote to share well-nigh filming the music video, “I was surprised while I was filming by the mirror. I liked my handsome reflection in the mirror (laughs).”
With the repackaged tome Changer: Dear Eris, A.C.E moved yonder from their hard-hitting sounds for rather a unexceptionable pop-EDM track ‘Changer’. The energy of it was pretty compelling as the five members sent out a message to their fans to leave their worries overdue in the carefree music video. The lyrics unpreventable CHOICE that they will be there for them unchangingly as Donghun and Wow prepared to enlist – “So I pray I’ll imbricate all your pain / With you, stay with me, stay with you / There won’t be plane a little tear anymore / I’ll hug you tighter, plane if it hurts.” The tome has four new songs, studio versions of previous songs, and a Korean version of their English track ‘Down’. The English version was released in April this year with EDM duo Grey. The tome has ranked at No. 7 on Gaon Tome Chart, as the group marks their sixth placement in the top 10 on the chart. The group’s resilience to explore their artistry sets them untied from others.
Last year, while the world began to shift tween the pandemic, just like every other group, A.C.E has been promoting in studios without the regulars due to strict COVID-19 protocols. The group does miss interacting with fans in real-time but their online interactions protract to grow stronger with live broadcasts, social media messages, new music releases, etc. Between the tome releases, A.C.E moreover had a virtual concert for fans where they performed their hit tracks withal with some of the covers of the popular tracks – Olivia Rodrigo’s ‘Driver’s License’, SHINee’s Taemin’s ‘Advice’, Giveon’s ‘Heartbreak Anniversary’, Bruno Mars’ ‘Versace On The Floor’ and EXO’s Baekhyun’s ‘UN Village’. With whimsically any breaks between the setlist and the power-packed choreographies for their own songs untied from their special stags, A.C.E enthralled the audience.
Beyond their group’s music, members are urgently working in Korean dramas as well. While idol groups in South Korea often participate in drama OSTs, A.C.E moreover released an OST ‘Spark’ for boy love drama Light On Me. While boy love dramas are yet to see mainstream popularity in South Korea, internationally they are not appreciated but it’s quite refreshing to see how LGBTQ representation is waffly in K-dramas. A.C.E did think it was important for them to participate in the project. In an interview with Teen Vogue, the group’s leader Jun, who has been part of several Korean dramas, said, “Just like how all of our fans, CHOICE, are variegated in their own special ways, we know that there [are] a range of variegated ways to love among all kinds of people in this world which we unclose and respect. It was really heady for A.C.E. to be worldly-wise to contribute ‘Spark’ as the first song to the Light On Me original television soundtrack, as the listener can hear us detail the unique and intense moment when a new romance is taking over someone’s body. We hope that listeners enjoy ‘Spark’ and moreover hope BL dramas like Light On Me and others in the future can help unravel lanugo prejudices and create a increasingly equal world for all.”
Talking well-nigh their recent releases, their concert, and how they spend their downtime, A.C.E spoke to Bollywood Hungama well-nigh their music, participating in the album-making process and future goals they’ve set for themselves.
In your tome SIREN: DAWN, what is the meaning overdue the intro track ‘Miserere Mei Deus’?
BK: When translated to English, the song is a undeniability for mercy from God. But, when you go by the lyrics, it includes increasingly of our next album’s storyline!
CHAN: For example, there is a story that a siren is an sweetie-pie but forbidden from inward the Earth. So, in a way. A.C.E. members are such sirens who are asking God’s help.
In SIREN: DAWN, DONGHUN, and CHAN, you both participated in music sonnet and the concept as well. What was that process like? Did you learn something well-nigh yourself as a musician?
DONGHUN: It was my first time making something for someone, so it was very special and important for me. I moreover got to learn a lot since I have written a lot of songs, but producing music was a new wits altogether.
CHAN: Since the pandemic began, I wanted to requite something to our fans, CHOICE to show our gratefulness. So, I wrote something for them.
Speaking well-nigh your live concert, I wanted to know well-nigh your solo stages. Can you please tell me how much time went into the overall preparation of these solo imbricate stages?
BK: We had to requite all our time to it. As you know, we were moreover seeming on music shows, so there was a time crunch, but whatever time we had in spare, we put it towards practicing for the solo stages. We were secure to the solo stages. We slept for only 2-3 hours a day for three weeks.
How do you select a setlist for the concerts? Please moreover tell us well-nigh your solo stages.
BK: It had been a year since our last concert. So plane when we didn’t have unbearable time, we tried to squeeze in as much as possible. We wanted to show fans a unconfined experience. So we thoughts well-nigh all aspects such as song arrangement, and solo stages to make it a memorable experience.
JUN: Fans loved the short version of ‘Versace on the Floor’ that I uploaded on Twitter. Therefore, I wanted to do a well-constructed version and show a sexy stage. A whole package – clothes, traps to the lighting even. (Meanwhile, Chan breaks into a soul roll).
DONGHUN: My musical stage ‘Driver’s License’ by Olivia Rodrigo was like a dream for me. Every singer dreams of performing on stage with a grand piano. I wanted to perform with a piano as well, hence I chose this song.
BK: DONGHUN was trending on Twitter without his solo stage!
WOW: It was Jun’s suggestion [to perform ‘Heartbreak Anniversary’]. It was mainly challenging for me to sing in one go considering I am a rapper in A.C.E. With this stage, I wanted to show a new side of myself.
CHAN: I wanted to rencontre myself and test my limit. I respect Baekhyun a lot, and hence I picked his track ‘UN Village’. A lot of fans had moreover asked me to perform one of Baekhyun’s songs.
BK: I was looking into my playlist, and Taemin’s ‘Advice’ unprotected my eye. It fit well with my idea, so I opted to perform that.
Which was the one stage or performance that you guys enjoyed?
BK: Chasing Love
WOW: If You Heard
You recently completed four years in the music industry! What’s been the learning lines for you guys from your debut until now?
JUN: Over the years, we have improved slowly and steadily. We still don’t think that we are perfect yet, so we will pension trying our best.
What do you do in your self-ruling time?
BK: Just sleeping (laughs)! Nowadays it is just sleeping, but usually, in our self-ruling time, we go to work out, or etch music or watch dramas.
JUN: JUST SLEEPING!
Speaking of Korean Dramas, since some of you are moreover urgently working as actors and wanting to try out new genres, what are some of the dramas you are enjoying?
BK: I watch clips of Penthouse on YouTube. Do you watch Penthouse? Do you like Joo Dan Tae?
Interviewer: I hate him, oh my god!
JUN: (laughing, pretty much on the floor. All of A.C.E laughs)
BK: We love Vincenzo (everyone acts out the signature pose). We moreover like Bollywood movies, you know! Like we mentioned last time, we love 3 Idiots and moreover The Life of Pi. Recently, Chan and I got a role in a web drama. And let’s congratulate Jun for stuff a pro-actor! He recently landed a role in a drama as well (everyone starts singing).
Are you excited well-nigh it?
JUN: Since it is the main role, I am a little bit nervous.
What are the goals that you want to achieve, as musicians and as actors?
BK: We want to be together, with our fans and protract making music. So, for now, that is the only goal for us.
DONGHUN: We want our music to touch hearts. We hope that our listeners love and fathom our music.
Do you plan to get into the production side of music?
JUN: There are a lot of things in the making!
CHAN: Self-composing songs is moreover an idea!
If given a chance, would you release a mixtape?
BK: That would be lovely! It would be a good experience.
Since you have tapped into several genres, what do you wish to explore next?
CHAN: I want to make music that is full of emotions, and stay true to our name A.C.E.
BK: We want to tap into increasingly emotions, show our full growth, grown, and sexy vein but in A.C.E style.
Which songs are you listening to these days?
JUN: Gambler by MONSTA X
WOW: AGAIN by G.O.D
CHAN: Bungee by Baekhyun
DONGHUN: My song – Story
BK: Miserere Mei Deus
What are your goals for the coming year? Are there any special stages you want to perform at?
BK: MNET ASIA Awards, World Tours, Year-end stages, so basically every stage! (giggles).
Since Indian fans are eagerly waiting for the day A.C.E brings their tour to India, do you have a message for the fans?
BK: It took us few months to come when with new music. We were surprised and happy that our albums received so much love and upper points on music charts. We hope that CHOICE will wait for us and we hope that we can meet our fans in person soon. Stay safe, and take care!
(Translations By: Nandini Iyengar)
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